Mercedes Entrepreneur Finds Success In Tough Year
Ashley Nicole Werbiski isn’t one to let adversity or a rough patch keep her down for long.
Like many businesses, Werbiski felt the negative impact of early 2020 closures and limitations associated with COVID-19. Her two businesses at the Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets in Mercedes saw drops in businesses in spring 2020 as the pandemic hit.
Werbiski shifted strategies, made adjustments, and as the economy gradually reopened, her Ashely Nicole Photography and Bailey Amber’s businesses regained their footing. Now, as a new year begins, Werbiski is moving ahead with renewed optimism and plans to open a third business at the outlets in Mercedes.
“You would think we would struggle – and we did – but we were able to adjust,’’ she said. “Year-over-year, we did better, (in 2020) than 2019.
“So here I am,’’ she said, “the little guy making it.’’
Werbiski’s fighting spirit and resiliency is reminiscent of how she persevered through great struggles in 2016 in establishing her photo studio business. She found the formula to success for that first business and would branch out to Bailey Amber’s in 2019, which features party and event dresses for little girls.
She now has her sights set on opening Belly To Baby, a third retail store at the Mercedes outlet mall. Werbiski describes her new business as high-end/luxury studio for maternity and newborn photography. Belly To Baby will open in early 2021 and will allow Werbiski’s two photo studios to focus on what they do best.
Her original Ashley Nicole photography can focus on family and individual selections and varieties, including model searches where parents can feature their young children. The new studio can focus on mothers and their babies. Belly To Baby will have the special photo setups and backdrops that is required for that sort of photography.
Werbiski is delighted that her third business at the outlets is the same spot where she originally started at the outlet mall.
“I’m right back in the same place where I started, and they, (previous tenants), renovated my old space,’’ she said. “It still doesn’t feel real, (expanding business), especially during a pandemic.’’
She credits moving more assertively into an online presence and live streaming over Facebook as key to building her business in 2020. Customer loyalty was also vital to building her business in 2020. The services and products offered by Werbiski’s stores remained in demand through the difficulties of last year.
Werbiski is already looking ahead to the time when her three businesses can be located in closer proximity to each other. For now, though, there’s the challenge and satisfaction of starting a new year in knowing what was accomplished during at tumultuous 2020.
- Ricardo D. Cavazos