Although Memphis Entrepreneur Ashton Knight spends her days working as a Public Health Coordinator for the Shelby County Health Department, she also has a strong interest in the beauty industry. Ashton spent her teenage years playing with all types of makeup but continually struggled to find the right product for her unique style and skin tone.

Ashton Nicole owner Ashton Knight
Ashton Knight is the owner of the cosmetics brand "Ashton Nicole" specializing on providing solutions for people with all shades of skin

Ashton was born in San Diego, California, and moved to Memphis with her parents when she was three. Her mother is from Chattanooga, Tennessee, but her father is an immigrant from Trinidad and Tobago. She explained that she and her father would travel to Trinidad every year to experience a tradition called Carnival in Trinidad. The carnival was a celebration to experience the Caribbean culture and music with vibrant colors on individuals of all shades.

Through the years, Ashton got a feel for the Caribbean culture and realized the need to bring her culture to light in the United States. Since she struggled with finding make-up to go well with her skin tone, she had a vision and goal to help people with all skin shades. In 2021, Ashton started an online business selling lip-gloss. She maintained a Shopify Website, and a P.O. Box, marketed her product on social media, and involved her family by storing inventory in her mother’s home.

"I was tired of wasting my money on products that didn't work for me"

In early 2023, Ashton found Communities Unlimited (CU) while searching for loans on a small business association website. She reached out to CU for assistance to re-launch her business. She wanted to grow her business with improved marketing and even more inventory.

Ashton started working with CU’s Economic Development Loan Officer, Chris Tillman.

“I felt like CU wanted to help me from the beginning, and I did not feel like just a number. The whole experience has been great.”

— Ashton Knight, owner Ashton Nicole

Ashton Nicle owner Ashton Knight

Ashton set her eyes on an expanded product line to include lipsticks, lip paints, eye shadows, body glitters, mascara, eyeliners, and lip balms to go with the lip-gloss already under the Ashton Nicole brand.

Ashton is very passionate about health care, but she is also just as passionate about entrepreneurship. She experienced the positives and negatives of starting a business during the pandemic and managed to keep her dream going. She credits her mother for her drive and determination and looks to her as a role model.

Ashton Nicole lipgloss
Ashton Nicole is a Memphis entrepreneur's brand designed to meet the needs of people with unique style and skin tones

Ashton closed on her loan in May 2023, and her online business is off to the right start. She is working on her website, creating business cards, setting up product and photo shoots, attending trade shows, and working on her social media and marketing. She is using what she learned previously with her business and focusing on how to reach more customers.

This Memphis Entrepreneur’s vision for a small business has given her the foundation to take steps to grow her small business into something even more significant. She looks forward to what is next for Ashton Nicole.