Sixx:A.M. guitarist DJ Ashba talked about his day job outside of playing guitar – being the owner of a multi-million dollar company called Ashba Media.
“I started the company in 2003 and I beat out a bunch of agencies to get the Virgin account.
“That was kind of a bullshit luck thing, I had built websites, I was a graphic designer and I caught wind of the singer of Sixx:A.M., James Michael, his girlfriend Dee worked at Virgin, she gave me a heads-up, ‘Hey, they’re looking for a new agency of record.’
“I was literally broke at the time, and all she could do is get me the meeting. I was going through a really bad breakup and I literally was broke because the chick I was with stole the last of what I had.
“My singer James loaned me a couple thousand dollars, I think like $4,000, the only loan I’ve ever taken in my life, and it killed me to take it. But what I did with that money was, first of all I had to get a place to live, and then I took the last remaining $1,000 and incorporated the name Ashba Media, which nobody would be proud of in their right mind.
“But I believed in this so much and I convinced the three graphic designers I had already worked with over the years, ‘Hey, if you give me the time for two weeks, let’s sit down, design all these ad campaigns, and if we get the gig I’ll put you on a great salary for as long as we have it.’
“And they agreed to do it.
“Long story short, we got the gig. So we went from me borrowing $4,000 to paying James back within two weeks and literally build it into a multi-million dollar company. And we’re still going strong. I moved the company to Vegas, we went there from working out of our living room.
“And then I had an idea – because up to that point it was all graphic design, like in-store ad campaigns. And then I came across this very talented couple online – Lisa and Frank – they were building this life-size Jason ‘Friday the 13th’ series character, kind of a Madame Tussauds thing.
“I remember thinking, ‘If I could build a company that can build anything I can dream up in my head, I think I’ll be onto something.’ And that’s what I did.
“I ended up moving their whole family to Vegas and they still work for me 5 years later. And then all of a sudden Cirque Du Soleil knocked on my door because of all the stuff we did with Virgin, and we started building life-sized characters in 3D environments – it just took off from there…”
Ashba concluded: “I’m not that smart, but I’m smart enough to know that you can’t entertain the world forever. Eventually your bones are gonna give out. I’m married, I have a beautiful wife Natalia, she’s just the best thing ever. When you get married, all your priorities change – you stop thinking about you, you, you, and you start thinking about us. And it’s like, ‘If I can’t perform tomorrow, if I break my hand or whatever, I need to know I have something…’
“When I was in Guns N’ Roses, there’d be 60,000 people waiting for me to get onstage, and I’d be on the computer doing business. Every waking minute I had, I was building this company.
“In 2008, I took that company and we started designing a clothing line called Ashba. We sell worldwide. Now we just launched our first retail store into stratosphere. It’s been on fire and it’s just been great. And that’s been my life! [Laughs]”
If you want more info on Ashba Media and their projects, check out the official site.