By Channing Wall - The beautiful and fascinating surroundings of Amsterdam and Paris inspired WJC grad Julia Willard ‘04 to start a photography business, Falling Off Bicycles, featuring photographs she has taken throughout Europe.
Julia graduated with a degree in French and International Business after transferring to Jewell her junior year and studying abroad for one semester. After Jewell she worked for Commerce Trust Company in the Loan Department and then at Cerner – France as a translator and English teacher. While in France, she earned an MBA in International Business.
A love for Europe and its beauty developed after taking a trip to Marseille, France through an exchange program in high school. Her desire to go back never diminished so she traveled to Dijon, France for study abroad during her junior year at Jewell.
Willard had started taking photos long before social media made it so easy to share; when abroad she used the SnapFish website to share her pictures with friends and family back home. Friends encouraged her to pursue photography more seriously, so she did! She found the creative process of composing, taking, printing and framing pictures and even the more detail-oriented tasks to be very enjoyable. The first shop she approached was thrilled with her work and wanted to be part of the selling process.
In addition to her website, Falling Off Bicycles, Julia sells through art shows, interior decorators and on the Etsy website. She continues to look for more distribution opportunities while continuing to enjoy editing and translation jobs to keep some balance. ”I like to have different things to do in a day. Go out, take pictures for a while, come back and work on writing or something. I’m really thankful that I have that option.”
She would love to eventually create a book of her photos and continues finding new ways to share her photos such a reproducing them on iPhone cases.
Having experienced a few other schools before Jewell, she is especially appreciative of the WJC faculty. ”There isn’t a group that’s more caring and compassionate than the faculty at Jewell. It was at Jewell I got the best education because the material was well explained but also because it was delivered by people who were truly interested in it and cared about me and my fellow students.”
Willard encourages others to go with their own flow and always think positively. Her advice to Jewell students: “Constantly return to a place of gratitude since what you’re grateful for is what continues to manifest in your life. Let the focus be on the good in your life rather than what’s not going right and what you’re not sure about. Also be willing to be vulnerable because when people are vulnerable that’s when they are able to express their passion most purely and that’s what people fall in love with.”