I’m alllll about girl power.
And not just the rah-rah!, girls-run-the-world kind. (Though that’s important, too.) I believe in the power and importance of amplifying women’s voices and aggressively sharing their stories. Especially when those women are working their butts off to make the world a better place.
Friends and business co-founders Elyse and Ashely are working tirelessly to educate the rising generation with their brain-child: Bravery Magazine, a resource-rich publication that helps educate and provide quality role models for youth. I am in awe of their work.
On today’s Talking Shop, Elyse and Ashley chat about the inception of Bravery Magazine, the creation process of each issue, the challenge of work-life balance, and the songs they just can’t get out of their head.
Tell us a little about yourselves.
Elyse: Elyse grew up dreaming of being a writer while living in a small Southern Utah town
surrounded by a lot of horses, dogs, and brothers. She married her high school crush,
moved to Northern California, and together they have four kids. Elyse studied elementary
education in college and has a passion for writing, education, and good food.
Ashley: Ashley grew up in a small town in Idaho and dreamed of bigger things, including
owning her own business and working for a magazine. She’s married to a boy she thought
would just be a summer fling and they have three children together, two girls and one boy.
She studied advertising, business, and photography in college and worked for a couple of
photographers and a blogger before starting Bravery.
How did Bravery Magazine get started? What was the inspiration behind it?
Just a few years ago, we got the itch to start something after having experiences with our
children that made us realize we wanted to provide better role model options for them. In
March of 2017, the idea for Bravery Magazine was born. With no experience in publishing,
we hustled, Googled a lot of things, and kickstarted Bravery with a crowdfunding campaign
in September of 2017. A lot of late nights and eleven issues later, Bravery has become a
successful and much-loved resource for families and classrooms around the world. It’s
been a long and difficult road, but it’s been fun, too.
What is the research and creation process of each issue like?
We start with brainstorming, reading, and researching about the person we want to
feature. We come up with a general focus, a trait we want to focus on, what the visual feel
will be, and what the colors could be. Then we collaborate with our content board. They
brainstorm content ideas, and once we align on a general outline for the issue, the content
board develops the activity ideas. These ideas then get sent to the writing team who
develops the content further with research and writing. Once the writing has been edited
and everything is clean, it’s passed on to the artists that have been chosen to bring the ideas
to life visually. From that point, the art is passed to Ashley, who builds the issue digitally. It gets edited thoroughly, looked over by sensitivity readers, and combed through by us a
million times. Finally, it’s off to the printer!
What is your ultimate vision and mission for Bravery Mag?
We believe that real, brave role models, with their stories and experiences, can empower
kids to be their own kind of brave. With that in mind, we’d love to see Bravery grow into a
true resource hub—podcasts, youtube videos, chapter books, and more. It would be
awesome to be a one-stop-shop for all things empowerment and inspiration!
What have been the most rewarding experiences while running your business?
It’s humbling to hear about the experiences and conversations that readers have had with
their kids while using the magazine. We’ve heard from moms who were inspired to go back
to college after learning about Jane Goodall, parents who use the Temple Grandin issue to
explain to their child that he or she has autism, and of curious conversations on race and
equity while reading about Maya Angelou. It’s something we didn’t anticipate, but it’s
What have been the biggest challenges?
There are always many challenges when running a small business, but one of the biggest
challenges for both of us has been to learn how to manage our time between work and our
families. We are both mothers to multiple kids (Elyse has four and Ashley has three—all
are eight and under), so we are very busy and in the thick of raising tiny humans right now.
It was a major adjustment to learn how to divide our time between doing something we
love and spending quality time with the people we love.
What advice would you give to aspiring or new entrepreneurs?
Be prepared for a lot of work—yep, even more than what you’re imagining right now.
What inspires you creatively?
Elyse: Reading has always been where I get inspiration. It’s the vehicle that inspires me
and moves me to action.
Ashley: Nature, other people, and honestly, a hot shower. I feel like that’s where so many of
my ideas come.
What is a day in your life like?
Elyse: Currently, my husband and I are both working from home, so usually, I take
mornings with our kids. We do chores, read together, do an activity, or go somewhere.
After lunch, I head somewhere quiet to work (right now it’s usually my garage) while my
baby sleeps and the other kids entertain themselves for a few hours. Then it’s the crazy
dinner/family time/bedtime hustle. Once kids are in bed, I usually work pretty late into the
night to get things done.
Ashley: Usually there is an early wake-up call from the kids, followed by breakfast and
chores. Then I spend the morning doing something educational or fun with my kids.
Around 10 am I head upstairs to my office to get some work done. I usually work until 4:30
with a lunch break at noon with the kids. After work, it’s always “tickle time” followed by
dinner and a family walk if we’re lucky. After the kids go to sleep I usually get some more
work done and spend time with my husband. And then we go to bed and do it all again the
next day. Groundhog Day anyone?
Your dream vacation?
Elyse: I’ve always dreamed of doing the French countryside or Ireland. But let’s be honest,
I’d go anywhere right now!
Ashley: My husband and I went to Thailand before we had kids and lately I haven’t been
able to get it out of my mind. Take me back!
The meal you can’t live without?
Elyse: I can always, always get behind a good steak and mashed potatoes.
Ashley: Grilled salmon all the way. Oh and a side of corn, homemade rolls, and mashed
potatoes. Are my Idaho roots showing?
The song that’s currently stuck in your head?
Elyse: “Cardigan” by Taylor Swift—basically her whole new soundtrack is stuck in my head
lately. How teenager of me, right?
Ashley: “Boys Will Be Boys” by Dua Lipa
Your favorite out of office activity?
Elyse: Anything outside of my house! I love going on day trips to the beach, camping, and adventures with family and friends. It helps me forget about the long work week and gear
up for the next one.
Ashley: Camping. I love being in the outdoors and being cut off from the world. It’s so
rejuvenating. Whenever I go camping I feel like I’m actually present and living in my life.
Elyse and Ashley have provided a recent copy of Bravery Magazine that I am giving away to one of you! To enter, follow @bravery_mag and @kasee_bailey and and comment on this post, sharing why you’d love a copy of Bravery Magazine. Giveaway ends 8/10/2020, 11:59 p.m. and winner will be notified via Instagram DM.