When I was growing up, people would
always ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I want to do something
unique that no one’s ever done before and I really want to help people. That
was the only logical answer I could give them. My name is Ashley Alderson and I’m
the founder of The Boutique Hub and Eric and I, I think, have a pretty cool, unique
story about how we can overcome some of life’s greatest challenges only to find
beauty and what God’s created around us and turn that into an opportunity to
help other people and touch other people not only to grow their businesses, to
have better marriages, but also and ultimately to live a better life for Him.
Rodeo and the Western Way of life have been a huge part of our background for both
Eric and I growing up and in 2006 I was able to compete and be named Miss
Rodeo North Dakota which ultimately meant I could compete for the title of
Miss Rodeo America so I had an entire year to travel and to represent the
sport in my state, but my travels quickly became something much greater. Actually, the very first big trip that I went on when I got home from that trip, which was
a month long, the first night I was back in my apartment I woke up with a
terrible pain in my chest. Next, about 24 hours later we were sitting there
with my family and I hearing the words that I had cancer, but it did give us
hope that it was it was optimistic but the next thing he said I’ll never forget
it was how you handle your mindset through this process is going to be a
big determining factor of its outcome. How did we meet. We.. so I come home I
think we were at a wedding dance maybe and I just lost all my hair recently
from chemo you thought you were gonna be smooth and give me a compliment so
you’re like, “Hey, I like what you’ve done with your
hair don’t think I don’t notice the details” and I’m thinking what a jerk he
knows that I’m wearing a wig. I thought you were dissing my new hairdo. Although we had just met one of the things that the doctors told me right away as I
entered into chemo was that they had no idea if I would ever be able to have
kids someday so even though I clearly wasn’t ready
for it at the time it was a long-term goal of mine and it was totally up in
the air at that point we didn’t know what would happen. I ended up doing six
months of chemo and lucky for us I didn’t have to do any radiation because
they said I would most likely have breast cancer within five years had they
radiated the tumors in my chest and like they would have needed to and in July of
that year I went through my last chemo treatment and in August I had a PET scan
and thank God we were named cancer-free and I was declared in remission at that
point. In 2007 I was able to win Miss Rodeo America and spend over 320 days on
the road that year traveling the U.S. speaking about professional rodeo and
the Western Way of life and also telling my story as a cancer survivor and it was
a year I will be eternally grateful for the friendships and connections that
were made. Soon after Miss Rodeo America, Eric and I
got married and lucky for us we soon found out we were able to have kids
which again was a big question mark in her mind and we welcome Hadley to our
family first and then soon after came Easton and Jayde and today the three of
them are the absolute joy of our life in the center of everything that we do. When
we moved from North Dakota to Wisconsin for Eric’s job it really gave me some
freedom after I left my role in economic development to start something new and I
came back to this wild idea that I had while I was traveling and I loved
discovering boutiques all over the country but I had no way to find them
all together in one location again when I got back home and for me and I know a
lot of people fashion used to be something that was unattainable it was
something up on a shelf and you only love fashion if you’re from New York or
LA or you had money but I didn’t have. But boutiques were a way
for women of all ages and sizes and locations and budgets to feel welcome to
fashion and to feel confident and beautiful that’s what I loved about them.
So The Boutique Hub started as basically an online shopping mall of boutiques
which it still is today where women can discover stores that they love from
around the world on one platform and then connect and shop with those stores
independently and even deeper than that The Boutique Hub is shaping the way that
the boutique fashion industry operates. Our #BoutiqueBusiness platform, which is
behind the scenes, believes in community over competition and so we together
collaborate with boutiques, brands designers, service providers, and insiders
in the industry to allow them to connect and to collaborate and find tools
resources and training on our platform so that they have everything they need
in one place to operate, do business, and grow and really that’s the greater
purpose because we know that if we change a small business we change a life
and we change a family and we change a community. So forever impact has always
been our main mission but boutiques and fashion are are the driver. So, even
though we’re still pretty young and I think it’s really in our story I know
that we’ve been through some pretty unique mortality moments from Miss Rodeo America to having cancer to then losing my dad to cancer to creating a business
almost losing said business and now the business being really successful I think
that there’s always one constant no matter what that remains true and that’s
our why and it’s our faith in God. Anything else? Eric: Can’t be a cowboy and a nice guy. I’ve got an image to uphold. (laughter)