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Meet Ashley Clark of Soignè in Downtown Crossing

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Clark.

Ashley, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve attended Preakness and other horse races for years and consistently had trouble finding a hat I wanted to wear. I would end up making my hat. One night during graduate school 2015, I had a very vivid dream that woke me up out of a sound sleep. In this dream I saw the word Soignè, myself creating hats on a grand scale and I was ringing the bell at the New York stock exchange. I woke up in a cold sweat and new I’d just seen my life flash before my eyes. The next day I went and postponed my MBA/JD degree and devoted my life to learning the true art of millinery. One year later I launched Soignè.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been a learning experience. I had to teach myself to draw, sew and create things out of thin air. My first drawings look like a toddler made them. I also had to learn how to order supplies on a grand scale and not waist them. It was a lot of trial and error in the beginning. I also didn’t have seed money every penny came from my life savings so learning how to utilize a proper budget was also a challenge.

Soignè – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The company is called Soignè. It is a French word that means dressed very elegantly; well groomed. It is pronounced “swan yay”. I specialize in couture headwear. I create pieces for events like the derby and other horse races as well as weddings and other posh events. I am known for creating pieces that have attitude and are wearable art. As a company I am most proud when we are able to give back. I’ve created pieces for charity auctions that have raised wonderful sums of money to help the less fortunate. What sets Soignè apart from other hat companies is the uniqueness of each piece as well as its diverse ability to be worn different ways. Each piece has a mobile piece on it that can be worn as a single brooch to jazz up a purse, shirt or outfit. I wanted women to have a reason to wear a little sparkle in their day to day lives.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
The proudest moment in my career thus far was taking the leap and launching the company all on my own. Soignè celebrates one year 11/1/17 and I couldn’t be more proud of not only surviving year one but thriving.

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