A Caramelized Conversation with Juley Le

My blogger crush began one year ago upon moving back to Memphis -- I was an avid reader of The Everygirl, where I was introduced to Juley's New Orleans-based site. I instantly fell in love with the refreshing approach to her photography, recipes and daily wardrobe picks. And, even more so, I fell in love with the site's name, which hints back to bed and breakfast memories and fine dining fêtes in Uptown New Orleans with Alex and friends. Juley's charming, you'll see; and she has accomplished incredible strides from Harper BAZAAR's "Fabulous at Every Age" winner to the mastermind behind a Houston, Texas lifestyle shop. Juley is even launching an apron and kitchen line, which I cannot wait to get my hands on upon its summer shipment. We have already planned our coffee date once I finalize the next trip down to the Bayou, and I could not be more excited. Join us for our Caramelized Conversation!


What inspired the launch of Upperlyne?

Before Upperlyne, my original blog was under a different name - one that pains me to repeat! The content mainly focused on my lifestyle in New Orleans and my personal style, but the previous name didn’t encompass what I had wanted for my blog in the longterm, so I relaunched under Upperlyne & Co. Though it’s originally a street name in New Orleans, I decidedly chose it because the word itself doesn’t have a solid meaning. I wanted a name that I could give meaning to. The content itself grew organically from my personal interests. From a young age, I had a strong interest in photography and baking. When I was asked what I wanted to be, I’d boldly answer “a teacher-slash-photographer-slash-baker!” It’s funny to actually say I was a teacher at one point; had my own macaron company at another point; and get to share my photography skills, which is amateur at most, on the blog. Throughout the years, the content has naturally developed to cover style, living, inspiration, and notes on business development from my country mouse meets city mind point of view.

How have you expanded the brand to include kitchen and lifestyle?

The aesthetic that was born from the Upperlyne & Co. brand can most concisely be experienced at Montrose Shop, a lifestyle store I developed with my business partner. It’s a lifestyle destination that houses simple and refreshing products for the rustic chic, Paris-Meets-Texas lifestyle. There, we sell the first products under the Upperlyne & Co. brand, which are functional yet stylish bistro aprons. I had the hardest time finding well-made aprons that didn’t cover my outfit so I set out to create my own! I know a lot of women like myself who might not be the best cooks but want to feel stylish when friends are over or even just toying around in our tiny kitchens. The product line is designed for the stylish woman who appreciates simple things.

How do you constantly fuel yourself with creative inspiration for the site's content?

Since we added three new contributors who cover food, wellness, and design, there is this incredible pool of content. I’m so fortunate to these contributors because they are so great at what they do. They’re constantly inspiring me with their ideas and execution! It keeps me on my toes and keeps me motivated. It’s also very important to me to keep the blog at a personal level. I try to keep readers in the loop with my growth as a person and an aspiring business developer. And with this, content naturally develops as I go through ups and downs, both in my personal and professional life.


Tell us about your role as Food Editor of The Everygirl.

Unfortunately, I’m no longer the food editor at The Everygirl. I was struggling to balance everything since the launch of Montrose Shop and my other freelance projects that I had to step away from the role last December. My time there was incredibly invaluable and I’m so thankful to have had a year with the amazing team. Alaina and Danielle are a huge part of my story and I cannot thank them enough!

Your most unforgettable restaurant experience?

I love taking friends (especially out-of-towners) to Donald Link’s Cochon. It’s all about an authentic but elevated Southern family meal there. We’d order a little bit of everything, which usually includes fried alligator, boudin, an assortment of vegetable dishes, rabbit and dumplings, catfish courtbouillon, and at least two baskets of their fresh baked rolls.

What do you love most about New Orleans?

There is so so much. You’ll have to come experience it for yourself one day and call me when you do! The one thing I love most about New Orleans, though, is that everyone’s experience is different. You might eat at the same restaurant as someone else, but your experience is going to be vastly different than that other person. New Orleans also has a way of making you feel less lonely. I can hop on the streetcar and wander the city all by myself and feel like I had the best company. It’s a city with love beaming from the most unexpected nooks.

The proudest moment in your Upperlyne career (considering there are so many accolades!)?

Oh gosh! I wouldn’t say there are many, but I think my proudest moment would be going from obsessing over The Everygirl (I’ve literally read every career profile since they launched) to working for them to being featured. It’s quite possibly the sweetest dream come true. I’ve learned so much and met so many inspiring people from that experience.


Every home cook needs…

Can I plug here?! A stylish, but functional apron, of course! (See previous questions, and get an exclusive look at the Upperlyne apron by signing up for the Montrose email list!)

Any entrepreneurial advice?

If you're tinkering with the idea of starting a business, take time to consider and analyze what's most important to you. 'Working for yourself' sounds glamorous but it's a perpetual passion project. Though different and albeit more meaningful, there's a deeper level of stress that is inherit in self-employment. You've got to let your natural passions guide your business development. To this day, I try not to commit myself to projects that I'm not in love with. It took a long time before I had this luxury, but it's one that I don't take for granted.

How do you add sweet touches to everyday experiences (the mantra of Caramelized)?

By buying myself flowers, phone-free morning walks with my puppy, and ending each day with my boyfriend. Those two - the pup and the boy - make me the happiest girl alive.

photos by buff strickland for camille styles and Upperlyne & Co.