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Rising Stars: Meet Ashley Grove Mars

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Grove Mars. 

Hi Ashley, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today.
Since I was a child, I’ve had a creative appetite. It started with sewing baby doll clothes in my grandmother’s basement in Alliance, Ohio. Over the years, I have dabbled in just about every creative outlet possible but found my joy in felt flowers when I decided to make them for my own wedding. From bouquets to boutonnieres – even the larger-than-life alter arrangement; everything was made in felt. The offerings have flourished to include hair accessories, succulents, build-your-own bouquets, and even fairy wands. No two pieces are ever the same, as everything is hand-cut and assembled by me – and me only! I love incorporating vintage pieces such as earrings or buttons to make my creations extra unique, which helps keep my process new and exciting year after year. 

I also love custom orders! I have helped many brides shape their big day in an eco-friendly way (felt flowers never die or fade!) and even recreated brides’ bouquets as anniversary presents. There is no project too small or big for me to tackle because each one holds a special place in my heart. 

It was because of my grandma my business is named Fairview Place. It was the street she lived on in Alliance, Ohio, and where my love of crafting and curiosity for creating began. I’m now settled in Norfolk, Virginia, with my husband and toddler; I am the Director of Communications for the Chrysler Museum of Art. You can follow my work on Instagram @fairviewplace and find it in several shops throughout Virginia and West Virginia. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Fairview Place is an outlet for all my creative habits, so it’s always been a way to relax and unwind for me. Since I work full-time and am now a momma, I don’t have as much time to craft as I’d like. I typically find myself setting up a workstation on our coffee table after putting our son to bed. We’ll settle in to watch our current show of the moment, and I get in a couple hours of creating my felt flowers. 

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’m known for flowers you can’t kill! People are tickled when they see my florals and love the fact they can live forever, won’t fade, and do not need any attention. The process is certainly a labor of love. I do not use any machine or pre-cut pieces, as each petal is hand cut – by me! I use real flowers as inspiration for the design of each stem and what’s great about felt is it comes in every color (unlike real flowers), so the color combinations are endless! From start to finish, I can usually knock out a bouquet in a couple of hours, but I like to work on several at a time. My line has changed over the years, depending on what specialty items I acquire. I received a huge box of vintage doilies after my grandmother passed away and decided to make dreamcatchers for a couple of years. My aunt gave me a chest of her mother’s costume jewelry, and I incorporated those into hair clips and brooches. These special pieces that people decide to entrust in me are what make my creations so special – and beautiful! 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Ashley Grove Mars is an experienced marketing and creative professional. She was born and raised in Alliance, Ohio, and attended Ball State University, in Indiana. Upon graduation, she relocated to Hampton Roads for a job at the Virginian-Pilot. Her background is in journalism graphics, which took her into the fields of news and media, health care, commercial real estate, non-profits, and tourism. Prior to joining the Chrysler Museum of Art, Mars was the Director of Communications at the Virginia Zoo, where she led its marketing efforts, developed key internal and external communications, and oversaw public relations and advertising strategies. She was a key player in developing the strategic vision of the Zoo and helped lead new and innovative ways to increase attendance and the organization’s visibility and mission. She loves everything about Norfolk and takes great pride in civic engagement and regional development. Mars lives in Ghent area of Norfolk, Virginia, with her husband and three-year-old son, where they enjoy riding bikes, walks on the Elizabeth River Trail, and supporting local businesses. 

Pricing:

  • Bouquets start at $45
  • Brooches (most popular item) $8
  • Succulent pots (called “succupots”) $16
  • BYOB (build your own bouquet) $3-$10 per stem

Contact Info:

  • Instagram: @fairviewplace

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