Daniel Ashville Louisy is the founder and director of Ashville Holdings, a London-based group on the path to becoming one of the city’s leading construction superpowers. Though not traditionally seen as the most exciting industry, Daniel Ashville and his team have made construction cool to the masses through engaging content, and in the process have gained almost a million followers and hundreds of millions of views on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.
As a boss, Daniel holds a genuine love for his industry. Paired with unparalleled vision, a keen understanding in the power of branding and an infectious positive attitude, this love has made him and his group a raging success.
Dr Byron Cole: Can you share the story behind Ashville Holdings’ inception? What inspired you to turn your passion for construction and engineering into a thriving business empire?
Daniel Ashville Louisy: I realized in my early 20s that to succeed I needed to completely submerge myself in my chosen field and that would not be possible, or sustainable, unless I was passionate, and I loved what I did.
I have been somewhat obsessed with construction and engineering since I was a child. I was the kid who wanted to stand outside building sites, watching the trucks go in and out, and I was the boy on the platform at the train station trying to understand how the trains moved along the rails.
Cole: Running multiple businesses in construction, aggregates, concrete, waste management, and plant hire sounds like a complex undertaking. What are some of the unique challenges you’ve faced in managing such a diverse portfolio, and how have you overcome them?
Ashville: Each day in any business presents challenges, but especially in these sectors. No two days are the same and as the business has so many moving parts and variables, it requires constant supervision, management and problem-solving.
As I have undertaken every role in the businesses at some point, for example working in finance, administration, driving trucks, and machine operating, I often have a solution based on my boots-on-the-ground experience. It is important to be responsive and proactive. I consume all available information and I go through each possible scenario in my mind to provide a solution which best suits that particular challenge.
Cole: You’ve managed to amass a substantial online following through platforms like YouTube. How did you leverage digital media to elevate your brand and connect with your audience?
Ashville: When I started out in business, I did not feel that I could find reliable and understandable information from anyone with real-world success and experience. I found construction to be a closed and somewhat uninviting sector. So, when I started my online journey, I shared the information which I could not find previously and I decided that I would only talk about what I knew, what I do, and share my journey, whether good or bad. I find freedom in transparency.
There are a lot of well-established companies and competitors in the construction industry, so I wanted to do something to set Ashville apart.
Digital media has taken the Ashville brand leaps and bounds. I feel that we have a deep connection with our audience who loyally follow our journey with anticipation. While not all of the viewers will use Ashville for a service, overall, our reputation, brand recognition and digital footprint mean that for many, we are the first choice.
Cole: Ashville Weekly offers an inside look into your day-to-day challenges and successes. How do you balance transparency with maintaining a competitive edge in the business world?
Ashville: This was a learning curve and I soon learnt that my competitors were watching and would actively pursue my clients and projects. I still film all that I am doing, however, I frame shots in a way which protects information on locations and client names, while still sharing the narrative.
Cole: Building Impossible with Daniel Ashville is an exciting endeavor. Can you give us a sneak peek into the concept of the show and how it aligns with your personal and professional aspirations?
Ashville: I’m so excited about it! I travel the globe and work with teams on the ground on some of the most breathtaking and challenging projects and structures. The show directly aligns with both my personal and professional aspirations. While filming season one I explored, contributed, learnt, and experienced construction and engineering on a whole new level.
Cole: Your new show promises to explore the world’s most extraordinary and precarious builds. What criteria do you use to select the projects featured on the show, and what do you hope viewers will take away from it?
Ashville: We started with a shortlist of around 20 projects from all corners of the world. We then work closely with the project management teams on site to understand critical path work which would fall within our filming window. Each project is unique and no two are the same. Some are chosen for their size, some for records they set, some for their ground-breaking engineering or even their remote location.
I hope that viewers can share in my passion, see that construction is cool, involves more than just building, and understand how marvels are designed and developed.
Cole: National Geographic’s recognition of your fearlessness and passion speaks volumes. How do you stay motivated and maintain your enthusiasm even when facing daunting challenges?
Ashville: I love what I do so I never see it as work. I appreciate each day and think this is not owed to me, I need to be thankful that I am where I am in life.
Cole: Your series is airing on Nat Geo and Disney+, reaching a global audience. How does it feel to share your passion and experiences with viewers from around the world?
Ashville: If I am honest, it reassures me that it is okay not to be “normal”, not to follow the masses, to take your own path and that hard work will pay off. There are moments when we all doubt ourselves even if we do not share it with anyone. I followed a passion, went all in and it now, I may be able to share it with people in other countries I have never visited. It’s a deep breath and smile moment.
Cole: Beyond your entrepreneurial ventures, you’ve sponsored QPR Football Club and taken on bespoke projects like KSI’s games room. How do these endeavors contribute to your overall brand and vision?
Ashville: The sponsorship of QPR was something I wanted to do since I was a child. QPR is my local club and from a young age, I realised football jerseys imprinted brands into the minds of generations. For example, I knew the brands Candy, JVC and NEC long before I knew what they did as they were on football shirts. This was another way alongside digital media platforms to solidify the Ashville brands in the minds of the masses.
Working with KSI to create his YouTube room was intense and great fun. He is passionate about content and very competitive. He wanted the best creator room in the world and a space which motivated him. Both endeavors act as beacons to new audiences and demographics who we may not have reached previously.
Cole: What legacy do you hope to leave as an entrepreneur and media personality? Are there any uncharted territories you’re eager to explore in your journey?
Ashville: I hope my legacy is that if you believe and work hard, you will find a way. It is all possible and business is about more than buying for £1 and selling for £2. Personally, and in business, I would like to diversify and continue to move forward. Media wise I would definitely like to work on the next seasons of Building Impossible and new TV formats. I also think there are uncharted territories for the Ashville brand which are outside of the construction industry.
Cole: What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to turn their passions into successful business ventures, especially in industries as dynamic as construction and media?
Ashville: Business is never straightforward, and you will face challenges, ups and downs. Hard work, consistency and accountability are the foundations, and passion is the key which will hold it all together to give you the determination to overcome and push forward.
Cole: With such a dynamic career, how do you manage to strike a balance between your professional commitments and personal life?
Ashville: 90% of my life is my professional commitments and it has been that way for the past 15 years. I do not follow advice or guidance on work life balance. It is not work, I am trying to fulfil my goals and dreams and there is no one else who can do it for me.
Cole: Throughout your journey, what would you consider the most pivotal and defining moments that have shaped your trajectory?
I have a few timestamps embedded in my head:
• The first major build job Ashville Construction won in 2008.
• In 2012 Ashville Construction had a showroom at 541 Kings Road London. I stood outside and watched lorries tipping material and working on road surfacing. At the time we were doing a lot of basement work in South London and struggling for service. There and then on the spot it hit me, Ashville Aggregates, and I spent the next six months researching, putting together the business plan and setting up the required infrastructure.
• In 2016 almost all jobs Ashville Aggregates served faced delays as the sites were waiting for concrete. I decided at this point Ashville needed to provide Ready Mix Concrete and I spent the next three months researching, putting together the business plan and setting up the infrastructure.
• In 2017 all the companies in the group were experiencing supply chain issues so I began exploring alternatives and in 2019 the first train of material arrived in the Ashville Aggregates depot.
• In January of 2020 we started the digital media journey, and against advice, I decided that I would not use freelancers and that I would have my own dedicated production team.
• 2022 first contact from Hoff Productions and National Geographic.
• 2023 the release of Building Impossible with Daniel Ashville.
Cole: Industries like construction and media constantly evolve. How do you ensure your businesses and content remain relevant in ever-changing market landscapes?
Ashville: I am constantly looking at the businesses from different angles, analyzing and recruiting especially talented and driven individuals. I found that if I can take time out from working in the business and work on the business, then I have the ability to make better decisions.
This means that the content we produce is ever-evolving as it documents the business and my journeys in real time.
Cole: As Building Impossible with Daniel Ashville prepares to premiere on a global stage, what emotions and expectations do you have for this next chapter in your career?
Ashville: I am full of optimism, excitement and I am looking forward to it all. I do not fear the unknown and will take each day and assess each opportunity as it comes.
Learn more about Ashville Holdings here, and catch Building Impossible with Daniel Ashville on National Geographic UK Thursdays at 8pm GMT.