It’s always a special treat when a designer makes their way to Gainesville. While this usually happens during Gainesville’s annual Fashion Week in the spring, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Julie Bee’s trunk show at a local shopping center recently. Julie Brown of Julie Bee’s shoes is based out of Atlanta, and has created a line of shoes that is both eco-friendly and stylish — something that is definitely a hard balance to achieve in the fashion world. However, Brown has created a great brand that is made with sustainability and style as the focus. I loved talking to Julie about her brand, her experience in the fashion industry and, of course, having the chance to look at all of the beautiful shoes!
Name: Julie Brown
CollegeFashionista: How did you start your collection / where did you get the initial idea?
Julie Brown: Julie Bee’s was established after I was unable to find sustainable, comfortable and fashion-forward shoes to wear to work and out with friends. There are a lot of great work boots and tennis shoes made in the United States, but those didn’t fit my need. Julie Bee’s is a handcrafted American Luxury footwear brand for women. Our goal is to create a feel wonderful experience for our customers.
CF: What advice would you give for students in college who are looking to get into the fashion industry in one way or another?
JB: I didn’t go the tradition fashion industry route…but choose the path more from an entrepreneurial mindset, so I have had to learn the industry on the job. Being in the fashion industry is not for the faint at heart; it is a roller coaster ride. Right now things are great at Julie Bee’s; our shoes are available in multiple stores, we recently hired a COO and production is currently on schedule — but all of that can change in a second. Managing these stressors has been key for me to staying focused on accomplishing Julie Bee’s goals. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.
CF: What’s your favorite way to style your shoes for summer?
JB: Ironically, my favorite summer shoe that we have is our San Fran ankle boot. It’s a flat with a little pizzazz and a whole lot of style. I wear mine nearly every day and love to pair them with a shift dress, some statement jewelry, and a gauzy scarf; it’s the perfect seasonal balance for hot Atlanta days and cool business days.