Entrepreneur Spotlight: Aprill Ashley
"LAUNCH is invaluable for anyone who is wanting to start a business in the Chattanooga area."
Is your business or family tired of wasting time on laundry? Freedom From Laundry is the answer!
After 20 years of owning building businesses in Michigan and Cookeville, TN, Aprill Ashley is no stranger to entrepreneurship, and unfortunately, no stranger to quick changes in the US economy. The crash of 2008 put Aprill Ashley, like many others in the building trade, out of business.
Aprill pivoted to banking but missed interacting with people. She wanted to find a way to help people with their day to day lives. While pondering this, it dawned on her, “As a woman, a business owner, and an entrepreneur, the one thing that we all want more of is time.” But how to give people more time?
On average, an American family of four spends 36 hours per month on laundry - nearly an entire work week! Think of all the things you could get done with an extra work week each month.
With this idea stirring inside her, she began to plan with her husband, Shane Ashley. He had never started a business before - enter LAUNCH. They set up the Freedom From Laundry LLC in August 2019 and enrolled in the LAUNCH CHA fall cohort. Aprill says the LAUNCH CHA class “really gave him the confidence to go forward with this.” “We really enjoyed it, made some good contacts. I just thoroughly, thoroughly appreciate LAUNCH and the support that they give local entrepreneurs.” Freedom From Laundry was launched in November of 2019 with steady growth each month until Easter weekend when everything changed again.
On April 12, 2020, a tornado damaging or destroying over 150 buildings struck the Chattanooga area. A few days later, Freedom From Laundry received a phone call asking if they could provide help for the crews coming into town. Little did they know on the other end of the phone had been the director of EPB, and he needed laundering done for 1,500 workers who would be staying across 22 hotels. Aprill and Shane were able to give 14 people a job in the middle of the COVID shutdown. What does Aprill think of this incredible shift? “It was awesome, and we did it!”
This experience solidified for Aprill and Shane that Freedom From Laundry truly is a service people want and need. It also opened doors for them to branch out and provide for businesses in addition to residential. They have the capacity for any laundering needs and currently work with hotels, medical offices, short term rentals, and spas. Rest assured that when you send your laundering to Aprill & Shane, it will come back truly clean as they follow closely to all of the CDC’s guidelines.
We asked Aprill how she would explain LAUNCH to a budding entrepreneur. “LAUNCH is invaluable for anyone who is wanting to start a business in the Chattanooga area. Not only do they give you a support system, but they give you an overall picture of what you are going to be facing - good, bad, and ugly.”
To put it simply, “There would be no place else [Aprill] would rather start my business than here in Chattanooga. I love it.”
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