As Ashley Broad of Hardcore Pawn on truTV (a Time Warner company) says, "If I can do it here, you can do it!"
She's referring to surviving and thriving in a traditionally male-oriented business, and she should know. As the daughter of Les Gold, owner of Detroit Michigan's 50,000 square foot American Jewelry & Loan business, Ashley grew up in what she refers to as "controlled chaos." If you've ever watched an episode of Hardcore Pawn, you know what Ashley means when she refers to controlled chaos, because the pawn store business is never the same, sometimes dangerous, and always surprising.
During a recent interview with Ashley, she told me that she started spending Saturdays at her father's pawn store as a young child. By age 7, she wrote her first pawn slip and knew from those early days in the family business that it was where she belonged. She got a degree in hotel and restaurant management from Michigan State University, but the pawn business was "in her blood." She always knew she'd return, so after college, she got her degree in diamonds from the Gemological Institute and returned to American Jewelry & Loan.
Ashley faces not just the male/female stigma that exists in the pawn industry, but she also has to handle the volatile and less-sensitive personalities of her father and her brother Seth, who works at Les Gold's pawn store, too. However, Ashley believes that as a female, she brings added value to the business.
Ashley explains, "I give the shop a twist because I see things differently than men. I try to help people. I talk to them on an even keel and give them the complete customer service they deserve. I can also see the value in some items that people bring in to sell that my father and brother can't see. When customers brought in beauty salon products, a spray tan booth, and a gynecologist table, the men didn't want them. I saw the value in those products because I see the female side that men don't."
And at the end of the day when she leaves the controlled chaos of American Jewelry & Loan, Ashley is able to flip the switch and transition from pawn store mode to wife and mother mode. "My car ride home is my peace," Ashley shares. "That's how I maintain work-life balance."
For other women aspiring to succeed in male-oriented businesses, Ashley offers these words of advice, "Believe in what you want. Just because a business is male-dominated, don't think you can't do it." Trust her. She does it every day.