Tell Us About Your Evolution: An Interview with Julie Rais Ellis

Tayler Cusick Hollman, Cardiff based founder of TAYLRD Media + Designs recently sat down with Julie Rais Ellis, of Rais Case.  Julie's been a supporter of Boss Babes from the start, and we consistently find her vibes and her business inspiring. Here's her story about taking a leap of faith to pursue her passions, balancing the hustle of being a full time mama bird, and her entrepreneurial evolution.

Photo Credit: Shane + Lauren Photography

Photo Credit: Shane + Lauren Photography

Before starting Rais Case you were an art teacher. Do you remember the moment that you decided to leave the classroom and pursue Rais Case full time? What was making that decision like?

In the fall of 2013 I opened a small shop in Del Mar with Mr. B’s. It was the first time I had a storefront for Rais Case and the experience was so cool. But, after a month of both teaching and working to run a brick and mortar shop, I realized I couldn’t do both and keep my sanity.

To be honest, the money was in teaching at that point but my heart was in making stuff. So, one day I mustered up the courage to approach my principal to talk things through. I told her about my feelings and asked for advice. She told me, “You can always come back to teaching.” And that was pretty much it! I ended up finishing out the semester and leaving the classroom in January of 2014.

I realize that I was lucky to have a principal who was so supportive. Because my instincts were telling me to do it at the same time my head was asking if it was the smart thing to do. It obviously worked out because here I am, years later with a business and brand bigger than I ever could have imagined!

Your style has evolved since you first started Rais Case. Tell us about that evolution.

The style changes pretty much based on when I find inspiration and there is no set calendar for releasing new collections. I am really curious when it comes to design so when I find something I love, I just run with it! My ultimate (and maybe selfish goal) is to be able to travel around the world for inspiration and sourcing. I am dying to go to Panama and Morocco – so I am sure you’ll see collections inspired by those places soon enough!

Photo Credit: Shane + Lauren Photography

How do you source your materials?

My leather is sourced from Argentina and I work with a company in Los Angeles to get it. The rest can come from anywhere really. I have gone up to the Pendleton mill in Washington; which was really cool because I got to see the process first hand – and in a 100-year-old factory! But the mud cloth I recently used was found at the Long Beach flee market. I had to scour the internet for the vintage fabrics; finding consistent quality was hard.

What do you love the most about running your own business?

I love the flexibility! Being a working mama of two littles means that my days sometimes need to revolve around what and how they are doing. So, being able to come in super early, late at night or just work from home is a huge bonus.  I also love not having to answer to anyone – I was never good at that.

Photo Credit: Shane + Lauren Photography

Photo Credit: Shane + Lauren Photography

What are the biggest challenges about running your own business?

That flexibility I just talked about? Yeah, that can also be a huge challenge because sometimes there isn’t the structure or boundaries you need.

I really don’t think that I could do this without being in a collective space. I get so much from being connected to the other artists in my shop, from being connected to the community – it helps create this grounding balance that keeps everything in check and helps get me through the challenges.

Photo Credit: Shane + Lauren Photography

Photo Credit: Shane + Lauren Photography

You're always collaborating with other artists. How do those projects come together?

I have always just felt drawn to other artists. As an artist, there is so much to learn from people who work in different mediums and have a different process than you. So, when I get really inspired, I try to connect with them. From there, it’s really just about building a creative relationship and dreaming up fun things!

What is your ultimate goal for Rais Case?

That is a moving target! I definitely had set some lofty ones but have been humbled by having kids. So right now, I am focusing on doing what feels right.  The shop has the potential to be a great community space so, I am working towards that. But in general, my goals are pretty simple: be creative, be happy, be a good mom. Sometimes I want to do more or change things and it’s important to remember that everything about Rais Case is working and that it’s great! So it's also about working to remember that and stayed focused through it all.

So babes, there you have it. Inspo to the max, by one of our favorite babes. So, this is where we ask you... What gets you going? What are you goals? What are your challenges? We want to hear your story in the comments below.





P.S. Are you loving these photos as much as we are? Check out Shane + Lauren Photography to fall in love with this amazing duo and their work. 

They Took Us on a Journey || Balanced Babe

Kimberly Elyse Photography

Kimberly Elyse Photography

A few weeks ago I had the honor of co-hosting yet another amazing Boss Babes Brunch Club event, here in Carlsbad, CA.  The evening was brisk, the event was held outdoors - passerby's inquired and were curious, what are all these women doing??  Four amazing women took the stage - one after the other spoke of their lives, what inspired them go into their chosen profession, change careers or just make a BIG shift in their lives.

For one, Nastasha, it was a death of someone close to her and the effects medication can have on the body that inspired her to lead a healthy life.  She then took it further when she found how her actions, passion for healthy cooking could inspire others. 

" Food can be our absolute form of medicine; and our slowest form of poison"

Kimberly Elyse Photography

Kimberly Elyse Photography

Violet discovered her superpower, Anxiety and found a way to use it as her guide.  She found a way to use it to benefit her, connect deeper to others and in the process found her voice, a passion, a desire to inspire others on the biggest platform possible.  She discovered that by sharing her story, she not only healed herself but helped others heal too.

Jackie - shared the power of positive emotions and the weight of negative ones.  That on average most couples will wait SIX years before seeking help - can you imagine waiting six years to tend to a broken leg? The comparison my seem odd but the gravity of the situations are the same.  She stressed to us the importance of being intentional with your words, your actions and your love.

Lastly there was Pauline - who shared with us the deepest pain of all - the feeling of true hopelessness, the point where living is no longer an option and freedom from pain, hurt, disappointment and the unknown - is death.  Depression, Bi-polar disorder, Anxiety, Suicidal thoughts - these are truths that many of us face but no one really talks about. 

These women took us on a journey last night, deep into our souls - where we also hurt, laugh, feel joy and sadness.  They took us a journey and showed us that we're not alone and that true strength comes in sharing your story. It comes in being vulnerable and making it less about 'I' and more about, how can this serve YOU.

xox, B


That was trick question, you already are, now it's time for you to recognize that. Join us for our upcoming events.
JUNE 13th-JULY 25th: WORKSHARE. This six week workshop at Union Cowork in Encinitas, CA will give you the dedicated time you need to work on whatever inspires you. Meet with us every Tuesday evening as we give you the space to cultivate creativity, motivation, and intention to get you in the groove. With Guru Hours to ask experts questions and like-minded women, this is your time to thrive. Save your seat at the table.

Let's Chase Our Dreams Together

Two months ago I found myself sitting on a stool, in front of 20 women and they were all listening to me. Shit.

To be honest, I was nervous. My hands were shaking like I’d had too much caffeine and I had hummingbirds going at a zillion mph in my belly-- my nerves were definitely bigger than butterflies. I was about to present through our first Dream Chasers series about setting goals in a tangible way for the new year. 

Sure, I had lectured and presented in front of larger groups, but had I ever presented something so close to my heart? Definitely not. I was sitting in a store that I’ve dreamed of working with, presenting curriculum that I designed, and helping women set goals to empower themselves. My dreams are literally coming true. 

I often ask myself, how is it possible that I get to live this life?!? Why me? There are a lot of other factors-- i.e. I have privilege, it’s not something I can nor want to ignore; I’m a white, heterosexual, middle class woman with a college degree-- it’s important to acknowledge these because they have certainly played a part in the way my life has formed and the opportunities I’ve experienced. 

The other part of it is that I’ve worked my ass off. I’ve taken risks, I’ve believed in myself, I’ve realized that I have the potential to live an extraordinary life. I’ve made the conscious decision to focus on gratitude in my life, to exercise regularly, to take care of myself, and to realize that we are defined, by how we spend our time (Thanks Oprah!). So, when push comes to shove, I don’t want to make decisions out of fear, I want to spend my time doing things that I love, with people who inspire me.

As I sat there, my nerves went from shakey, to completely comfortable. I knew this was exactly where I want to be, and exactly what I want to be doing. It’s not very often that we get opportunities that are so in tune with our values, and that we have the presence to acknowledge them. 

In this workshop we got to lead women through defining their goals, how they want to feel, how to make them tangible, and of course, devour some delicious food (Thanks Revolution Roasters!). We ended it by sending ourselves snail mail-- who doesn’t love mail!, making dream catchers (not my strong suite btw) and even DIY leather keychains. 

So, Boss Babe. When push comes to shove, how do you want to spend YOUR life?