Real Women Doing Real Things: Dana Ashmore, Founder of Gratitude Collaborative

This week’s RWDRT is especially exciting since holiday shopping season is currently happening and I’m a huge fan of Gratitude Collaborative when it comes to sending gifts!  Seriously, they have the most beautiful, curated gift boxes ever and you can definitely find something for everyone.  The company’s founder, Dana Ashmore, is super sweet and, of course, I love that she incorporates a charitable component into her company.  And, since nearly 49 million Americans struggle with hunger, Dana decided that she wanted a portion of the sales for each box to provide meals to those in need.  Read on to find out how she got her start and what’s next for Gratitude Collaborative!

Tell us about Gratitude Collaborative and how you got started with the company.

I am a TV and film producer and every year we typically have all of December off.  I always did the gifts for our company, then other production companies liked the gifts and asked if I would do theirs. They wanted to pay me and I felt this would be a great way to give back. Three years ago my husband and I decided that we wanted to try to have a baby and I would slow down– little did I know that it would be the opposite!

What’s been your biggest business hurdle and how did you overcome it (if you did)?

My biggest hurdle is public speaking and social media. We host events every three months and Im supposed to stand up and represent my company and can’t; luckily I have my best friend that can do it! She is  the face of gratitude (Laura Bousman). I think you do need to be able to speak in public and it’s one of my biggest fears…the same with social media. People always tell me to put my face out there, and I just am really shy when it comes to putting myself on Instagram, and always think “why would they want to see what I’m wearing?” Haha. It is nice that people are starting to care who is behind the brands that they are buying from; I just think that seeing me in my sweat pants, covered in flowers may not be what they want to see every day. But hey, maybe I should start sharing…

Tell us about the meals that are donated per purchase. Is there one organization you donate to? And how does it work?

All of our boxes we sell on our site provide meals to kids in the USA, and how we do that is every month we take the number of meals and divide it up between a few organization so we can help in more than one city. We try to always give back to one or two organizations in Los Angeles, because thats where we’re located, but have worked with many all over the United States. We contact the organizations and ask them how much it is to provide a meal to the kids they work with and we give them the money.

What’s been your biggest surprise? Was there one item that was wildly popular that you didn’t expect?

I think every day is a new surprise! We are a small company and because we give back we can’t afford marketing! We have a small team, so when people find us and/or receive our gifts and feel the need to tell us how much they loved it, it makes our day and is always a nice surprise!

What advice do you have for other female entrepreneurs?

I have met the most amazing people since starting Gratitude; amazing women who have helped me learn and be inspired. When you feel that you can’t do it anymore, and its just too hard, having other female business owners that inspire you is priceless. Three people specifically; Iliana Saul, she was the first person I had ever made a Gratitude box for, and she gave me the courage and confidence to try something that I had never done. Pricilla Vega- she just keeps my brain going, a cheerleader that keeps me on my toes. Saving the best for last, Laura Bousman. She keeps me alive, my ride or die, my sounding board, my hype man. She is always a phone call away! As a female entrepreneur you need to lift others up and know we all have ways we can help each other, its not a competition, and it really comes full circle! Businesses are like babies it really take a village, and I would not have gratitude with out the amazing village out there.

What’s next forGratitude Collaborative?

We are about to re-brand so we can give back even more; we don’t just want to provide meals, we want to be able to help other organizations in need. We are launching product lines next year that will help out Planned Parenthood, art programs and veterans. I hope people like them!

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