by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

Motherhood & Pregnancy-Safe Skincare with Julia Doan

Vietnamese-German fashion entrepreneur Julia Doan shares with BEAUBIT on balancing motherhood and a career, postnatal care and tips for pregnancy-safe skincare.

Within Vietnam’s vibrant fashion community, Julia Doan (@doanjulia) is a name to know. Her impeccable taste and unique monochromatic style have made her fashion brand Floralpunk popular among millennials in Vietnam and the brand continues to grow. The Saigon-based entrepreneur is also a proud mother of two.

We had the chance to chat with Julia to learn how she balances motherhood with her business, how she’s taking care of herself postnatal, and her pregnancy skincare tips.

What’s your story? Where did you grow up and what do you do now?

I grew up in a tiny town in Germany, with a huge interest in Japanese culture, because the only way for me to establish a connection to my Asian heritage was to read manga. Being an introvert, I spent most of my time reading, drawing, playing video games and daydreaming. Even after moving to Munich with my family, as a teenager, I never really felt a connection with my environment. I knew I needed to get out of Germany.

When I finished high school, I was running a personal style blog with a friend from London at that time, which helped me get an internship at ELLE magazine in Vietnam. Living in Vietnam, even for a short time, felt like coming home. I was able to connect more with people there than all my life in Germany. For the first time, I had an idea about what I wanted to do with my life. 

Almost a decade later, I’m now CEO and creative director of Floralpunk, a retail fashion accessory brand with four stores in Vietnam, living my dream in Ho Chi Minh City. I’m also a grateful mother of two girls, one two-and-a-half, the other three months old.

What kickstarted Floralpunk? How do you balance motherhood and a business?

Growing up, I always wanted to do something related to fashion but I never knew what. I thought the only way into fashion was studying it, but it turned out that there are so many other options. Inspired by local fashion entrepreneurs my age, who seemed to love and enjoy what they do, I developed the confidence and ambition to start my own business, too. Floralpunk got off with a strong start because I was very active as a blogger and did a lot of social media marketing and PR. What also made Floralpunk stand out was how much effort I dedicated to the branding and content, which consisted of very minimal black and white photos, which was rare in Vietnam six years ago. 

The only way I’m able to balance work and life is by accepting a lot of help, both at work and at home. The hardest part is actually doing so without feeling guilt due to my self-reliant nature. I’d also say I’m quite good at time management due to my stressful work environment. Honestly, it’s still hard at times, because I want to do the best I can juggling multiple roles. It’s not always possible, you have to prioritize one or the other every now and then. 

Let’s talk about beauty. Can you share your typical skincare ritual?

I’m a minimalist through and through when it comes to skincare. I’ve been blessed with mostly blemish-free skin ever since I started using only one cleansing product every day for the past couple of years; it’s Corinne des Farm’s Organic Foam Cleanser—it gently removes all pollution and makeup effortlessly. On days I feel like my skin is drier (usually after nights that involve too much alcohol), I will apply some moisturizer. And that’s it. 

How did you determine which beauty products were pregnancy-safe?

During my pregnancies, I just kept up with my usual routine without actually looking into the few products that I use. I think it’s safe to say, you shouldn’t be using products that aren’t safe during pregnancy on a usual basis anyway because obviously, they’re harmful to your body. For peace of mind, you can always double-check on Google (laughs).

How much has your beauty regime changed since becoming a mother?

Less makeup, less everything, because I have less time for myself. I used to do a full makeup look—these days it’s eyebrows, blush, lipstick and that’s it. 

I’m also breastfeeding, so I have to pay much more attention to my nutrition and drink more water than I usually do. I feel like my hair and skin look so much healthier than before. So remember to stay hydrated! I hope I can keep this up even when I stop breastfeeding. 

Besides that, I used to do my own hair, but with two children at home now, I started just going to the salon to treat myself with some me-time

What is your favourite beauty activity to treat yourself?

I would say anything that I don’t have to do myself (laughs). Which means anything from facials to getting my hair done. Luckily, beauty services in Vietnam are very affordable. 

How about postpartum care; are there any tips that you can share?

The first weeks after giving birth are hard. Your time will revolve around taking care of your newborn. Getting to know your baby and trying to adjust to a new routine in your life, plus postpartum pains often lead to a lot of stress. Try to give yourself some time. Put on some makeup and feel like yourself again. It will make you feel a little better. 

Also, listen to your mum! I stuck to the Asian way of confinement the first time I gave birth, which means staying at home and resting for a month (I did shower though, which is usually a no-no). I barely used my phone and just spent all my energy on recovery. This time around, due to the pandemic and international lockdown, my mum wasn’t able to come to Vietnam to be here for me, so I went back to my pre-birth routine pretty quickly. I got back to work after only three weeks and am now feeling the payback for my recklessness. Because I’m working so much within just three months, my eyesight has gotten so bad and my breastmilk supply is always running kind of low due to stress. So yes, listen to your mum! She knows.

Do you have any Vietnamese beauty tips to share with our readers? 

Make time for yourself. Get your hair and nails done. Vietnamese girls and women really enjoy beauty treatments; we take the time to relax and rejuvenate.

What are your goals in the future? What are you working towards?

Ever since I’ve become a mother, I constantly feel my purpose shifting from materialistic aspirations to striving for a meaningful and mindful life. One big goal for me this year is to take care of myself better, physically and mentally.

In terms of work, we are currently focusing on our employees. I want Floralpunk to be able to provide a stable work environment that empowers our employees to be themselves authentically and less restricted by financial insecurities. We are also planning to build lifestyle flagship stores in Hanoi and Saigon, with bigger office spaces for our creative departments. I’ve been really into architecture and interior design lately, so building these spaces is a huge dream for me. 

As a mother, I just hope to be able to raise my kids to be empathic and kind human beings (laughs). 

Julia’s Beauty Picks

Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour in Pimpante, SGD68.95
Chanel Les Beiges Sheer Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30, SGD75.95
Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Fluid Foundation, SGD90
Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Natural Eyeshadow Palette in Deep, SGD75.30
Zoeva 102 Silk Finish Brush, SGD30

If you like Julia’s story, there’s plenty more to come. Just hit the ‘Sign Up’ button at the bottom to receive the latest round-up.