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Our girl YesJulz is a ball of fiery energy who is a staple in the music scene from coast-to-coast. Her motto is "Never not working" and we can't get enough of her.
You have been deemed “Snapchat Royalty” by all kinds of media outlets – why do you think your life resonates with so many?
I think for a while there we were tuned into these "reality" TV shows documenting lives of people that none of us could actually relate to. When I decided to quit my job and start my own marketing agency at 23, I had no mentor, no women I could relate to whose stories could help me along this journey as I tried to balance building a business, dealing with being in the public eye & having a personal life. At the time there was tons of interest from networks and production companies to do a show in Miami. As excited as I was that these people I had looked up to for so many years were reaching out and considering including me on their platform, I just couldn't get with the concepts of shows like "Rich Kids Of Miami" (no shade!) etc. I wasn't a rich kid. I wasn't in love with someone in hip hop. I was just a young girl trying to figure it all out. When Snapchat released its stories feature, I realized this was my chance to tell my story and maintain full control of the narrative and impact it would have. I honestly don't know why it took off the way it did, but it has been a blessing and I am grateful.
What prompted you to start your own agency?
I was working in clubs at the time as a hostess and would observe everything from the clientele that would come in, what made them happy, the staff and what motivated them to work at their highest capacity. I would have all these ideas for the events/parties we would throw, the DJs and artists we would book, even how we distributed the content from these moments. No one cared. I was just a "party girl". A lot of women in Miami were, and still are, viewed that way. Not only did I not want to be grouped into the narrative that was being painted about women from my city, I wanted to change it completely. I realized that story was being told because of how many of us presented ourselves, what we deemed important to us, the pictures we posted and the conversations we chose to divulge in. For me, Never Not Working was a way to change the conversation. Let's talk about our passion, dreams & vision instead of one another, which guy is taking us out this week and what bag they bought us. It is a funny story but I can literally remember the moment I thought of the hashtag. It was the day I bought my first ever designer bag. I held out until I had enough for Chanel, because she was an icon to me. It was more about having something from her brand than having a nice purse. I was so nervous at the store to be spending $5000 on one thing, where I am from we didn't even know what $5000 looked like. My mom would kill me if she ever knew (I hope she isn't reading this). It took me four hours at the Bal Harbour store to actually pick the bag and pay for it. I was so excited to show it off, I invited a group of girls that at the time, I thought were the coolest girls ever. They all had the nicest clothes and cars and looked so well put together. They were my new friends and I was still adjusting to the city. I got to the dinner and told them about the bag, showed them pics of the other options and asked if they thought I had made the right choice. Every girl at the table laughed and said "I can't believe you paid for this with your own money. Are you crazy?" I couldn't understand. Where was I suppose to get it from? According to them, I should have gotten it from so & so who plays for this team and had a crush on me or this guy who just signed his big label deal and had been asking me out all week. At first I felt stupid. Maybe they were right. I thought about returning the bag. Then it dawned on me that they didn't know any better, that here the cool thing was to be a kept woman and that if I was going to change that trend, I had to lead by example.
I started posting about meetings I had and events I was throwing instead of just bikini pics & #OOTD shots. It wasn't long before both men, and women, would come to me to discuss ideas, dreams and opportunities. I started to see the shift and I really think (hope) it made a difference, not just in Miami but in my community of people and friends as a whole. From there the agency was born and I documented every hire, every client deal along the way.
You do so much in your career—if you had to choose your favorite aspect to what you do, what would it be?
This is a hard one that I have been trying to figure out for a while now. Everyone always tells me I need to focus and "pick something". They may be right...I guess we will see. For me, the bottom line is I love people. I love creating experiences, content, music...anything that brings people together and brings the best out of them. Whether that is a throwing a party that makes people forget about their stressful day for the few hours that I have them, running a radio station that makes listeners dance and gives artists who are trying to be heard a chance to get their music out, showing a large corporate company how to include the culture and audience they are targeting to begin with in their marketing and advertising spends. I think I have figured out a way to do this via multiple platforms and in some crazy way, each business help floats the other. I am representing artists & DJs, booking them for the events that I am producing and paying through clients my agency is doing marketing and events for, hiring my friends to capture the content and live broadcasting it all on my radio station that has commercials for those brands. It's all a wheel spinning itself. I haven't figured out the formula 100% just yet, but the vision is there. Now I am just in the process of building the perfect team who can not only execute at a high level, but inspire and push me when I am not at my best. That's the main thing I learned in 2017. I can't do everything all the time. I need a team that can sustain the business with or without me.
You are so big on living life unfiltered. What advice do you have for your fans and younger girls on learning to love themselves?
I am still learning how to love myself, so I don't know that I am in a position to give advice on this. I can share my mistakes/experiences and what I have learned from them. I have learned that it's ok to feel emotions. As women in a society that seems to praise the masculine and shame the feminine far too often, it's important to remember that feeling is a beautiful thing. It is, in my opinion, actually what makes us special and a necessity in this world. Stop second guessing yourself. You are good enough, it doesn't matter what those people over there think. Know that we all have insecurities and we are just here in this crazy voyeuristic society, projecting them onto one another with every click and comment. Energy is contagious and very powerful. If we want to fix all the things we see wrong with society, we have to start with loving ourselves.
What is your most memorable interaction you’ve had with a follower?
I had a really tough year in 2017. One day over the summer I was in Brooklyn, I don't remember what exactly it was that caused it this particular time but I remember feeling all this weight on my shoulders and just thinking maybe it would be easier to just give up. I was sitting on the curb of a sidewalk crying on some random street thinking of ways I could give up. Some girl was walking by and she stopped and asked if I was Julz. I looked up to see who it was, she could see I was crying and she said "I don't know what you are going through, but I want you to know I just moved here to start my own agency because of you. I hated my job and had been wanting to quit for years, at first I was kind of scared because I didn't really know how I was going to do it, but I am here and I'm figuring it out and I'm happier than I have ever been. So whatever you are going through, I hope you feel better soon because you inspire people like me everyday."
I'll never forget that day. I wish I could remember her name so I could send her a thank you and let her know she saved my life. She just kept walking, she didn't even ask for my number or a picture or Tweet me later on. I almost think she was a figment of my imagination, or maybe an angel. I hope she's somewhere kicking ass right now in NYC and that I bump into her soon!
Where do you turn for inspiration? Any muses?
I usually travel to places where the culture is completely different from everything I am currently engulfed in. Bali, Paris, Jamaica, Haiti...have all been huge sources of inspiration for me. Anywhere I can observe people in a completely different setting, with values, opinions and lifestyles opposite of my own. Music & being outside inspire me on a daily basis. People inspire me, not specific "iconic" people per say, but people like the Lyft driver that has every kind of candy and gum and charger you could possibly want in his car for you when you get in. The people at the Italian restaurant I ate at today that told me they don't want to expand to Los Angeles because they are happy just having this one spot here in the city. Passion is the most inspiring thing on the planet.
When did you realize you had a passion for music and entertainment?
There's not a time I can think back to where I didn't have a passion for music or entertaining people. I used to make little signs and post them around my day care when I was 6 telling people there would be a TLC performance out in the club house during lunch time and it was me and these two young girls "performing" 'Waterfalls' or 'I Believe I Can Fly' by R Kelly. (LOL!!!) I would always be in the middle and have them be my back up dancers / Chilli & T-Boz. When I was 12, I made up an art camp at our house in Boston where I made my mom buy enough art supplies for my whole class, invited everyone over to paint but told them exactly what they were to paint (the desolate beach across from our house that was overly polluted and nowhere near a vision anyone would want to recreate) then hung our pictures up in the back hallway and sold them to our parents when they came to pick the kids up at the end of the day. I was quite the handful and probably a bit bossy. No clue how I had any friends back then. I'm kind of still working on that now at 27 too.
If you had to pick one, what would be your favorite event you’ve ever been a part of?
Definitely going to Haiti with Model Volleyball & The Jack Brewer foundation. It is truly a life changing experience.
You’re so involved in the music business and finding up and coming artists. Who are some artists we should be looking out for?
Sheck Wes is my favorite new artist besides 070 Shake right now. He has this one song I have had stuck in my head for almost a week now called "Mo Bamba" you have to check it out! I also love Caleborate he has a project out called Real Person that is really a great body of work and the kind of music I feel our generation needs right now.
To you, what does it mean to be a good American girl?
To me, it means empowering others from within. If you feel comfortable in your skin and the clothes you are wearing, no matter your shape or size, others will be too. It's a snowball affect of self love and acceptance. It really is a great brand with a beautiful message and I am so grateful to have been a part of this campaign!