One look at the products on the IceMilk Aprons website and I wanted to tie up my hair, strap on one of their gorgeous aprons, and bake homemade cinnamon rolls in a vintage kitchen. IceMilk is all about heritage, heirlooms, and embracing the delicious, saturated memories from home and hearth. They make it easy to do just that with their heirloom kits for making and keeping your own family memories and beautifully designed aprons for women and children. Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Ashley and to get a glimpse into her world and her love of all things heirloomed. Ashley’s website, IceMilk Aprons is only one facet of her creativity. She also has a fantastic blog called, appropriately, heirloomed. She doesn’t stop at things handed down–she embraces the chic, the modern, as well as the things that tie us to our past. Read on to find out more about Ashley, and see if you don’t find yourself digging out the old recipes and spilling flour everywhere .
I know that your Grandmother was the inspiration for IceMilk Aprons. Did she actually teach you how to sew or cook, or both?
Ashley: Yes – I learned both from my Grandmother and Mom. When I was very young, my grandma started my sister and I on cross stitching in one of those little circle rings. Our first project was a little bear. And, from as long as I can remember, cooking from scratch has been instilled in our family kitchen. It didn’t have to be fancy, but it was always made from scratch – whether a birthday cake or macaroni and cheese! I didn’t know any different. After I graduated college, I got a sewing machine of my very own. I think it’s important for today’s generations to learn the crafts of cooking from scratch and sewing so they don’t become lost arts.
There’s just something about stepping into the kitchen and strapping on an apron. What are the feelings that it evokes for you?
Ashley: To me, there is a wonderful nostalgia that surrounds an apron. Originally, women would wear aprons all day, every day in the home and kitchen – to cook, to clean. There is something very refreshing about the juxtaposition of the functionality and the beauty that I love. With my line, my hope is that it allows you to remember the timeless, classic sentiment of being in the kitchen and entertaining, but in a fresh and current way that is chic.
Your aprons are fairly well-known now, and you’ve had a lot of press in the last few years. Which media outlet do you feel propelled your business the most?
Ashley: I am so thankful for all of the press. It has truly been the single thing that has made a difference for the business. I must say, I launched the business online and in social media, which is my background. The press started with relationships on Twitter, which led to bloggers writing posts, which led to larger magazines and newspaper publications taking note. Each and every relationship has led to some small part of the success, and I truly am grateful for each and every one of them along the way.
How did the heirloom kits begin?
Ashley: I have a passion for heirlooms. My fondest possessions are those that have been passed down to me through the generations of my family. Wedding china, jewelry, handwritten recipe cards – they are all such special treasures with stories and meaning. I wanted my products to not only impact today, but tomorrow as well. I wanted someone to be able to nod to their mothers & grandmothers who inspired and taught them to cook, to remember their own adventures in the kitchen, and to one day be able to share all of this and pass it down to their children.
On a practical note, are your beautiful aprons machine washable?
Ashley: Yes! I certainly have an “everyday is a celebration” philosophy. Don’t set your china on the shelf to use one day for a special occasion – pull it out today and use it. Celebrate it. Don’t be afraid to get your apron dirty and use it to create something beautiful. I always use the analogy of the splattered recipe card – even if it has stains, it gives it character. I have a nice blotch of red food dye on the white IceMilk Apron I wear every day in the kitchen left over from a wonderful batch of red velvet cupcakes I once made. They are my favorite kind, and I always remember making them for the first time.
You also have a great blog. Did ‘heirloomed’ start before or after your apron business?
Ashley: Thanks! I love blogging and reading the blogs of others. There are so many wonderful blogs out there. I started it very early on in my business as a way to tell my story as a brand. It has evolved since then, but I’ve always enjoyed my time with it.
Your blog has a lot of great categories including kitchen, home, travel, and soiree. What is your favorite facet of your blog?
Ashley: Yes, I wanted to really appeal to the everyday lifestyle elements of heirloomed and not be limited to the kitchen. So far, my favorite part of the blog is my Heirloom Recipe Series. It started by sharing some of my own family’s collection of handwritten recipe cards and the story behind those recipes. It has evolved into a guest series of authors, artisans, Southerners, bloggers, and chefs who share a handwritten recipe card from their own family collection and the memories behind it. I also have a fun new series that I’ve just started called “Throwback Thursdays” where I share new items that are inspired by vintage items – from fashion to tech – it could be anything really!
Keep up with Ashley & IceMilk Aprons
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