Ashley Hoffman: Creating from the Heart

By Leslie Moore

Ashley Hoffman: Creating from the Heart

Fashion, style and artistry are as much a part of our small community as sand, sun and waves. For our fashion issue, Sasee has highlighted two local artists whose creativity has become “All the Rage!”

When Grand Strand locals hear the name Ashley Hoffman, or ash hoffman jewelry, most know immediately that this is one of the country’s hottest young jewelry designers, as well as the girl next door who grew up in Myrtle Beach and still lives and works in the area. A natural beauty with an easy going personality, Ashley sat down with Sasee to share a little about her artistic journey.

A love of design first led Ashley to study architecture in college. After completing her studies, she left for an internship in Uganda. “As much as I love the beauty of architecture, I knew my heart just wasn’t in it. While I was in Africa, I lived with a woman who did mission work with the local people. She and I became close friends, and when I returned home, I brought tons of Ugandan paper beads to sell here and help her.” This was Ashley’s start in the world of jewelry. She took the beads door to door and made several thousand dollars for her friend’s mission. “Everyone wanted necklaces, so I began taking the bracelets and earrings apart to make more. I really enjoyed it, and began to investigate jewelry design.”

After talking it over with family and friends, Ashley decided to move to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to study jewelry making and design. After completing the initial course, her teacher, impressed with her skill, recommended that she take the one year master class. “My one year master class turned into two years,” laughed Ashley. She had taken a job with Anthropologie in Miami after finishing school, and even though she enjoyed the excitement and challenge of managing a busy retail store, Ashley had found the work she loved more – working with precious metals and stones, creating pieces that would last a lifetime.

On a trip home, Ashley discussed her dream with her father. “He told me to move home for a year, just make jewelry and see what happens” she remembered. “My family has all been so supportive every step of the way.”

While living in Florida, Ashley made another discovery of a more personal nature. She met the man who would become the love of her life, Enoel Hidalgo. A Cuban native who had moved to the United States at 14 years old, his love led Enoel to leave Miami and move to Myrtle Beach with Ashley, taking a job teaching Spanish at Conway High School. Ashley went to work at Studio 77 in Myrtle Beach part time and began her jewelry making career. Her designs were an immediate

success, and today Ashley is in her fourth year of making and designing jewelry full time. She sells her work throughout the country on her website and at Studio 77. A small studio in Surfside Beach has become the haven where she creates her signature lines and custom pieces.

I asked Ashley if she remembered making her first piece of jewelry. “Yes, I was still living in Florida and going to school. A friend from high school asked me to take her deceased mother’s jewelry and make it into a ring. I was very nervous, but my teacher told me I could do it and my friend believed in me too. The ring turned out beautifully!” Ashley still does this type of custom, repurposing work. “It’s challenging to take someone’s special pieces and rework them, but I just can’t say no to this kind of design. It means something.”

In addition to custom designs, Ashley has created several signature lines of jewelry that have become very popular. “My first line was inspired by my Native American great grandmother who gave me my first piece of jewelry, and subsequent lines have all been spiritually inspired in some way.” Inspiration comes from everywhere for Ashley – even a piece of beautiful architectural molding can make its way into an earring or bracelet. Simple, eloquent quotes are also incorporated into this artist’s appealing work. “My jewelry is very personal – I like having a connection with the people who wear my work.” Her online business has skyrocketed, with a waiting list for those wanting custom work. When asked about her recipe for success, Ashley said, “I do my own website, created my own logo and I just try to be real and do what makes me feel good.”

Ashley’s philosophy of simple, elegant and meaningful design comes through in her personal style as well. Most days will find her in workout clothes or simple boho outfits – all accented with her personal jewelry collection of course. “I like my clothing to be easy,” she told me, adding, “to me, being fashionable is wearing what makes you feel good and what works for your body type. I love mid-century, vintage clothing, but many of the ’50s and ’60s styles don’t work for me.”

On May 8th, Ashley and Enoel were married in an intimate, beautiful ceremony in her mother’s back yard. Ashley chose a traditional, fitted white dress, and wore her own beautiful jewelry. “It was the very best day of my life,” she said. “I wish I could do that day over and over.” The couple will take their honeymoon this summer during Enoel’s summer break. When they’re not working, Enoel and Ashley enjoy doing yoga together and both are committed to fitness – Enoel is a serious cyclist, and Ashley rises before the sun each day to complete a boot camp workout.

Giving back to the community that has supported her is also important to Ashley, and many local non-profits have benefitted from her philanthropic mindset. “I donate something every month to help our local charities,” said Ashley.  “No job is worth doing if I can’t help others. I believe if God blesses you, you should bless others.”

To contact Ashley or see more of her work, visit www.ashhoffmanjewelry.com, find her on Facebook, or stop by Studio 77 in Myrtle Beach.


Also read, Living a Life of Color and Style: Mary Raab, part of this month’s Southern Snaps.

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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