One of the joys of working in a small but rapidly growing business is that you really do get to experience every side of the business, especially if you’ve been there for as long as Ashley Linsmeier has.
“I got to see the whole workings of a retail store….The knowledge I’ve gained working in so many parts of our business has helped me get to where I am today,” Ashley says.
Ashley Linsmeier graduated from St. Kate’s in 2009 with degrees in apparel design and fashion merchandising, as well as two minors in art and business. Currently, she is the director of styling at Evereve, a Minnesota-based clothing brand, and has been with the company for nearly 14 years.
Ashley is from a small town in Minnesota called Fairfax. In high school, her art program got cut and then reinstated her junior year. “I didn’t even know that something like an art type of field was really an option,” she says.
During her high school years, she was a student-athlete and planned to play basketball in college. Ashley’s original plan was to go to Winona State University because their program had an excellent coach. Last-minute, the coach transferred to Hamline University and Ashley followed suit. However, something wasn’t right.
Once at Hamline for a semester, Ashley met a girl who took fashion merchandising classes at St. Kate’s. This program sparked her interest in fashion and makeup, and Ashley ended up transferring to St. Kate’s for this program.
St. Kate’s Involvement
Once at St. Kate’s, Ashley continued as a student-athlete. However, athletics and her other involvement on campus were hard to balance with her classes. The fashion and apparel majors are very hands-on, with labs and sewing rooms, and time-consuming projects.
The balance of school and athletics came up in other instances too:
“It’s really funny– I was in the fashion program, where everyone looks adorable and really cool and really creative with their hair and makeup done, and I show up in sweats and Ugg boots because I’m running to practice for three hours afterward,” Ashley jokes. “Like okay sure, I’ll learn about Dior and then go play basketball.”
Favorite College Memories
Though athletics was tough to balance with school, Ashley loved her sport and her team dearly. She mentions that there was a level of intimacy of the St. Kate’s athletic department that is difficult to achieve at larger, co-ed schools.
She reflects on the end-of-season awards dinner and how the basketball team did a fun skit for the athletic department.
Another fond memory of Ashley’s was her senior Katwalk show. “I had never in my life poured so much creativity and skill into one project,” she said. “That was one of my proudest accomplishments at St. Kate’s.”
During the Katwalk show, seniors in the fashion program each build, design, and create an entire collection. Then, they find models, do hair and makeup, and run the show. This is extremely time-consuming but so much fun!
Working her way up in Evereve
When she was in college, Ashley’s current company Evereve was called Hot Mama. There were six stores in Minnesota. Now, they have rebranded and have 100 (and counting) stores nationwide.
In 2007, as a junior at St. Kate’s, Ashley needed to write a paper about a specialized retail store, and she stumbled into what was then named Hot Mama. She asked the manager for her business card. Later, she interviewed the manager about the company and then asked if they needed an intern, and it just so happened that they did!
After interning at the St. Paul store for a while, she worked her way up in the company from a part-time stylist, during her time in college, to a full-time position when she graduated.
When her managers both went on maternity leave, Ashley was entrusted with an interim managerial position at the St. Paul location, which was one of the top-ranking sales revenue locations for the entire company.
“Being 22 and managing a pretty big store at that time kind of catapulted my growth within the company,” Ashley reflects.
Eventually, Ashley became the assistant manager for multiple store locations in St. Paul, Maple Grove, and St. Louis Park. Now, she is the Director of Styling for the company.
“I really worked in every position that you could within the store at some point,” says Ashley.
Because Ashley has worked in every position within the store it has helped her learn every little detail in the functions of running the store. More importantly Ashley has learned that growing small businesses need all-hands-on-deck.
A big part of Ashley’s career at Evereve has been to bring the website and the stores together. To do this, Ashley works on marketing in the form of email blasts and social media, as well as assisting the buying team to style store mannequins and take photos.
“I was steaming, prepping, building relationships with models, giving hair and makeup direction,” Ashley says.
Ashley has also worked on jumpstarting a subscription box for the company, called “Trendsend” by Evereve. She’s worked with the social media influencer team, to determine which products the company wants to market through the influencer’s audiences. She also works on similar branding, marketing, and storytelling for the Evereve catalogs.
A Day in the Life
“A typical day in the life of Ashley Linsmeir looks different depending on the day of the week,” Ashley laughs.
Ashley and her husband have two kids: 4-year-old Miller, and an 18-month-old Malone, so their days start pretty early. They get up, work out, and get the babes ready to get out of the house by eight.
“Because of the pandemic, we have been fortunate that we’ve both still been going into work, so that little bit of normalcy has honestly helped me cope with everything,” she says.
For about half the week, Ashley heads to the Evereve studio to help create content for social media, catalogs, and marketing. This includes filming, taking photos, and styling models and mannequins. As the Director of Styling, Ashley is there to direct and answer any field questions at the photoshoot.
Edina Home Office
For the other half of the week, Ashley spends her time at the Evereve home office in Edina. Here, she focuses her time on styling for catalogs, working with the purchasing and marketing teams, and creating social media stories.
Then she goes home and works virtually– approving looks, creating outfits, and writing and prepping email blasts. She also works on production and logistics, meets with cross-functional partners, and schedules the next month’s content.
Advice for Katies
- “My best piece of advice would be to say yes to any opportunity that comes your way. Even if it’s not the ultimate goal that you’re picturing it to be, every small step leads to a bigger vision that maybe you’re not seeing yet. You will take and learn something from every experience you have, good or bad.”