Ashley Cassidy Seale is the founder of Ruby Social Co., a creative studio for clever brands. Ruby Social Co. was born at the end of 2016, after Seale spent 10 years building her career in public relations and events — and after she became a bona fide Instagram influencer (and half a year living in France).
I’ve always been really fascinated by social media and the way we can communicate with each other through different channels, all over the world. As my own passion project, I started a lifestyle blog in 2013 called Quaintrelle. I learned how to create my own platform and build a brand and community, and to really understand what resonates with my community. I was an early adopter of Twitter and Instagram, and had figured out these tools long before my peers. I brought this experience to my various roles, and began to notice a change in the industry. The large agency model tends to look at digital with too wide a lens, and as a result the online presence of a brand feel really forced and difficult to relate to. The ‘Social’ in my company name of course nods to social media, but it’s also a reminder that being social and sharing stories it at the heart of everything we do. It’s the business we’re in, and that’s nothing new.
In a world of buzz words, shorthand, and jargon, my goal for my business and with my clients is to be remarkable. To be striking, to get noticed.
Do you know where you got your drive from?
It’s always been there, I think it’s part of who I am. The company you keep is important to fostering this feeling, too. Whether it’s a mentor or your friends and family, we all need positive and encouraging people around us.
How do you stay self-motivated?
I love to challenge myself. I always say yes to things that scare me and then figure it out later. I want to live a life full of stories—that’s my motivation.
What would you say is your preferred way to network?
The term networking always feels so unnatural to me, so I guess my trick is to not think of it like that at all. Events are great, Instagram is great but there are often many opportunities to meet new people throughout our day if we are open to it. When I’m running errands or getting from place to place, I make an effort to put my phone away. Some of the most interesting people I’ve met have been ones I’ve met by chance at a coffee shop or while standing in line.
How would you describe your process for deepening relationships?
Relationships are an integral part of PR. Again, I prefer to take an organic approach because people are people first, second to their career or job title. There’s nothing more off-putting than sensing someone’s agenda from the get-go.
What are your preferred tools for keeping organized?
Google Drive and Calendar are my go-tos. Nothing revolutionary, I know, but I love the way it connects with email and various devices.
What is your favourite way to market your product or services?
Instagram has been huge for me. I’ve built a supportive community through my own channel (@ashleycassidyseale) and blog (Quaintrelle.ca), which has grown with me throughout my career. When I launched Ruby Social Co., I had a built in audience of cheerleaders and supporters. It goes both ways though—
Who has been your mentor in helping you find success?
Amanda Alvaro and Lindsay Mattick, my former bosses, are my biggest inspirations. I worked for them when they ran the show at Narrative PR and they taught my everything I know about client relations and how to operate a good business. They supported me when I left Narrative to move to take a sabbatical in Paris, and invited me to work with them at their new agency Pomp & Circumstance when I returned. On a personal level, I have been moved by their ability to juggle career, family, and passion projects (Lindsay is a New York Times best selling author and Amanda is a prominent political commentator and strategist). I owe a lot to these two.
How and where do you continue to learn?
Knowing the only constant is change is often half of it. I think the key is to never get too comfortable. Practically speaking, I think Skillshare is a game changer.
Do you have a fitness ritual that you live by?
I switch between barre (I love the AAA class at Barreworks, they are the best!) and pilates (889 Yoga is my favourite studio to practice at). I will start running again once spring arrives and the Belt Line de-thaws.
How would you describe the eating ritual that makes you feel most powerful?
I’ve been on a bit of a health journey of the last year or so. As someone who has suffered from chronic migraines for the last five or six years, I used to feel debilitated by the pain. While doctors are (too) quick to prescribe, I was more interested in figuring out the actual cause. I started eliminating things from my diet and paying attention to the way I felt. I noticed an immediate change when I eliminated meat from my diet—I felt like myself again. I haven’t had a single migraine since. I’ve been a vegetarian for a year now and I’ve never felt better. Regardless of your diet, I think it’s incredibly important to listen to your body.
Who is your favourite personality to follow on YouTube?
I admire Mimi Ikonn and her husband Alex Ikonn, their messages are positive and empowering. Plus, they are from Toronto.
What type of content do you find most compelling on Instagram?
I follow a broad range of accounts, from interior designers and lifestyle bloggers to surfers and wellness gurus. I feel most engaged by individuals and brands who are interested in creating a community rather than a following. A beautiful image combined with a story, that’s the sweet spot.
What is your favourite sport to watch?
Surfing! The WSL Championship Tour starts again in a week so I’m really excited. It’s a bit of a ritual for my husband and I. For our honeymoon, we followed the tour to Hossegor, France.
Where is your favourite place to unwind?
I feel most myself when I’m by the water. I’m itching to return to my favourite place, Biarritz, France this summer.