L.A.’s Jules Feng Reinvents Her Life as a Successful Fashion Designer
She’s going for her piece of the American Dream.
CategoryMakers + Entrepreneurs
Written byTanya Monaghan
Photographed byLauren Pressey
A product of two different cultures, Jules Feng always felt a bit different. As a young girl she felt the pressures of trying to fit into the group, but through life experience and much self-exploration she found out who she truly is. “And being different is a good thing and something to celebrate,” she says.
As often is the case, adversity allowed Jules to truly appreciate so many of her blessings. At the age of 6, she emigrated from South Korea to Chicago during “the Blizzard of 1979” with her mother and younger brother. Her father, the youngest of 10 children, came to America for education and stayed. Jules suddenly found herself transplanted into the Midwest suburbs, learning English and getting quickly acclimated.
As a freshman in college, she returned to South Korea on a foreign exchange program. What was supposed to be a one-year stint turned into a four-year adventure. She majored in English with the desire to teach immersion students—specifically kids who were transitioning to America from Korea.
Recalling her own difficult transition (her first English words were “she hit me first”), Jules believed it was her calling to help other children in similar circumstances. Those years as a teacher proved to be incredibly rewarding.
Driven and entrepreneurial, Jules returned to the U.S. at 22 to earn a second bachelor’s degree in communications at the University of San Francisco. While studying for her GMAT with hopes to earn a master’s degree at Stanford, fate stepped in. She met her husband, Greg, and promptly moved to L.A. to be with him.
A few years later they welcomed two children, Brandon and Maddie, and moved to Manhattan Beach when their eldest son was ready to go to preschool. Jules stayed at home with the children for about 11 years.
As her kids became more independent, she encountered a self-identity crisis. “What am I going to do?” she thought. “Is this it? I haven’t worked for 10 years. What am I good at?” She knew something was out there waiting for her, but she didn’t know what it was yet.
“I also think just being from two different cultures, two different countries, two different worlds and two different mentalities on pretty much all aspects of life … I am always bouncing back and forth and figuring out which one is the most appropriate for that situation at this point of my life,” she shares. “I was conflicted with picking up again and doing something that required me spending time away from my kids.”
Now looking back five years wiser, she thinks she was at a place in her life where the journey was more about identifying with her true self and gaining the courage to take those first steps. She adds, “Sometimes what we seek is already seeking us.”
Read more about Jules’s career move and resulting success here.
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