We had the good fortune of connecting with Julie Running and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Julie, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I think about work life balance a lot. It was something that in my previous job, managers would talk about and yet, never really made it important. There were times I would have scheduled days off and be asked to come in because they needed me to take care of something. I amassed a tremendous amount of vacation time over 25 years of service and could never use it all. We were always so busy taking off felt wrong, made me feel guilty. When my home life was awful, being that busy at work allowed work to be my hiding place. Once I changed my personal life and started actually living, I didn’t want to be working 50 – 60 hours a week any longer.

That change in thinking was really the prompt that made me want to work for myself. If I need to work 50 hours a week you bet I’ll get it done, on the other hand I now have the ability to set my schedule and allow myself time off. We all deserve that, self care and mental health are so important, time off gives us the time to do what is good for us outside of work.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
How did I get here?? Prior to my furniture life, I owned a flower shop. I loved most of it and also realized I wanted a change. I wanted to start a family and not have the responsibility of running a business, my first run in with that work-life balance issue. I wasn’t sure where I was going to work when I received a call from a family friend asking if I wanted to come work at a local commercial furniture dealer. They say once you get into furniture, you never get out. That holds true for me.

I started in the warehouse, taking care of warranty and parts orders, then started scheduling all the deliveries and installations. From there I moved to the showroom location and worked as the administrator for the design department. We were purchased by a major retailer and that changed my direction to marketing, After 26 years with that dealer, I was burned out and unhappy. I quit and spent a year with a different dealer… it was a rough year. It didn’t take long after to realize I wanted to be my own boss. I’ve known furniture for so many years and really most of my friends are contacts are in the industry so it seemed to be a no-brainer to start my own independent commercial furniture representative company, The Fringe Collection was born. I also needed to do something for income while building up The Fringe Collection, so I went back to my roots (haha) with plants and flowers, that is how Fringe Floral and Plants came to be. It’s been a shining light and I’ll keep it going in conjunction with The Fringe Collection.. Now I call on the people I used to work side by side with, it’s a win-win.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend was coming to town for the weekend we would have plenty to do. Day 1 – Downtown Phoenix is amazing with so many different restaurants and bars, art galleries and music venues. We would probably start by checking out murals downtown, maybe visit a tattoo shop, then off to Angel’s Trumpet Ale House for a few beers and maybe a pop tart. To switch it up we might stop by the Japanese Friendship Garden and take in the culture and inspirational scenery. To round the night off we will definitely enjoy some shopping along Grand Ave or maybe at the Churchill before heading to either Gallo Blanco or Pa’la for dinner. The evening would end at Stardust Pinball with drinks, dancing and pinball. The perfect night would include catching a show at the Van Buren.
Day 2 – Enjoy my home neighborhood of Sunnyslope. If there isn’t an excessive heat warning, take a hike up North Mountain or Piestewa Peak then excitedly welcome a food coma from Little Miss BBQ. Later, take a bike ride along the canal, headed to Ladera Taverna y Cocina for dinner followed by Butler’s Easy for dessert drinks.
Flagstaff is a really fun day trip too, if we need a change of scenery

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without so many people. My kids, Allison Ferraro, Lauren Gonzales, my favorite ex co-workers, the guys at Slabhaus and TruCollective who said yes, the minute I asked if I could rep their businesses (huge confidence boost there) and my designer tribe (you all know who you are). These are the ones that make time in their schedule, show up when I need them and are always full of encouragement and the best advice around, plus lots of laughs and a few happy hours!. They are also the ones that have bought flowers and plants to keep me busy and making some money while I’m working on building my rep business.
I probably don’t say this enough, I am so blessed and grateful for the people in my life.

Website: www.thefringecollection.com

Instagram: @fringe.collection @fringe.floral

Linkedin: Julie Running

Image Credits
Zofia Sells Photography

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