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Exploring Life & Business with Julie Khuu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Khuu.

Hi Julie, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I initially went to college to become a psychologist/ marriage and family counselor. I have always been fascinated with the human psyche, why we behave the way we do, if society played any part on our personalities and how in turn that shapes our past, present and future. Once I graduated UCI with a BA degree in Sociology/ Psychology, I took a year off to travel and find myself. After a year away, came back home more confused than ever but KNEW that my creative side that I’ve had my entire life was nagging at me to address it. I enrolled myself into the Art Institute and after three years of trade school, graduated top of my class with a BS in interior design. “It is never too late to start all over again, to chase your dreams in the pursuit of passion” Winning the Maxx You Project (2017, 37 years old) T.J. Maxx designed the #MaxxYou program to help women celebrate their individuality and launch their businesses so I couldn’t be more grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

What I hoped to gain from the experience was a clear strategy on how I can empower others using my creative skillset; What good is having all this design + psych knowledge if I can’t learn how to effectively share it with the world!?! The most invaluable lesson I learned from #MaxxYou was that it taught me to match my aspirations to my gift. Once I had a clean, clear objective of what this unique combination was, I started finding ways to implement my gifts towards my big dream of having my own design makeover show! I’ve seen firsthand how the power of interior design can change lives and I wanted to do that on the largest platform to spread my message. I didn’t just relegate myself to my written blogs or social media to share my story, instead I combined all those skills to start my own YouTube design channel and now working on camera for the Oprah Winfrey Network as a lead designer on Home Made Simple. I’m currently developing some new shows in the hopes that a network may be interested in my message and my dreams of having my own design makeover show is in the very near future. One of my first major life changes happened when I was laid off from my first dream interior design job during the 2008 recession. We were an LA-based company that designed international 4-5 star hotel resorts all over the world.

While I was grateful to be working with an elite team of top-notch experienced designers, I always felt that the work didn’t reflect my own vision and aesthetic. I was there for three years when the recession hit and I got laid off. I learned the hard way that if I wanted to be my own boss and have my own company, the time was NOW. Instead of looking for work and diving back into a corporate design career, I took that time off to build my business and invest in myself, so Julie Khuu Interior Design was born out of sheer desperation and a LOT of hope. “I had nothing to lose and everything to gain” I filed for a business license, continued my education and got certified in the state of CA, marketed myself and my services to anyone, friend, family, referral, ANYONE that was a paying client! I started to gain valuable experience being on job sites, working from the inside out with contractors, architects, city officials, inspection officers, vendors, and demanding clients. My first major project as my own company was a nightclub in my hometown of Huntington Beach, CA. I gained notoriety from this design, won a coveted spot on HGTV’s Design Star, got kicked off first, started my blog, which turned into more on-camera design work, happened to stumble upon the Maxx You contest in 2017, shared my story, got hooked up with celebrity mentor Laila Ali, went onto become an on-camera designer for OWNtv’s Home Made Simple and here we are!

About to reach 250K subscribers on my design YouTube channel and aiming for my first 1million! I am now more confident than ever to pursue my dreams no matter what the roadblocks are or how long it will take. The value of NEVER GIVING UP is real and I am a testament to believing in yourself, your dreams, and not giving up when one door closes. I have found through trial and suffering that tenacity and drive are my greatest strengths and I am tougher when tested, resilient when beaten, and fearless when challenged. I breakthrough at every stage of uncertainty and it is only during those times of defeat that I find myself growing leaps and bounds and evolving into the confident, badass MOMBOSS I always knew I could be.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
One of my first major life changes happened when I was laid off from my first dream interior design job during the 2008 recession. We were an LA- based company that designed international 4-5 star hotel resorts all over the world. While I was grateful to be working with an elite team of top-notch experienced designers, I always felt that the work didn’t reflect my own vision and aesthetic. I was there for three years when the recession hit and I got laid off. I learned the hard way that if I wanted to be my own boss and have my own company, the time was NOW. Instead of looking for work and diving back into a corporate design career, I took that time off to build my business and invest in myself, so Julie Khuu Interior Design was born out of sheer desperation and a LOT of hope.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Julie Khuu Interior Design is a full-service interior design firm located in Orange County, California. Led by Julie Khuu, the firm specializes in hospitality, commercial, and custom residential design. JKID is committed to the unique individual, focusing on detailed interpretations of home and space as it relates to the personal needs and aspirations of each client. With a keen eye for fashion and meticulous attention to designer details, Julie’s core values are rooted in inspiring change and living your best ever, right now. Create beauty, change lives.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
Do as much free work as you can to build up your clientele, confidence, and portfolio. Continuing education is a must to put you ahead of the competition. Experience is invaluable, so think about the niche you want to specialize in and try to intern for that company to get your foot in the door. Taking any and all jobs at the start of building your brand is essential to your success.

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Image Credits:

All images shot and edited by me – Julie Khuu

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