I love how My Swiss Story has become a platform for women entrepreneurs, leaders, and content creators where they tell you their stories. This is one part of my journey as a blogger/digital influencer that I so totally love!
Today, I bring to you the story of Julie, an American expat who’s been in Switzerland for over 2 decades and is the founder of Our Happy Place. I really do resonate with Julie’s vision, I always say that my own super power is “bringing people together” and not just at MSS but in all walks of life – Julie is doing something similar and with a lot of love especially with the Happy Hub. Intrigued? Without further ado, get to know our entrepreneur of the month, Julie Blume.
Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself
J: My name is Julie Blume and I’m a Midwestern girl from Missouri, USA, who came to Switzerland for a two year secondment in 1997…and am still here!
After two international moves (to/from the USA within a 1.5 year period), two kids (now 15 and 19), escaping from the corporate jungle working for one of the Big 4 consultancy firms, and trying my hand at running a small retail business selling handmade products, I found my way back to my dream of creativity and building a community for women to make meaningful connections in Our Happy Place, the business I started in 2018.
Tell us about your current business
J: Imagine this scene:
You are sitting on a comfy sofa in our “sophisticated” rainbow 🌈 and pink room, drinking a coffee with women who “get you” and just being yourself. Women are speaking a mix of languages from English and German to Italian and Hungarian. There is laughter and inspiration all around. Positive vibes surround you and fill you with a sense of love and connection. You feel like you’re home.
This is Our Happy Place: a happy space to get creative with friends, celebrate birthdays and other special events. The space also provides an opportunity to connect with like-minded women at one of our Happy Hub member and public events or in our cowering space. Our events include a mixture of topics in the creative, health and lifestyle categories and are held in person as well as virtually.
In addition to ladies events, we offer bi-lingual (E/D) creative birthday parties and holiday camps for children.
Tell us your story
J: I moved to Switzerland back in 1997 with no German language skills and having never travelled outside of North America. I thought it would be a great experience to live abroad for a couple years…
Little did we know we would fall in love with this little country in the middle of Europe almost 8000 kms from our home! With a degree in Accounting, I worked in a global audit and consultancy firm full-time for the first 4 years and continued on a part-time basis after I had my children until it became very clear that I no longer wanted that (often stressful) lifestyle.
Always a creative at heart, I loved to sew, draw, paint and capture our adventures in scrapbooks and often did these things to escape from the stresses of work and small children (moms you know what I am talking about here!). This passion for creating took me on a journey from just making presents for my friends to starting a small retail shop selling handmade products which featured products not just made by me but also other women entrepreneurs.
In fall 2018, Our Happy Place was born after where I decided to focus on something that brought more joy and happiness to women and children in particular: birthday parties and events!
The road to where I stand today was not always easy. Let’s face it, no matter if you’ve been here for 6 months or more than 20 years like me, you will still be a “foreigner” in the eyes of most Swiss people.
My strength came from the strong sense of community; I surrounded myself with lifted me up, cheered me on when I stepped out of my comfort zone and caught me when I stumbled.
What is a day like “in your heels?” or if you wear Flats (like me 😉 )
J: I’m more of a sneaker kinda gal and could wear the occasional heels if it was a short walk from the car to a fancy restaurant. 😂
A day in my shoes can include any (or all) of the following:
- ☕️ Coffee – always first thing
- 🤩 Chatting about business topics with my Thrive Happy Hub members in our co-working space (drinking more coffee ☕️)
- 👠 Organizing collaborative events with amazing women entrepreneurs
- ⛑ Wearing multiple hats for my business (CEO, CFO, COO, Marketing, Sales, HR, …)
- 🐶 Walking my pooch, Luna
- 👩🍳 Cooking and/or baking for my family (and our special events)
- 🤗 Cheerleader, counselor and Chief-hugger to my kids and hubby (and friends and Happy Hub members)
- Etc, etc, etc….
It’s a crazy life but I love it all! (Well, most of the time…😜)
For women entrepreneurs/leaders/content creators, what specific advice would you have?
J: We are all on different journeys, with some roads being easy and others making us want to turn around and go back to what we know. I’ve learned the following in my journey that has helped me build a happy and successful life in Switzerland, both personally and professionally.
- ASK FOR HELP – it’s okay to not know everything (plus if you don’t ask, you don’t know what you might be missing)
- Community of like-minded women – surround yourself with positive, vibrant women who will be by your side through life’s ups and downs
- Be open to new ideas and opportunities – think outside the box and step outside your comfort zone!
- Get involved in things that bring you joy – sign up for a class or workshop, join local groups or even start your own group if you can’t find one
- STAY POSITIVE and make the best of the situation – smile, focus on the positive, and find solutions to “problems” rather than moaning
These things will take you far and will bring more joy to your life!
Are you a female entrepreneur whose story needs to be heard, we’re waiting to hear from you.
Are you enjoying our content? We would love to hear your opinions in the comments sections. Stay tuned for more resources, our editorial panel is talking about – swiss travel, ex-pat living, mental health, nutrition, wellness, back to school, recipes, and activities for children. Stay well and stay with us!
To read posts from February, click here