This month, we are thrilled to celebrate International Women’s Month! What better way to celebrate the day and Women’s History Month this month than to highlight our incredible Founder + CEO, Julia Grayson.
Julia Grayson’s iconic style and love for design in all its guises is the driving force behind her successful design company, Grayson De Vere, and its lifestyle boutique, GDV i.e.. Her incredible eye and natural exuberance for scale and texture create immersive spaces that intrinsically compel people to linger.
It was Julia’s mother and maternal grandmother, each well-travelled and well-educated women of substance, style and grace, that first infused Julia with a passion for culture, art and design as well as social responsibility. They imbedded in her a deep appreciation of the world, a deep respect for people, and encouraged an inherent intellectual curiosity. Most importantly, they imbued confidence and integrity in Julia’s pervasive interest in seeking understanding, balance, structure and form in our surroundings.
Inspired by these women, Julia honed her own style which she says is constantly evolving as she hunts + gathers from around the world and collaborates with artisans, artists, colleagues and clients. “We all learn from one another. And women are both great students and great teachers.”
She looks forward to inspiring other women to find their confidence and their passion.
What do you think it means to be a woman in 2022?
To me, being a woman in 2022 is all about being connected to our authentic selves and having a clear view of the many paths around us: where we have come from, those which are ahead, those which have been successful, those which have failed and those which are just now unfolding on the horizon. As women, we are often asked to walk on several paths simultaneously.
Life is never static.
As a modern woman, we have the great fortune to be able to empower ourselves through self awareness as well as the ability to connect to others within the broader global community: creatively, intellectually, inspirationally, empathically.
To feel strength and grace in the true confidence of being our most authentic selves with clear knowledge of self and total faith in our abilities to create, to grow, to share and to lead - that is what it means to be a modern woman.
3 Joys of Womanhood
Engaging with and supporting other women.
Having and raising my children.
Being inspired by the women in my family who have come before me.
Who are your ultimate mentors and idols?
My mother has been my greatest mentor and my greatest cheerleader. But so have my daughters.
My idols are all women who are able to incorporate intelligence, compassion + humanity whether that is in the creative space or as leaders. This can run the gamut between Katherine Hepburn and Ursula von der Leyen. My idols are also women whose day-to-day focus is making the world better, including the many women who have endured so much in the medical profession during the recent Covid relief efforts.
Since creating Grayson De Vere, what have you learned from being a small business owner?
I learned just how challenging it is to create and run a business. It is so much more difficult than anyone ever tells you. If you are considering starting a business, make sure you are absolutely passionate about what you are doing as it truly is a labor of love. It also provides the ultimate reward in that it engages so many aspects of one’s intellect and gives so much opportunity for growth as a person.
As a female-run company, what does your work environment look like? How does that inspire you?
We invite people to work with us at Grayson De Vere who we feel bring passion, commitment, intelligence and talent. As in any creative enterprise we learn from one another and we’re better for it. I am often inspired by those who work with me and I hope that they can say the same.
This is an incredibly valuable demographic to draw from. They bring experience, wisdom and dedication as well as creativity, compassion and fun! They inspire me!
What would be your ultimate dream project?
I love creating living spaces, whether it is designing a modern home near the water or redecorating a pre-War Park Avenue apartment or renovating a beautiful property in Europe. All styles of projects require solution based, collaborative design work between architect, designer, site manager and client. The thrill of working through the initial puzzle of structural options and discerning the outcome is in itself fulfilling. The icing is in designing the interior to optimize a wellness-based life and empowering it with the technology that enables a seamless way of living.
If you could give one piece of advice to other women looking to start a small business, what would it be?
Know your passion. Have clarity of intention. An ounce of planning is worth more than a pound of effort. But you will need both planning and effort! Know your strengths. Own your weaknesses. Hire people who are better than you. And don’t be afraid to be the boss!
What about for young women just starting their careers?
Make sure your path is one of your own choosing and not that of someone else’s. Once chosen, stop onto that path fearlessly and find others who inspire you and can offer mentorship + opportunity.
What is the significance of International Women’s Day to you?
I am incredibly grateful for the many women who I am blessed to have in my life. They inspire me, teach me, lead me and support me. They remind me every day to be a better person, a better woman, a better mother, a better daughter, a better friend.
Today allows us the opportunity to reach out to the women in our lives and express our thanks, our gratitude as well as offer support and hope to all women to be all that they can. In this unique time of hostility in Ukraine, I am all the more grateful to see the outpouring of compassion from all the world to the plight of the Ukranian people. In particular, watching Ursula van der Leyen calmly lead and articulate a stance on behalf of the European nations is moving. To see how women have seamlessly stepped forward with grace and strength to take on roles of which they are worthy is inspiring.
It is a day for all people, regardless of gender, to celebrate the amazing tapestry of women who make up this world and all that is in it.