Welcome to Mamamia’s brand new initiative, #LadyStartUp, to showcase, support and promote businesses started by women.
We’ve heard the incredible success stories of Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson and Steve Jobs. But what about the women who are defying the status quo and creating their own opportunities? Across this series, we are going to share with you the stories of ordinary women who are doing extraordinary things.
Like most women, Julia Dobson is an excellent multi-tasker.
We found this out when she sent us an email, after flying from London to Perth, with two small children, plus a whole stack of business books she intended on reading. (Hint: it ended up being a case of watching the movie, Boss Baby, helped with a couple of G&Ts.)
Julia and went to same high school as our co-founder, Mia Freedman, where she was the year below. Now, she is based in London and launched her own designer handbag line, Village England.
She has spent the past fortnight touring Australia, from coast to coast, with kids the whole way.
We don’t know how she has done it. Before we tell you any more of Julia’s story, you can read it from her, right from the beginning.
What is Village England? How did you start in Australia and now end up in London?
Julia: I left Perth with five weeks of unpaid leave from my finance job back in 1997. I started at a fabulous ski resort in France and just kept saying ‘yes’ to things in Europe. The first job I accepted was at Bally in Switzerland, which was only because I’d never been there. But, this started my career in fashion, first working in finance and product management.
Turns out, I love product and went onto work for Louis Vuitton, Moet, Hennessey, CELINE, Acqua di Parma.
After six years of high luxury and all the perks of working with the brilliant people within the larger LVMH Group, I started to think about moving back to my first love; handbags, and doing my own thing.
I’d had my first son, which does rather put your feet on the ground and I also started to think about women who live in the real world. After all, there are really not that many people who spend $5000 on a handbag that will need to be replaced by next season’s “must have”.
I started to think about what I would actually spend my hard-earned money on, which delivered on my style and love of gorgeous materials, but was practical enough to support my busy life and all the roles I play as a woman.
I didn’t understand why there was nothing that was gorgeous and well-made, at a real world price. So, I decided to make what I wanted to wear. Leathers I love, designs I love, and pockets, zips and straps so that it’s a joy to wear. Care and attention at every stage of the production. Something that I would be proud to put my name to.