Ashley Tolbert, MA, LCAS, CSI (left) and Heather Tolbert, LCAS, CSI (right), sisters and co-owners of From the Ashes Cultural Arts & Counseling
Small businesses are best positioned to make a difference in their communities. They understand the local focus or mission and can identify creative ways to give back.
Here at the Western Women’s Business Center, we celebrate each of our clients’ wins because we are in the business of seeing them succeed! We also love sharing those success stories as inspiration and motivation for all the other hard-working entrepreneurs in Western North Carolina.
Please provide us with some background about you and your business, including your products and services.
“We were getting burned out from our jobs and noticed a lack of diversity and advancement within, so we decided it was time to start our own business.”
From the Ashes Cultural Arts & Counseling, LLC (FTA) celebrates, educates, and empowers African American/diverse people from all walks of life towards cultural pride and community unity through substance abuse counseling, facilitation, and the magic of art.
Their services include therapy in substance abuse, DWI Diagnosis, DWI assessments, DWI treatment, ADETS treatment, US DOT Evaluations, urine drug screens, clinical supervision, substance abuse education, and anger management. FTA also offers art program services, including art exhibits, community events, vending, e-commerce sales, community collaboration.
“With the individual talents and skills that we bring to the table, we hope to create and sell custom arts/crafts, apparel, and accessories that inspire, celebrate, educate and empower black people, culture, pride, and unity in communities. We hope to inspire individuals to feel empowered and support, uplift, and empower others. Our goal is to connect people and celebrate differences through social gatherings like paint nights, art exhibits, and more.”
What adversities did you face on your journey as an entrepreneur?
"It was difficult because we both had to step down from our full-time positions. We had the time to work on our business but we were unsure where and how to start. It was difficult because we wanted to get involved in our community and offer our services, but there were other facilities that already had a rapport in WNC. They had the money and resources, but we didn’t have that advantage. Many times people would stereotype us and question if we were qualified and knew what we were doing."
How did you overcome those adversities?
"We began planting seeds by talking to the community about our business, handing out flyers, and maintaining a positive mindset. We never saw ourselves as a competition among other organizations like us. FTA partners with other organizations because they may offer a service we don’t provide, so we can always refer our patients to others when needed."
What have you learned as an entrepreneur?
“It was hard to overcome our typical workday. We were used to working 8 hours a day and getting paid for it, no matter how much work got done. As for a business owner, you won’t always be paid for each hour you work, but the seeds you are planting bring you, clients. We also always made sure to keep a positive mentality. “
How has the Western Women’s Business Center supported your business?
“WWBC has helped us by being a plate form and giving us opportunities to promote our business and provide us with skills and tools. The resources WWBC has provided have helped us grow to become better ambassadors for our company and what we are trying to represent. FTA was able to vend at the Holiday Pop Up event the WWBC hosted. That has allowed us to connect with the community, sell custom items, talk to people about substances abuse, and provide Narcan. We have been able to share our story and business, which has reached more people than if we did not have the help of WWBC.”
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
“We would share the advice to believe in yourself, hold yourself accountable, and surround yourself with people who will get you closer to your goals, passions, and purpose. Please don’t compare yourself with other people and what they are doing. Do not regret not following your dreams even if you fail.”
How can we find your business?
People can reach us in the following ways.