Celebrating Makers


Ashley Dassinger Carson has created a retail power couple, that generates commerce in the core of downtown and supports women, artists and local creators.

Opening in Spring 2020, Topeka will have two new stores gracing downtown: Markers, with unique artisan products and ASH Boutique, offering contemporary women’s fashions. Topeka entrepreneur Ashley Dassinger Carson is at the heart of both store concepts and operations, which will flank the north and south sides of The Pennant restaurant, located on the 900 block of Kansas Avenue.

“We’re thrilled to be part of downtown Topeka’s burgeoning retail and restaurant scene,” said Ashley, “I’m excited to bring something brand new to downtown Topeka…to continue making the area more vibrant, walkable and shoppable than ever.”  

Makers has been a passion project of Ashley’s for several years, but she felt now was the right time to bring the new concept to downtown. “There’s an exciting shift happening in retail with a focus on handmade merchandise,” said Ashley, “a maker’s movement.”

Locally designed, handmade gift and lifestyle items are what shoppers will find at Makers. It will also feature a curated selection of jewelry, clothing, baby gifts, furniture, soaps and lotions, stationery items, candles and artwork by Kansas artisans and books by Kansas authors. The store will also offer fresh florals.

Makers is all about, the makers inquivatably, and will reinvent the concept of the co-op. Vendors will not pay rent for shelf or booth space, but instead operational and marketing fees plus a commission on sales. “I’ve been part of co-ops before and felt the frustration of paying for a business that was based on my rent, not on sales of my products. Makers will be a win-win for all involved because we’re all invested in the success of these carefully selected items,” says Ashley.

Ashley will hand select creators and Makers will market and display products throughout the store, in a beautifully integrated and merchandised set up, a stark contrast to the traditional vendor box booths. Ashley believes this team approach will help everyone:  customers get a seamless store experience and creators get the compound benefit of each other’s artistry.

As a veteran retailer and entrepreneur, Ashley is leveraging her almost 20 years of retail experience and success in marketing ASH Boutique into the launch of Makers. “I know my customers very well. I know what they want,” said Ashley. “Shopping is more than just a purchase, it’s an experience. Customers are looking to buy something that has a story, has style and has roots in this area.” High quality and locally made are what they are seeking.

The 2,500 square foot treasure trove will be located on the north side of The Pennant, at 913 Kansas Avenue. Currently in the midst of renovations, Ashley anticipates a public grand opening in Spring 2020. Interested in selling your unique creations at Makers? Makers is currently accepting applications from creators and artisans at MakersKS.com

A similar sized retail space, located on the south side of The Pennant, will be dressed in new digs come spring. ASH Boutique, Ashley’s flagship business, has been threading rockin’ Topeka ladies for the past five years. Located in the historic Westboro Mart, the decision to move their storefront to downtown was of necessity and growth opportunity.  “Frankly, we need the room because we’ve outgrown the space at our current location,” said Ashley. The move downtown will double the boutique”s current retail space and add much-needed warehouse space, allowing them meet the needs of the shop’s expanding e-commerce.

“This is crucial to us meeting customer demand,” said Ashley. “More room means we’ll offer more brands and variety. We’ll also have more sizes including more plus sizes [ASH for All is the tagline for their line of plus size clothing] and, more shoes!”

As a female entrepreneur, Ashley Dassinger Carson has been rockin’ Topeka for over six years, but it’s her “why” that makes her a seveneightfive Woman Who Rocks. ASH Boutique, which opened in 2014, has a mission and purpose to help women feel great in their clothes. “When we feel great in our clothes, then we feel we can accomplish anything – with family, career and community,” said Ashley. “That’s what ASH is all about!”