Get to Know Julie Josephine Blystad, Founder of Julie Josephine Essentials!
We had a chat with 31-year old Julie Josephine Blystad, founder of the timeless, classic and beautiful clothing brand Julie Josephine Essentials. She finished a master in business and finance at the University of Edinburgh, before deciding to pursue her dream of creating the perfect withe t-shirt - which ended up with Julie Josephine Essentials! These days she’s busy running her own business, as well as planning her wedding with her soon-to-be husband this upcoming October.
Talking «Julie Josephine»
Can you share how you came up with the idea and how the process of starting Julie Josephine came together?
I’ve always had an extreme interest in what women wear, fashion and finding pieces to my wardrobe that looks effortless when you put them on. I can literally remember being 5 years old, crying at school because I was not happy with my outfit (horrible, I know). I’ve always had an extreme fascination and obsession with finding pieces to my wardrobe that looks effortless, and that looks good on you from morning to night.
I was working in PWC five years ago and my mind often wandered away by the thought of the perfect white t-shirt. Where could I find this perfect white t-shirt, with the perfect fit, with a nice round neckline, hugging the perfect amount around the body while having a fabric that’s not to thin and not too thick? This t-shirt was just nowhere to be found. I was convinced that I would be able to create the perfect white t-shirt. I just knew in my head exactly how it would look and feel.
So, after PWC I joined the YME universe team and helped them build their concept store. It was here I understood the demand for great basic wear. Just the bread and butter that every store needed and every customer demanded. I was convinced that my idea would work. Therefore, in 2015 I contacted the founders of SWIMS, had a meeting with them and received some great advices that I brought with me before founding Julie Josephine Essentials.
They gave me a great contact, who helped me design and create the pieces I believed was missing in the marked and that every women needed in their wardrobe. We started with two t-shirt and a shirt. The fabrics were carefully picked and was washed hundreds of times to make sure that the quality was of the best kind. And then, in may 2016 I launched Julie Josephine Essentials!
Do you think you’re faced with any specific challenges being a female CEO in Norway?
I could write a whole essay about this subject. The answer is no. It might be because I’ve grown up with a very strong mother, and two ambitious sisters. But the thought of something being challenging due to your gender has just not not been a topic at our dinner table. If you wanted something, you went for it, period.
I think every person experiences challenges from time to time in their job, myself included, but never has this been due to being female. At least I’ve never interpreted it that way.
What are your future plans for Julie Josephine?
We’ve been growing quite a bit the last year. We went from only selling our brand online and to two fashion stores, to opening our own store in Oslo and selling to almost 30 stores across the country.
Our strategy and plan going forward is really focusing on the Norwegian market and the stores we’re in. Really establishing ourselves as a brand in Norway, making sure we’ve happy, returning customers. Also, I love the concept of pop-up stores. This concept enables you to learn more about your customer, without carrying the risk of having to stay put for five years at a time. We’ve had pop-up stores both at EGER and CC-vest, which has really helped spread the word. We will definitely continue opening stores like this.
We have also signed with a store/web shop in Sweden called Wakakuu. This is our first international store, which is very exciting. We do believe our focus will shift more and more towards the Swedish and Danish market. But first, Norway! In addition, our long term plan is selling to Barneys NYC and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as opening a pop-up store in Soho! This is the ultimate goal!
What advices would you give those who wants to start a business themselves?
I would say that if you think about an idea for more than two years and you’re still convinced it’s a good idea, go for it! Be patient. Building a business doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t allow yourself to stress when things don’t go your way. Always have confidence in your idea and be humble. Lastly, surround yourself with talented, positive, hardworking people. These are the people you will learn from and that will help you reach your goals.
Talking fashion & beauty
What are the key-pieces you need to have in your wardrobe?
A white t-shirt, a white shirt, a blazer, a classic pair of jeans and a black turtleneck.
When in a fashion crisis, what do you wear?
I would either put on a black turtleneck, jeans and black high heeled boots or a pair of jeans, white t-shirt and a blazer. These outfits are easy to either dress up or down.
What’s the definition of «true beauty» in your opinion?
Three words for me that define true beauty is natural, comfortable and happy. Wearing a natural amount of make-up, being comfortable in your own skin and in what you’re wearing, and being happy. This defines true beauty for me.
How do you practice self-love?
Hmm, good question. I think it is important not to compare yourself to anyone, but rather try to be the best version of yourself. I think if you become comfortable with this idea you will come a long way.
Can you share your AM/PM skincare routine with us?
I have been very picky with my skin routine because I have struggled with melasma for many, many years. Together with my skin therapist we have found the cure! MeLine. Anyone who is struggling with melasma, try MeLine! I have literally tried everything there is, and this has been the only thing that has worked.
Also, I use Elixir Foam Cleanser morning and night. My day and night cream and serum are actually the same. They’re both from Noon Aestetics. Amazing products! Every other night I use Meline to keep my melasma in check. I also think it’s very important to get facials, something I do every six weeks.
You’re showing friends around in Oslo who’ve never been there before, where do you take them?
I would probably start with breakfast at home. Just to really show them a classic Norwegian breakfast. I would do a quick visit to Holmenkollen and Frognerseteren Restaurant, just because it’s so very Norwegian.
After that I think I would take them to lunch at Vineria , an Italian restaurant at Frogner. If the weather is nice you can sit outside. I would later on go to Samson bakeri and buy the best cinnamon buns in town, while taking a walk in Frognerparken. Then, for dinner we would go to Le Benjamin and have drinks at Territoriet.
What’s your favorite museum in Oslo?
In Oslo, probably the Astrup Fearnley Museum. Though I should admit that I am horrible at going to museum in Oslo.
Can you share us the best vacation you’ve been on? Where was it to, and why is it your favourite so far?
The best vacation so far would be celebrating my mother’s birthday in the alps- St Moritz. First of all, vacationing in the alps is so much fun. I love waking up early, skiing for a couple of hours and eating a really good cheese fondue for lunch outside, while looking over the mountains.
When getting back to the hotel, the best feeling is going to the spa for some relaxation before meeting for dinner and drinks. We travelled the whole family, so all my sisters were there, with boyfriends, husbands and my cute little nephew. I think this was the best vacation so far. I’m a truly family person by heart.
When in need of some cultural input, what do you like to do?
If I could choose to do anything, I would travel to New York, sit at a café and watch people. I love just watching people on the streets - and New York is the best place to do just that. So many different people, with different backgrounds and styles. I could do it for hours. After that I would probably text my good friend, who has incredible knowledge when it comes to art, and ask which art galleries in New York that are must sees, and go there!
Check out Julie Jopsephine’s online store here! And have a sneak-peak of the beautiful clothes here:
All photos are Julie Josephine’s own, unless otherwise is stated, and published with her permission.
Written by Anine Netland Hulløen