She's Empowered Spotlight: Ashley Rouse, Founder & CEO of Trade St. Jams
"Be persistent. Also, learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Growth is necessary but uncomfortable!"
Meet Ashley Rouse, founder & CEO of Trade St. Jams! She makes unique + delicious small-batch, vegan jams that are low in sugar and high in flavor. Check out this tasty recipe for Almond Butter + Jam Muffins featuring their Blueberry Lemon Basil Jam and our Coconut Cardamom nut butter!
Tell us a little about you!
I've been a chef for over 15 years, I love making craft cocktails with our jams and I recently had an adorable little girl named Zola. I started my jam company about 4 years ago and named it after a street I used to live on in North Carolina.
What do you do for work? Tell us about your professional journey.
I'm in charge of all things over here at Trade Street full-time. It's been about two years now that I've been doing it FT. Before that, I did the marketing and social media for the Cafe at Conde Nast in the World Trade Center. I've only ever worked in foodservice!
How do you stay motivated?
I have a strong desire to build something from scratch and watch it bloom! I'm dedicated to that and to creating generational wealth for my family. I also know that I prefer this over working a traditional 9 to 5. All of these things keep me pushing. Oh! And my new baby!
Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in starting a business?
Do some research, make sure there is a need for your product. It doesn't mean you can't build a business when there isn't a need, but it'll be climbing an uphill battle. Also, entrepreneurship isn't easy and you'll get a lot of 'no's'. Be persistent. Also, learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Growth is necessary but uncomfortable!
What are your favorite ways to #spreadgood in your community?
I volunteer my time teaching jam classes to local culinary students and kids from low income backgrounds. I also have this vision of gathering a bunch of volunteers, making pb&j sandwiches and handing them out to those in need in the community.
Who is one person who inspires you and why?
My husband. He's so patient and calm and easy going, and I love the way he approaches a problem. He's also so loving and selfless, without even trying.
How do you work to stay centered and practice self-care in your busy day-to-day reality?
I force myself to do certain things, like going for daily walks, taking naps, watching a show I like or doing a craft. It's honestly so hard, and I don't always make the time for it. But even if it's only a day here and there, you have to take care of yourself. No one else will!
What do you like to do for fun, when you aren't working?
Play with my daughter, make cocktails, bake a pie, go dancing.
What are some of your favorite recipes with Ground Up?