Ashley Black is the Founder of Ashley Black, Inc. and the inventor and developer of a line of beauty and health products that aid in tissue regeneration all over the body. Most notably, Ashley is the inventor of the FasciaBlaster, a line of fascia care tools that are designed to treat and prevent a variety of issues from cellulite to chronic pain. Having dealt with chronic pain in her own life, Ashley believes her experience gave her the purpose to develop her products and share them with the public via her online following in the millions. Ashley describes herself as a “mermaid” with a love for surfing, free-diving, and everything to do with the ocean; she lives in Costa Rica with her partner, Jordi. Ashley has been a member of C200 since April 2023.
Eva Glassman: Hi, Ashley! So, tell me about yourself. What do you do?
Ashley Black: At the heart of what I do, I’m an inventor. I love pushing the boundaries in health and beauty and try to look at them from a different perspective. I see myself as a wacky, “should-be-locked-away-in-a-lab-somewhere-to-blow-things-up” kind of inventor. I ran my business as the CEO until a few years ago, but now I focus on just being the face and founder, and I’m hoping to sell the business and retire soon.
My most successful invention is a line of beauty and health devices called the FasciaBlaster tools. FasciaBlasters are remarkably simple and almost silly to look at, but my crowning achievement to date is conducting and publishing a peer-reviewed research project on the tools that proved they do remodel fascia tissue. We’ve sold over 2 million FasciaBlasters—there’s a lot of women and men out there that use them and constantly post pictures of their results. We don’t even have to say anything anymore—we let our users do the talking at this point!
EG: Talk me through your career journey. Where did you start? How did you end up where you are and what do you think are the biggest factors that led to your success?
AB: The core of my business is very personal and authentic to who I am. This was never a team of investors; one of the things I’m most proud of—and slightly annoyed by—is that I’ve never taken a dollar of funding. This is something that was a passion from my heart and what I think is a “true American success story.” It’s all based on my own need, solving a problem for myself, and extending that into helping millions of people.
The journey started young for me, when I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) in the fourth grade. At that time, I was a competitive gymnast; JRA didn’t go well with my plans. [laughs] I went to the doctor often and took medications, but nothing was working. By the time I was 18, I discovered that I could manage the pain of my JRA if I was extremely fit all the time, but I knew there had to be a better way, that there was a bigger picture we weren’t looking at.
After giving birth to my daughter at 29, I had a huge arthritic flare-up. I was in horrible pain and couldn’t be a mother at all. After two weeks, I went back to the hospital to get my hip and lower back drained. That was how I dealt with my pain as a kid before gymnastic meets, so it was a semi-normal procedure for me. This time, however, there was a complication; a bacteria spread from my bone marrow to my entire nervous system, and I went from being in blinding pain to fighting for my life. My entire body was septic. I spent four months in the hospital and had a total near-death experience—you know, the tunnel, the visions, the connection with the universe. I received the message that I had to go back to my children and that there was something I needed to bring to the world, but I had to be patient for it to reveal itself.
That event made all my history make sense; I was in school for engineering at the time, but I was more interested in fitness, nutrition, and how to optimize the body. I decided to leave engineering school and met a Chinese medical doctor who taught me about meridians and the fascia. In Chinese medicine, the fascia is the chi—the energy source. I became fascinated with it, so I took a dissection course and started studying the fascia, getting papers shipped over from China to translate. By learning how to manipulate the fascia system on my own body, I got to a point of healing where I was and still am almost fully functional. I started applying the same methods I used for myself on my friends and family, and at one point my local chiropractor was like, “What’s that you’re doing?” That’s what set off my career.
I do believe I’m an amazing businesswoman, but none of this started from that belief. It came from a place of: “This was put on me by the universe, and I’m going to force it to happen one way or another.” I still feel that way, and it’s 22 years since that event.
EG: That is an incredible story, and I think it’s so interesting that you were in school for engineering before switching gears to fitness and nutrition, because physical health has been so important in your life. Your passion and purpose for your business comes from a very personal and lived experience.
AB: I recently told my partner, Jordi, that I hardly feel injured anymore. However, on our recent trip to Europe, I’m walking around Barcelona, carrying bags up hills, eating gluten and whatnot, and I had a couple of arthritic flare-ups. I wouldn’t say it was nice, but it was a reminder of all the things I do to keep myself pain-free. Everybody has some kind of pain they deal with every day. My professional journey is getting my tools, techniques, and knowledge into the hands of as many people as possible, both consumers and health professionals.
EG: At C200, we’re all about Success Shared and women supporting women, so I’d love to know if you’ve had any female mentors over the course of your career, or if there are any women you’ve admired and taken inspiration from.
AB: It’s so funny you’re asking that because I really didn’t have any mentors! I wish I had been more open to that and sought it out sooner; I’ve always been the wacky person on their own little island.
Right now, I’m at a point in my business where I’ve done all that I can do for it, and we need to take it to the next level. If you talk to a lot of business mentors, they will tell you that the team—including yourself—that gets you from zero to $100 million is not the same team that will take you from $100 million to $1 billion. That’s where I stand financially with my business, and when I realized this, I also realized that being without mentors was the worst thing I could have possibly done; I didn’t have the network of those higher-level people who could help me. That’s where Alexandra Lebenthal comes in; she is the only business mentor I’ve had and has been key in helping me understand what it’s going to take to get my business to the next phase of its success.
Before this inflection point in my business, the influential people in my life were those who offered me spiritual guidance. I’ve been a yogi for 30 years and had a strong mentor in yoga who was a big help in strengthening me emotionally. I’ve had more mentors in my spiritual life than in my business life. Hopefully, because I’m a C200 Member now, I’ll have a better answer in a few years. I think that’s why Alexandra wanted to bring me into C200—I need mentorship and colleagues who are at my professional level.
EG: What does being a “woman in business” mean to you and how do you apply that thinking to your entrepreneurial work?
AB: I don’t feel like a “classic feminist.” I’ve never felt like being a woman was ever a disadvantage to me along my career journey; in fact, I felt like it was an advantage. For example, I would walk into the Yankees training room with confidence—despite all the mayhem happening around me—and still felt like the star, because I knew that what I had to bring was something they couldn’t get anywhere else.
However, once I started fundraising, I realized that my business has been growing since day one and growing fast every year—why weren’t people lining up to fund me? That’s when I started hearing statistics about less than 2% of professional capital going to women. I was honestly shocked. Now that I’ve been fundraising for three years, although no one has treated me as less-than because I’m a woman, I understand that it’s a real experience for most women in business—that’s the reality. The statistics don’t lie; they aren’t someone’s opinion.
I’ve become so much more of an advocate for women in business now. I’d love to start some kind of fund after I retire, because women are extraordinary, and we just don’t have access to the capital! When I exit my business, I won’t be giving any money to men! [laughs] Not because they aren’t worthy, but because they have so many other avenues!
EG: Outside of work, what do you like to do for fun?
AB: I am basically a mermaid. I can’t not live on the water—we live in Costa Rica on the water and any day that I get to surf is a good day for me. It has a combination of so many things that we need: it’s fun, a little scary, and gives you all those life lessons about riding the waves—there’s a reason why people use those sayings! I like to free-dive, spearfish, lay on the beach—anything that goes with beach. I understand why people drop out of society altogether and become beachbums!
I also love self-development and spiritual development. I watched Goop Lab on Netflix and thought, “I’ve already done all of that!” [laughs] People always ask me what I’m doing all the way out in Costa Rica, and I tell them, “I just get weird out in the jungle.” Life is about the connection to the planet and the universe, whether that’s done through ceremony, surfing, charity, meditation, sound baths—whatever it is. That’s the lane I live in.
EG: What is your advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs to advance their own careers?
AB: I recently co-wrote the #1 bestselling book BE… From Passion and Purpose to Product and Prosperity with Korie Minkus and Lisa Vrancken, two of my girlfriends who are powerhouses in consumer goods products. When we started writing, we thought we could write a female business blueprint—don’t fall into these landmines, here’s how to deal with these kinds of difficult people, etc.—but then we realized: that’s not how we became successful. We found success by being authentic to ourselves as women and not confining ourselves to the “girlboss” stereotypes. You don’t need to assimilate to “business culture” (i.e., a typically masculine space) to be respected as a woman. In short, the book is about success being ultimately self-defined. It’s about being honest with yourself, not just accepting the societal ideas of what success looks like, and building your business from a place of—and I know this sounds hokey—authenticity, love, genuineness, and not stepping on people. You want to sleep well at night!
We place so much emphasis on women achieving financial milestones as success, but I think women should design their ideal lifestyles (i.e., what success is to them) and work their way backwards to determine how to achieve that. It’s important to have clarity around what you want, not just the dollar amount. Otherwise, you’re overworking yourself for things that don’t matter to you. You must be authentic, clear in what you want and what it’s going to take, and manifest that. Ten years ago, I didn’t realize I had a choice; it’s society and generational beliefs that tell us to be workhorses. The reality is that we must work in ways that build teams and support systems around you.
EG: It’s important to have people who you trust, who have your vision in their minds, and who will work with you to achieve it.
AB: No one ever loves your company as much as you, and no one is ever going to do it as best as you, but would you rather have a team of B- players that get you to the goal, or would you rather be the A+ person that does everything yourself? You have to be okay with trusting others for the greater good because that’s how amazing things get done, and those things are still amazing even if you didn’t do it by yourself.
When Korie, Lisa, and I first started drafting our book, I told them, “You’re never going to feel like this book is perfect. You’re going to have to be okay with ‘good enough.’” I will reread my own books and still think, “Why did I say that? That sounds terrible!” But other people don’t see it that way; they love and resonate with it, which is the goal at the end of the day. If you’re going to build a business and be super successful, you can’t carry that level of perfectionism with you—you’ll just get exhausted. Let’s not do that, ladies! Let’s find some happiness outside of work instead!
EG: What are you most excited about as a new C200 Member?
AB: Everything, is the short answer! I’m so excited to jump in; I’ll be at the Annual Conference this October!
I’m 51 years old and just now building a network of women. I’m so happy to be a part of C200 and align with other women who are at similar places in their careers as me. I’m looking forward, for the first time ever, to having a tribe of businesswomen in my corner. I have this so beautifully in my personal life; I can’t imagine how amazing it will be to have this in my professional life! If you build your business to a place where things become complicated, you need to have people you can go to with those complicated questions.
I also look forward to being a mentor. I love to work with young people, and I believe anyone can achieve their dreams, however impossible they seem. If we get more women into positions of global power, we may finally get some stuff done around here!
I hope that as the women in C200 get to know me, they get to know me—my authentic self. I recently attended an amazing C200 webinar and loved to see that a lot of these women have known each other for years and years. I’m so excited to be at the start of that.