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Ashley Mady of Brandberry

Ashley Mady of Brandberry

Most of us aren’t lucky enough to turn our childhood passions into life-long careers, but for creative go-getter Ashley Mady that is precisely what happened. A designer, marketer and toy-lover, Ashley is the Founder and President of Brandberry, a brand development company and licensing agency, while simultaneously heading up Women In Toys, Licensing and Entertainment as its fearless President since 2014. She’s a businesswoman through and through, but it’s her love for playing with toys and thinking outside the box that keep her ahead of the curve and living a life filled with fun.

How’d Ashley Get Into Brand Licensing?

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Ashley Mady, President of Brandberry, Brand Licensing and Development Agency

Ashley got her start in the toy industry over a decade ago, after getting her degree in Graphic Design from the University of Florida in Gainesville. She quickly moved from the design department into a marketing role, so she’s a hybrid of sorts. “At my core I am still very much a creative, who just happens to be able to do business, too” she explains. A creative mind with the ability to manage and delegate, drum up business, and produce results? That’s truly a rarity. Ashley started Brandberry when she was just 25 years old, and being a young woman she had to work even harder to be taken seriously. Today things are much easier, but proving herself took years of patience and grueling work hours to get to where she is today.

Who Inspired Ashley?

Ashley Mady, President of Brandberry. Photo by Stephanie Smith Photography

Ashley Mady, President of Brandberry. Photo by Stephanie Smith Photography

There are lots of people who inspired Ashley, but she wants to thank her mom for giving her “all the right tools to nurture my creative side as a kid.” She also taught her to have great discipline and determination—traits that have served her well as the President of her own company. As for other people from whom she’d love to receive advice, at the top of her list is Walt Disney. “I’d love to pick his brain, if he were still alive!” she tells us. Otherwise she’d love to sit down with creative genius Tim Burton. The best advice she’s gotten thus far is to “Never give up and never grow up’ from Richard Levy, co-inventor of Furby. In the age of business in the 20-teens you have to constantly stay on top of trends and follow the ebb and flow of the people, which is an activity she learned to do through trial and error. “The business of play is ever-changing and both companies and consumers are fickle, so I’ve learned to constantly reinvent my pitches and my concepts. Half of the game is showing up and being okay to fail over and over again; your odds get better as you go along. If you can find the fun in the challenge, you’ll enjoy the journey, too!” Her positivity is positively inspiring!

Ashley’s Favorite Projects

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Ashley Mady, President of Brandberry, with her Beary Sweet Campaign. Photo by Stephanie Smith Photography

With a plethora of projects always at her feet it’s hard to choose favorites as she always loves whatever she is immersed in at that very moment the best, but Ashley told us that she did really love working on the Beary Sweet “Sprinkle The World With Sweetness” campaign, mainly from the give-back perspective. That campaign involved sending adorable scented, stuffed bears to people in need of cheering up all over the world, who were then asked to send them along to someone else in need. Building relationships is Ashley’s strong suit, and she’s kept every door open for herself by maintaining professionalism, kindness, and delivering on her promises. She sprinkles the world with sweetness every day.

What’s An Important Part Of Ashley’s Business Model?

Ashley Mady at a Women In Toys Event, Speaking as President

Ashley Mady at a Women In Toys Event, Speaking as President

Ashley is all about solidarity and has reaped the benefits of being so actively involved in a community of fellow toy-creators with Women In Toys. Business groups are incredibly valuable as networking tools—if you utilize them. “Very similar to a gym membership, if you don’t do anything with it, you won’t see the results,” Ashley explains. “For me it has multiplied my network and opened lots of doors for new deals. I’ve made some great friends along the way and like they say, people like to do business with their friends.”  As President of Women In Toys, Ashley’s had the opportunity to mentor as well as seek advice, give speeches, travel, and bring recognition to the growing community of women in the toy industry. Brandberry has so many brands launching in the Spring of 2017 that could be game changers; Ashley sees two clear pathways of what could happen next, but she doesn’t want to jinx them! Either way Brandberry will be responsible for multiple brands gaining status as “household names” in the near future.

Connecting with Ashley

Since she values comfort and efficiency, Ashley wears gym clothes if she’s working from home and dresses when she’s out. “I love dresses—especially those that are as comfortable a pajamas—and love them even more because it’s one less wardrobe decision I have to make in a day. Don’t get me wrong, I love fashion, but on weeks I am busy picking out a dress is way easier than mixing and matching a shirt and pants.” We’re with you, girl! Helping women feel stylish yet comfortable is kind of our thing. You can find Ashley on Linkedin, see her at most Women In Toys, Licensing and Entertainment’s major events, and check out her work on her company’s website. Expect more great things from this hardworking female entrepreneur, and always with a smile and a strong sense of sisterhood.

Jesse Erin
jesse@shopstepforward.com