This blog post was written by Julie Tu and created by Madeleine Villa.

Julie Tu should be a familiar face to any seasoned #Henkaanistas. Julie is one of the amazing women who help make Henkaa the amazing brand that it is. She has been here for almost six years and has held almost every role possible. Currently she is the Business Development Manager. However we know her as the globetrotting, empath - a women wise beyond her years with a heart of pure gold.


Read more to find out why Julie is an inspiring women to all of us here at Henkaa!


Can you tell us a bit about your personal life?

I am a 5’4, proudly Canadian-born Vietnamese dreamer who sometimes has my head in the clouds but is appreciative of my family and friends for always keeping me grounded. Growing up with an older sister and a younger brother, I was the middle child who fought for my parents attention (middle child syndrome at its best).

Julie and her life partner Kien travel often and have been on over 12 trips together! 

I am an empath who finds happiness in helping others and strives to maintain connections. Oh and I have an awesome life partner who also happens to be my high school sweetheart of the last 15 years.



On a Friday night what are you doing?

When Julie says that she hangs out with her 'friends' what she doesn't tell you is that her friend group is HUGE.

I love going out and eating delicious food, so I’d probably be exploring a new dive with my boyfriend (trying new restaurants/Narcity featured joints), cheersing to the weekend at a bar with my big but close group of friends, or staying in and doing a game night (Ticket to Ride is my JAM)!



What does a Sunday look like in your life?

Julie and her mother.

Sunday is always family day.  With my week usually busy full of catch up dates and various attempts to go to the gym, I always look forward to spending time with my family on Sunday, which is also “Auntie Julie Craft Day!”.

Julie with her nieces and nephews! 

I have three nieces and one nephew and I absolutely love being an Aunt.  I usually Pinterest craft ideas or bake something with them - this Sunday we’re making paper-mâché bowls!  Being an aunt has brought so much joy to my life. I can’t even tell you how great it felt to go to my niece’s Kindergarten graduation this past summer (yes, this is a thing), and have the teachers come up to me and say “so you’re the famous Auntie Julie! Madi talks about you all the time!”.

I don't plan on having children but I'm very fortunate to be a big part of my nieces and nephew's life, and lucky enough to help guide them as best I can as they navigate through all their adventures.



What are some of your hobbies or pastimes?

Reading has been great passion of mine. I started reading books I'd steal from my sister (who's nine years older) at a young age. Immersing myself in these paper novels, I get taken on many literary journeys that can sometimes act as an escape to anything stressful that I could be dealing with in the real world. I started reading my favourite series, Harry Potter, in grade seven and I'd say it definitely played a huge role in helping me cope with those awkward adolescent years!


Always trying new restaurants, Julie is our very own Trip Advisor!

A huge ongoing interest of mine is experiencing different craft beers from local microbreweries (Ontario is home to some of the best in my opinion!). I am proudly on my 602nd new brew according to my Untappd App! Not only do I love drinking beer, I love learning about it too. About how it's made, how the brew master blended in different types of hops and other new-age ingredients to build a story around a particular batch. I have a home brewing kit and I've been itching to start brewing up my first batch. But first I need to expand my knowledge so I'm excited to start my level one Prud'Homme Beer Certification courses in February!




What has your career path looked like?

After graduating from Journalism, I learned the hard way how difficult it was for a recent grad to find a job.  After endless interviews and offers outside of Ontario, I had seen a posting our CEO Joanna made on Facebook calling for a full-time sales/experience role at Henkaa.  This definitely piqued my interest as I had already knew about how great the dresses were and I was eager to get my feet wet wherever I could. I messaged Joanna, emailed my resume through, and the rest as they say, is history! I started the role thinking that this would be a stepping stone and time-filler until I found something within Journalism, but I grew so much within my first year that I knew I found something worth holding on to! I feel like I’ve come full circle - from working part-time in sales at the Hudson’s Bay throughout my years in school, to then becoming one of the vendors that would come into The Bay to conduct Product Knowledge sessions with the staff (that I used to be!). Our dresses were proudly in Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay on Queen Street.



When did you first hear of Henkaa?

My sister has been longtime friends with our Founder & CEO Joanna, and so we were what everyone beyond two degrees of separation was back in the day, Facebook friends. When I started seeing Joanna post about her new company about eight years ago, I was amazed! I told my friends about it and brought my best friend into the showroom to try on a Sakura, which she ended up buying!  Little did I know a couple years later I'd be starting my own beautiful journey there and now.



What is your position with Henkaa now? How did you get here?

I am the Business Development Manager here at Henkaa. I initially started out as a full-time Customer Experience Associate with various content writing projects throughout the website and training manuals within our care team. During my first few months, I quickly learned to wear many hats and always went out of my way to learn new things, I was eager and hungry to do more.  That led me to my first promotion as the Customer Experience Lead & Communications Coordinator then to Assistant Manager of the Customer Experience Team, and finally after taking hold of our retailer accounts and event planning, this past year I was promoted into my current role of Business Development Manager.



What has been the best part about working with Henkaa?

I’ve experienced so much growth and opportunity working at Henkaa and have met so many amazing individuals along the way.  We have a wonderful team that truly cares and supports one another. Yes we all have our own roles and parts to play, but that doesn’t stop us from lending a hand or reaching out whenever one of us needs it - and that is something very rare in the corporate world.



If you could tell people one thing about working for Henkaa what would you say?

I work for a female empowered company run by a small yet mighty team of fearless individuals that inspire me every day.  This is important to me because growing up I was always taught to be independent and strong. My dad called me Supergirl and showed me that strength isn’t measured by your gender, but by your will and your heart.  I’m proud to work for a company that heavily believes in uplifting all women, with our size equality mantra and dedicated community outreach. We sell not just life-changing garments, but also a lifestyle.



Why should consumers purchase from Henkaa?

Whenever someone asks me what I do, I tell them about our company, what we stand for and what we offer. I never try to oversell it or come across as pushy - but I usually go on a long spiel because I truly believe in our mission and I stand by our products.  What’s not to love? We are proudly Canadian, our dresses are handmade with absolute care right here in Toronto, and our tight-knit team works around the clock to ensure that we’re providing the best quality, for an affordable price. Our dresses grow alongside the wearer for the many different stages in their lives - from gifted as a bridesmaid dress (that they’d wear again), to easily cutting it (machine-washable and stress/wrinkle-free) to wear on vacation, to then using the same dress and pairing it with one of our maxi overlays to model during a maternity photoshoot, it’s honestly a piece that can help reduce a bursting closet to a minimal one with key staples that last a lifetime.



What are your next goals with Henkaa?

My goal is to get our line into boutiques that are aligned with our core values both in North America and around the world so that we can spread the Henkaa love to as many women as possible.



Can you tell us a time when you felt extremely proud to work for Henkaa?

In all honesty, right now.  I’ve been on this adventure for almost six years, I’ve planned over 45 trade shows and events around North America and met thousands of new Henkaanistas.  Not to mention, I manage 36 of the most amazing Retailers out there, with more to come in the near future - I’m a lucky lady!