It's not an easy task trying to sum up Melbourne interior stylist, writer, speaker and art curator Julia Green in just a few words. Not only does she wear a lot of hats, but she's made a significant impact on the interior styling industry. What's even more impressive is that she was propelled into said industry a mere eight years ago.
Julia and her team at Greenhouse Interiors are known for making the process of sourcing homewares and original Australian artwork accessible, approachable and—perhaps most importantly—fun! It's this revolutionary business model combined with her innate talent, sheer work ethic, and fearlessness (especially when it comes to using colour) that has made Julia Green a household name.
You've said you accidentally stumbled into interior styling and then threw yourself into the industry. What drew you to this work?
I became an interior stylist by accident; in truth, I didn't even know such jobs existed. I met a photographer from Vogue (who bought a couch I was selling off eBay), and he told me I should be a stylist. But I was due to have a baby that day, so parked the idea, and revisited it six months later when my mat leave ran out from being a drug peddler (a legal one – I sold pharmaceuticals)! I called him and was on a job the next day and have not stopped running ever since.
I quickly learned that sourcing was time-consuming, and you couldn't always find what you wanted easily, so joining forces with artists for bespoke creations was the go. Then I decided to sell their wares and started Greenhouse Interiors. It made sense, as I had a strong selling background, and not much of a clue other than intuition about design. So, I played to my strengths.
The business has grown enormously and organically over the last eight years, and I love seeing so many creatives blossom. We all learn from each other; it's a positive and supportive environment to work in and be around.
How did the idea for Greenhouse Interiors come about?
When I was sourcing and propping for shoots, I just saw gaps in the market everywhere! I also found the small creatives were not always brilliant at marketing themselves, so figured I could do it for them with a sound business background and involvement in the media. It was a no brainer to start an agency and combine my love of styling with the product I loved and then sell it!
What have been some of the biggest challenges you've faced?
Growing pains in small biz are constant. The more you do, the more people want. The more you give, the more people can take. It's been a seven-day week existence for almost 10 years and striking a balance has been my biggest stumbling block. I am all or nothing. So, I have learned to go with 190% energy then fall twice a year and sleep for a few days. It sounds unhealthy, I know, but I've worked out that this is who I am and you can't fight your DNA.
What's the key to building a company that can stand the test of time?
It's all about your tribe – I have the best people around me. Loyalty is a dying trait, and it's so sad. I'm loyal to the quick and, as a result, I may not always make the best business decisions, but I'm able to sleep at night. I'm kind to people – authentic, generous, and giving. It comes back my way most of the time! If I'm brutally honest, though, the staying power has come with sacrifice. I have very little time for anything, including my own family, and that torments me. I find when I have time out, I just want to be on the couch with my kiddies and pooch, and not see anyone at all.
Do you follow any self-care rituals to combat stress and burnout?
What are they? TELL ME!!!!!!! I have NO self-care rituals, and I know it's dangerous.
Do you have a favourite interior styling trend at the moment?
I despise trends. Find your own. Style is personal.
What's the process of discovering new artists?
The work needs to hit me in the heart, I need to want it in my own home, I need to believe in it, and the back story or it won't work. I've tried in the past to take on brands that seem to be a good fit 'commercially,' but if my heart's not in it, then it won't fly. I love colour – it's what I'm known for, so anything grey gets put in the trash box... sorry!
Finish this sentence: I'm most fulfilled when…
I've had some sleep and am on the beach with my kids, husband and dog, and go home to sink a glass of champagne. Simple. Uncomplicated. I've worked out that I'm most happy with less rather than more, and just a small group of people. Life's so busy, so full, so many people to please all day. My family love me for just being there and want nothing else from me usually. It's comforting.
Top five things you love at the moment?
- Stranger things (Netflix series). Obsessed.
- Briony Marsh fashion
- Time on the couch.
- Champagne, always.
- '80s music.
Words to live by?
"If you've got nothing nice to say, don't say it at all."
"Just do it."
What's next for Greenhouse Interiors?
Constant change. SO MANY exciting things are coming. New ideas every day – I just need more time to execute them. BUT GI, as you know it, is all about the change. Stay tuned.