It’s been a few weeks since I sat down to interview Ashley Lindler and the statement she made above still lingers with me. It shows both self-awareness and confidence. Don’t we all need a little of both?
Ashley’s career history includes a variety of customer service jobs. She’s worked at a bank, a furniture store, and a women’s clothing store. But if you’re a mom of older girls in the midlands, then you might remember Ashley as Columbia’s very first Matilda Jane Clothing trunk keeper.
(FULL DISCLOSURE: I met Ashley during that time in her life. I saw her wearing those fun ruffle pants and wanted to be that daring and carefree. For a couple of years, I even worked under her as a trunk keeper myself.)
But in 2020, Ashley changed course. Last year she retired from selling girls and ladies clothing, and opened up her own gift boutique, A Little Happy. And she did it in the midst of the pandemic!
Here is my interview with Ashley.
Tell me about A Little Happy Shop.
“The new store’s name is borrowed from a phrase that my friend Nici used when giving me a gift. Inside the shop you will find unique happies curated for you and your bestie.”
But you and yours don’t have to be a tween or teen girl to enjoy this shop! I’m 50 years old and I love to follow this shop’s Instagram. Sometimes it feels like a trip back to the 1980s.
Ashley has embraced the trends and price points of today’s young ladies, and offers in-house events when possible. A Little Happy offers everything from clothes, to jewelry, to planners, funny cocktail napkins, pillows, bath and body products, and more! It’s a great stop when you need a perfect birthday gift. You can even get your items wrapped in super cute paper.
Ashley also told me that she excelled at the art of persuasion as a child, and I’ve seen her “up sell” like no other. But I’ve also never experienced “buyer’s remorse” when following her lead. In fact, excuse me while I go purchase some glitter gel…
So why did you leave one successful business to try another?
Ashley said she thought she knew…Don’t we often think we know it all when we’re looking at our friends? Her daughters were growing up, and in their own ruffle pants stage of mix and match adorable outfits. I assumed Ashley was ready to move on with them. And it is true that A Little Happy is geared towards tween and teen girls. But in our interview, I heard the full story…
Ashley’s son spent a year of high school abroad (in Denmark) during the 2019-2020 school year. After sending him off, Ashley experienced a season of depression. Part of her working through this was her admission that work no longer brought excitement.
But then something new brought her something happy. And that’s when she started A Little Happy. Ashley said she found it meaningful that her grand opening for A Little Happy was on her son’s sixteenth birthday.
Perhaps it was that while giving her son his own freedom to adventure, Ashley received her own.
What encouragement would you offer to others?
“I don’t believe you have to fit a square peg in a round hole. I believe you can be yourself and find a work path that brings you some happy. But it takes hard work. I want to challenge others to lean on their friends and carve out family time no matter what new business venture you’re thinking of starting.”
Such great words of encouragement for all of us! Thank you so much to Ashley for taking the time to share with us! Be sure to follow Ashley and A Little Happy on Instagram. And you can shop A Little Happy in person at The Collective, 3128 Carlisle St, Columbia, SC 29205.
Moms to See in the 803 is a series highlighting local moms who are making a difference in our community or in business. Want to tell us about an inspiring mom who is doing something great? Send us an email!