The story of Julie Malone, self-made artist and entrepreneur

What did you do when you were seven years old that you still do now? This is one of Julie Malone’s favorite questions: her own passions and her childhood hobbies have become her full-time job. Her independent small business, Julie Peach, is the culmination of years of creative exploration coupled with a corporate career path in sales and marketing.

Through Julie Peach, Malone creates a variety of hand-printed and screen-printed textiles, including napkins, table runners, and tea towels, which have been showcased in several capsule collections for Anthropologie, as well as designer collaborations on Etsy. Her fun and colorful block designs are all hand drawn, carved and ironed by Malone herself in her home studio in Denver. With a focus on sustainability, she uses only natural fibers in her products and partners with Superior Ink for her screenprinted products, one of the only “Green Certified” screenprints in Denver.

Malone has been working on Julie Peach full-time since 2018. However, his trajectory to get there seemed more like a boomerang than a straight line.

She started when she was eleven years old and grew up homeschooled in Atlanta, Georgia. In her spare time, she made fairy wings and mushroom incense holders out of clay and started selling them on eBay. This continued through high school, where she taught herself how to screen print in her closet and she also began selling her original clothes on eBay.

With these inherent creative passions, Malone went to Philadelphia University of the Arts to study photography, but soon changed his major to fiber and textile studies. But he became disillusioned with the lofty and idealistic tendencies of the art world, feeling that his creativity was aimed more toward commercial work than conceptual fine art.

Feeling that she could always return to her art as a hobby, she transferred to Temple University to study environmental science, soon changing her major back to marketing. She dedicated herself to school, excelling in his classes and getting internships all over town. But she never stopped making art in her spare time, and during these years in Philadelphia she discovered her love for block printing.

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Blush Tangerines table runner and dinner napkins.

Gina Nistico

At the time, Etsy was booming, and Malone revived his entrepreneurial spirit by selling small batches of hand-printed copies online. Simultaneously, she began an internship as a retail buyer in Anthropologie’s jewelry department, which eventually became her full-time job. Block printing remained a side hustle as she navigated her career in the corporate world, rising through the ranks and gaining skills in business, purchasing, and product development.

In 2015, Malone’s path took her to Chicago, where she found herself on the extreme edge of the corporate retail world, working for Kmart and traveling to China for six months of the year. She says that this experience gave her insight into how she runs her business today.

She soon got married, and she and her husband moved to Denver in 2018. She got an e-commerce job at another corporate company called Bluprint, and life began to change: they got pregnant, started looking for a house, and made plans for their parents. her husband will move. with them to help with the baby. Her career was going well and all the boxes of what she felt she was “supposed” to do were being checked.

And then everything changed. During her second trimester, Malone found out that his baby was not going to survive and had to terminate the pregnancy for medical reasons. Not long after this news, the worst happened: her husband’s sister committed suicide. The family grieved and her parents decided not to move to Colorado. Shortly after, Malone was fired from her job at Bluprint; and three weeks later, her husband was also fired from her job.

“The universe imploded in my life,” he recalls. Finding himself at ground zero, Malone had no idea what the future held. Fortunately, Bluprint gave her a six-month severance package after he was fired, giving her time to recover and re-immerse herself in his creativity. When he realized that the holidays were approaching, he decided to bet everything.

click to enlarge Palm Fronds Dinner Napkin.  - GINA NISTICO

Palm Fronds Dinner Napkin.

Gina Nistico

“I felt like if it came so easy to me and I didn’t try, I think if I really tried, I could make a living doing it,” he says. He set some financial goals for his business and, in his first year, he met them exactly. These were the beginnings of Julie Peach, and things were looking up. However, the universe was not quite finished.

In 2019, Malone found out that her husband had been having an affair and that he had been having affairs for most of their relationship. Despite her best efforts to save the marriage, they ended up divorcing at the end of the year. “She had done everything she was supposed to do,” she recalls, “but [when it ended] It was a great relief.” Everything that had happened before began to make sense: if they had the baby, bought the house, if their parents moved in with them, she reflects, “It would have been so hard to get me out of all of that. This way, I was able to just walk away.”

Malone moved into her own apartment in early 2020, just three weeks before the pandemic ended. For most of us, this was a time of deep isolation and introspection; but it was also an opportunity for Malone to process her divorce, reconnect with herself, and finally marshal all of her skills as an artist and sales professional to invest in and make Julie Peach a strong and sustainable source of inspiration and support. for her new life.

“The day I thought, ‘Oh, I can take my old business mindset and apply it to my own business.’ It was a huge game changer!” she says. Malone was finally able to return to her origins: an eleven-year-old girl who made clay sculptures in her room and sold them online. “It was like she kept building this fully realized human out of this thing that she was always going to do anyway. It never occurred to me to take this passion that she had as a child and turn it into a career.”

click to enlarge Julie Malone in her study.  - MIKAELA ANTONELLI

Julie Malone in her study.

mikaela antonelli

His story is an example of what can be created out of hardship and turmoil, and the satisfaction that comes when you stay true to yourself. “Life is really good,” Malone reflects, “I have great friends, I love Colorado, and the range is amazing.” Between trail running, traveling alone, and investing time in self-development work, she has been able to intentionally come back to herself and find joy in the freedom that working for oneself brings.

And Julie Peach continues to grow as Malone does. The spring/summer collection launched at the end of April and a new line of fall/holiday textiles is in the works. She is currently exploring the possibility of collaborating with her friend and colleague in India to create a line of hosiery and bedding, and she is also interested in getting into block-printed ceramics.

“I appreciate him very much,” he concludes, “I want to honor him by taking care of him. And part of that is trying new things and investing in new things. There’s such a wide spectrum of ways to be creative, and I’m always looking at where I can grow.”

Shop Julie Peach here.

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