It absolutely blows my mind how much things can change over time. The way we get so caught up in life’s current that with the blink of an eye we’re in a completely different place. I remember the first time I walked in the Free People home office like it was yesterday. I remember what I was wearing. I remember how it smelled. I remember looking around at the colorful fabrics and decorations that adorned the space – not the one that currently houses our ever-growing team – but good old building 15, and feeling like I was home.
In my 5 years there I met some amazing people who I know will be in my life forever. I got to experience some incredible trips around the country, and meet people I never would have met otherwise. Looking back at everything we did, and how much Free People grew over those five years, is pretty special, and I’ll cherish every single memory forever. Today I’m sharing a few of my favorites, because when we spend so much time looking forward, sometimes its nice to also look at where we’ve been – if for anything else, it can really put things in perspective.
This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson was the first Monday quote I posted on the blog, way back in October 2009. The quote was on a card that my boss at my first job gave me when I left to drive across the country to California. It struck a chord in me and has stayed with me ever since.
In June of 2010, a group of us from home office went to Bonnaroo to cover it for the blog and do some festival research. It was the start of many festival-filled summers that would follow over the next 4 years, and by far the hottest.
We used to have our Facebook fans submit photos of themselves wearing Free People by tagging us, and in January of 2010 I started sharing some of our favorites on the blog. This was before Instagram existed! It was also the very early stages of what would become FP Me.
In May of 2010 we took a tour of our new building for the first time.
I visited Austin for the first time ever in April of 2011, when I tagged along with our catalog team to shoot our July 2011 catalog, shot by the talented Alexandra Valenti and featuring local band The Happenins. I fell hard for this incredible city, and I would end up returning 5 times over the next four years (mostly to cover SXSW). Little did I know, by April of 2015 I’d be living here.
In 2013, Brigette and I went on what I think was our only trip together, to a certain festival in the California desert… I couldn’t have had a better partner in crime that weekend and we had a time I’ll never, ever forget.
Our trip to Austin for SXSW in 2014 also holds a very special place in my heart. This was the first trip Jana, Rachel and I went on, and formed a bond that we’ll have for the rest of our lives. This was the start of what ended up being a pretty incredible spring and summer, and those two girls were a big part of it. Last year, I traveled with one or both of them to Austin, Atlanta, Nashville, LA, and New York, and they were the best companions and friends I could ever have asked for. We also got to work on some pretty amazing projects, like our backyard sessions.
Our Nashville Dinner Party was pretty darn special too.
Last but not least…one of the last projects I worked on in Philly was also one of the best. Of course, I’m talking about our Zella Day documentary. What. An. Experience.
Thank you to everyone who has been with me on this incredible journey! Much love.
+ How far have you travelled in the past 5 years? Share your journey in the comments!
Follow Julia on Instagram.