Think you’re over the moon about jewelry? Think again.
Our May Teafluencers, Julien Plouffe and Aurelie Dudziak, are founders of Moonglow jewelry, pieces crafted around photos of a moon phase that means something special to the wearer. They are passionate about their product and what it represents to people: a special event or memory or time or person. Jewelry that you can love to the moon and back.
Read on about their Moonglow journey, and find out which one of them believes that tea gives them superpowers!
Harney:Tell us a little about you both. Where are you from, educational background, where you live, family, etc.
Aurelie: I’m originally from France. I came to the US a little bit after completing my bachelor degree in English & Literature. I currently live in Miami, FL where our Moonglow warehouse and fulfillment team are located. My family still lives in Europe.
Julien: I grew up in Montreal, Canada. I have one sister. My father has been an entrepreneur his whole life, so I was introduced to the lifestyle early on and was hooked. I knew I would never have an ordinary job and decided that I needed to work for myself.
Harney:How did you two meet? How did this partnership come about?
A+J: We met at a fair in San Diego, through a mutual friend who introduced us. Julien was exhibiting at the fair selling a line of pet grooming products, and I (Aurelie) was working with our mutual friend selling French kitchen products. Julien introduced me to the Moonglow concept, then I soon had my first experience selling Moonglow at a show. That’s when we first started sharing our early vision of what Moonglow could become.
Harney:Describe Moonglow, your mission and your products.
A+J: Moonglow is jewelry featuring the picture of the moon from the date of your choice. Our moon charms have a subtle glow like the moon itself -- they absorb natural light during the day and then glow in dark environments! Our purpose at Moonglow is connecting people with the moments and people that are most meaningful to them. Moonglow is all about honoring a special date or moment in your life by wearing the moon phase to remind you of that date. Our mission is to light up the world with Moonglow.
Harney:Tell us about the early days of Moonglow. Where did the interest in moon cycles and creating jewelry come from?
Aurelie: At the very beginning, Canadian artist Luc Rouleau had created about five original designs that Julien’s dad was offering at fairs and events. After having my own experience selling Moonglow to customers for the first time, I realized how special this was to people—the sentimental value behind a piece like Moonglow. With the creative mind that I have and with the moon already being such a beautiful romantic symbol, the desire to design jewelry and expand the line came to me.
Harney:How did you go from a start-up to a hugely successful global business?
Julien: The early days of Moonglow were just Aurelie and me travelling and exhibiting at events with one or two other team members. We started by just setting up small booths and selling direct to consumers at fairs, comic con’s and other events. The original idea of Moonglow came from Luc, the Canadian artist, who had this amazing concept but needed help getting the moon necklaces out there. My dad, who is also an entrepreneur, decided to step in and help out by selling it at fairs. That’s where I saw the potential in Moonglow and the opportunity to rebrand, further develop the product line and expand into retailer partnerships selling Moonglow in shops nationwide. We also expanded by launching our e-commerce website to further grow a national brand and build lifelong customers and fans as opposed to limiting the Moonglow line to a one-and-done type of sale at events.
Harney:Are people’s moon phases anything like their astrological sign? Are certain moon phases more compatible than others?
Aurelie: Moon phases and astrological signs are different, but I hear that the phases of the moon throughout the month can also affect your astrological sign differently than they do for another astrological sign.
Harney: What moon cycles are each of you?
Julien: I am a new moon, which I love because I associate the new moon with new beginnings, and I believe every day is a new chance to create a different life for ourselves.
Aurelie: I am a waning crescent phase. Basically, the last sliver of the moon you see in the sky before it changes to the new moon. So I’m actually quite close to Julien’s phase!
Harney:Who creates your beautiful jewelry? And who takes the moon photos?
Aurelie: Some of the original designs were created by artist Luc Rouleau and his partner, but I designed a lot of the more recent designs. The iconic moon images you see in all of our moon phase pieces are handcrafted and provided to us by Luc.
Harney:We love this part of your moon photos-- they glow in the dark! Really? How does that work?
Aurelie: Yes, this is quite a beautiful feature our jewelry has. Simply wear your Moonglow during the day. The moon images are crafted to absorb sunlight and natural light throughout the day, which allows your moon to glow in dark environments! In the dark, you’ll see our moon charms glowing a soft turquoise blue.
Harney:So, does a full moon affect your work? You said in one of your blog posts that hamsters will run on their wheels more aggressively during a full moon… so do you get totally wacky orders during a full moon? Do you take moon phases into account when making decisions?
Julien: I don’t usually take into account the moon phases when making decisions, but I do love looking at the moon in the sky. I can look at it for hours! I find the moon to be so mesmerizing, and it reminds me of how amazing the universe is and how lucky I am to be on this planet.
Harney:You recently created an awesome #OneWorldOneMoon Hero campaign, asking people to share their stories of the people in their life who deserve to be honored for the help and support they bring their communities, especially during the difficult coronavirus pandemic. You selected 10 of those heroes to be gifted their own Moonglow to honor the moment that matters most to them. What was that experience like for you both, reading the submission, and how did you manage to narrow it done to 10?
Aurelie: Thank you! Yes, this was an important campaign to us. We feel that this is what Moonglow is truly all about—honoring the moments, the memories and the people in our lives! In moments and times like this, finding meaning and connecting to what matters most to us holds an even deeper significance. We wanted to take a moment to recognize all of the people making a positive impact for others during this very unique time. We were truly excited to be able to contribute by doing something thoughtful and meaningful for the winners and their heroes.
Reading people’s stories in general is really what inspires us to keep pushing our brand forward, doing more with Moonglow to reinforce our mission—that is, inspiring people to connect with what’s truly meaningful to them.
I won’t lie, choosing the winners wasn’t an easy task, but we based the selection on the most heartfelt stories that were submitted.
Harney: So, how much do you love tea? What role does tea play in your life?
Aurelie: I absolutely love tea and love trying new kinds on a regular basis. So much that I have an entire section of my kitchen cabinet filled with teas!
I love peppermint tea for its taste but also it’s great for digestion, so I often like to enjoy a cup after a meal. I also love green tea for a boost of energy and fat burning.
Julien: I do love tea! I like healthy things that make me feel great, so tea naturally fits right in. I prefer green tea the most because it has many health benefits, so I’ve convinced myself I will live longer if I drink it, haha. I definitely feel great after drinking tea! I also love a good chai.
Harney:Do you have any favorite flavors or types of Harney & Sons tea (or anything on your list to try?
A+J: The first Harney & Sons tea flavor I (Aurelie) ever tried was the Green Tea with Coconut, Vanilla, Ginger and Lemongrass. I thought this was such an original and unique combination of flavors, and it smells so delicious! I (Julien) like Chinese green teas because I feel that green tea gives me superpowers when I drink it, haha. But for real, green tea always gives me the boost of energy I need in order to get through my days!
We loved learning more about Moonglow from its founders and appreciate their willingness to be interviewed. If you’d like to learn more about their beautiful products and order your own moon jewelry, visit their website or you can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. All photography was provided by Julien and Aurelie.
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India is the world’s second largest producer of tea, famous for their Assam, Darjeeling, Nilgiri and of course, chai.