Sometimes in life, the most unexpected situations can be a source of inspiration. Ashlie had always wanted to be a mother, but she had no idea that her daughter’s birth would lead to her developing a unique product and starting her own business.
Ashlie’s inspiration for Livybean came from her experience with her daughter in the hospital. When her daughter Olivia was born, she had to spend some time being treated in the NICU. It was there that Ashlie noticed that the clothing designed for infants was uncomfortable and inefficient. She realized that there was a lack of comfortable and practical clothing for newborn babies. This inspired Ashlie to start making clothing for her baby that was both functional and fashionable. Ashlie had always been a creative person and had a passion for design, so the idea came naturally to her. She began by designing onesies for babies, which turned out to be very practical and a great alternative to the uncomfortable baby clothes at the hospital. She continued to design onesies when her son was born, and this led to other parents taking notice of her designs and requesting her to make clothing for their children. Parents would request specific designs with cute sayings on them and Ashlie would customize the clothing for each child. Seeing that there was a genuine demand for her products, Ashlie started a clothing line.
Since her initial idea with the onesies, Ashlie has gone on to create various customized products, from T-shirts and blankets to stuffed animals and home decor, to anything that you can imagine. Livybean offers high quality, hand-crafted products made with great attention to detail. What started as a need for her kids, has turned into a creative and unique business. Throughout the years, Ashlie has transformed her company into a one-stop-shop that offers one-of-a-kind gifts.
Over the course of the business, Livybean has overcome many challenges and has learned to adapt in changing circumstances. The business has experimented with different locations and has found success in Ilderton. Ashlie feels that the community of Ilderton has been very welcoming and receptive to the business. The tight-knit community environment has allowed Ashlie to develop strong relationships with customers and develop greater loyalty and retention. Livybean provides quality customer service, with one-on-one personal communication with customers. “I don’t say no to customers, there’s never really been anything that I couldn’t do, because I’ll just figure it out”. Ashlie knows her customers very well and they trust her to design the right products for them. She has never missed a deadline, even when taking orders on a short notice. Ashlie is very resourceful and can always find ways to solve problems and leave customers satisfied.
At Livybean, customers can find almost anything that they can imagine. The possibilities are endless. Everything is handmade, with embroidery or vinyl, and designed specifically for each customer. One of the most popular items are the embroidered stufngs are also very popular. There are engravings with inspirational quotes, sweet messages for family members, and humorous jokes written on them. Livybean also provides items for special occasions such as weddings. As well as offering products for individual customers, Livybean also works with corporate clients and designs uniforms for schools and companies.
The friendly customer service and the cozy atmosphere of the store makes for a unique shopping experience. Customers enjoy exploring the store and discovering the variety of products that the shop offers. “There is something here for everyone” said Ashlie.
Community Futures (CF) Middlesex has played an important role in helping the business sustain itself and grow. Livybean experienced some setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic and had to pivot to an online model. During this time, the company successfully applied for a microloan to buy a 3D laser engraver. With this machine, Livybean has expanded their customized product offerings to include wooden products such as engravings and cutouts, charcuterie boards and signage boards.
CF Middlesex have also provided Ashlie with a wealth of business knowledge and advice. “They have helped me change my business. There are so many things I have learned from them. They have really helped me understand the financial side of the business, and how to set goals for the future and achieve them. They are always there and have been a great support to us.” said Ashlie.
Through her business, Ashlie has been able to give back to the community, which has been a very rewarding experience. Her products have been gifted for important life milestones and hold sentimental value to her customers as part of their special family memories. “I love creating, I love when people see their items, I love that it’s one-of-a- kind and that it lasts forever” said Ashlie.
Livybean has now expanded to offer a variety of treats, including ice cream cakes and popcorn. Looking ahead, Livybean will continue to upgrade their machinery so that they can work with different materials and larger objects and further expand their product offerings. With Ashlie’s passion for the community and love for creativity, customers can be sure to find unique high quality products and exceptional service at Livybean in Ilderton Ontario.