What Powers Your Business? Discover your secret sauce!

Ashley DeProspero is the beautiful woman behind Back Willow Boutique, one of Prosper’s newest retail destinations. The boutique carries amazing apparel, accessories, shoes, and gifts for the active, fashionable woman. It has become a local favorite because of its fun assortment and great social media engagement, but to me the secret sauce that makes the boutique so special is Ashley. She is passionate about her community and she has created a new purpose for herself that makes her shine brighter than ever before.

She is a mom of 2 kiddos, a newlywed, a business owner, and a wonderful woman. She inspires and supports her fellow #momprenuers and loves engaging with her customers every day. She is game for everything! I love catching her modeling her products on Instagram and Facebook. Her videos are my favorite because you can hear the passion and happiness in her voice as she describes the products she hand-picked for her boutique. What can I say… I am a FAN! and I am so proud of her journey!

Ashley and I met in the world of corporate retail and 2020 brought us together in a different setting, as we were both furloughed and starting our own businesses. As my graphic design business grew, Ashley reached out to work on her logo and branding basics. I couldn’t believe she was actually going to start a retail business during the quarantine! but when I heard her concept behind Black Willow about connecting with her community, laying down roots, and wanting to provide that real connection during such a tough time, I knew she was on to something special. Together we brought to life her logo and I am so proud to be part of her business story.

 

Let’s meet Ashely

Q+A

WHO IS ASHLEY DEPROSPERO?

Wow – opening up with a toughie!

Ashley is a hard-working (some would say “work-a-holic”), wife and mom looking to make a difference in those around her. Staying constantly focused on her mindset, her daily goal is to find blessings or learnings in every situation.

 

FAVORITE QUOTE? HOW OR WHY DOES IT RESONATE WITH YOU?

“You are rewarded in public for what you have intensely practiced & refined in private.” – Tony Robbins

People will only see the good & successful things you’ve done. They won’t see long hours of hard work, discouragement & challenges you’ve overcome. Keep pushing, keep fighting, keep grinding – no matter what others on the outside are seeing.


ANTHEM GIRL POWER SONG? ANY FUN OR MEMORIES STORIES ABOUT THIS SONG?

“Firework” – Katy Perry

My sister thought it would be fun to create a few “meet our owner” videos when we first opened Black Willow.  She asked me this same question in one of our videos and received this same response.  However, she caught me on camera singing the song and making a total fool of myself and then proceeded to post it on our Facebook page for all of our followers to see – super embarrassing.  Thanks sis! 

 

ONE IS ONE THING PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

My mom and father-in-law also own their own businesses!  Needless to say, I have amazing people around me to offer advice and bounce my ideas off of.  But don’t get me wrong, they are also the first to offer a harsh critique  

 

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH 30MIN OF UNINTERRUPTED ME TIME?

Sit in silence and drink a glass of wine – duh!

Ha – kidding! 30 minutes of uninterrupted time doesn’t come frequently, but when it does I’m not someone who tries to cram in 30 extra minutes of work. Let’s be honest, no one can finish much in 30 minutes anyway.


I try to use it as a time to reflect, relax and review. Reflect on what good has happened recently (could be personally or professionally). Relaxing for me sometimes looks like a glass of wine or a bubble bath to clear my head. And REVIEW where my head is at. Am I thinking positive thoughts into my business or am I stuck in a place of problem-solving and letting negativity creep in? No matter where I’m at, I try to get back to a place of gratefulness in this time.

 

WHAT IS THAT ONE TV SHOW THAT ALWAYS MAKES YOU CRY?

I’m about to expose how truly crazy I am, but I don’t watch a ton of TV other than ESPN!  My husband and I are both complete sports fanatics.  If you walk into any room of our house and turn on a TV, it’s more than likely on ESPN.  Other than that, I watch Shark Tank. HA! 

However!  If I had to pick a movie that makes me cry every time, it’s The Notebook. 

 

TELL A STORY ABOUT THAT ONE CLIENT THAT REALLY MOVED YOU OR INSPIRED YOU?

Prosper is a fairly new community that has a lot of people moving to the area. When chatting with each of my customers, I love to ask about their stories. When did they move to Prosper? What brought them to the area? One day, I met another business owner that was relocating from another state and was working to make the right contacts she’d need to get up and get her business running in Texas. She casually mentioned that she needed advice with a few insurance questions she’d been confused about. It just so happened my husband is in the insurance industry, so I immediately made a mental note to ask him if he would be able to help. She continued to shop and ended up purchasing some adorable pieces. As she left, I told her how happy I was to have her and her family in Prosper. She thanked me with a huge smile on her face and told me she’d be back to see me soon.

Later that night, I asked my husband if he had any contacts we could share with her to help in her business venture. To me, this was something so simple I could do for a customer who had supported my small business. I quickly put an email together for her of a few different people that would be able to offer help with her questions.

The next morning, I woke up to an email response that was full of joy. She went on to explain how nervous she was to make the move from her previous state, but the people in our community have made the transition so amazing. She said I had been the kindest person she’d met yet and that I had helped solidify the idea that this was exactly the place where she and her family needed to be.

THIS is what I want people feeling when they leave my store. THIS is why I get up and get inspired to go to work every day.

 

WHAT IS THE WORLD MISSING?

Grace.  We can all have love in our hearts, want the best for our neighbor, and walk a life intentionally trying to do good, but if we can’t have grace for those around us, our world will continue to feel hate. 

It’s okay to be different from those around you.  But if we can show continual love and grace, people would feel a connection with others, rather than division. 

 

WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A MOMPRENEUR?

MOM GUILT! This is something I struggle with daily.  I will always put my family first, but I still ask myself, “Do they understand why I go to work every day when some of their friends’ moms stay home?  Will they understand why I’m staying up late and typing away on my computer?  Will I help them to be independent, creative thinkers by doing what I do every day?”

However, I do my best to cherish the moments that my children express how proud they are of me.  My son requested that I send in a self-recorded video to his school describing my business and what I do for a living for Career Week.  My daughter tells me all the time how excited she is to grow up and be able to go to work with me at the store.  It’s moments like this I try to push the guilt aside and remember that I’m able to make a difference in their lives by showing that their strong, hardworking mom can accomplish anything she puts her mind to.  

 

WHAT YOUR MAGIC TRICK TO PRIORITIZE AND MULTITASK?

Oh, man… I definitely don’t think I have this magic trick figured out.  

However, while working in corporate retail for many years, I learned that I accomplish most when creating a list.  My brain runs about 2 million miles a minute and in order for me to stay sane and organized, I have to be able to dump all my thoughts onto paper.  Don’t get me wrong, some days my lists go on for many pages, but what I’ve found works best for me is to have a (very LONG) running list of all tasks that need to be completed, and then have a separate daily list of duties that need to be completed quickly.  This way after they are completed, they come off of my daily list and don’t have to roll over to the next day.  In my mind, this condensed list helps with the daunting thought of how many “to do’s” I actually have to complete. 

 

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO OTHER MOMS STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS? 

DO IT!  Take the leap of faith!

My life was completely turned upside down when I was furloughed from my position at a large retail home office.  I loved my job, my financial contribution to our family, and all of the people I was working with.  In the “break” that the pandemic offered me, I was able to recognize that even though I loved my job, I was working way too many hours, I was constantly stressed about one of the many upcoming deadlines, and juggled my family’s schedule far too frequently.  

Opening Black Willow was the most terrifying decision I’ve ever made – who in the world opens a brick-and-mortar business in the middle of a pandemic when everyone is stuck at home?!  With the support of my amazing husband, my sister (and business partner!), and the rest of my family, we made the decision to give it our all and let God take the lead.  And man, have we been blessed in these last six months!

If you are considering opening your own business, please remember: the journey will not be easy or make perfect sense.  It’ll be messy, terrifying, and sometimes exhausting.  But think about this – Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team for lack of skill.  Could you imagine if he would’ve given up there?  Don’t give up – keep the faith and keep believing in your dreams! 

 

TELL US ABOUT A FEMALE ROLE MODEL IN YOUR LIFE. A WOMAN THAT INSPIRES YOU IN A PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL LEVEL.

I love Sara Blakely – founder and owner of Spanx.  Sara started Spanx with $5,000 while working as a door-to-door fax machine salesman.  She is now the owner of a $1 billion business.  She also uses her fame and success as a philanthropist by running the Sara Blakely Foundation to donate to organizations all over the world.  The Sara Blakely foundation also pledged to donate $5M to female-run small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.  These types of female entrepreneurs share their success with others around them. 

 

WHAT IS THE FUNNIEST THING YOUR KIDS HAVE SAID TO YOU?

Oh man- the list is endless! But most recently, over my son’s Spring Break I was scheduled to work one of the days and he was really bummed I wasn’t able to stay home with him. 

With tears welling up in his eyes he looked at me and said, “Mom! You’re the boss, you shouldn’t have to go to work!”  I laughed and thought how great of a teaching moment it was to let him know that the boss has a lot of great perks but working hard whenever I want to isn’t one of them. 

 

WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR CHILDREN TO SEE WHEN THE LOOK AT THEIR MOM?

Happiness. When I found myself a single mom of two children at the age of 25, I found myself with so many forks in my road. Where would we move?  Where would the kids go to school?  Would I continue in the same career?  But regardless of where we lived or what kind of car I drove, I promised myself I would forever show them the happiest version of myself, never letting any outside factors influence the happiness of our family.  

WHEN YOUR KIDS ARE SCARED OF DOING SOMETHING NEW, HOW DO YOU MOTIVATE/SUPPORT THEM?

My children both know that neither my husband nor I are going to allow them to ever take the easy road.  We are not the parents who choose to do things for our children that they could do for themselves.  We recognize the importance of them taking chances, messing up, and learning from them.  Most of the time my daughter isn’t scared of anything!  She’s the child that acts first and thinks second.  We rarely have to worry about her being nervous to try something new.  My son, however, is more concerned about how messed up will “look.”  He’s my people pleaser and someone who wants to do the right thing, all the time.  As someone who messes up daily, I’m trying to show him that it’s okay to be yourself and own your mistakes – it makes you human!  

 

Let’s talk about Black Willow Boutique

WHAT IS THE ELEVATOR PITCH FOR “BLACK WILLOW BOUTIQUE”?

Dedicated to providing feminine, trendy clothes to the women of Prosper and beyond, Black Willow Boutique carries apparel, accessories, shoes, and gifts for the active, fashionable woman who wants to feel beautiful and empowered no matter what she’s wearing.

 

PEOPLE COME BLACK WILLOW BECAUSE…?
I believe in creating an environment that people enjoy stepping into.  The pieces we sell may not be for every person that walks in the door, but we have the ability to create an enjoyable, loving presence for each person.  Who will then go and share the type of experience they had to others. Whether people come and buy a $10 pair of earrings or a $300 outfit, we pride ourselves on treating each customer the Black Willow “way.”  

 

HOW WAS BLACK WILLOW BOUTIQUE BORN?

Black Willow was my way of being able to take my God-given talents and give back to a community that I absolutely love.  I grew up a “retail enthusiast,” loving every aspect of the retail world.  My natural draw to people, my love of studying trends, and my affinity for outfit styling made my career path into fashion very natural.  Opening Black Willow, I’ve been able to do what I love while serving and supporting my community along the way.  Black Willow is my win/win! 

 

I LOVE THAT YOU STARTED YOUR BUSINESS THINKING ON HOW TO SET ROOTS AND EMPOWER THE LOCAL PROSPER COMUNITY. TELL ME MORE ABOUT HOW YOU HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH THE COMMUNITY THIS PAST YEAR.

If 2020 taught me anything, it was that the people around us should be our focus.  So immediately when I opened, I started brainstorming how it made sense to have a boutique support the community.  Surprisingly, there are more ways than you’d think!  I’ve partnered with food pantries, hair salons, flower shops, workout gyms, PTO groups, and so many other small businesses that have a similar mindset.  The more we can do for each other like businesses, the more our community will give back to us.  

 

WHAT IS THE NEXT PROJECT/PRODUCT/IDEA YOU ARE WORKING ON?

My collaboration list grows daily!  As Prosper continues to grow, I see it as a way to help support and make more of an impact in my community through even more people.  There are so many people and businesses I can’t wait to collaborate with – some of which are even other boutiques in my area! 

 

WHAT ARE THE GOALS FOR 2021 FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

A passion of mine is to grow the number of fundraising events we are hosting.  For every private event that we host for an organization, Black Willow is able to kick back a percentage to a group of people that will use it to support their cause or group.  In my mind, there is no better way to see people enjoy Black Willow, while also giving back to an organization that deserves it! 

 

WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT IN TO SEE IN THE BOUTIQUE FOR SPRING/SUMMER 2021?

Growth!  We are currently expanding our product lines to provide more gifts, accessories, and handbags while also still providing incredible apparel.  We will also be bringing on more associates to help fulfill our online orders and assist in our website platform.  You may also see us around town attending many outdoor events in our town and surrounding towns.  

 

Want more? Check out her website

www.blackwillowboutique.com

Follow Black Willow Boutique

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/blackwillowboutiquetexas

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/BlackWillowBoutiqueTexas


Ashley Deprospero

Hi! I am Natalia, Founder of Power Up Brand and Design. 

Your brand strategist, creative visionary, entrepreneur at heart, and cheerleader for your brand's success. I'm here to empower you to elevate your business, connect with your target audience, and express your unique story through powerful brand design.  Let's collaborate, create, and make an impact together!

brand design

BLOG

ASHLEY DEPROSPERO – BLACK WILLOW BOUTIQUE – PROSPER,TX

Hi! I am Natalia, Founder of Power Up Brand and Design. 

Your brand strategist, creative visionary, entrepreneur at heart, and cheerleader for your brand's success. I'm here to empower you to elevate your business, connect with your target audience, and express your unique story through powerful brand design.  Let's collaborate, create, and make an impact together!

BLOG

web design

Natalia took everything that I wanted to represent about who I am and put that on to the page into a logo and a design that I absolutely adore. I used her not only for my logo and branding design, all of my colors, my fonts. I also had her build all of my Canva templates. And as a marketing mentor, I do a lot of my business on social media. It's a way that I get most of my clients, and I use them literally every day, multiple times a day. They're amazing. So if you're looking for someone to help you with your branding and your design, Power Up is the design studio you are looking for.

Sherry Sutton

CLIENT LOVE

Marketing Strategist and Mentor

Natalia created a brand that represented myself, that represented my personality, represented how unique I am. I love my website. I can't say enough things good about. The process was so easy.  I went from a business that I loved to the business of my dreams. It's very emotional to me because Natalia created the brand that I always wanted. I now have retired from some of the things that I didn't want to do in my business, but I had to do because of money, because she brought me the clients that I needed so I could elevate my brand. 

Carolina Garza

CLIENT LOVE

Hair & Makeup Artist & Educator

Working with Natalia was absolutely amazing. She took my words, feelings, and ideas and transformed it into the perfect website for me and my business. It’s better than I could have ever imagined.Now I don’t have to work as hard to show potential clients what makes me stand out. My website looks professional, put together, and truly unique. It’s not just my work that stands out now, it’s also my website.

AnnaMarie Stephens

RESULTS

Family  Photographer

I LOVED working with Natalia! Her experience in the design world as well as how easy it was to talk to her made the process seamless. I love the way she laid out our meetings and she knew exactly how to pull what I wanted from my brand from me when I wasn't sure what it should be. My brand is cohesive across all platforms now. So having everything working together has helped a lot!

Katy Miller

RESULTS

Course and Social Media Strategist

I finally feel like my business is more professionally represented by having a legit website, it’s something I’ve been wanting to invest on for a long time. To be honest I wasn’t convinced until I saw Natalia’s work and with no hesitation I finally decided and give it a go!

We are getting more bookings from clients that are not holding back from spending the big buck! They are ready to get the Nailed Up experience ! 

Veronica Luviano

RESULTS

Nail Salon Owner + Lead Educator

Working with Natalia was fun and easy. She made it clear exactly what I needed to do, and turned around gorgeous results in no time at all. I am EXCITED to show up and obsessed with how professional my social media graphics look. I have been posting more frequently and putting out better content than ever because it's so easy with my branded templates! I am getting more engagement on IG, more clients booked through IG, positive feedback from followers noticing my graphics.

Emily Conley

RESULTS

Sales & Website Copywriter

LOVE NOTES