We interviewed Ashley at her office on Washington Street in Glasgow.
Tell us about yourself. Where do you live, and what you do?
I live here in Glasgow where I help to keep freelancers in business by supporting them financially, legally, and emotionally if they have problems with a client. I work on my business 'With Jack' from an office space on Washington Street in Glasgow. And when I'm not doing that, I like to take pictures and lift heavy things.
What are you passionate about and what keeps you motivated?
My mission is to help 10,000 freelancers and I've currently helped 1500. So still a long way to go. Because I am so focused on that mission within my business, it's really important for me to have interests outside of that. So I'm really passionate about photography. I like being creative. I'm happiest when I crawl into bed at the end of the night, feeling creatively satisfied and also challenged.
I also recently got into training for Strong Woman, so I love improving my squat and my deadlift. When I'm not doing that, I like to switch off mentally and physically by vegetating in front of the sofa and playing video games.
How did you first find out about Trakke and how did your first bag enter your life?
Living in Glasgow, I was aware of Trakke because they're a local brand and I really like supporting local businesses.
I actually had this trip of a lifetime planned - I still have to pinch myself that it even happened. I was invited to attend and speak at an event in California. I had so many connecting flights, so I didn't want to worry about checking my luggage and all the rest of it.
So I was looking for a bag that I could pack all my stuff into for a week, my work stuff, clothes, but also making sure that it enabled me to go out and do the activities that were available to us in Yosemite National Park, like hiking. I went on a solo mountain bike ride through Yosemite and came face to face with a coyote. I hope that never happens again.
Trakke happened to be doing a market in Glasgow the week before my trip, I came across this bag and it was perfect.
Some might say it was fate.
What Trakke bag do you have and how does it fit into your routine, into your life?
I have the Bannoch backpack. It's important that I have a bag that fits into the life that I've designed. So that means a bag that can hold my work stuff, my laptop, my charger, my notebook, my camera and my lenses, as well as all of my training gear, my lifting straps, my weight lifting belt.
This is all often with me at the same time. So it was important that I found a bag that I could fit everything in. And the Bannoch helps me do that perfectly. It's got a pouch for my laptop, pouches for my lenses, and then the rest gets filled up.
"After four years of carrying this bag everywhere, going on multiple trips around the world, using it every single day, there was a little bit of wear and tear. Trakke fixed it up for me and I got my bag back ready for the next adventure."
What's important to you when it comes to adding something like a backpack or any other item into your everyday routine?
I do so many things on a day-to-day basis — I'm working, I'm training — I've got to pack for a full day of being out of the house. I've got to make sure that I have a bag that's versatile enough to let me do that. I don't want to carry a separate gym bag. I don't want to have a separate work bag. I just want one bag so I can bring everything with me and get on with my day. That's what my Trakke bag allows me to do.
I use my bag every day and have done for years, so it was also really important to me that I had a bag that was durable.
One of the things that really drew me to Trakke was that they said to me, if there's ever any wear and tear, get in touch, and we'll fix it up. After four years of carrying this bag everywhere, going on multiple trips around the world, using it every single day, there was a little bit of wear and tear.
Trakke fixed it up for me and I got my bag back ready for the next adventure.
Tell us something you're looking forward to in the year ahead?
I'm really looking forward to competing in my first Strong Woman event. I wanted to give myself something to work towards and something to focus on that wasn't work-related. I also wanted to see how I compared to other people strength-wise, because it's easy turning up at the gym and doing a big lift and patting yourself on the back. I think it'll be very challenging in an environment with lots of other strong women and I'm hoping it's a really supportive environment where we all cheer each other on. I'm excited to see how much I can push myself.
Sine the interview, Ashley has competed in several strongwoman competitions and—after competing in Scotland’s Natural Strongest Woman she has qualified for the UK finals in March.
"Strongwoman has become an even bigger part of my life and my Trakke bag continues to help me be prepared by carrying all of my kit… and food!"