On the occasion of the inauguration of the boutique Sessùn in Nantes, we met Julie Flamingo, great traveler but also publisher of lovey city guides. She kindly agreed to receive us at her home and tell us about her journey.
Who are you ? what are you up to at the moment ?
My name is Julie, and I go by the “feathery” stage name of Julie Flamingo.
I ‘m a publisher and started my own publishing house, which specialises in illustrated city guides.
Ultimately, I would like to publish authors I really love.
Tell us about how you got to where you are now ?
After my baccalaureate, I chose to study International Trade, and specialise in finance.
At first, I wanted to create my own financial newspaper in Mexico! As life never quite works out how you imagine, I never actually got around to doing it. My career choices led me to work in Human Resources in the IT world. I put a lot of passion and energy into the ‘H’ bit of my job, that is to say, the ‘human’ element. I tried to offer a caring approach and support my work colleagues. My IT company was 100% behind me until it was bought out by a larger group whose main interest was making profit. So, at that point I decided to quit.
Having had 15 years of experience as an employee, I took a leap into the unknown and started my own publishing house. I had a real desire to be my own boss. No more concessions, I would be the one who would take the company in the direction I wanted to take it, while staying true to my own personal values.
Tell us about your work. What was the first guide you ever published ? Do you have a new guide planned ?
My work is guided by a love of travel, a love of writing and a love of beautiful paper.
I publish travel guides that aim to be a little different to the big reference guides such as Le Routard and Lonely Planet.
My perspective is sensory; I want people to learn how to discover a city through their senses. This use of the senses begins with reading and with words. I spend an infinite amount of time writing about each chosen place. I try to describe the texture, colour, flavour, and sound of a place... it goes without saying that touch and sight are the senses that I pay particular attention to in my guides, I encourage people to touch and feel the paper. The paper I use is strong yet velvety in texture, it contains only 25% cotton. Thanks to this, I had the idea to create my maps as posters that people could iron flat and frame at the end of their trip.
What was the first guide you ever published ?
Nantes is the first guide I ever published. I produced it while I was still an employee. I already wanted something more.
Nantes is the city where I have lived for 15 years. I created a hashtag on Instagram called #NantesCityGuideByJulieFlamingo. People often asked me about this, so Nantes felt like a natural choice for my first guide.
Do you have a new guide planned ?
I'm already working on the 4th opus, which will be in Copenhagen ! My first European capital !
I hadn't planned this destination at all but I had such a crush on this city during our family holidays this summer that I decided to follow my feeling and give it a guide in French and English.
What’s your typical day like ?
That's why I love my new life: the days follow one another but no two are the same.
I may be walking down the street looking for exciting new places, or sitting quietly at my desk writing.
If I had to describe a "normal" day, I would say that it starts with waking up my two little cream puffs, followed by the four of us having breakfast, and then everyone leaving the house to go about his or her own day. For my part, I sit at my desk with a coffee in a beautiful ceramic mug that I have chosen with care. My desk faces a large bay window, so I soak up the sunlight. I turn on Spotify and answer my emails. The projects I am working on are rich and varied. This week, for example, I am selecting the addresses I will visit for my next guide, working with my printer to launch some new products, and completing the layout for two upcoming photography books.
Before going to bed, I spend the evening with my man, we watch a movie on our home cinema or a series on Netflix.
I always try to read a few pages before I switch off the light. And unfortunately, I also do have a quick look at my phone.
The clothes that suit you best ?
I have a uniform I love wearing : a pair of old, worn-out denim shorts and t-shirts softened by endless washing.
Three things you always carry in your bag ?
My iPhone, a leather notebook and my Midori brass pencils.
Your most amazing trip ?
I've travelled a lot, so that's a difficult question to answer. I visited Cuba and Bali about ten years ago when both of these islands were still very unspoilt; they were incredible. I am not sure that this is still the case today. I was spellbound by the hacienda route in Yucatan, Mexico. And I have a passion for the United States. Louisiana... swoon !
How did you discover Sessùn ?
My first encounter with Sessùn goes back to the beginning of my career. As soon as I got my first salary, I was able to afford pieces like the little liberty print dresses. My wardrobe is full of Sessùn basics: a wool Breton top, dungarees, corduroy trousers, camel-coloured leather derbies, a timeless trench coat. And more recently a stunning Touareg blue crepe dress which I bought myself for the launch of my guide from Paris to Paris.
What does Sessùn mean to you ?
Sessùn is the natural French woman, chic without trying too hard. Sessùn makes me think of beautiful, noble materials, and perfect cuts, and products with which we can age and grow. Nothing is faddy. It's a very inspiring brand. Even just the Sessùn Instagram account takes me deep into a creative universe.
The best 20 euros you’ve ever spent ?
Recently, I spent that amount to go and see Eddy de Pretto in concert, I was in a complete trance the likes of which I’ve never experienced before. I cried it was so beautiful.
A superpower you would like to have ?
The gift of ubiquity !
Your quirky habit ?
I would say concentrating really hard on singing, as if my life depended on it ;-)