This week’s Working Women Wednesday goes to the colorful and vibrant Ashley Woods or to many Ley. Bursting through the glam industry as a triple threat, Ley is the owner, stylist, and nail technician¬†of Cocktailz: A Beauty Bar.

Graduating from Pattonville High School and later attending Hampton University the “real H U” according to Ley, earned her degree in Economics in 2008.

Some may wonder why the switch? According to Ley she didn’t switch, she simply added on to her list of skills. She has always had a passion for beauty services, growing up a “shop kid” she ¬†watched her parents¬†achieve entrepreneurship.¬†They¬†owned a variety of¬†barber¬†and beauty salons, going into the beauty industry was ingrained in her from the start. Having such considerable sized goals and ambitions Ley couldn’t achieve one without the other.

Ley is working hard while doing a manicure on her client.

Ley is working hard while doing a manicure on her client.

She takes pride in helping others build their self-esteem up, she is a firm believer in the saying “when you look good, you feel good”. Understanding the struggles¬† African-American women face because¬†of the¬†constant scrutiny¬†of our skin and hair, in her own right, she¬†helps build¬†women up from the inside out.

Coming from an entrepreneurship family, Ley feels it is so important for women to go into business for themselves. Statistics show African-American businesses are on the rise and in particular for African-American women. We now have empowerment movements such as #blackgirlmagic and #blackgirlsrock, to Ley it would only make sense to take advantage of this momentum.

“It’s really important to take our leadership role to the next level. People jump on our swag, it’s important to make something off of it. Make it work for you”, Ley suggested.

Ley is constantly breaking the stereotype barrier of “black women can’t work¬†together,”with her seasonal Black Exchange project. During the summer months Cocktailz: A Beauty Bar hosted the Black Exchange to promote locally owned African-American businesses in St. Louis. Vendors of all sorts gather trading and selling products to the community.

“It was just a small idea at first, but while we have this platform we try to do other things to stimulate growth economically¬† in our community”, said Ley.¬† She is super proud of the success of the Black Exchange and the¬†people she was able to reach through it.

She takes pride in getting up everyday, putting her best foot forward, and putting it all into Cocktailz. Including her staff they aim to please, grow the brand, and really work hard in every aspect of the business.

Not only does she Slay in Slaying, but Ley continues to build on the importance of financial literacy in the African-American community. Contributing financial advice on social media is a step toward getting our community on the economic train.

“We need to understand the business side of graphs and numbers, African-Americans have been the underdogs in economics for sometime. Once we grasp the importance of knowing it, we will become a force to be reckon with”, said Ley.

But, that’s not all for Cocktailz: A Beauty Bar¬†this fall, Cocktailz will start their new venture called “Wine Down Wednesdays”. This weekly event will allow black owned business women to come together during happy hour to sell their products.

Ley keep Slaying, keep being you, because you are giving us Black Girl Magic!


Ashley Winters
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