Welcome back to our “At Home with Ashley” series, where we introduce you to team members from across the Ashley HomeStore family! Over the next few editions, we’ll highlight the stories and experiences of our Ecommerce Merchandising Team. This ever-growing team works tirelessly to provide our customers with a product assortment that meets the vision of their dream home.

In this particular post, we virtually sat down with Ryan Willis, the Ecommerce Category Manager for Home Office and Outdoor. He shared his experience through his year and a half of working at Ashley HomeStore and what he looks for in his space. 

What is Merchandising?

Now, you might be wondering what someone on our Ecommerce Merchandising Team does on a daily basis. A merchant is responsible for the product assortment, pricing, promotions and site experience for their respective category. This applies to all the shoppable items on our website, from Ashley-manufactured products to our selection of third-party goods. As the Manager of Home Office and Outdoor, Willis is tasked with maintaining those categories. 

So, as you scroll through the Ashley HomeStore site searching for the perfect pieces for your home office or outdoor area, remember Willis. He and his team have worked diligently to ensure that you find a great style for your space. From the office chair to the chaise lounge. 

After working in retail marketing for some time, Willis made the choice to pursue a career that was more involved in the selection and pricing process of the product that was being sold. He said he loves the opportunity to work on the merchandising team because of the freedom he has with completing his tasks. 

“I feel like having the right product at the right price is more important than anything else you can do in retail, and a career in merchandising allowed me the opportunity to have input on those decisions,” he said. “Being able to make decisions that truly affect our top and bottom lines is what I enjoy the most.”

Shared Spaces

As for his interior design style, he describes his “hands-off” approach when it comes to decorating his shared home. When moving in with his now fiancee, Willis gave her complete creative freedom when shopping for their home. He recognized her talent for it and simply made sure she didn’t go over budget. 

“She’s great at it. She said her style is probably a cross between mid-century modern, glam and shabby chic,” he said.

For other couples preparing to move in together, Willis advises following a “less is more” philosophy for decorating. “Overly-cluttered spaces drive me crazy. Focus on having a clean and focused look. And always be open to compromise with your partner, especially when they have better interior design taste. 

“So my advice, for men specifically, is to be prepared to part with a lot of your stuff when moving in with a woman,” he said. “They almost always have much better taste than us, and don’t want our monochromatic bachelor furniture messing up their look.”

Quality Time at Home

At the end of the day, Willis uses his home as a place to disconnect from work and mentally recharge. And although he loves the fast-paced nature of his job, he needs to reset after a day full of communication. 

“I’m thankful for having a job where I’m not closed off from the world but it can also wear you out mentally,” he said. “In order to balance out all that communication, disconnecting and enjoying time with people you care about is crucial. That’s what home is made for, in my eyes.”

Willis usually exercises four to six times a week to stay active. So he takes weekend relaxation a step further by taking a break from his busy workout routine. He uses his days off to indulge in his favorite foods and shows with his fiancee. 

We are so excited to continue our tour of Ashley HomeStore. Stay tuned as we introduce more members of our Ecommerce Merchandising Team! And if you’d like to catch up on the previous editions of our “At Home with Ashley” series, click here

What has been your favorite tip so far? Share in the comments below. You can also send us your picture-perfect space. Use #MyAshleyHome on Instagram to possibly be featured on our feed. You can also find more inspiration for your home on our Pinterest boards.