The minute she tagged us on a post, wearing one of our pieces with her jewelry- we knew we had to meet her. Turns out, she's just as amazing as we dreamed she'd be...
1. Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? Upbringing?
My name is Julia Vaughn, I’m an Asian American mother of two, a wife and creative entrepreneur.
I was born in Taiwan (my forever home) and was lucky enough to have grown up all of the world. I’ve lived in Korea, India, Egypt, Switzerland and eventually settled
here in Southern California in 2007.
2. How did you get into jewelry design?
It’s one of those things I didn’t see coming yet happened so organically. About 10-11 years ago, I was working as a contemporary menswear blogger/stylist and freelance makeup artist so designing jewelry wasn’t even remotely on my career radar. My mother had taken a traditional Chinese beading class in Shanghai and was so excited to come visit and teach both my niece and younger sister - who were still a tiny teens back then so think blank stares and eyerolls - needless to say, they weren’t interested. I saw how disappointed she was and told her to teach me instead (the Chinese daughter in me couldn’t bare to see my mother disappointed). As a stylist, learning skills to create or manipulate new looks was fun so I took to it right away and pretty soon, I was incorporating my elaborate vintage pieces with the traditional beading, taught myself how to weave and before I knew it, I was making these huge statement pieces people started inquiring about. This all happened right around the time Instagram came about so I used the platform as a business tool from the very beginning and the rest is history! As for the vintage selection I offer, I’ve collected vintage jewelry (and everything else) for as long as I can remember so the curated selection of jewelry I offer is an extension of who I am.
3. Where do you find most of your inspiration?
I find it everywhere. In nature, in architecture, in old ads and movies. Everywhere.
4. How would you define femininity?
Unwavering confidence, sensuality, kindness and strength.
5. What do you think the modern-day woman wants to wear? How does she want to feel?
I don’t think there’s a definitive answer to what the modern-day woman wants to wear because there are so many versions of that woman but I think all women want to feel empowered, confident and sexy. Which is how I feel when I wear my jewelry (even if I’m still in sweats).
6. Can you tell us more about the pieces you make with pearls?
My mother had a lust-worthy collection of pearl necklaces she would wear with her other gold accessories so that combination always makes me think of her. There’s something so sultry and refined when it comes to a woman in pearls. I love the juxtaposition of something soft and organic with something bold and powerful like gold. For me, those pieces are a representation of femininity and the everyday woman.
7. How do you juggle it all? Wife, mom, entrepreneur...
Those are my greatest joys in life so naturally, the passion motivates me to stay focused, driven and disciplined. I take one task at a time, one day at a time and try not to get distracted. Key-word, TRY.
8. Favorite Accessory?
It’s so hard to pick just one! I guess a statement necklace. You can be in the dumpiest outfit and still look killer with a great gold chain or an ornate bib.
9. What do you wear for a day at the beach?
It depends if I’m there to watch my family surf or if I’m just going to enjoy the sun and sand. If I’m not in a wetsuit, board shorts and hat, I’m in a chic one piece, dipped in a little gold jewelry and probably wearing sunnies.
10. How would you define your style?
I’m influenced by my culturally diverse background so it can be a little of everything depending on how I feel. On a typical day, you’ll probably find me in a favorite pair of jeans, either a button down or knit top, some sneakers and always lots of jewelry.
11. Biggest challenge? As a mother? As a woman in Business?
I’m a total helicopter-mom, I hover all day to make sure my kiddos are okay and it’s something I’m trying to change. I think it’s important to let them grow into themselves, to fall and get up, to make mistakes. It’s a lot more challenging than it sounds. The same applies to my business because it’s like another child of mine. I do everything myself, I’m a total control freak and I think I need to accept that there are people out there who are way better at certain skill-sets than me. For example, I just hired a friend to handle my website last October, prior to that I had created and managed it myself. I can’t tell you how amazing it’s been to let a professional take that burden off my back so I can focus my energy elsewhere. It’s part of growing as a business, building a team and trusting them.
12. How do you manage/cope with creative down slopes or ruts- moments where you feel "stuck"?
When I feel stuck, I’ve learned that nothing good comes out of something forced. I take a step back, enjoy the outdoors with my family to mentally reset and usually flipping through old magazines or watching classic films get the creative juices flowing again.
13. Favorite things to do on a day off?
Absolutely nothing. I don’t remember the last time I had a “day off” so I’d do anything for a day spent entirely in bed and some great room service.
14. Favorite Beach?
I’m lucky to live by so many incredible beaches. We frequent Balboa and Newport all the time but I love Laguna too.
15. Beverage of Choice?
A super frothy almond milk latte with a little cinnamon. If it’s a date night with my husband, I enjoy a gin and tonic with extra lime.
16. What does beauty look like to you?
There’s nothing more beautiful than confidence in oneself.
17. Advice for a younger version of yourself?
Stand up and use your voice because you’re worth it. The bumps and bruises are only making you stronger. Give your mom a break. You’re doing amazing.
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