An interview with Julie Ferrer
Julie Ferrer is the founder and designer of Love Bomshel
Today we have a new kind of post — an interview with Julie Ferrer, the blogger and amazing founder of Love, Bomshel, a loungewear brand that has hit pause on its usual production to create face masks for her community, donating one with each purchase made.
Julie Ferrer is a true multi hyphenate entrepreneur: from launching two successful businesses to pivoting the direction of her business adapting to new demands— all while amassing a huge following on her own personal style blog, Daily Jule.
Julie has always had an eye for fashion. After earning her bachelor’s in fashion design at the AI of Fort Lauderdale she worked as a jewelry designer and a fashion stylist, which naturally progressed into the creation of her own personal style blog.
After several years of working a 9-5, Julie yearned to branch out on her own, she decided to take the leap and pursue her first entrepreneurial endeavor starting her own social media consulting company. She credits some of her success in all of the random jobs (from supermarket cashier to jewelry designer) that helped her gain experience and a well-rounded skill set, however it is her hard work and perseverance, always giving 100% to every job she’s had, that has given her a leg up.
Julie first had the idea for Love, Bomshel, a lounge wear brand, a year ago. Although she had dreamed of starting her own brand for more than ten years, she sat on the idea for a while making sure it was the right time. A few months ago, when she finally launched the collection, it coincided with the start of the stay at home orders due to COVID. As the great entrepreneur she is, Julie has not only pivoted and started making face masks, but she has committed to donating one mask for each one bought.
When did you first get the idea to start your own business LOVE, BOMSHEL?
JF: It's been a dream of mine for 10 years to create my own brand. It's funny just the other day I had a full circle, AH HAH moment, where I cried tears of joy because everything just FINALLY clicked and made sense. I tried starting a brand when I was 18, and it failed miserably. I was too inexperienced at the time, even though I had the same hunger and persistence that I do now. I never gave up on that dream though. I always knew that all my random jobs would somehow play a bigger roll into a larger picture, so I always made sure to apply 100% of myself to each role, and look at each job as a "Free Education that I'm getting paid for'' to become a more well- rounded designer and businesswoman. It took me 10 years to gain the experience and learn the skill sets from so many different industries that I've been apart of such as social media management, editorial fashion styling, fashion design, Jewelry design, Fashion Blogging, helping my husband with his start-up business, marketing, branding, working with manufacturers and selling in retail along with traveling the US doing trunk shows and selling jewelry to Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. (oh and working as a cashier at PUBLIX for a few years in college!)
What were your first steps to make LOVE, BOMSHEL a reality?
JF: I had the idea to start LOVE, BOMSHEL about 1 year ago. I sat on the idea for about 5 months, praying about it, making sure it felt right, before announcing to friends and family that I was about to start on my brand (FINALLY). During that time I was collecting inspiration, sketching, and making sure I was still passionate about the idea for at least a few months, before committing. After that 5 months was up, I knew it was the right direction, a little fire inside my soul pushed me to get to work. I started designing my logo, determining branding, creating a website, building a social media presence, and diligently working on designing the samples. Then came the social media content planning. Since I was little, I always fantasized about going to Paris one day and photographing my dream collection there. After Matt my husband heard me casually say that, he surprised me with a trip! I was SO excited but then also instantly felt the pressure to rush finishing my collection and samples in just 1 month, just to be able to photograph it in Paris. On top of this, my hubby and I were being filmed for an entire year for a documentary series for Netflix, so the entire camera crew flew with us, and they were planning to film all the BTS of my photoshoot. Knowing that they would be there in advance, also put a lot of pressure on me to have everything perfect. I didn't want to blow this opportunity so it was a lot of late nights and early mornings. Flash forward to a few months ago, I was finally about to launch my collection when COVID19 hit the states. It was a bittersweet moment to watch my loungewear fabric, being cut into tiny face mask pattern pieces, but my instincts told me that people were going to need face masks, more than beautiful robes, and I wanted to be the first one to create stylish, protective masks to my community, while also being able to give back to our local hospitals. The pivot was essential to the survival of my start up business.
What were some of the first obstacles you had to deal with as you were starting?
JF: Every day was a learning curve. It was like walking for the first time. You have no idea what you're doing until you just keep walking, and figuring it out as you go. Some of the hurdles were creating a website for the first time. Having the confidence to post my first face mask launch with the hopes that people loved the product. I struggled with a few negative customer feedback emails early on, although Matt likes to point out that 99.9% of my customers were beyond happy and that I shouldn't loose sleep over the 1%... but as a people pleaser and a nice person in general, I had to learn how to let those comments go through me, and not bottle it up. Another moment was when my business started taking off, there was a lot of quick, expensive up front business costs and decisions that had to be made, such as ordering bulk fabric, finding a local manufacturer, paying to have thousands of masks made, with the reality that they might not all sell, but trusting my instincts that they will, sourcing local seamstresses that did a quality job, ordering packaging, labels, stickers. There was also a fun moment when my fabric cutter, messed up and cut 500 masks into a "Kids Pattern" but they were supposed to be "adult size". So I had to work overtime, taking each mask apart, changing the elastic to make it fit an adult face, and basically ate the cost of their mistake. On a positive note, As it continued to grow, I now am able to full time employ 5 local seamstresses who would otherwise be jobless, in this economy and we've been able to donate thousands of masks to local hospitals and abroad!
Starting your business is no small feat! What resources do you rely on?
JF: Great question! There were a few investments that helped make running this business more efficient. I use shopify to host my website. It's such an amazing website host for start up e-commerce businesses and it does an amazing job at organizing all the orders for me. I invested in ROLLO, which is a small, portable, thermal printer which makes shipping SUPER quick, compared to using a regular printer. Currently I'm handling all the content creation, photoshoots, branding, social media, PR, etc. Although I have been interviewing part time positions to find someone who is a good fit :)
How do you manage to stay organized? What tools/resources do you utilize (like apps, calendar tools)?
JF: A few apps I use are UNUM, PLANONLY, GOSHIPPO. I have a physical calendar that I write to-do's in, and utilize my NOTES app to jot down any inspo, marketing ideas, etc.
How would you like to see LOVE, BOMSHEL evolve?
JF: There are so many exciting plans for LOVE, BOMSHEL! For now, our goal is to serve our community and abroad with the essentials (face masks). While also slowly trickling in our original focus which is innovative, high-fashion loungewear, sleep wear and accessories, with plans to expand into some exciting things down the road. We will continue to build a community of stylish, powerful women who have a heart to give back. There will always be a portion of proceeds going to a charity or a cause we believe in.