photography by JARED SMITH
Sugar and Cloth was named the Best DIY Blog in the 2017 Domino Design Blog Awards.
Ashley Rose began the DIY blog, Sugar and Cloth, with a recipe, an eye for DIY, and the desire to share her unique voice with others. Beginning as a passion project in 2011 and a way for Rose to keep her family and friends back home updated on her new life down South, her blog has since grown to be a chic, fabulously pink and white haven for all things lifestyle and DIY.
“It kind of evolved into more lifestyle than it originally was,” Rose tells Domino. “Now we have a lot more verticals—travel, style, home decor, and home decor DIY are getting really big. I love that we now have a little bit of everything.”
Filled with step-by-step tutorials for budget-friendly home hacks and tons of decadent recipes, Sugar and Cloth has a playful aesthetic, and her content comes to life through a totally relatable voice. Case in point: A post where she talks about how half the prep time for a cute holiday DIY includes waiting for the paint to dry while eating cookies. "We're no stranger to cookies around here," she admits. It’s this down-to-earth personality paired with easy-to-achieve tips that keep drawing people back to the bright pages of Sugar and Cloth.
photography by JARED SMITH
But it wasn’t an easy road to forming the now award-winning DIY blog. In fact, Rose admits that it has sometimes felt like a “slow uphill battle—but in a good way” due in part because of her own struggle to find her path and take the leap into entrepreneurship.
After dropping out of college and foregoing her graphic design track, waiting a few tables, and moving across the country to Texas, Rose decided to turn her part-time passion into a full-time job. It was three years after her first post, and Rose by no means saw blogging as a potential career path.
“There were a lot more hardships, sleepless nights, and the kind of on-the-floor-bawling-your-eyes-out kind of tantrums in between,” she candidly admits on her blog. What had begun as a kind of live portfolio—complete with Rose taking all of the photos herself—has grown into her and her staff having their own studio, getting to do tons of collaborations, and her talented husband now shooting all the vibrant photographs.
Through it all, Rose stayed committed to keeping her conversational, witty, can-do voice in everything she posts. This has been the most important— but also the most challenging—part of maintaining Sugar and Cloth, especially as it continues to grow and more brands want to partner with Rose.
“People get attached to the story. So for me, it’s all about striving for our voice in whatever partnership we do and safeguarding the brand,” says Rose.
In always keeping Sugar and Cloth’s ideal girl in mind, the goal is to make sure everything that appears on the blog is really achievable—including their home decor tips and DIYs—which have become some of the blog’s most well-received content. Rose calls them “shining stars” for how quickly they receive feedback, and it's clear that she relishes the fun that can go into dreaming up entire scenarios, rooms, and vignettes to bring to life.
Whether it’s making $4 marble serving boards that look super luxe, or the way she innovatively recreated the $300 look of these gold-based stools, Rose draws inspiration from her eager-to-learn audience, travel destinations, and other bloggers who keep a relatable outlook.
Rose admires the girls of A Beautiful Mess because “they’re still really genuine in their voice despite how big they are,” she says. “When you go [to the site] you know where the content is coming from, you know the story, you know the voice despite how many categories they’ve grown from in the beginning.” Emulating a similar mindset, Rose strives to keep her audience informed with fresh, budget-friendly tips and tricks for everyday life.
Rose has been able to collaborate with brands like Hallmark, Shutterfly, the Property Brothers and most recently, Amazon. In a dream come true exclusive collection that’s entertaining DIY and tablescape-oriented, Sugar and Cloth will soon expand to host a product line with the online retailer in January—further proof that the blog has become much more than just a place for Rose to bring her crafty ideas to life, but a full-blown, well-respected brand.
It’s more than Rose ever initially expected. “The most rewarding thing has been seeing the slow and steady growth—even when it doesn’t always feel like it,” she says. “If you can step back and look and see the little victories—like winning this award—those little victories compound to feel successful and make it all worth it.”
With almost seven years and a huge following now under her belt, Rose exudes a humble pride about the turnout of her entrepreneurial dive into DIY. “ I feel successful in being able to keep my voice in a market that has become so amazingly inspirational,” she says. “I love that people are still looking to us for something.”
Read more about the winners of the Domino Design Blog Awards:
Meet the Designer Who's All About Giving Back
This Scandi Design Blogger Is Making Everyone Want to Move to Sweden
How a Therapist Turned Her Decor Hobby Into a Full-Time Job