Julia Daoud is a social media influencer, creative director, writer and brand consultant, with an abiding passion for style and grit like none other. Within three years of launching her site, SimplyJules, her success has sky-rocketed. This week, she spoke to us on how she got to where she is now.
Julia Daoud is a storyteller.
She’ll tell you that from a toddler, her parents knew she had an eye for style. “I was four years old going through my mom’s heels, running around, using the entire house as my runway,” says Daoud. “From the moment I could walk.”
Fast forward to Julia’s sophomore year in college. She’s sitting on the floor of her new and unfurnished Chicago apartment, this time with her own heels on when her friends introduce her to the world of blogging. Her first thought: yes.
“I was totally amazed and taken by the concept of building a personal brand, executing a vision you want for your life, all while having the ability to work with top brands and designers,” says Daoud. “ I knew right away, this wasn’t just going to be a hobby. I knew that I had a deep love for what I was about to embark on, and that if I was going to go through with creating this, it was either all or nothing.”
A week later, Simply Jules was born. For six months, Daoud curated content, conceptualized photoshoots and promoted brands she knew she wanted to work with in the long run without sharing her work with anyone in her personal network beyond her mom and sister. Then, she accidentally invited all of her Instagram contacts and the blog blew up.
As she tells it:
I come from a rather traditional Middle Eastern family where blogging isn’t necessarily seen as a serious career move. This was probably my biggest obstacle, having that support. Before I decided to embark on my journey, I knew I had to take my mom along with me. She was naturally asking questions like, ‘what happened to being a doctor and pre-med?’ and I told her, ‘ just come along with me and I’ll show you.’
I was a science major at DePaul University at the time, so I’m learning about the molecular genetics of retroviral diseases, and creating concepts for my next photoshoot or collaboration on the side. There’s a science behind everything humans do, so while my classroom lessons didn’t directly translate to the fashion industry, I did gain necessary skills for running a business.
I learned how to understand other people’s way of thinking, for one. I started reading books about how money is such a mindset. If you’re so focused on the money, you’ll never be satisfied but if you’re doing what you love to do, you’re going to grow an expertise in that and everything will fall into place. I researched bloggers like We Wore What and Chiara Ferragni.
I educated myself and my family on how to take your life and finances into your own hands. I listened to a lot of interviews with Steve Jobs and he says that the most important thing is to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing. Then, as soon as I graduated, I turned Simply Jules into an LLC.
The Power of Your Own Story
Having established her brand and grown her connections, Julia recently made another big decision: she’s moving to New York. “I don’t like to think of myself as a traditional blogger. When I work with brands and on my own projects, everything I do has a story behind it. It’s not just about the clothes I’m wearing. I create an editorial concept. I create an emotion that is hopefully translated through my imagery and through my wardrobe,” says Daoud. For her, NYC is the natural next step in her journey and story of following a passion.
As she tells it:
I was always on the edge of moving. I drive from Cincinnati to Chicago a lot and whenever I drive back to the city, I always get so excited by the skyline. I’m screaming in my car, ‘I’m so excited to be back here.’”
A few weeks ago, though, I drove back and the feeling felt different. A song was playing in my car that goes like, "you gotta make a move to a town that’s right for you." It was Funky Town, my favorite song, and I slapped my steering wheel. That's when I realized that I’m finally ready to move. I have to go to New York now. It was an amazing feeling. I called my mom right after.
Following a passion is a risk but I believe that you can do whatever you set your mind to. People all the time tell me they wish they could do what I do, or they wish they could do this and that with their lives. What do I tell them? DO IT. It’ll be a challenge but if you love what you do, you’re going to stick through it when times are tough. You’re going to drive yourself to success.
It’s undoubtedly easier said than done, but there’s so much value in being yourself, being brave. You’re going to hear “no” all the time. Just accept that and don’t take it personally and move on.
To Be Continued...
Ultimately, Julia’s goal in New York is to combine all of her love together and take off again, just as she did in Chicago. We believe in her. Sometimes, a feeling or intuition is all that’s required to get you started down the right path. The rest is perseverance.