Julie Du Brow with (client) USGBC-LA Executive Director Ben Stapleton at ESPN Studios
We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Du Brow and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julie, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
It was a bit of planning and a bit accidental. I was in the music business which was really shifting at the time (2002), and the talent management company I worked for was having problems (it soon shuttered). My sister, who had moved to Paris, was starting to have children and I was dating someone who traveled a lot. I wanted to be more in charge of my schedule and travel to see her and the kids, or travel with him. I thought I’d be more of a product / project marketer and manager but then I started to be asked to write press releases, and I thought, ‘sure, I can do that – my dad is a journalist, and I have a sense of what they look for.’ And I was always a connector and communicator. So…my new path began.
What should our readers know about your business?
Well, I just spent the 1st part of the pandemic redoing my website, so you’d think this would be easy…but speaking about myself is the hardest. I’m much better speaking about others – maybe that’s why I’m good at what I do: I’m a never-ending advocate, and I tend to work with people I can admire and care about (although note: it’s also very empowering to fire a client if it’s really not a good fit and brings real negativity – I’ve done it twice in 18 years). Starting in the Music Industry – and doing both behind-the-scenes jobs and then later the more frontline (artist management) part, provided a very holistic perspective. I love when people are surprised that I worked with Mötley Crüe, Duran Duran or Blondie vs. what I do now. I think that my background in talent management, which emphasizes a long-view approach, has drawn me to ‘changemaker’ clients – from scientists to architects and designers, people in the arts and often entrepreneurs. And the skills I bring to the table are quite translatable to different industries. One thing I especially enjoy about what I do, since I loved being a student, is that I never stop learning—whether it’s a new industry, policy, product, technology or perspective. It keeps me on my toes! And having curiosity and a thirst for information is vital, both for networking (making new connections) and learning about clients more deeply than the surface story they give you. Has it always been easy? Absolutely not. I don’t think running your own biz is ever ‘easy’ – but it’s always interesting and challenging, and you just keep going, and explore different avenues and partnerships to make it through tough times. And networking for me has been key – across a wide range of opportunities. I wish I’d been as good a networker in my 20’s as I became in my mid-30’s. And I definitely recommend putting yourself in situations that aren’t always the obvious go-to’s.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh fun! I’m a native Angelena, though I’ve lived in Northern California, and Mexico, and traveled a great deal. But I love showing people Los Angeles – and the not so obvious ways of looking at it. LA has multiple boulevards that span the length of the city. People in LA, because it’s so big, tend to stay in their section, and that drives me insane because there is so much to explore. If you take the more southern Pico or Washington Blvds. from the ocean to downtown, for example, you’ll pass through multiple cultures (with restaurants, religious spaces, architecture) including Korean, Greek, Salvadoran, Ethiopian, Mexican and so on. I mean…yummm! On the northern end, take Sunset Blvd. end to end – from Silver Lake to Hollywood, the “Sunset Strip” (which is less ‘rock n’ roll’ these days, but still cool and fun), Beverly Hills mansions, UCLA, and ending at the beach for a sunset beverage. I would definitely take them to downtown (aka DTLA) and visit the Central Library, the former Herald Examiner building (by Julia Morgan, who designed Hearst Castle), Grand Central Market, the Broad, the Disney Hall, and just walk around and look up at the architecture. Have brunch at The Nomad, or a Happy Hour drink at Perch (rooftop). South LA and Inglewood (home of the new SoFi Stadium) are grittier but true old school L.A. and certain walking tours can be found for things like jazz-historic Central Avenue. There’s way too much to do to put here, but you do have to drive (or now some Metros take you around) to an area, then get out and walk. Every part of LA has a different flavor, including the San Fernando Valley and the great Ventura Blvd.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are many to shout out to…starting a business, and keeping it going, does take a village. First, thanks to my then-boyfriend (now husband) who helped me that first year — first, by giving me the main office in our place, so I could focus, and then helping me a little financially. We are both self-employed, so it is nice that I help him when things are slow for him, and vice versa. He also mentally prepared me for being self-employed for the first time – it IS a mental shift. Then I must give shoutouts to others who had their own business and we grew into strategic partners over the years, helping each other out, without ego, to bring the best service to our clients. No one can be the best at everything, so partnering with those who have different strengths is maybe the smartest thing I’ve done. And it never diminishes you, it builds you (and your partners) up. And wow, do I have amazingly supportive friends – if they had a little advice, made me see things from a fresh perspective, or just hung back and listened. This is vital; but you have to be open to listening and really hearing what they say, too. And books! A sampling: Lean In (Sheryl Sandberg), Peak (Chip Conley), Life is Short, Don’t Wait to Dance (Valorie Kondos Field), Coping with Crisis in a Complex World (Martin Cooper), DV (Diana Vreeland), and The Elements of Style (Strunk & White).