We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Kruse and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, what role has risk played in your life or career?
One of my favorite quotes is a simple but a good one – “If nothing changes, nothing changes.” It’s one that feels especially relevant and meaningful to me lately. I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today if I restricted myself to my comfort zone and didn’t take some changes. Even in the beginning, choosing art and design as a career was a risk for me. I was never one of those ‘artsy’ kids and I didn’t really fit into that community, I hadn’t taken any formal design classes previously, and I ended up failing my first college graphic design assignment. I didn’t know what the creative industry might hold for me, but I did know that I could take a blank page and turn it into something magic. So I stuck with it. Since then, I’ve had a career that so far spans over a decade, I’ve been honored to receive some awards, be a panel speaker, and work on some fantastic projects with some amazing people, brands, and non-profit organizations. I believe that every risk is just an opportunity with some uncertainty sprinkled on top, and when one comes along you should welcome and explore it, rather than fear it and instinctively shut it down. Don’t be reckless of course, but make sure you’re not saying no because you’re selling yourself short and falling back into your comfort zone. Every chance I’ve taken has either led to great new things or important new lessons learned, and I wouldn’t change any part of it.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I help businesses step up their branding and marketing game by taking their pieces from generic to genius. My mission is to make sure the first impressions my clients make aren’t just good, they’re compelling. With my creative company Compel Co., I get to put my skills and talent to use to help others in such a tangible and impactful way. My clients are dedicated, hardworking people who have a vision for their businesses and for their future, and when they trust and choose me to help them bring that to life, that’s an opportunity I never tire of or take lightly. Whether it’s a logo design, a website, or a photo shoot, there’s no greater feeling than knowing that their dream is closer to becoming a reality thanks to something that I created for them.
My clients often say that what means the most to them when we work together is that I “actually listen”, and that that clearly shows in the final products I create for them. That means the world to me. As a creative, I know how easy it is to get caught up in your own preferences and biases. But by working with my clients, not against them, I can create branding and marketing pieces that truly meet all of our goals and objectives.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The state of Colorado is an incredible place, there’s so much to see and explore. To get a taste of what it’s like to get to live here, I’d make sure my guest would get to experience both city life and mountain life. We’d start in downtown Denver and hit up the Denver Central Market, some of the breweries in the Walnut Street area, and the Milk District. We’d make sure to take in some of the amazing murals and street art along the way, and just enjoy all the sights and sounds the city has to offer. Then, we’d head out west to grab some fresh air and mountain time. Some of my favorite outdoor spots for hiking and camping are in the Winter Park and Vail areas, but if you’re looking for a shorter drive, the Mt. Evans Wilderness area is incredible, too. And lastly, we’d have to make a stop at Prost in Frisco to grab some brats, beers, and live music.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
When I graduated college and started chasing down my first design job, I remember constantly thinking “All I need is for someone to see that I’m serious and to give me a chance”. I’ve been so blessed to have some truly amazing people in my life and throughout my career who did just that, and my shoutout goes out to them. From some of my first employers and collaborators who looked past my novice experience and said “let’s work together”, to the teams I’ve had the chance to create amazing things with with, and to the clients who partner with me to take their business to new heights, I thank you.