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Check Out Ashley Luke and Jessica Harvey’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Luke and Jessica Harvey.

Hi Ashley Luke, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
We had been friends for years, actually meeting through our husbands. In 2017 Jessie got engaged and wanted flowers that would never die. We went looking for the perfect flowers that would last her forever, and couldn’t find the right style for what she wanted. So we decided if we couldn’t find them, we’d make them. We’re both very crafty people and we figured why not try! Turns out that this was the right move. Her wedding bouquet, and boutonniere looks amazing, and we got so many compliments. At this time Ashley was in school for business, and Entrepreneurship, and Jessie and her had been thinking of starting a small crafting business. Jessie’s wedding was what prompted us to go ahead and take that leap, and this began Sweet Peach Designs LLC in March 2018.

Ashley started with her paper flowers, LED 3D paper shadoboxes, and Quilling. Jessie started with her custom designed Tumblers, one of the first in the area.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
No. When we started this business in 2018 we had goals, but like most long term goals, you hit some snags along the way. The first of our snags was when Covid hit and everything started shutting down. For us, our offices are at home, we don’t have a physical store so all our in-person contact was at craft-shows. We had started getting into bigger and more known shows around the end of 2019. 2020 we had very large show’s in our plans. Then the plans were canceled and our rapidly built momentum was stalled. While we still had growth it was not along the trend we were seeing in 2019.

Another bump in our road was work/life/business balance. When we started Jessie was finishing up her Dental Assisting Schooling, and since has been busy growing in that field. In the meantime Ashley became a mom in 2015, and was dealing with starting a business and raising a toddler. It was really hard during the shutdowns doing virtual schooling and trying to work in the normal business hours that she had previously been use too.

Finding time for families has also been an adjustment. Our busiest time of the year is late fall and the Christmas season. This of course made it difficult to plan celebrations with our families. We’ve now learned that we need to set limits to our time spent on business and when to say no.

The last bump we have discovered in our journey as business owners, has been dealing with Mental Health Awareness. There are great feelings of success with a small business. There is also a lot of downs. The drain on energy after busy shows, and the slump during the slow seasons which make us contemplate our products and designs. But none of those compare to the anxiety we experience in bouts throughout the year.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Ashley is most proud of her paper flowers. She is one of the only ones who hand designs her own templates, hand coloring, and even has to hand cut the details of her designs. While paper flowers are popular right now, most will not be like these. Ashley will take live flowers, and study them from various angles, even taking them apart to see how each petal is shaped and attached to the stem. Many times people will tell us that the paper flowers look real, and are often astonished that they are made from paper. Ashley takes pride in her 3D LED paper shadowboxes. Those are also picking up popularity among other crafters, but Ashley makes her very detailed, and many of the small details have to be hand done after she makes the design.

Jessie is most proud of her tumblers that come out so uniquely beautiful that the finished result surprises even her. Every show we get customers who admire how well done hers are compared to others they’ve seen. Those compliments always leave a huge smile on her face.

What do you like and dislike about the city?
Akron, Parma and North Eastern Ohio in general have been so welcoming to Artistic small businesses. The growth in arts fairs, and craft shows have increased and the support for small businesses in the art category has also increased, which is amazing.

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