We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashlee Freese and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashlee, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m from Corsicana, Tx where there isn’t much to do, and where the people there are pretty conservative. I grew up in the countryside of that town in a mobile home with a pretty tough upbringing.
The mobile home I grew up in would vibrate easily with movement and conversations. The house shuck a lot with family disturbances. My mother struggled as she was only allowed to go to work, come home, clean, and cook for us all. There were a lot of restrictions on what she could do. She tried her best but it was never enough for the “man of the house”.
We never got family photos because 1. we weren’t a loving family and 2. we couldn’t afford it.
Growing up in an abusive household and longing for love and nurture I felt it in my soul to try and find that elsewhere since I couldn’t find it at home. I’d try to connect with people at school but instead, I found myself feeling depressed and unhappy. Being half white and half Asian, was a challenge. I don’t look like either of my ethnic groups. Which resulted in struggles to connect with the Asian and white community
About 5 years ago I realized I wanted to have meaning to my photography business.
And growing up with abuse, racial division, identity crisis, and struggling with money, I wanted to cater to my community who struggle with the same. So, I started a program where I accept x amount of people a year who qualify for my Under-Represented Program. I’m all about being authentic and raw with my clients, especially those who apply for this. Very minimal steps go into place as I trust my heart and the stories they share. We work together to create a budget-friendly cost that best suits their needs.
As a multiracial woman, I have made it a priority to utilize my skills and emotional maturity in ways that create a safe space for racially diverse conversations to take place. In addition to starting intentional conversations, I’m creating opportunities with my photography to allow individuals and families in the low-socioeconomic status range to participate in professional photoshoots. The identity crisis and lack of belonging I have experienced throughout my life is something I want to leverage in a positive way.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Alongside photography, I also am starting up a mobile coffee cart. This cart will be available to post up at private events like weddings, birthdays, corporate events, etc…
Before starting my photography journey I was in the coffee field and even did a 3-year coffee roasting apprenticeship.
I could honestly tell you that coffee has always been my ultimate goal, it’s just now finally all coming together.
I noticed that right now is not the best time to invest in a brick and mortar and that mobility for food and beverages has become such a high demand. This will allow me to build my brand and clientele for when I decide to get a storefront.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When friends and family travel in I like to take them to these places:
-Coffee at Full City Rooster
-Breakfast/Lunch at Bonton Farms (which also have Full City Rooster coffee)
-If it’s a Sunday visit I go to the Buddhist Temple of Dallas between 10a-2p to have Thai/Lao food.
-Four Corners Brewery for some good beer
-Lee Harvey’s for their patio and bar food
-Fair Park + Texas Discovery Garden for walks and freshair
-Bistro B (Richardson, Tx) for some Vietnamese food. (They have images of their foods for guests who don’t know what to order)
-Paradiso for fancy dinner time. (Love their steak and fries)
-Electric Shuffle for entertainment + AMAZING DRINKS!
-Gen Korean BBQ for hands-on food experience
-85 Degrees bakery for Asian baked goods
-Chicana in Nature hike
Hands down some of the most powerful and fun places or things to check out are:
Bonton Farms, Fair Park, Bistro B, Buddhist Temple, and a Chicana in Nature Hike.
I say these because they are all very important to my heart, and mean a lot to me.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Good Coworking in Dallas, Tx has really made a big impact on my business and who I am today. This company focuses on equality, sustainability, and community. To be a part of a company that has views like this and takes actions on things that are important in the world helped me thrive to create the business model that I have today. Amy King and Jessica Maine from Good Coworking truly get a large shout-out as they are the two best leaders I’ve ever had in my life. Without their support and guidance, I’d be lost.
Chicana in Nature is an amazing organization that creates opportunities for the BIPOC communities to learn about and promote the enjoyment of the outdoors. Susana Cruz who is the founder has helped me through ongoing racial division, being in the “know” of social changes, and empowering me to not be afraid to share my story but rather use it as a way to help uplift others.
These two companies deserve a shoutout as they both work really hard to make a difference in the world and truly helped me.
Instagram: ashleefreese + Warmandgoldencoffee
Linkedin: Ashlee Freese
Facebook: Ashlee Freese Photography + Warm and Golden Coffee
Credits: Ashlee Freese Photography