Julie has a quiet confidence and is both commanding and attentive to others. These traits have contributed to the values of Exertier, the skin care brand she founded, inspired by her native Alps. Let us introduce a tiger from the summits.
Can you introduce yourself?
I am Julie Exertier, the founder of Exertier Treasure of the Alps, the clean beauty brand of the French Alps.
I have become what they call a "slasher!" I was a celebrity stylist, marketing director, fundraising director, and even a radio journalist... Basically all I need to do is tell myself that I wouldn't be able to do it, and then I'll want to try it out.
To describe myself I like to say paradoxical, hyperactive, and feminist! The whole shebang.
What's your jungle like?
My day jungle is clearly my business, which is a permanent challenge, because I think our young brands are revolutionizing the beauty industry, both by product formulas, digitization, and by being more transparent.
My evening jungle is my family, and especially my two sons, with my youngest being just 6 months old. And usually right about now, I'd recreate for you the scene from the Lion King, when Mufasa reveals his offspring to the world...
Absolutely! And precisely, from the top of your rock, when do you feel like you're queen of the jungle?
When I convince someone to support my brand, whether it's a reporter, an investor, or a client. It's a great feeling when you're able to sell your project—and believe me, I'm a real tigress when it comes to supporting Exertier.
Do you feel rivalry with other queens? It's a cliché that's often brought up...
On the contrary, I believe in the benevolence of women. We are now understanding that uniting is being stronger. Just look at the Me Too movement that really hustled things up.
On the other hand, I refuse to be in a "women's club" because I find it segmenting. This, however, does not prevent me from creating a network of very powerful and inspiring women around me, who have supported me since the very beginning and are aware of the family-ambition dilemma that often tears us women in half.
I actually saw that the women in your family took part in Exertier's creation...
My ultimate tiger is my grandmother, Ginette, who's 92 years old. She is my model and has inspired me to become the woman I am today. She is a true community leader and she wears her heart on her sleeve, but she also knows how to bite if she has to.
I also admit that since I read Michelle Obama's bio, it has made me even more in love with her.
And what makes you bare your claws?
Little macho comments, the ones that wouldn't be said to my husband, like: "Is it not too difficult to have a baby AND work?". While pregnant I was also told: "Congrats for running a business in your condition." It's very "gendered" and quite offensive, in fact. In short, it's anything that immediately ties me to "my place as a woman."
What makes so happy you want to roar?
I'd say a text of love and support from my husband. A positive comment from a client. A "Mom, I love you" from my oldest, a million-dollar smile from my youngest when I get home from work exhausted.
Natural, vegan: are those are important topics for you?
I grew up in the country, in the Savoy region of France, where I like to go to recharge my batteries. We live at 100 mph, and we have to to follow that rhythm. Going back to connect with nature is essential nowadays. I have the mindset of a country folk when it comes to issues of natural, vegan etc...
Natural, OK, but the ingredient must not come from the other side of the world. Organic if possible and the resource does not damage the planet, like palm oil. Vegan, yes, but our honey product collection for example is not, though our honey is farmed by a passionate beekeeper who pampers his bees.
Personally, I consume 95% organic and only buy local if possible. Little meat unless it is of super quality and well produced. I love beautiful things that last, part of my career was in luxury products, so it's super important for me to know how something I purchased was made. And I think my passion for vintage saves the future resources of our planet!
What does lipstick mean to you?
It's funny, because when I was 20 years old I thought it didn't look good on me at all! And now I love to wear it. Bright red mostly. I find that it brightens up the face, that it's a kind of war paint so we can all confront our personal jungle.
What about your favorite lipstick color?
It's time to choose your tiger mantra...
I'd say Queen Mother Tiger. Because my animal instincts come to the surface with my two boys that I protect every day.