Amy Nobile and Trisha Ashworth took their friendship and shared motherhood experiences and turned it into a series of bestselling books including I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids. After a successful decade of writing together and producing a TV show, they asked themselves what was next? – and the answer found them during a trip to Haiti volunteering. Ash + Ames is the product of their continued work improving women’s lives by employing and commissioning artisans around the world for one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry for their new brand. Ash + Ames not only curates special, luxury jewelry, but also joins the growing sector of brands within the social retail market – brands that exist to give something back.
When did the two of you meet?
We met over 15 years ago and have been working together for about 10. We’ve co-authored three best-selling books – “I was a Really Good Mom Before I had Kids,” “Dirty Little Secrets from Otherwise Perfect Moms” and “I’d Trade my Husband for a Housekeeper,” and have executive produced a TV show for Lifetime based on the books.
From writing to designing jewelry – how did you make the leap? Do either of you have design experience?
We asked ourselves the question ‘what’s our next chapter?’ We weren’t sure – and at the same time had started traveling to Haiti repeatedly to volunteer. We were impressed with the female artisans making cuffs out of discarded cow horn – and we started to think about how we could curate beautiful pieces from around the globe, all designed and hand made by women. We also design and handmake pieces in New York City.
How would you describe the aesthetic?
We like the term ‘everyday luxe.’ We want every woman to feel special when she wears one of our pieces and know that there’s a story behind it, and a special connection to the artisan who made it. We also work hard to ensure that the brand is diverse and approachable – offering a wide range of styles and price options so there’s something for everyone.
Many brands are working with specific tradesmen around the world now – in your opinion what sets ASH + AMES accessories apart?
ASH + AMES is a next generation social retail brand dedicated to supporting female artisans around the globe, giving back to developing countries and inspiring women to launch their own businesses and become beautifully balanced. 100% of the proceeds from our Haiti pieces go back to the artisans, supporting our goal to help women live better lives.
How do you source the artisans you work with?
We consistently travel the globe in search of female artisans who are already making beautiful jewelry and commission them to make unique pieces just for ASH + AMES. Every artisan we feature tells a unique story—it’s a narrative about craftsmanship, the materials involved, and the environment from which it comes. These stories resonate deeply with our customers who want to know why our pieces are so special and unique.
Can you tell us about Art Creation Foundation for Children and how certain Ash + Ames pieces benefit this foundation?
Through the Art Creation Foundation for Children, we have committed to sponsoring an 18-year-old girl named Michou for a year. She will learn to speak English, take computer classes and prepare for a self-sufficient, independent life, 100% of the proceeds from all the pieces made in Haiti will go back to the country. We met Michou via the Art Creation Foundation for Children, and [we] were immediately taken with how curious and open to learning she is. She’s incredibly grateful for the opportunity to advance her skills in any way. She’s a clear inspiration to the girls around her, and she’ll be a fantastic mentor as she imparts her knowledge. We will help her pave her unique path for the future, whatever that means for her.
What it is about Haiti that remains so personal for both of you?
As we mentioned, going to Haiti sparked the idea for the business – to launch a luxe jewelry brand that supports female artisans around the globe, while giving back. Haiti is embedded in our DNA at this point. We’ve traveled there several times – at first to volunteer and connect with the women in Jacmel, an incredibly special, artistic town. Once we realized how talented these female artisans were, we began working with them to create pieces just for ASH + AMES.
How would you describe the common misconceptions of this country?
Although they have very little and live in a developing country, Haitians are an example for the rest of the world as the most endearing, positive, selfless people we’ve ever met. They live in the moment, and appreciate each day and the joy that comes with just a smile, or a hug. They truly focus on what they do have – not what they don’t.
And the other countries you work with – what would your customers be surprised to learn about the culture or lifestyle?
We love learning about other cultures – it’s such an incredible experience every time we visit a new country. And it’s always so fun to see Americans through the lens of a different culture. We were just in India, and were repeatedly told how crazy we were for living in different states than our parents! They value family to such a degree, and it’s really refreshing and beautiful.
Are you both traveling all the time?
We travel every few months, especially when we are working on new designs. Otherwise, we also have wonderful Ambassadors who bring the ASH + AMES experience directly to consumers across the U.S., where they live and play via 1:1 appointments, cocktail parties, charity events and in-home trunk shows.
Not to sound cliché, but to link in the books that you’ve written about being a mother and wife – how have those roles changed with this new venture?
We’ve just continued the journey of helping women live better lives. That’s what we’ve always aimed to do – first helping women learn to love motherhood as much as their kids, and now to truly find that beautifully balanced life, on their own terms.
What would the title of your next book be after launching ASH + AMES?
Ha! Great question. We may have another book in us down the line – but we’ll keep you posted!