We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Martinez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashley, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I didn’t end up where I am today overnight. When I had my 3-year-old son, I needed an outlet. He was born with a heart deformity, and I was having a tough time with anxiety, being a mom of 3 at the time and going to so many doctor appointments. He ended up with a feeding tube which was really tough at the time for the both of us. Before I started my business I started getting into social media, specifically Instagram. I started a page as a makeup influencer and loved being able to inspire others! I did this for about a year and then COVID-19 started. My kids had to do school online, we were limited on going anywhere because of my kids and their special needs. I wanted to do something that was fun, I could show my artistic side, use as an outlet and even help my husband with paying the bills. I ran across a candle kit that I saw from an ad online. Instantly I was intrigued and ordered a starters kit. Once I received it and made those 6 candles… I was hooked! I have been making candles since then and have loved every minute of it!

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
In 2020 my small business was born! Ash & Sage Co. was originally going to be a small shop on Etsy where I sold crystals, minerals, incense, sage and herbal tea. After a couple months, I wasn’t sure that was the direction I wanted it to go. I am a big planner, so I grabbed my notepad and wrote down everything that I wanted my company to be. Ash is a nickname I was called by family growing up, because my name is Ashley. The Sage part of the name means “natural” to me. I personally do not like to have my family anything that is harmful to their health, so I have explored every possible way to have my products be all-natural. I create all my own products by hand! I make candles, wax melts, reed diffusers, car diffusers, body spray, goat’s milk soaps, and am known for my custom gift sets during the holidays! What sets me apart from other candle makers would be the wax I use, as well as scents and how I am with my lovely customers. Most big stores use a wax in their candles that isn’t as healthy to be around, but because it holds so much scent to it, it brings in more customers. It’s definitely their choice of where they want to shop, but I carry a much healthier option, that I have customers swear by. I use a soy wax combined with coconut oil. Burns clean and because it is soy, it burns a lot longer than your average store-bought candle. I love my customers so much! While some might think I go a little overboard, I like to think I am going the extra mile. I create friendships with almost every single one of my customers. I keep a binder that holds each of their info, such as their likes, dislikes, past orders, allergies, birthdays…etc. I think it means so much to someone when you actually take the time to listen to them and not treat them as just a customer.
The hardest thing for me is competition. I get it, there are a ton of candle makers out there. I’ve had some that haven’t been very nice, strictly because of the competition. It worried me for a while… how am I supposed to compete with so many talented people? One day I stumbled upon someone in a candle group on Facebook and they said if there is ever a day where you feel like you just can’t do this anymore, to go to the grocery store and look at the bread aisle. There are tons of companies to choose from, but in the end they all make bread. Some people will like your items and some won’t. And that’s ok.
I want the world to know that you can do anything you put your mind to. Just don’t give up on your dream. Don’t give up if this is something you really want to do. (Whatever it may be) Be confident in your work because it shows. My products are all made with love and I really try to make sure each and every one of my customers know how special they are to me.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in San Tan Valley and personally LOVE it out here. I think one of my favorite things to show people the stars. I live in an area that is very dark and the stars are incredible to look at! No city lights in the way. Another spot would be downtown Gilbert. I love the atmosphere. The mom-and-pop shops, people walking on the sidewalks enjoying each other’s company and the scenery. Scottsdale is amazing as well! Definitely somewhere you want to go if you love shopping! If you are a nature lover, I suggest visiting up north in near Sedona and Flagstaff. Shopping, great people and breathtaking views!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate my shoutout to my family. I wouldn’t be who I am today, if it wasn’t for my mom. I saw her work so hard for my brother, sister and I to have everything that we needed. She and my dad divorced after being married for 20+ years and she was starting all over again from being a stay-at-home mom for so long. I saw the struggle, but also saw that if you put your all into it, you can do anything. She went back to school and ended up getting her master’s degree in computer technology. She also ran a little Ebay store as well and I was able to help her. I even ran it for her when she wasn’t able to! I was only 11! She taught me the basics of having a small business and I loved every minute of it. My brother, sister, dad and stepmom have helped me so much as well. They inspire me every day to not give up! My husband has been my rock. He continues to let me know every day how proud he is of me and cheers me on when I am at my events and working on my products.
A HUGE shoutout to my kids. I love them with all my heart. They keep me going. They love helping me with labels, packaging, photos, smelling the different fragrances and working with me at events. I think it is so important for them to see what I do and for them to be able to help. They love it!

Website: www.ashnsageco.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/ashnsageco

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ashnsageco

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.