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Q + A with Ashley Petrone (aka @arrowsandbow)

Influencer Spotlight

We are so excited to share this inspiring interview with you all from our girl Ashley (@arrowsandbow). Get ready to learn, feel inspired, smile and laugh.

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First of all, tell us how this all started for you! Did you just one day say, I’m going to start posting about my life?

Funny thing is, kinda! Although I didn’t really intend it to be “my life,” but more of my finds. I grew up with a mom that loved to find a deal and paint things. She kind of taught me to look deeper than what the eye sees when it came to furniture and spaces in general. So, it was something I loved to do and I figured, why not share it? I was a stay-at-home, homeschool mom that was thankful I could stay home and be with my babies, but I always had a creative muscle that I wasn’t really flexing. One day, I was talking with a mentor telling her some ideas I had and she just encouraged me to start. Start what? I didn’t even know! Lol. But just to start sharing what I loved doing and to always be myself. I literally started the next day. 

 

What do you think really helped you the most with growth on social media? 

A few things! First, just really caring about who was following me and the community I was building. Learning peoples real names, answering every comment and DM. They were all important to me. I shifted after a few months of Instagramming to adding more of our personal story. It was all just design tips until one day I felt the need to write a blog post on marriage, which helped me realize I loved writing! And then of course, we moved our family into an RV that I designed and renovated, all while sharing our story. That really grew my page a lot because at that point it was new and different and because of that it was featured a lot. 

 

Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?

I get a lot of inspiration from our travels. It doesn’t even have to be somewhere far from home, but just being aware of the cities we are in or a building we go by and picking up on things that I love.  

 

We feel like your platform is so positive. Do you get many negative comments? How do you deal with the negative?

Thank you! It’s something I’ve worked on and made it a point to grow on positivity. I think as a creator, we have somewhat of a choice on the community we build. If you mostly share posts that are filled with drama or negativity, you’re gonna attract that. So, I share what I want my community to be. That doesn’t mean that I don’t get unkind comments though. It seems to always be though from either a troll (a fake account that just says mean things) or from people that are usually hurting themselves. I used to have conversations with these people to try and understand or talk through what they would say, but at this point I just don’t have the time or mental capacity to want to even pour into that. I think there are ways to communicate differences correctly and when people don’t have that filter, I simply just block. It’s the best way to preserve the community that I’ve built up and of course protect my own mental health. I don’t think people realize how destructive, judging, harsh, or critical comments can be. No matter how strong a person is.  

 

How would you say you are trying to use your platform for good?

I used to consider myself a design page. Simply inspiring fun design for people. But over the years, I’ve really loved just telling our story. And through that, encouraging others to not live in fear, think outside of the box, have a content heart, create and thrive in healthy relationships and marriages, and be intentional with everyday decisions. If I can bring joy to one person through my words or pictures, it’s all worth it. 

 

You sign off for a couple of days frequently. What prompted you to start that?

About a year ago I received a really horrible email. It was so cutting to everything in our lives. I realized I needed to step back. So, I took a week off. After I had done that, I saw that another friend, Erin (@cottonstem), made it a point to take the weekends off. I saw how constantly being in this social media world was not healthy and that it was OK to step away. So now I try and take at least two days off a week, while adding in longer breaks here and there. People usually unfollow, but again… the community that wants to hang with us, will still be there when I come back and respect me for taking a break. 

 

If you were to give advice to someone wanted to grow their social media, what you tell them?

Be yourself and show yourself. I think people just want to feel like they’re following normal people. People want relatability, even if not everything we do aligns. I know that’s what I look for when following someone.

 

We love how selective you are with the brands you partner with. When you do work with a brand, what is your creative process for planning out sponsored content?

Everything I share is a story of our lives. If a brand doesn’t align or it isn’t something I would normally buy, I don’t usually work with them. I very much always want to stay true to who I am and if that means not making some extra money, it’s ok because it means I’m keeping my integrity and the community that has come along side me, can trust me. So, with everything I say yes to, it’s usually pretty simple to just weave it into our lives! 

 

What do you get the most excited about to share with your audience?

My favorite thing to share is our marriage talks. Not because we know everything. But because we just share it ALL, it relates to people and usually helps so many. So when I receive messages from women and men saying that by us just sharing “us”, we’ve helped their marriage… nothing makes me happier. 

 

You’re all about finding joy – what brings you the most joy within the digital space and sharing your life so publicly? 

I’m just so thankful to even have the opportunity to share! Every single day I am still stunned that people like to follow along with what we’re doing. That brings me so much joy! Knowing that we are making people smile and being an encouragement is very fulfilling. It’s something I pray for daily on how God can use me to use this space for good. 

 

Rapid Fire Q’S //

Favorite meal to cook? Don’t love cooking, just like eating. but enchiladas.

Hidden talent? Dancing… not sure if that’s hidden though. 

Favorite travel destination? Bora Bora! 

Coolest partnership you’ve had so far? I think that’s be South Dakota department of tourism. I didn’t have high expectations, but it was the most shocking and most fun family trip. 

Least favorite thing about social media? Things not in real time, hidden accounts + unkind people hiding behind their keyboards. 

Go-to store for affordable home accessories? Homegoods! 

Cheapest home fix that makes the biggest difference? Paint! 

Dream brand partnership? Anthropologie 

If this wasn’t your career, what do you think you’d be doing? Design, hair, or an event planner. 

Words to live by? Don’t waste today. 

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