We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Zettler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I am a native of Arizona. I grew up between Tempe & Ahwatukee. My parents always encouraged me to work hard and do my best and have always helped me pursue my interests and dreams. I’m the type that when I am interested in something, I want to learn as much as I can about it. I graduated with a degree in Marketing from Arizona State University in 2002. After graduation I really wanted to experience living in another city and doing something creative, so I moved to San Francisco where I earned my second Bachelor’s in 2006 from the Academy of Art in Interior Architecture and Design. While I was living in the city, I began my yoga practice and have been practicing ever since. On the last day of design school our teacher asked us, ‘so what do you want to do now?’ I answered, ‘I want to own a yoga studio.’ I moved back home after graduation and worked in design for several years. During this time, I continued practicing yoga, worked the desk at my favorite studio, and became a yoga teacher. I always held the desire to own my own studio; Eight years ago, I got the opportunity to open, and I jumped at the chance. Being an entrepreneur allows me to combine all of my interests and skills and continues to challenge me every single day. I use my marketing background to creatively get the word out about the shop and everything that we do here; my design background allowed me to design the studio, our website and promotional materials myself; my yoga training has allowed me to teach and begin our own yoga teacher training program. Most of all I’ve learned that sometimes you learn just by trying. I certainly don’t know everything, but I can learn, and I am always willing to try something out and course correct as needed.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My mom, Mary and I founded Sweatshop on Central in Central Phoenix together. We offer yoga, barre and spin classes every day of the week. We think what sets us apart from others is that we are 3 studios under 1 roof; we are a one stop shop for your boutique fitness needs. Our most important value is that everyone that comes through our doors feels welcome just as they are. We have students of all ages and level. We encourage everyone to do what they can and most importantly to just have fun. It’s all about learning to love who you are and where you are today without judgement. We are located at the iconic Uptown Plaza on the corner of Central and Camelback. We love the history of our location; the center originally opened in 1956 and we are so proud to be a part of its revitalization. We love that we are just one of many locally owned small businesses in one location. This past year has definitely been our most challenging. I also became a mom last year just a month before the world went crazy. My son made 2020 the best year even with all the turmoil and helped keep me sane through the ups and downs of owning a business during a pandemic . We were mandated to close for 4 months in 2020 and had to rethink the way we do business. I am so lucky to have a team of amazing people who rallied together to find creative ways to stay connected with our community even while we were closed. Together we created a huge library of On Demand classes, got a livestream set up for our in shop classes, set up an online retail boutique, and grew closer to each other than ever. I had to learn to give myself the grace to do what I can each day and know that it is enough. We feel so lucky that we are still here a year later and can say we are one of the small local businesses that is still surviving.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Of course I would bring them to the shop for a class! Then we could head across the way to Huss Brewery for lunch and a beer followed by shopping at Muse and Local Nomad here at Uptown Plaza. After shopping we would get a room at the Arrive Hotel for the night so we can spend the afternoon by the pool soaking up the beautiful Arizona sunshine and drinking champagne.
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 would not be who I am today without the love and support of my family. I am blessed with the support of not only my mom and dad, but also my amazing step-dad. I also could not do what I do without all of the amazing teachers and crew at the shop and every student that is a part of our community.
Facebook: Sweatshop on Central
Dillan Lowrie & Constance Higley