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Ashley Currie knew there was something missing from the narrative about black lifestyle and entrepreneurship in Nashville. So she decided to take matters into her own hands and build a digital platform that focuses on the unique experience of her audience.
“A lot of times you may see a story and they focus on what they’ve literally or physically created. And so we love to have that narrative driven by the actual person,” she shared.
In this episode of Tell the Story with R.H. Boyd, Sinclaire Sparkman Carr, proofreader and member of the R.H. Boyd’s editor team, chats with Currie about what it means to be a thoughtful storyteller, the realities of entrepreneurship and understanding the faith it takes to proudly tell your own story.
A fan of well-curated content and visually appealing photos, Currie appreciates stories that she personally connects with. However, through her search for inspiring pieces, she became aware of a gap that she could not ignore.
“I felt there was a narrative missing. Nashville is my hometown and it was growing tremendously. And I wanted to make sure our narrative was being shared especially from an African-American perspective,” she explained.
Her solution? Urbaanite. In February 2015, Currie launched the lifestyle magazine and local city guide that celebrates the vibrant culture of Nashville’s Black businesses and entrepreneurs. To her, an “Urbaanite” is a person who is very intentional about the way they live their lives. They are supportive of local businesses, are not afraid to venture out of their comfort zones and they are open to embracing other cultures.
What began simply as a passion project has blossomed into a full-fledged publication that serves and connects over 25,000 people monthly readers with content centered that makes them feel seen.
Equipped with a degree in marketing from Northern Illinois University and a background in multicultural marketing for large brands such as Denny’s and United Methodist Communications, Currie has an impressive track record fit for being her own boss.
She encouraged new entrepreneurs to “embrace new things so you can try to do something different and [feel] proud of just being you.” Currie admitted that entrepreneurship is hard but her best piece of advice is to not let analysis paralysis hold you back and to “be consistent in whatever it is you are wanting to do, whatever it is that you’re choosing to put out there.”
Sharing your story with the world is no easy feat. Some pages of your life story can be messy and full of brokenness, but you must believe that your testimony is greater than the tests you have faced.
For anyone who feels timid about telling their own narrative, Currie advised listeners to consider three questions:
• What do you want the outcome of your story to look like?
• How do you want people to feel?
• What do you want people to glean from or take away?
Crafting your own individual story can be scary but it’s not impossible. As Currie continues to grow Urbaanite, she hopes the platform will empower individuals to feel a sense of pride in who they are, their culture and what they choose to do in their life.
How may I contact Ashley Currie?