Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Nardone.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Ashley. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have always been observant, analyzing and a visual thinker. As a young person, I received a homeschooled education with a creative outlet playing the piano. Having an unconventional schooling experience allowed me to discover independence early on, and both homeschool and practicing piano encouraged a unique discipline in my life.
I first studied music in college, then switched majors to visual art studying photography and graphic design. I made the smart choice to get my degree locally where I could use my 75% Bright Futures scholarship, live at home, pay for school and save money. Graduating from first Broward Community College (as it was called when I graduated), then from FAU – I had 2 BFAs and was completely debt free with an inspiring education.
Out of school, I traveled around the world for a year then landed my first artistic job with Anthropologie creating visual displays. My job at Anthro was an incredible opportunity to practice and refine my craft. They gave me materials to build with, and an entire sales floor in which to create displays, signage, and fixtures or all sorts. I gained loads of experience and confidence while working in my role as a display coordinator, but I left the confines of the retail world to start a visual display company of my own.
At the onset of self-employment, I was freelance for hire wearing many different hats. Display maker, graphic designer, photographer, videographer, etc. As I developed my company, I learned how to better define the scope of the business I was creating. A few years in, I got better at saying no to ill-fitting work requests.
I am currently the owner and lead creative designer of DUOFAB, a visual display company creating 3d elements for commercial and high-end residential spaces.
Has it been a smooth road?
In college, I had a professor who told us about his own journey as a young person exploring his craft in photography. He challenged himself to shoot a roll of film every day for months on end. A few months in, he found himself with bags of exposed, but yet to be developed film rolls, contact sheets everywhere and strikingly empty pockets from his experiment. He said he looked around and thought, what the hell am I doing? What is the point of shooting a roll every day for no other reason than I said I was going to do it? But he still chose to carry on.
The idea of this challenge resonated with me, because it’s about finding out what motivates us to keep doing seemingly meaningless, sometimes self-inflicted tasks. Starting up my own creative business has involved so many struggles – small and large. Frustrations of stretching myself to create, devoting hours to understanding finances + business structure, learning through failure which jobs I should take and which were pathetic was of time and energy. What is the point of all this unless we can develop a methodology for moving forward.
My instructor was hinting at something as he shared his story that day back at school. There is something incredible that happens when you push through the struggle, you find your way and develop who you are. I remind myself of this, like a mantra when I’m faced with the challenge. I accept it, slowly work through it, and dare I say, even enjoy the pain-staking process.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I’m always happiest when I’m working with my hands, and the company I’ve build allows me to do just that. DUOFAB specializes in designing, fabricating and installing 3d installation elements for spaces. For example; a wall texture made from moss or seashells, an artful retail window display, or an informational creation telling of a company’s core values in a visual way.
My company seeks to fabricate one-of-a-kind, tangible creations with meticulous care for detail and craft.
When you look back, what are you most proud of?
I really enjoy reveling in the small things, so it’s tough to think of a true proudest moment.
Almost all my business comes from word of mouth or someone seeing my work in person and inquiring after it. So, I suppose when my small self-made advertising efforts through my website or social media produce an organic result inquiring after the business – that to me is an honest self-satisfying moment.
- Website: www.duofab.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: _duofab
All photography is shot in house by DUOFAB