If you asked Julie Longyear to define beauty, chances are her answer woul shy away from aesthetic perceptions in favor of something more intangible. Inclusion. Empowerment. Authenticity. Self-worth. For Julie, a healthy relationship with oneself and others radiates outward, imbuing a person with a glow that cannot be mimicked by anything found in a bottle.
However, that bottle can be a vehicle for self-care, something that Julie found out when she began experimenting with holistic methods to help with debilitating migraines. As she took care of herself, she found a calling to help others do the same. Julie founded Blissoma Holistic Skincare + Apothecary with a vision to help people enter into a healthful relationship with themselves through the restorative power of plants. Over a decade later, she proudly boasts a line of 100% natural, certified vegan, made-in-house products, all created with the commitment to empowering people to feel good about themselves – the most authentic form of beauty there is.
We asked Julie five questions about her work, life and art. Here’s what she told us:
Who gave you the best advice you ever received? That's a really tough one. I'll volunteer that I'm kind of headstrong and I tend to learn by experience, so admittedly I have sometimes let "advice" slide right by me and opted to figure things out on my own instead. Some silly things popped into my head, like my dad telling me "Marry rich!" when I was a teenager, and you know, there are days that I think he may have been right? Ha. But money has not generally been a primary driver for me to do anything. I guess maybe one of the most valuable lessons I have learned recently, and advice that I paid dearly for (so of course I DID listen) was my lawyer teaching me to play my cards a little closer to my chest. I tend to be pretty transparent but I've learned over time that not everyone is as ethical or kind as me, and that I need to keep more to myself. Keeping people guessing can be a certain sort of armor. Having her help me navigate through some intense business conflicts recently taught me a lot about how to deal with the worst of people, and I think it has made me better at dealing with conflicts at all levels.
What did you do with your first paycheck? I guess it would depend on what you consider a first paycheck. I got paid for cleaning my grandma's house when I was otherwise too young to work, and I babysat. At the time I spent my earnings largely on used fantasy books at the bookstore down the street (nerd alert). My first "official" job was at Pier One Imports and I probably bought some piece of decor that I was coveting.
What are you working on? Me. All the time. I am constantly making efforts toward self-improvement. I am working on being more courageous, more spontaneous, holding boundaries better, keeping a positive attitude about conflict, and making sure I rest and have fun. Because, realistically, the other side of that question is: What am I not working on? And that's not much, because I'm a workaholic. So just resting and playing is, ironically, something I have to "work" at.
What drives your artistry? Just being alive. I'm ridiculously sensitive, and it only takes a little bit of input for my system to multiply that energy out and turn it into something else. There's just so much to be excited about in life. The detail and minutiae of science get me excited, but so does more touchy-feely stuff. I'm endlessly enchanted by potential, and have recently decided that I'm a mistress, midwife, and consort to potential. I get excited about empty spaces, about buildings that need fixing, about raw materials and all the potential combinations. Things that other people look at and see nothing or a giant mess? I can see what it could be, and it's magnetic. I spend most of my time ushering things from that "could be" space into the "is" space. It's a cool job.
At Fauxgerty, we live by our value system. What's yours? If I had to distill it down, it would be authenticity, compassion, and activism I suppose. I always want to show the essential nature of something – I want the truth about everything. Philosophically I'm closest to being a Buddhist, and so compassion and kindness are extremely important to me, as is clear perception. Loving action follows that, as values aren't much if you don't act on them. So I try to embody love as much as possible.