Posted on 22 July 2015
She’s the cofounder of Birddogs Shorts, a men’s active wear brand that launched this year and is already garnering a dedicated following. She’s also the cofounder of Building Blocks for Change, an organization responsible for building schools, housing, and other infrastructure in underprivileged neighborhoods around the world.
Her work with Building Blocks even landed her a spot on The Observer’s 2014 list of New York City’s 20 Most Significant Young Philanthropists – an honor she shares with the likes of Rosario Dawson and Lauren Bush. So to say Julia Fehrenbach is busy is a vast understatement.
Still, the Seattle-born beauty was excited to meet with Rise City Swim (although probably not as excited as we were), so she squeezed in the time for a sit-down to share everything from her biggest challenges, to her proudest accomplishments, to the five things she couldn’t live without – one being her Rise bikini!
After we chatted, it was time for a poolside photo shoot at the Dream Downtown with Julia wearing her Rise City swimwear like a true #womanontherise. Read on for our full Q&A.
Rise City Swim: What have been your biggest challenges as a co-founder in creating your brand?
Julia Fehrenbach: It’s important to stay consistent, while still allowing yourself to evolve and be open to learning new things. Particularly in the nonprofit sector, you want to do as much good as possible, so it can be hard to say “no” to certain opportunities and “yes” to others based on your theory of change and your fundraising model.
RCS: What’s your proudest accomplishment?
JF: I’m most proud of my work during my visit to Africa with Building Blocks cofounders Zac and Julian. Being able to see the direct impact of what the organization does on the communities -- and how thankful everyone is for what we do -- made me feel that any struggle I've endured in order to make this a reality is 100% worth it. It's an unmatched feeling.
Julia on Confidence:
The biggest thing to remember is confidence always starts with you… If you can't find that inner-peace and happiness within yourself, you will never feel confident when facing the outside world.
RCS: What advice do you have for other young female professionals?
JF: Work hard and embrace humility and failure. Don't live a life based on what you think others want you to live by, but rather a life that you want to live. It sounds cliche, but sometimes I wish I listened to my gut instincts sooner.
RCS: What are five things you couldn’t live without?
JF: I couldn’t live without insightful conversations with close friends, amazing sunsets on the water, the music app Shazam, dry shampoo – and my Rise City bikini!
RCS: How do you relate to the mission at Rise City Swim?
JF: I think every woman relates to the mission at Rise. The biggest thing to remember is confidence always starts with you, and I think Rise really focuses on that. If you can't find that inner-peace and happiness within yourself, you will never feel confident when facing the outside world. Fortunately, there are baby steps to accomplishing this, and you can easily start by realizing that no one cares about that cheeseburger you just ate…so go rock that Rise City Swim bikini! It really is that simple.
Be sure to check out Building Blocks for Change and stay updated on all the important work they do at their website.