Business Alumnus Ranks #6 Nationally

by Office of Alumni and Parent Relations | Mar 12, 2013

Ashley (Lancaster) Steward ’09 knows without a doubt that she attended Valley Forge Christian College for a reason. She made great friends, learned vital skills in her business classes, and developed spiritually. But when her study partner in her Old Testament Survey class introduced her to Premier Designs Jewelry, a 28-year-old direct sales jewelry company,  she discovered the business that would forever change her life. 

In August 2010, Ashley quit her post-graduation job and became an official Premier jeweler — a huge leap of faith. As a jeweler, she would have to network with potential hosts to schedule her own jewelry shows, spread the word to future customers, and recruit and mentor new jewelers to continue to grow the business.

For the first few months, she experienced a roller coaster of emotions and experiences. That December, she was scheduled for nine jewelry shows. Leading up to the shows, eight out of the nine cancelled. Disheartened, Ashley began to wonder if she had made the right decision to walk away from a secure job for the uncertainty of this new business. 

So Ashley did the only thing she knew to do: She gave the one show that was left to God and prayed that He would bless it. He certainly did.

In her first two years, Ashley held a total of 243 shows and added numerous assistants to her “Premier Family.” Just last year, she realized something amazing: over 70 shows and contacts with ten new jewelers had come from the one show that was wholly dedicated to the Lord two years prior.

She’s now one of the leaders in the business and has received regional and national awards for her work. Last year, out of 42,000 Premier jewelers, Ashley was ranked number six in the entire nation for her work in bringing new people into the Premier Jewelry family. 

Ashley currently mentors 40 women in Premier. Throughout the month, she provides those women with training, compiles newsletters and finds resources to help them become even better in the business. “I thank God for some of the classes I took at VFCC,” Ashley said. “Without them I definitely wouldn’t know how to do some of the things I am doing.”

Some of the women with whom she interacts regularly aren’t Christians, and Ashley has been able to be part of their faith journey. She regularly talks with them about the Lord, and strives to be an example to them with her life and business.

As Ashley looks back on her journey with Premier, she feels grateful for the opportunity to be part of such an inspiring and generous company. “I’ve seen how God is honored in this company. When I started believing in my company, and combined that belief with hard work, it made a difference. I wanted to share that blessing with everyone.” 

“What does the future hold?" Ashley asks herself with a laugh. "Well, I plan to keep doing 100 shows a year and I don’t ever plan on quitting.”