Taking inspiration from her home state and favorite movie, a local entrepreneur is helping keep the North Dakota winter at bay with her unique line of handmade accessories.
Just like her personalized license plate declares, Ashley Oyloe is “RLYBUSY.” Working full-time as Events and Convention Service Coordinator at the Williston Convention and Visitors Bureau, she spends a good portion of her days planning the events that bring people to the Williston area. When she’s not coordinating events such as the Holiday Lights Drive or streaming live on Facebook from various area businesses, Oyloe embarks on a solo venture that began as a hobby and has turned into a full blown business, keeping her going almost around the clock.
Oyloe created So Fetch North Dakota, crocheting handmade hats, headbands, scrunchies and bibs out of her home. Originally just giving them as gifts, word began to spread and Oyloe began getting requests for the unique hats, prompting her to start a full-fledged business, calling upon the maker community of Etsy help bring the vision to life.
“The plan in the beginning was to just kind of see what happens, just make some for friends and family, if I could make a little extra cash on the side, then great,” Oyloe explained. “And then it just got a little out of control and so I needed a way to manage it, so I started an Etsy page, which is basically like the maker’s universe.”
Oyloe learned how to knit and crochet from her grandmothers, keeping a family tradition alive. That skill, paired with her self-described “obsession” with the movie “Mean Girls,” is what helped launch the fledgling company, based off of one of the movie’s famous quotes. Within the first two days of her online store opening, Oyloe said she had sold all of her stock. While working full-time and crocheting hats during her off hours, Oyloe still has one other full-time job that she manages to juggle as well: being a mom.
“My daughter asks ‘Mom, why are you always making hats?’ and I say ‘Well, do you like nice things? Do you like getting Christmas gifts? Mom makes money by doing this.’” She said. “So it’s a bit of a double-edged sword. It does take time, but I don’t call it a job, I call it a hustle. It helps me support my cause, and my cause is my kid.”
The best part of beginning her own business, she added, is seeing her products out in the community.
“It’s really, really humbling and rewarding to see people posting pictures online and seeing them and saying ‘Look at that, I made that and you’re putting your kid in that every single day. That’s really cool.” she said. “For people to actually like what I’m doing and wear it every day and have it be in demand, it’s really rewarding.”
Aside from her online store, Oyloe is beginning to branch out into traditional brick and mortar businesses, and has stock at Quick Draw Art Studio in town, and will be available along with many other North Dakota products at the CVB Visitor’s Center beginning Dec. 4 during the Center’s open house. Oyloe said there’s really only one word to describe the success she’s found with her one-of-a-kind products: Lucky.
“I’m a local, and I love our community,” she explained. “Our community in general has a lot to offer. There’s actually a lot of makers in town that do the same thing that I do, and I just got lucky and found people that wanted to put me in a store front. I got lucky with really great friends who got my hats and shared them, and other people with word of mouth. I got lucky with great grandmas that taught me a little bit about something and I was able to spiral off from it.”
Oyloe’s products can be found on Esty, Instagram and Facebook under SoFetchND.