One-On-One with Burbank marketing maven Ashley Erikson AKA ‘Miss Magnolia’

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Ashley Erikson has become a popular figure in Burbank, particularly in the city’s Magnolia Park district, where she lends most of her organizing and promotion prowess. There, she is a regular presence and is endearingly referred to as “Miss Magnolia.” A marketing maven, Erikson has been a tour de force in pulling the community together and promoting many great things about Burbank to residents and visitors alike.

By Shawn Dhanak

Ashley Erikson with Amber Schwinn, Lucille Ball look-alike, at Burbank’s annual “Holiday in the Park.” Erikson says, “For almost 20 years this event has taken place, and I have had the privilege to be organizing it for the past five years.”

Ashley Erikson has become a popular figure in Burbank, particularly in the city’s Magnolia Park district, where she lends most of her organizing and promotion prowess. There, she is a regular presence and is endearingly referred to as “Miss Magnolia.” A marketing maven, Erikson has been a tour de force in pulling the community together and promoting many great things about Burbank to residents and visitors alike.

After moving to the city at age 20, she says that she was struck by how special Burbank is. She quickly developed a genuine love for the city, especially the Magnolia Park area.

Through her own marketing company, Ashley Erikson Marketing, she helps many mom and pop shops along Magnolia Boulevard with their social media and advertising needs. She’s the organizer of Magnolia Park’s big annual winter festival, “Holiday in the Park,” and the neighborhood’s evermore-popular event “Ladies and Gents Night Out,” held the last Friday of each month 6pm-9pm. She also founded and leads the Magnolia Park Merchants Association, as well as two social networks for mothers in the area, “Burbank Mommies” and “Magnolia Park Mamas.”

She lives in Burbank with her husband and two boys, ages 5 and 9. The Tolucan Times caught up with Erikson for an exclusive interview.

 

Tell us why you love Magnolia Park — an elevator pitch, if you will, of what makes the neighborhood great.

I fell in love with Magnolia Park when I first discovered it in the spring of 2010.  I happened to drive by and notice all the cute vintage boutiques, eateries and unique specialty stores and I was really interested in this area. I planned a day with my mom and we walked from Buena Vista to Hollywood Way and back while pushing my son in a stroller. We had the best time discovering all of these cool stores and I had this feeling rising inside me that this was an area worth advertising but I couldn’t find anything about it online anywhere.

How did you first become involved in the promotion of the neighborhood?

I started a blog called “Steal Magnolia Blvd.” I featured store after store, taking pictures, interviewing owners and putting up blog posts highlighting how wonderful the stores were. While in the midst of my blog, I came across a new store that I was highlighting and while speaking to the owner she asked questions about getting her Facebook set up for her business. I helped her create one and get it started and then she asked if I could manage it for her because she wasn’t familiar with social media. I said yes and began posting on her behalf.  I quickly realized that this was a definite need in the small business community. I was soon managing multiple accounts along Magnolia Blvd.

You helped create a monthly neighborhood event in Magnolia Park called “Ladies and Gents Night Out.” Tell us more about it and what the inspiration was behind it.

One day I walked into Mindfulnest, an artisan gift shop on Magnolia Blvd., and told the owner I was helping local Magnolia Park businesses manage their social media. I walked maybe a block before she called me to come back – she did need some help managing an event called “Ladies Night Out.” At that time the event was fairly new and had been started by a boutique called Encore Nouveau (now closed). They had come up with an idea to have a ladies night out with wine and shopping at their store and soon Mindfulnest jumped onto the bandwagon and it started to grow into a neighborhood event.

I think what makes the event stand out is that it is really about the stores and not the food. It’s a way for people to explore the neighborhood and see all the cool shops and boutiques.  Stores really get to have fun with the event and will have face painting, live music, henna, art shows, sales and so much more. It’s really about the stores having one night to show off their business and say to the community, “Hey, we’re here! This is what we do.  Come in, explore, have fun and see what makes us special.”

What’s your role with the monthly event today? 

Flash forward to today, and “Ladies Night Out” looks a lot different. For one, it’s now called “Ladies and Gents Night Out,” to be more inclusive. Even the amount of stores and trucks have grown to 50 stores and 33 food trucks.  We’ve also stretched the event by three extra blocks over the last few years.

When I first got involved it was really more like ‘Hey, everyone stay open and let’s see what trucks show up and hope for the best.’ Now it is really more organized.

I love it and all the hard work and stress is worth it when I come to the event and see the families enjoying the event, kids smiling and dancing to the music and the stores filled with people.

What’s next for Magnolia Park? Any plans to build on the success of “Ladies and Gents Night Out?” 

“Ladies and Gents Night Out” brings in a lot of people, but it’s really our “Holiday in the Park” event that is the heart of Magnolia Park. For almost 20 years this event has taken place, and I have had the privilege to be organizing it for the past five years. We close Magnolia Blvd. for nine blocks and fill the street with fun activities like store booths, police and fire vehicles, a snow play area, Santa and Mrs. Claus, music and dance performances, an art show, a kids fun zone with bounce houses and games, food trucks, classic car show and much more!  Last year we had an estimated 22,000 people and it was definitely the best one yet. It’s quite possibly the biggest Burbank event of the year!

And your personal business, Ashley Erikson Marketing? 

I will definitely be focusing hard on Magnolia Park and coming up with some new creative ideas and events.

Five and a half years ago I co-founded a Facebook group called “Magnolia Park Mamas” that has now grown to over 4,000 mothers in the area. The online forum has been a saving grace for the local moms and has given back to the community by providing food for fire and police, gifting Burbank’s emergency service employees after the fires with Edible Arrangements, helping struggling moms get out of homelessness, pay bills, and provide gifts for their children over the holidays.

I have finally stepped away as admin on that project to focus on another project called “Burbank Mommies” that is focused on creating a network of Burbank mothers through mom’s night out events, playdates, and meeting up at community events.  It has really taken off and I’m excited to see where this new project will go.

For learn more about Ashley Erikson visit her marketing company’s website at AshleyErikson.com and for more about Ladies and Gents Night Out visit LadiesNightOutBurbank.com.

Shawn Dhanak is a writer with a passion for storytelling that inspires more civic engagement.

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.