Julie Rosenberg from New York City talks to us in episode 11 about how her business, Julie’s Beet, inspires people to choose foods more consciously. Julie’s marketplace carries unique artisan foods that most of us have never even heard of! Items are made by small batch producers from all over the world. And Julie spends her time seeking them out.
5 Simple Ideas To Make a Difference:
- Keep it local. Seek out foods that are grown in our local area, and are in season.
- Go off the beaten path. Rather than going to Starbucks, find a local coffee shop instead.
- At the Farmer’s Market, choose one new thing to try, or tell our kids that we’ll let them pick any one new thing to try.
- Have a good olive oil, salt and spice blend on hand at home, and use these to elevate meat or vegetables into artisan foods.
- Take time to read the story behind our food, before we buy it.
Julie lives in New York City with her husband and 4 sons. They don’t have any room right now for pets! She loves to cook for her family and friends. She also enjoys running and spending time outdoors.
The marketplace at Julie’s Beet is like a local farmers market except it is filled with exceptional artisan foods from around the world. They pride themselves on finding the best of each item available and love to work with and support small producers. Small batch items are more unique, and you can feel the love in the work they do.
My Favorite Episode Quote:
“Every product I sell has a story. And that is part of my job. To pass that story along to the people who are purchasing it.” – Julie Rosenberg
Getting Started in the Culinary Arts:
Julie first began working with food while she was a student at Purdue University. She worked in the basement of the student union making muffins from mixes and rolling out cinnamon rolls. She then did her summer internship for a small food distributor in St. Louis.
Her undergraduate degrees were in Math and Business. She knew she wanted to start her own business and just assumed she would go on to get her MBA. But a friend suggested doing her graduate degree in an area other than business (since she had already learned a lot about business) and the idea of culinary school entered her mind.
Julie applied for culinary schools and went on to Johnson & Wales in Denver, Colorado after she graduated. She loved Colorado but decided to move to New York, knowing that she could learn from some of the best chefs in the world.
She says she moved to New York pretty naive, assuming she would find a job working a steady schedule for hourly pay. But she learned quickly that she would be on salary working very long hours. She started out by living with a friend for a few months, and then she moved into the city.
Working in Restaurants in New York:
Julie’s first job in the city was in the kitchen at DB Bistro. Daniel Boulud has many restaurants so she got to see a lot of different things happening while working for him. She then went to Eleven Madison Park, which was a completely different place, with a formal, fine dining vibe. After working in the kitchen of both of these places, she went to Bouchon Bakery and managed the retail staff and cafe. This is where she was able to get experience on “the business side” of culinary arts.
Starting Julie's Beet:
Julie quit working at Bouchon Bakery in 2011 with a full business plan to start her own business selling artisan foods in New York. But fate took her in a different direction.
Her soon to be husband got a job in London, they married, and she moved to England with him. In London she worked for a chocolate shop called Rococo Chocolates. She never thought she would be a pastry chef because it’s so technical and precise! But she learned a lot through that experience, especially how important online sales are to a small business.
Julie moved back to NYC six months pregnant and had her first son. (She now has 4 sons!) She then started Julie’s Beet in 2015 when he was about a year old. Julie said she made the leap when she felt like she had her hands around parenting.
When Julie started Julie’s Beet, the culinary industry was completely different than it is now. She was online before most artisan food businesses were, even before social media for selling became a big thing.
Hand-picked Artisan Foods:
Julie’s Beet’s tagline is “culinary gems from around the world”. Julie is looking for artisan foods that you won’t find easily available everywhere. She hand picks small brands that she can share with people who are not likely to have seen them before.
Julie started with products from four friends that she admires:
- Rococo Chocolates – she met the owner while working for her in London
- La Boite Spices – a good friend of Julie’s in New York
- Gus & Grey Jams – she met the owner who now lives in Detroit while they were working together for Daniel Boulud
- Five Olive Oil – from a friend in Greece who started the olive oil brand
Julie has learned through the years that she needs to streamline what she offers from each person so that she can carry more artisans. She loves hand selecting only the best of the best to offer. Being a chef, Julie says it’s hard to find a packaged product that tastes fresh and delicious. So this is one of her big challenges.
While Julie travels, she looks for new products to carry all of the time. She tries to attend Farmer’s Markets back in Indiana or in other states that she visits. She also sources from the Fancy Food Show where thousands of vendors from all over the world attend with their foods.
One of her favorite spots is the Incubator Alley, which is made up of brands that are sharing kitchens and just getting started. Julie targets these smaller brands that are not in big stores. She shares that the hardest part about carrying products that no one else has is balancing that with the fact that Julie’s Beet is a business. She ultimately has to carry products that sell, so choosing brands is a constantly evolving process.
Gift Baskets & A la Carte:
One cool thing about Julie’s Beet is that you can buy the artisan foods in a gift basket (this is what I usually do) or a la carte. I highly recommend the baskets as gifts for friends or co-workers. We give them to friends we stay with while we travel, or for birthdays, or for new babies, etc. If my friends like one of the products in the basket, they can choose to buy just that product from Julie in the future. I’ve had experiences where I’ve gotten a gift basket and then never been able to find an item again. So that’s really helpful with Julie’s shop. She has everything a la carte and with the brand’s story right there.
Recipes & Cooking Everyday:
Julie obviously loves to cook. And she is always posting photos of the amazing meals that she prepares (with available recipes). I asked her how she pulls this off with 4 boys!
Julie shares that people have a lot of memories around food and meals together and that drives her. She said it’s fun for her to come home at night and cook savory foods for her family because she hasn’t done it all day.
Julie shared that she tries to prep foods the night before so that her family can eat quickly in the evening. She also said that her kids eat early, before she and her husband eat, so she can often put something in the oven while she’s putting her kids to bed. Then they are able to eat something fresh too, when he gets home from work.
Julie shares that they always do a big family meal on Sundays, when they can all sit down together to something that she prepares. She shares that although it’s challenging to make 5 men happy, she loves this ritual that they all have together.
Julie has tons of great recipes on her website for all you foodies: https://www.juliesbeet.com/pages/recipe-box