Ashley Lauren Kerr
Scarborough and New York City (started in 2008);
SCALAbyASHLEYlauren, New York City and Los Angeles (started in 2011)
At just 28, Old Orchard Beach native Ashley Lauren Kerr is a style guru.
Since 2008, her self-named company, headquartered in Scarborough and with showrooms in New York City and Beijing, has featured unique red carpet, bridal, pageant, prom and jewelry collections, and has offered style, poise, personality, hair and makeup coaching for various high-profile clients (including Miss USA contestants and Spanish singer-songwriter Shaila Durcal). Most recently, the designer launched SCALA by ASHLEYlauren, a line of prom and pageant gowns, bridal wear, separates, cocktail and evening dresses with a Latin flair.
All told, she recognizes the power of fashion, she says – and she has a passion for fabulous.
Q: What were your most important needs in getting started?
A: It was important for me to have resources to travel and personally meet with each retailer that carries my line to build relationships. The retailers will endorse me to the consumer more readily if there is a face behind the brand and a real understanding of the commitment I have to quality.
Q: What factors from your upbringing gave you the courage to venture out on your own?
A: Growing up in a family business made me accustomed to hard work. My parents always encouraged me to work hard, get an education and not be afraid to take chances as an entrepreneur. They also taught me when you stumble or fall, you get right back on your feet and keep moving forward.
Q: What are the advantages of being a female entrepreneur?
A: I am fortunate to be in a business that caters to women. I know how I feel when I wear a fabulous dress so I can easily relate to the end consumer. Aspiring to have a woman look and feel her best is the driving force behind my designs.
Q: What advice would you give an aspiring female entrepreneur?
A: Never give up. Focus on a niche and be the best you can be. Put your customers first. You are only as good as your team and the people you surround yourself with. Seek expert advice from those that you trust and respect and learn from their experience. Also, it is important to be honest and maintain integrity.
Q: If you knew then what you know now, would you have done anything differently?
A: I never look back. I learn from my experiences and keep moving forward.