Ashley Norris & Jess Lowcher
Founders of Tribe of Daughters
Years in Business: 3 Years
What inspired you to start The Tribe of Daughters? Ashley’s oldest daughter had started to show an interest in surfing but was nervous about getting hurt. Since Ashley is a professor in Early Childhood Education, she naturally started to search for books with main characters and storylines that her daughter would find relatable. Unfortunately, the were not many options available that addressed real life concerns for kids starting action sport or the had girls as the main character in action sports. That needed to change. Ashley called up she sister, Jess, who had been traveling and surfing New Zealand for the past few years to see if she would be interested in illustrating Queenie Wahine: Little Surfer girl and the rest is history….
What is Tribe of Daughter’s mission statement? Our mission is to create books that feature girls in action sports conquering challenges that are real and relatable. Boys and girls both benefit by seeing more women in sports.
What are some challenges you have overcome in starting this business? One of the biggest challenges that we have faced in starting our business was figuring out a working schedule since we both live on two different continents. Not to mention that we are also sisters and that can put an extra layer to our working dynamic. Early in our partnership, we learned the importance of communication. We had to be able to share what was on our mind, listen to the other person, and move on from conflict fairly and quickly.
How does your relationship to surfing and/or the ocean inspire you in creating/running your business? Growing up on the coast of North Carolina, the ocean has been an integral part of our lives and has greatly influenced the people that we are and how we choose to live our lives. From as far back as we can remember, our Dad was putting us on his long board and pushing us into waves or taking us deep sea fishing. It’s not surprising that when the next generation of girls came into our family, they would also be around the water and that we would be sharing the same love for the surfing that our dad had shared with us.
We believe that children that grow up finding wonder and joy in the ocean grow up to be adults who advocate to protect it!
How does managing Tribe of Daughters influence your lifestyle? Queenie Wahine and Millie Ford were created because we saw a need in our community. Girls are typically underrepresented in sports and that can influence girls confidence and willingness to get involved in new sports.
For Ashley, a mom of two young girls, the business is a daily reminder to be the role model that I want to be for my daughters. To be brave and try new things…even when you are scared or uncertain.
For Jess, starting the business has pushed her outside of her artistic comfort zone and helped her build up her community of fellow artist. She has learned so much from others. When other new authors and artist reach out for tips and guidance, we know how influential that can be on someone starting out.
What have been the most rewarding aspects of your business The most rewarding aspects of our business has been seeing the positive impact the books have made on the community. We are so fortunate to hear stories about how children across the globe have connected to the main characters. Just recently, the books were share with our local school district as part of a literacy initiative. Local schoolteachers read the stories and created lessons that they shared on one of local TV channels. Bring the books to a diverse group of children has been a major initiative for our business.
As both ocean lovers and consumers, what do you think our main priorities should be? Bringing together and organizing businesses who have a shared interest or mission is so important. There are so many amazing products out there, but they can be really difficult to locate for consumers. We all benefit when we bind together and support each other.