Hi everyone! Today I have a reflection/blog writing post about the Julep Maven Meetup event I went to on Tuesday night! Recently, Julep has been hosting “Maven Meetup” events in different cities where Jane Park (the CEO) and other employees of Julep come to show off upcoming products, get feedback, chat about life, and discuss products in the pipeline. If you haven’t noticed, my blog has a lot to do with Julep: I’ve used a lot of Julep polishes in my manicures, Julep has featured my work on their social media accounts (for which I am very honored! Big thanks to the social media team!), and I’ve made nail art in partnership with Julep for their InstaGrim contest. So when they announced that they were hosting a Maven Meetup in San Francisco, I had to go! I was looking forward to seeing the December collection, which they had out, and to chatting with the Julep people and other attendees. I didn’t take any photos of the event, so most of this post is going to be written. I do have sneak peeks of the December collection, though, so there are some photos in this post.
Overall, I really enjoyed attending the Maven Meetup – it was both enjoyable and enlightening. Beyond having fun playing with polishes, I liked meeting the people behind the company I buy so much nail polish from. It seemed like they really wanted to engage with us customers, and to get feedback about the company. Talking with them gave me some insight into Julep’s ethos, which I found fascinating. Chatting with the other Julep customers who came to the event was interesting as well, and I liked talking to everyone about their backgrounds and how they relate to Julep.
When I got to the Maven Meetup, I was greeted by one of the Julep employees, and then took a look at the products. Julep put out cards for us to swatch the products on, and pens to notate them with. Since most people are probably just here for the swatches and not for my ramblings (which you should read – I appreciate it when people actually read my blog), I’ll cut to the chase and show the swatches. I took several pictures at different angles so you can see what the finishes look like. The third picture especially is pretty accurate as to what the left column polishes look like:
The December collection polishes are in the first column of swatches, and in the first three entries of the second column. My swatches are kind of inconsistent in terms of the coats I applied, so I don’t think I can accurately describe the formulations of all the polishes. I don’t recall any of them being especially difficult to work with, though; generally they were pretty decent in terms of consistency. I tried to organize the December polishes by style profile so you can see what they look like together. I’ll break down the polishes by style profile:
1. Boho Glam: Chatoya (misspelled on my card) and Karissa. Chatoya is an interesting mix of small hex glitters in silver, rose gold, and grayed-out blue. Karissa is a true-red creme that seems to cover opaquely in two coats.
2. Bombshell: Paula and Soleil. Paula is a medium purple-y blue with gold iridescence, which showed up better in the bottle than in my swatch. It’s possible that the iridescence will be more prominent on nails than on paper. Soleil is a rose gold metallic chrome that, as far as rose gold colors go, leans warmer and more yellow rather than more pink.
3. Classic with a Twist: Ilga and (maybe) Sue. Ilga is a dark, blue-toned red creme. Sue is a muted mauve with pink shimmer that was quite noticeable, moreso than in my photos. This bottle was notated with the abbreviation “mkt ex”, of which I don’t know the meaning. This could translate to “marketing extra”, but I don’t know what that means either. I grouped it with Ilga as the other CWT of the month because there were no other CWT polishes out that could have been in the December collection.
4. It Girl: Aurora, Rochelle, and Sharna (misspelled on my card, I really don’t know what was up with my spelling). Aurora is a silver chrome. Rochelle is a dark magenta with a nice amount of shimmer, which isn’t showing up in my photos. Sharna is a polish with fine bronze glitter suspended in a clear base. This polish dried with a bit of texture, which I think is unintentional. I put on a few coats of topcoat to see if it would smooth out (it did).
Among the other unreleased polishes was the featured add-on Nell (It Girl), which is a rosy pink textured polish with holographic glitter. I also put topcoat on this one, but it was still a little bumpy after two coats of topcoat. There was also Patricia (Bombshell) – another “mkt ex” polish that is a dark eggplant purple with pink shimmer. Everly (Bombshell), a cranberry hex glitter polish in a clear base, is going to be a gift-with-purchase polish for December.
I also have some swatches of the polish offerings from the holiday collection. Ruth from the Sugar Plum duo has a bunch of pink/golden mylar flake glitter in a warm-toned purple jelly base. The glitter falls somewhere between small “flakies” and shards, and smooths out with two coats of topcoat. Gretchen from the Royals collection is a medium cranberry with gold microglitter; I wish this was released in a full bottle all by itself because it’s so pretty! Emer is a forest green shimmer that is part of the Just for Yule Trio. My one coat swatch of Savannah (the December birthstone polish) is pretty terrible, so disregard it. There was an additional, unnamed polish for April 2015 that the attendees of the Maven Meetup got to have a shot at naming! It’s a silver holographic polish that is lighter than Julep Tin Man, and might be more intensely holographic (this was hard to ascertain indoors). My one coat swatch doesn’t show any of this very well, so you’ll have to believe me.
In terms of beauty products, the product for December is going to be an “orbital eyeshadow”. This means means single pots of powdery eyeshadow. They didn’t have any samples at the meetup, so I don’t have any more info about them. I didn’t swatch any of the beauty products from the Holiday collection; you’ll have to look elsewhere for those if you want to find them.
As far as choosing a box for December, I’m probably going to go with the Bombshell box because I really like Paula, and I don’t have a dupe for Soleil (also my boyfriend thought Soleil was pretty). I’m definitely adding on Sue if it’s available, and perhaps Sharna. The other polishes look pretty dupe-y to me, unfortunately. All the same, I’m going to hold off on making decisions until I see the swatches of the polishes on actual nails, and of the eyeshadows.
Now we get to the good part – the people! I really enjoyed talking to all the people I met from Julep, and also the other attendees of the event. Around 25-30 attendees came and went throughout the night, and I got to chat with some of them. Everyone was really nice and friendly, which was awesome. We chatted about the careers, creativity, the Maven program, what style profiles we have as default, etc. Some of my forays into social media, mainly Instagram, ended up translating into some of my interactions at the meetup. Julep featured my swirly nails on their Instagram account that day (which was very gracious – thank you so much!), so a lot of people recognized me by my nails. I’ve never had that happen before; it was quite exciting to me, especially since people I meet in real life usually don’t even notice my nails. At the event, I met a few other nail art Instagrammers in person: @style_by_cat (who does AMAZING eye art), @arden_elise (those triangle nails were so perfect!), and @pizzaperfectnails (a phenomenal aspiring nail tech). I thought it was cool to m@style_by_cateet people in person who have this whole other creative world going on through Instagram.
Talking to the Julep people from the event – I mostly talked to Jane (the CEO) and Lissa (Jane’s assistant) – was fun, but also fascinating because it gave me an insight into what Julep is trying to do as a business. Lissa was pretty fun to talk to – she was really friendly and chatty. She told me how they often name the polishes after people who work at Julep, and some of the employees choose the polish that gets their name. The turquoise polish named after Lissa is in my collection, so it was interesting to talk about this with someone who has a polish with their name on it. I also learned from her that the most popular collections of this year (so far) were the ones in June and July. Apparently, they were surprised by how successful June was as a collection because it was entirely shimmers, and they saw that as kind of risky. We also talked about nail art techniques (I told her my trick for making clean lines in nail art, which I haven’t talked about on the blog yet), and some products in the Julep pipeline. I won’t disclose everything about the pipeline because she told me it was “insider information”, but I will say that I am STOKED for what it is!
It was super interesting and enjoyable talking to Jane about Julep, her role as the CEO, and life in general. She was friendly and engaging, and very open with us. Among many things, she talked to us about her family, particularly her daughter and husband, and about being a mom while also running her company. Juggling a career with potentially having a family is something I’m definitely concerned about in my future, so it was interesting to hear her perspectives on this subject, especially considering she has such a high-powered career. I also got to hear about how she came to found Julep, and how Julep has grown as a company. Jane was pretty forthcoming and open about making some tough business decisions as the CEO, especially relating to company ethics like not testing on animals, not photoshopping the mascara effects, and being LGBT-friendly. We also got to talk to her about specific products from Julep, including what’s in the pipeline. It sounds like they’re looking at taking some popular existing products and translating those ideas into new directions. We’ll see!
Jane even signed a bottle of Julep nail polish for me! My bottle of Marzia is now an awesome souvenir! This makes me happy 🙂
From my conversations, it seemed like Julep genuinely wants to engage with its customers by enhancing the community feeling they are establishing, and getting lots of personal feedback. Compared to other nail polish brands, who mostly just try to sell their products, Julep has made extensive efforts to build a community around their brand that is all about having fun with cosmetics – “beauty without rules”, as they put it. Even the name of the company was chosen to convey a fun feeling: Jane told a bunch of us how Julep’s name was picked out of several choices because, like the alcoholic beverage, it reminded people of fun, relaxation, and socializing with their friends. I got a sense that they do try and tailor their products to what the customers want. At the event, they had feedback cards for us to fill out, with questions about what products we would like to see improved and what kinds of things we would like to see from Julep in the future. In addition, they asked us to tell them all about eyebrow products that we might like to see, since they are interested in making brow products in the future (if you’re reading this, Julep, PLEASE give me something to tame my unruly brows!). I do appreciate Julep’s efforts to connect with their customer base and build their brand around the Maven community; it really sets them apart from other nail polish brands. It’s great that they’re willing to meet and talk one-on-one with their customers, and get our input on their products and what we want to see from them.
Overall, this was a really enjoyable event for me. It was really relaxed and friendly, and I loved meeting the Julep people and everyone who attended. At the end of the event, I even got a few beauty products to take home, which was a nice perk. Most awesome!
Thanks for reading! I’m very proud of you if you made it all the way to the end 🙂