Creative Contributors: Meet the Founders

We’re starting a new series around here called Creative Contributors. Every month we’ll be highlighting different artists and creatives that contribute to Bravery. To kick it off, we’re doing a highlight featuring yours truly—co-founders, Elyse and Ashley! Read on for a look at what (and who!) makes Bravery tick. 

What is your role at Bravery?

Ashley: I am the Creative Director at Bravery. I handle the art and visual side of the magazine—deciding what artists and photographers should be used, where to use them, and what the visual concept should be for the overall issue. This includes the color palette and vibe. I also head up our marketing, email campaigns, website, collaborations, and growth. Oh, and handle all payments for our contractors. The life of a small business owner!

Elyse: I’m the Editor in chief at Bravery. I write for the magazine and manage our team of writers and editors. I am primarily in charge of deciding what content gets included in the magazine and making sure it’s educational, meaningful, and relates to the theme and feature. A large part of my job is making sure that the content of each issue stays focused, cohesive and on-brand. I also manage our customer service team, the legal aspects of the business, shipping logistics, write the copy for social media (and anything else that pops up), and keep us on schedule. We each wear a LOT of hats. 

What got you interested in starting Bravery?

Ashley: I've loved magazines ever since I can remember. I would sneak my mom’s Better Homes and Gardens magazines when I was 13 and spend time studying them. My dream was to one day work for a magazine—I never thought that magazine would be my own!

Elyse: I truly just wanted to learn more about women who have done brave things so I could teach my kids about them. This knowledge is not something that I really had growing up, and I wanted to give my kids that example and tool of confidence in their own lives. 

What's your favorite issue you've created so far?

Ashley: I really love the way issue eight featuring Zaha Hadid came together. The color palette is really fun and the issue feels visually cohesive. 

Elyse: The Zaha Hadid issue is also one of my favorites. I also really love issue six about Junko Tabei. Her story is so inspiring and I love the colors and activities in the issue.

What do you love most about your job?

Ashley: I love building something alongside my best friend. We all have the power to create—whether we feel like we are "creative" or not. I love that Elyse and I thought of an idea and actually made it happen. I also really love telling the stories of brave women and then see it impact children around the world. Getting feedback from readers always makes my day. 

Elyse: It has been life-changing and empowering to feel the spark of an idea and see it actualize—run with it from the very beginning to the very end. Bravery has changed me personally in many ways, and that’s something I can never regret. On hard days, I try to remind myself of the privilege it is to start something great—and with your best friend, no less! Someday I hope we are both old ladies in rocking chairs on a porch somewhere telling our grandkids all the crazy stories about starting a business together.

What's something hard about your job?

Ashley: It's hard to work with your best friend and learn how to balance your friendship and your business partnership. It's a lot like a marriage and has taken a lot of work. It's also really hard to run a business in general. When I'm not working on it, I'm thinking about it and sometimes the idea of a 9-5 job sounds very appealing! 

Elyse: The ever-elusive search for balance has been and continues to be the hardest part of running a  business for me. Finding balance between work and family, motherhood and career, friendship and business partnering, boundaries and taking risks. It can and has been very overwhelming at times. But I’m grateful to be part of something so special. 

Dream project or collaboration?

Ashley: Be featured as one of Oprah's favorite things, of course!

Elyse: Start a podcast or write a book!


When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Ashley: A baker! I wanted to own a bakery with my cousins and make all our grandma's recipes. I guess entrepreneurship has always been in my blood. 

Elyse: I wanted to be a million things, but my top dreams were being an actress, an author, and a teacher. Consequently, Bravery capitalizes on two of those dreams, so I feel pretty lucky!

Thank you for checking out our new series. Stay tuned for more features!