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Conversations with Ashley Cooke

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Cooke.

Ashley Cooke

Thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, how did you get started?
I’m a small business owner (as a photographer) and know how other small businesses have directly helped my own grow. We all have our strengths and skills, and using those to help another business where they lack, and vice versa, will directly benefit both sides. I have been praying and dreaming for a decade to have a studio space. When my family purchased land in Bulverde to continue to grow our business, we knew it was important to share what we had. But with limited resources after purchasing the land, we wondered how we would proceed. Starting a market day was the best way to share what we had with others while we figured out how to build our own business. Through our market day, we have met dozens of other small businesses and built a community that supports one another. It is a blessing to get to know local makers and support their small businesses with products and services we need and not depend so much on big box stores. Our area has so many creative, talented, and dedicated people! We host a market day on our land every 2nd and 4th Saturday from 9:00 – 2:00 with 25+ vendors and a few food trucks that offer a variety of foods, art, crafts, and handmade items. We want to grow the market with more vendors and continue to provide a safe and welcoming space for all to shop and connect with our beautiful community.

Can you talk to us about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned? Looking back, has it been easy or smooth in retrospect?

  1. We got a crash course in city ordinances when we first started researching what we would need to do to host a market on our property. Many people do not know that just because you own the land, you cannot do whatever you want. The City must approve anything and everything, and understanding the ordinances can be daunting. We spent months preparing to have Planning and Zoning meetings and City Council hearings to get approval to host the market.
  2. Then, the search began for vendors. I learned very quickly that communication is key! Most people took several days to respond to emails or phone calls if they responded at all. This surprised me! Prompt and clear communication is important in gaining your potential client’s trust to grow a business. But a surprising amount of businesses I have been in contact with over the last two years while building this market have been tough to get in touch with and stay in touch with. Many last-minute cancellations, “Oh, I forgot,” or no-shows make planning the market days difficult. The few days before a market day, my phone is constantly dinging!

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. What can you tell our readers who might need to be more familiar with what you do?
The Bulverde Market Day started with a few vendors and has grown into 25+. As a photographer, I like to take photos during the market of each vendor’s products to post on social media to spread the word. Every week, I search for quality vendors to add to the market, make advertisements for upcoming events, coordinate with vendors, and ensure the market area is clean and safe. After every need, I feel incredibly blessed to meet so many wonderful people in our community. I have learned so much about how other small businesses operate and how important it is to support local makers.

I am a certified professional photographer specializing in family and high school senior portraits. However, growing up in south Texas, my lifelong passion has been landscape and wildlife photography. I’m a portrait photographer, and my side hustle is being a photographic artist (landscapes, wildlife, macro). My main gig is photography, and my side gig is photography! Taking time in the great outdoors to capture all of Texas’s beauty inspires creativity for my portrait session clients, which helps my work stand out from others. I am proud that I started in the darkroom and have continued to learn and grow my craft with every technology advance. I earned certification through Professional Photographers of America last year and am very proud of the time and effort I put into that accomplishment. Test-taking is different from my strong suit!

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
Our city is so diverse! There is something for everyone and then everything in between. With so many talented and kind people, there is no wonder why this area of Texas is growing so fast. Construction, construction, that’s a never-ending bummer!


  • Vendor fee for the market is $40
  • Photography services start at $550

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Ashley Cooke Photography

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