ASH AMBIRGE

Author, CEO & Founder

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“My Brand is Boring As Fuck. With a Capital F.”

In: Starting an Online Business

Andddddd it’s a wrap!

We took The Cotswolds by motherloving storm this past week, as I led a cozy, intimate business retreat with five killer women in the English countryside, complete with fireside chats, darling little pubs, open-air picnics, tons of peppermint tea, and, of course, trekking around in our wellies through refreshingly moist meadows to get that crisp, fresh air into our lungs. (And our brains. Because let’s face it: when you’re inside all day, sucking in the same air as your vacuum cleaner, shit gets stale—and that includes your creativity.)

So what did we talk about? Everything!

However, there was one primary theme that took center stage by design: the importance of contrast. So many new business owners are trying so hard to “do it like they should” and “get taken seriously” and not have their authority questioned, that they end up building their business around the lowest common denominator. So instead of creating something worth paying attention to, they end up not creating, but copying, for the very act of creation requires originality. And yet, that’s the one thing that everyone’s the most unsure about: how to create something that feels fresh?

After ten years of creating fresh-feeling concepts for brands around the world, I can assure you that the answer is not by inventing an all-new thing; it’s about taking whatever you want and learning how to put an all new spin on it. The way you do that?

By finding the contrast.

To illustrate my point, on Day One I wore a knee-length, bright fire-engine-red slip dress—complete with lace around the edges—on top of a white tee-shirt with red letters scrawled across the back: ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE. I then layered on multiple strands of pearls, and paired the outfit with teal flats and a smoky rocker eye. I asked the girls: what do you notice about my outfit? After a short discussion, my point was made: it was an outfit full of contrasts. Tee shirts and lace. Pearls and rocker eyes. Red and teal.

And it’s that contrast that makes something interesting.

Which is exactly what we need from you. We don’t need you to be the best. We don’t need you to be the most. We don’t need you to be like everybody else. What we need is for you to create something of interest.

And the way you do that is by taking one idea and smashing it up against another. You create friction. You create inequality. You create conflict. And this is how you breed originality.

As it turns out, the best new ideas aren’t new at all—they’re recycled.

They’ve just figured out how to pair the right materials.

Feb 7

2014

Just The Tip: Nobody Wants Your Free Goodies

Alright, it’s time we had a talk about your goodies. I’ve seen free goodies being offered all over the internet for year after (painful) year, and I really have to wonder: Are they honestly as good as Ciara’s? Kidding. We both know that’s impossible. Have you seen her abs? Regardless, if you’ve ever caught yourself writing, “Sign up […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Mar 30

2012

How to Be Able to Travel Whenever You Want

Can we please talk about the fact that tonight, I’m getting a ride to the airport from a random, way-skinnier-than-me (and probably you) Vietnamese woman named Kim, who works at the random nail salon where I got a pedicure yesterday? Yeah. That’s fucking weird, and it’s totally happening. And I’m totally excited about it, mostly […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Jul 11

2017

Take What You Love, And Figure Out How to Sell It To Someone—And Boom, You’ve Got Your Dream Job

So, listen, I’m not gonna lie—we got to our new London flat this morning, and the second I walked in, I FINALLY UNDERSTOOD THE MEANING OF LIFE. (P.S. You’re following these shenanigans via my Insta-stories right?) Which is entirely materialistic of me, of course, but I’m of the age these days where I don’t really care because […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Nov 30

2012

The $2,000 Offer to LEAVE a Company

When I was hired as Director of PR for AWeber, the VP of Operations called me into his office two weeks after I had started, and offered me $2,000 to leave the company. “You’ve been here two weeks now,” he started, “and you probably have a good idea if this is a place you’re going […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Mar 30

2016

Create & Offer What YOU’D Want to Buy.

  “THAT’S GENIUS!” said a lot of really sweet people really big brown nosers after the launch of Unf*ckwithable Girlfriends last week. Except they weren’t giving me the compliment because of what it contained, but rather, because of what it didn’t. “You mean you aren’t inundating everyone with another Facebook group? No forums? No Google […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Feb 14

2014

Don’t Invent a Product Name. Engineer One.

It’s 4:30 in the morning and I’m boarding a plane to Nicaragua. Today’s tip should really be: Don’t board a plane before you having at least one successful hour being awake. It’s bad enough trying to successfully stumble to the bathroom in the middle of the night; try stumbling through a gigantic metal maze of […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Jun 2

2017

When It’s Hard for People to Pick, The First Thing They Do Is Ditch

HI, IT’S ME, AND IT’S FRIDAY, AND I’M VERY EXCITEDDDDD. First off, our brand new flagship fuck yeah website launches next week. (We’ve been working on this behind the scenes for an entire year!) JUNE!!!!!!!!! THE MONTH OF CHAMPIONNNSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT’S GOING TO BE HUGEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!! (Please imagine me saying that like a forty-five year old balding […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Nov 20

2017

Not Sure What to Sell? Here’s a Shot of Inspiration.

Most people think they need an actual product to sell—but what if the experience was the product? One of my favorite websites on the planet is TabletHotels.com, who have vetted and hand-selected some of the world’s most gorgeous, well-designed hotel spaces. I always go there first, looking for accommodations, because: it’s a feast for the […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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Apr 5

2013

Reason #959 to Start a Business

Employment freaks me out. It’s hard to imagine putting all of your intellectual, emotional, and physical energy into a company – with nothing to show for it at the end of the day. Or, the end of your life. Maybe a savings, if you were disciplined enough, or a 401K, but aside from that, you’re […]

In: Starting an Online Business

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