Charlotte, founder of Julius & Co., is one of the hardest working women I know. She has a million projects going on at the same time and executes each one to perfection. Her business is unique because she does many things, but they are all anchored by her two vintage trailers, Julius and Dottie. She sells handmade textiles (cute napkins and manly hankies), hosts custom events, and rents out her trailers for glamping, weddings, and extra-special stay-cations. See, I told you she was nuts...I mean, hardworking. When she isn't being a creative genius, she can be found playing with her dogs while drinking wine and eating macaroni & cheese.
1. Who are you, what do you do, and how did it all begin?
I’m Charlotte Lantz, a textile designer, licensed architect, wife, and entrepreneur. I love to create and connect with people who have similar interests. And at this point, I’m putting it all on the line to get Julius & Co. going.
Several years ago, when the construction economy in San Diego was really suffering, I realized I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t give 150% to a situation that wasn’t giving me anything back. Fearing that I would be laid off at any moment gave me the courage to quit and go back to school. I enrolled in an intense, 1-year long certificate program at FIDM in Los Angeles and commuted twice a week. There were times I slept in my car, a few times I was literally starving, but didn’t have any cash to get food and times when I was so tired, I couldn’t even write my own name.
There were times when I wanted to give up but quitting felt worse than suffering through it. So, I graduated – somehow. I gained skills, textile industry knowledge, a few good friends and the energy to do what I really love: being creative and being with other creative people. My goal is to support and grow textile arts in San Diego. We have a huge creative genius population here (evident by our impressive start-ups, beautiful neighborhoods and great restaurants and bars). I want to tap into that culture and help nurture it by teaching people to make things with their hands.
I also happen to have a small obsession with vintage trailers, one of which became my mobile textile studio…
2. Where can we find you on social media?
3. Why do you use social media?
I use social media because it is the easiest way to connect with people all over the world. When I was remodeling my vintage Airstream, I got inspiration and referrals from searching on Instagram and Pinterest. Whenever I feel creatively stuck, I browse posts for inspiration. I’ve also connected with quite a few vintage trailer enthusiasts via social media and it’s great to have a network you can share ideas and problems with. I’ve found that social media is a great way to share my story and my products. The only reason it works is because people are sharing information with each other and I thrive in such a collaborative environment – it’s like the biggest, longest brainstorming session in the history of the world!
4. Which tools do you use for creating or posting content?
I use my iPhone 5 for the most part. And when I’m lucky, I get to hire my friend and photographer, Anna Rowland, to take really great pictures for me to share.
5. What effect does social media have on your business?
I’m still new to this game, but I think being on social media gives me validity. I’ve been invited by several news publications and market organizers to participate in their efforts recently. Social media allows them to research me and evaluate my work within minutes. Though my business models relies heavily on the public coming to me to purchase products and participate in workshops, social media helps them find me.
6. How do you measure success on social media?
I’m still working out how to organize and measure “success” in numeric terms, but it was quite exciting when I reached 100 followers on Instagram. At this moment, I’m just shy of 200, and the number grows each day…
7. What aspect of social media do you find most challenging?
It’s difficult for me to post with regularity. Ideally, I would like to post once a day to both Instagram and Facebook using different photos and text – but it’s hard! One of my problems is that I’m not a very good photographer; another is that I’m a huge perfectionist. So, I’m constantly taking and retaking pictures and thinking and rethinking what to post. I guess that would also make me indecisive… or would it?
8. What makes you follow another brand back?
Whenever I get a comment or follower from someone I don’t know, I go to their profile and check them out. Sometimes I get requests to follow them back, or a like for a like. That kind of attention doesn’t help me, so I don’t respond to those requests. It’s more important to me to have a follower I can connect with and learn from than having a certain number of followers.
9. Which brands have social media you admire?
I love to read the posts by @malimish_airstream. They are a family of five that travels around the country in their Airstream sharing beautiful pictures and knowledge from the various sites they visit. I like to live vicariously through them. A little part of me wishes I could be a true nomad, but the rest of me loves my cozy home, spending time with my friends and neighbors and being part of a community. Following @malimish_airstream gives me the little dose of wanderlust I need to get through each day.
10. Any advice for other brands just getting started on social media?
Don’t hesitate or over-think things, just do it. It gets easier the more you participate and the rewards are ten-fold.