In the first installment of our five-part series, we venture into the early days of Julie’s journey.
As we turn back the pages, we’ll witness the formative experiences that shape her passion for jewelry-making and the evolution of her ambitions.
As I prepared for my Zoom meeting with Julie Littlebird, I felt a wave of excitement wash over me. I had been following her entrepreneurial journey and was eager to connect with her. There is always something magical about witnessing someone realize their potential and transform their lives, especially as a single mother. It resonates deeply with my own personal journey.
When Julie appeared on my screen, her vibrant personality and radiant smile were immediately evident. She sat in a cozy room adorned with colorful handmade crafts and plants. I noticed some of her stunning jewelry pieces hanging on the wall behind her, and her kids were playing in the background. It felt like a small window into her world.
After exchanging greetings, we dove into her story. Julie spoke passionately about her indigenous heritage and how it inspired her art. She shared how she used to make jewelry for herself and friends, and how people at music festivals started noticing her work. I was struck by the humility with which she described the encouragement she received from her friends to take her art seriously.
We then discussed the challenges she faced. Julie’s voice became thick with emotion as she spoke about the financial struggles, her fears of starting a business, and the responsibilities of raising two kids on her own. I could empathize with her, and as someone who has delved into the psychology of money, I recognized that her fears and vulnerabilities were so human and so common.
As she spoke about the process of educating herself and creating a business plan, I was astounded by her resourcefulness. She utilized online resources, sought advice from other business owners, and didn’t hesitate to take up free courses. Julie’s determination and perseverance were palpable, and I could see the fire in her eyes as she shared how she solved problem after problem to get her business off the ground.
One of the most touching moments was when Julie shared how she involved her kids, Jaden and Alysha, in her business. She showed them what she was doing and sometimes let them help with little tasks. She emphasized the importance of teaching them the value of hard work and pursuing one’s passions.
As our conversation came to a close, we talked about her dreams for the future. Julie expressed a desire to stay grounded and connected to her community. She wanted her business to support not just her family, but also have a positive impact on others, especially single mothers and indigenous artists.
Before ending the call, Julie thanked me for taking the time to talk to her and for sharing in her journey. Little did she know how much her story had inspired me.
As I reflected on our conversation, I felt a profound sense of admiration for Julie. Here was a young woman who, despite the odds, chose to forge her own path. Through creativity, determination, and a heart full of dreams, she had built something meaningful. Julie Littlebird’s story, for me, embodies the essence of what it means to rise, and in her rising, she lifts those around her.
Julie’s artistic journey didn’t begin with a formal education in design or entrepreneurship; it sprouted from a deep-seated love for creativity. As a young teenager, she would often rummage through drawers and boxes, looking for materials she could use to create something beautiful. Be it old strings, beads, or copper wires, Julie’s nimble fingers worked wonders.
She became known among her friends for her homemade jewelry and would often gift them her creations. The smiles on their faces were her reward, and slowly, a hobby began to feel like something more.
Julie’s life took a significant turn when she became a mother at a young age. The birth of her children, Jaden and Alysha, brought love and joy, but also new responsibilities. The demands of single motherhood often left her creatively drained. However, her resilient spirit persevered. She continued crafting jewelry during the nights when the kids were asleep, finding solace and peace in her creations.
Music festivals played a significant role in Julie’s journey. A lover of music and culture, she found that festivals were not just a source of entertainment, but also a gathering of diverse creativity. Her attendance at these festivals was a gateway to inspiration. It was here that she began to embrace her identity as an artist.
The festival community was tight-knit, and as she attended more festivals, people began to recognize her and her unique jewelry. Julie’s bohemian spirit and her art resonated with the values and aesthetics of the festival crowd. This validation fueled her creative fire.
Can you tell us about the moment you realized that your jewelry could be more than just a hobby and become a full-fledged business?
Well, I was at this music festival with my friends, right? And I was wearing some of my handmade jewelry. People kept coming up to me, asking where I got it. When I told ’em I made it myself, they were like, “No way! Can I buy some?” That’s when it kinda clicked, like, “Hey, maybe I can make a living out of this thing I love doing.”Julie on the moment her business was conceived
It was during one of these festivals that Julie’s friends planted the seed of entrepreneurship in her mind. They had observed how people were drawn to her jewelry and suggested she consider turning her passion into a business. The idea seemed outlandish at first. She was a single mother with little business knowledge and even less capital.
However, the more she thought about it, the more it seemed like an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. The mere thought of doing what she loved for a living while providing for her children felt both exhilarating and terrifying.
After much contemplation, Julie made the decision to dive into the unknown. Armed with a dream, raw talent, and a community of friends who believed in her, she embarked on a journey to transform her passion into a business.
But where would she begin? How would she convert her talent into a sustainable venture?
What products are you most proud of?
Oh my God, that’s a toughie! Well, I’m really proud of my dreamcatcher earrings. They’ve got these little feathers and beads, and they just feel so ‘me’. But honestly, the stuff Jaden and Alysha help with, they gotta be my faves, ‘cause they’re like little pieces of my heart, you know?
Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll accompany Julie as she navigates the realm of business planning, brand development, and the initial steps in setting up her jewelry design business.
Through Julie’s eyes, may you find the courage to embrace your passion, overcome doubts, and take the first step towards your dreams.
As Julie begins laying the groundwork for her dream, let her story be a testament that sometimes, all it takes is that first step.