A Founder’s Story with The CEO and Founder of Mushroom Design, Ashley Southard
Ashley Southard is the CEO of Mushroom Design, a nutraceutical company bringing science to the world of mushroom supplements while it explores the pharmaceutical health benefits of both their functional and psychedelic application. Previously a founder, CEO, and COO of companies supporting people + planet via for-profit and non-profit ventures in the nutraceutical, mental health, and wellness sectors, including psychedelic medicine.
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up
I am a born and raised Miami-an (rare!) that was always on the quieter side, and always had a book in my hand. I was a dancer through my entire adolescence/teen years, which really paved the way for my focus on the mind-body connection.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I was always a bit of an independent leader, but I decided to really pursue my health/wellness passion as a “side hustle” when I was, at the time, running another company, by finding consulting projects and small jobs on UpWork related to the niche I enjoyed. I’m not going to sugar-coat it — it was exhausting, as my “day job” was 8–9 hours of my day, but I did commit to at least 1.5 hours of my “passion work” after “regular work.” From there, I actually met my first cofounder, and we started our agency together. In all the work we were doing there, I got deeper and deeper into the alternative health space, which included the ever-expanding longevity and psychedelic medicine fields. Establishing these connections and these experiences is what paved the way for me to found my second company, Mushroom Design.
What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
Plan for double everything in forecasting: it will take at least double the time you think it will build a product (or source an ingredient, or code a website), and it will take (usually) double the money/cost you think it will.