Babe Watch - Ashley Banahene
Looking at Ashley's Instagram accounts for her businesses, you see a confident woman with an adorable family and a slew of talents. But, on top of that, you see someone who is so tremendously down to Earth. Ashley shares on her account in such a comfortable and friendly way that you almost feel like she is having a conversation with you directly. She talks about business, life, and all of the in-between in a totally relatable way.
Ashley is a photographer and owns her own company, Eli Green Photography where she specializes in Wedding Photography, Portraits, Headshots, and more. As of 2020, she also added Boudoir shoots to her repertoire. You can check out her work on her Instagram or on her website (both will be tagged below). Just at first glance, her work has a soft and feminine touch that is very inviting and appealing but the true art is in how she photographs people and lets their expressions shine through her lens.
In addition to running her photography business, Ashley started another company in 2020 called Olive and Blush Co. Ashley creates custom hand stamped jewelry pieces that are the perfect gift for yourself or someone you love. From messages of love and appreciation, friendly reminders of positivity, or a well-placed swear word for needed laughs, her pieces really are perfect for such a range of important women in your life.
Learn more about Ashley below in her answers to our Babe Watch questions!
What is Your Website? Insta Handle? (Or However Else We Can Find You!)
(Addition: You can also add her jewelry business on insta @oliveandblushco)
Why Did You Decide To Start Your Business?
I went to school for Graphics Design and that's where I fell in love with photography. After graduating I went about normal life, got stuck in the corporate world, had my two boys and got married. While working corporate life AND trying to build my Wedding and Portrait Photography business at the same time, I was missing out on so much. I was sitting at a desk all day during the week and shooting weddings and family sessions on the weekend. I was burned out. I can remember the exact day I decided I couldn't do both anymore. We were out shopping and I took a picture of me and my son. He was now up to my shoulder in height and I realized, "I can't do this anymore." I went into my corporate job, cried and said "I quit." It was a HARD decision. I was leaving a comfortable 9-5, a consistent paycheck and many opportunities. But when you're not happy or passionate about your every day, what's the point? Weddings make me happy. (All the rom-coms I watched growing up definitely had a play in this!) Capturing moments fill my heart. For all those precious moments you may have forgotten, looking at a picture can bring all of those memories back. And I love that I can be a part of that.
What Is The Best Advice You Can Give to A Woman Starting Her Business Venture?
Please, just do it. No matter what the reason is, at least do it for yourself. Even if you do it while working for someone else. Put in the hard work and the time and it will happen. There are days that I still look back and regret that I didn't do it sooner. But then I have to remember I'm not where I was 5 years ago, and that was my goal.
What Is Something Most People Don't Know About You?
My love for travel. I love travelling and I can't wait to do more! I live by a "work hard, play harder" mentality. Material things do not mean anything if you can not enjoy your life and it's experiences.
What Does Your Typical Day Look Like?
Typical days can literally change from day to day however I try to stay pretty consistent. I work almost every day but I give myself some grace on days that I just need rest. Normally, I wake up and lounge in bed answering emails and inquiries. Lately my sons and I have been going on walks to the local metropark and then I come home and get to work. This can include answering emails, responding back to inquiries, scheduling sessions and of course editing. If The Food Network or Hallmark Channel is on TV, then know that I'm editing. Evenings are for soccer practice and the occasional photo session. Weekends are for weddings and family sessions. I recently just bought into a shared studio space. Buying into the studio was definitely my pivot moment of 2020. I jumped right in and couldn't be happier. Because.... why not? and why not now? I also started another side of Eli Green Photography and announced Eli Green Boudoir in July 2020.
Who Are Some Women That Inspire You? (Globally and Locally)
I've relied heavily on my family through this transition in my life. My mom, sister and sister in law have been vital to me. Whether watching my boys, assisting me at weddings or just being there when anxiety calls. They listen. My photog BFF Nic Jenrow who has allowed me to vent and bounce ideas off of her. (She also photographed my wedding) And many more people in the photography community that has been there and supported one another. Also, shout out to my girl crush Anna Kendrick. She's small but mighty. I just love her.
What Was One Huge Business Flop or Problem That You Had to Endure and How Did You Handle That?
UGH! All of 2020! This year has been ROUGH! Rough for everyone! I've had several weddings postponed or canceled as well as photography sessions not booking because of the pandemic. Being unemployed for months was not in my plan. (No one's plan really) I'm now back to shooting weddings which have gone from huge 200 person weddings to small 10 person intimate ceremonies. But that's ok! because I'm back to work and that's what is fulfilling.
What Accomplishment Are You Most Proud Of?
When I left my corporate job I had many women that I worked with reach out to me and say "I wish I could do what you did" My answer was always, "why can't you?" So when I now see those women, 18 months later, and they are doing what they love and are successful at it, that makes me so proud.
What Do You Do For Self Care?
Nature Walks with my sons and I upgrade to the deluxe pedicure EVERY TIME! DO IT! It may be a little bit more money, but the 15 extra minutes in that massage chair and the hot stones are worth it. :)
What Jobs Did You Work Before You Created Your Business? Tell Us Your Journey.
My first job was gross but I learned I wasn't afraid of a little hard work. I worked at Kensington Metropark and cleaned offices and bathrooms. It was gross but it paid! Then came Old Navy where I learned I didn't like folding clothes but I did memorize the soundtrack playing over the speakers. I started working for Kroger in 2000 and all throughout college. After graduation, I worked for a family owned photography business for a few years. In 2010, I went in to work at the Kroger Corporate Offices in Novi MI. I was there for 8 years before I decided to quit and do Eli Green Photography full time.
Give Us Five Fun Facts About You!
I was born in Kentucky and moved to Michigan when I was 7.
My mom gave me my first camera for my 8th birthday.
I worked in the darkroom at CMU and loved every minute of it. You know, before digital cameras. This ages me! lol I'm 37.
My go to outfit is a white tee, ripped jeans and birkenstocks. I've been called plain. But I just like keeping it simple.
I want to move to the UK. It's always been a dream of mine.
What Sign Are You? Are You Into Astrology?
I'm a Leo! I don't deep dive into it, but I fully believe I am my sign.
Do You Know Your Enneagram? If So, What Is It?
I've seen this, but I haven't looked into it!
What One Word Represents You Most?
What is Your Favorite The Posh Shop Co Products?
Keychains! A subtle way to say what you really mean.