August 03, 2017 12:00AM
She wasn’t going to be a designer, and she certainly wasn’t going to be a Pittsburg State graduate.
“I was honestly an Early Childhood Education major at Missouri Southern,” Snyder said. “My fiancée, at the time, had decided to become a mechanical engineer, which was only offered affordably through Pittsburg State. So we moved our belongings to Kansas and fulfilled our education there.”
She remained an education major, but she also needed a minor. She chose interior design. That decision changed everything.
“Art was never something I knew I had in me until I started my interior design classes,” she said. “Little did I know, it would be the turning point of my life.”
Snyder, a 2015 graduate of Pittsburg State, is the owner of Ashley Lauren Design Studio (ALDS), a successful and popular interior design and styling firm specializing in residential design, art direction for editorial photoshoots, and content creation for national businesses and brands. She and her husband, Jacob, live in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but her studio services clients nationwide.
This summer, Snyder was named one of the top 18 designers in Tulsa by expertise.com, a website that connects people with the top professionals in their respective industries. Her home, which she designed, has been featured on Front + Main, a blog by global furniture company West Elm. It’s also been used for a variety of photoshoots for various brands including Cottage Hill Magazine, Fourth + Pierce, Soul Beauty Lounge, Mini Style Blog and others.
In other words, she’s kind of a big deal.
For all of her success in life, Snyder credits a higher power.
“If you know me, you know I'm going to strive to glorify God in all I do,” she said. “He has to come first. I like to say that God is the owner of my business, and He's graciously given it to me to manage. I want to go where He wants me to go, do what He wants me to do, and as of right now, that's ALDS.”
But some credit, she said, also goes to her experience at Pittsburg State.
“After learning hand-drafting, and loving the creative process, I started to realize the abundance of ways I could be creative in my personal life,” she said. “That summer, I took online graphic design courses and really immersed myself in all things creativity and design.
“Once I completed the online courses, I quickly started my own business and blog, Ashley Lauren Design Studio,” she said. “I sold custom stationery to wedding clients, paper products with hand-painted patterns like wallpaper and gift-wrap, and pretty much anything else that would sell.”
Following graduation from PSU, Snyder worked as an interior designer in Joplin. When her husband graduated from PSU, the young couple moved to Tulsa.
“The first year was rougher than expected because, well, I had some crazy expectations for myself,” she said. “But once I started networking in Tulsa and finding local creatives to collaborate with, things really started to take off.”
But she was never going to do this. Any of this.
“My ‘aha’ moment in discovering design as something I truly excelled at and loved was in Studio I,” she wrote on her website. “We were learning the basics of hand-drafting and were working on a 2-d perspective drawing and rendering and I just remember thinking, ‘my brain is telling my hand exactly what I want it to do.’
“It sounds bizarre, and like it’s not really a big deal, but in that moment, I realized this was something more.”