Following her 3 year nursing training at Melbourne's PHH, Julie took a trip to Europe where she learned to fully appreciate the world of colour and design.
Returning home she worked for Royal District Nursing Service, then filled various other nursing positions in hospitals (even contemplating midwifery training) but her love of being creative soon took over and she opted to focus on building a freelance art business. While working full-time as a pathology sister, she combined drawing blood during the day to drawing pictures of an evening, and during her workday lunch breaks, would head out to the nearest gift shop or newsagency to wholesale her own range of greeting cards.
Julie went on to create general greeting cards, gift wrap and fridge magnets for companies including John Sands, The Ink Group and Simson Australia, then specialised by offering bespoke seasonal cards for Weber BBQs, National Australia Bank, McCain foods among others.
Word of mouth lead to her being approached by a fabric printer to create designs for children's clothing and sleepwear.
Julie Davey's other clients include: Habitat for Humanity, Marshall Cavendish, Random House, Time for You, Hodder Headline, CSL Laboratories, Secret Girls' Business, Success Media, The Government of Victoria, Deakin Uni, BPMS Laboratories, Melbourne Pathology, Dorevitch Pathology, Sharon Hudson, The Chiropractic Association, Edel Wignell and more ...
She has produced artwork in the form of;
• Corporate Christmas cards,
• Book Illustrations,
• Greeting cards & fridge magnets,
• Personalised calendars'
• Unique clip art for speakers' presentations
• Cartoons for training manuals and brochures,
• Fabric design and TShirts, plus
• logos, letterheads and business cards
for hundreds of clients over the past 30 years...
Through more word of mouth, Julie Davey soon found her way into illustrating children's books for Mimosa, Scholastic, BHP, Secret Girls' Business, Bruce Sullivan and John Caputo.
It was whilst watching the 'Oprah' show one afternoon in 1994, that Julie became inspired by a feature story of a successful home based screen printing business.
This one spark of interest grew into the children's wear company 'Cheeky Ferret'.
The brand was all Australian; relying completely on home grown fabrics, manufacturers and screen printers.
The Cheeky Ferret range included kids T-Shirts bearing Duck Down Under, the Cheeky Ferret, Snakes on Skates, Oodles of Poodles, The Rat Race and more. All T-Shirts had matching shorts for girls and boys, with head bands and scrunchies plus a range of other accessories including art smocks, Santa sacks and library bags and more.
Initially intended just for kids, the range soon grew to cater for adults as well as customers wanted to share the fun of these bright and cheery designs. The range of characters ended up in the book Quick! Duck Down Under.
When launched in 1994, Julie's first self-published book Quick! Duck Down Under was featured on the front page of the computer section in Melbourne's The Age newspaper.
But Julie's true life purpose emerged in 1997 when she realised that the personal development books she had read in her quest to create a successful career, would
be very helpful for children if only the concepts could be simplified and illustrated to capture the attention of that audience.
25 years of working in the medical profession had shown her how attitude affects both physical and mental health and wellbeing. With all this is mind, Julie wrote, illustrated and self-published A for Attitude.
Scouts Vic & NSW purchased copies pre-press, as did the ASG and both organisations helped launch the book at the Kew Library in September 1998 along with John Dalziel of the Salvation Army and Laurel Sutton, the head of Police in Schools. A for Attitude was distributed throughout Australia and New Zealand with the first print run of 3500 selling in the first year.
The following year, with the aim to gain more widespread exposure through the foreign book fairs, the book was licensed to Random House. They took it to the Bologna Bookfair and despite interest from five foreign publishers from, no contracts eventuated. Two years and seven thousand copies later, Random House decided to remainder the book. Thankfully they were generous in reverting publishing rights so that Julie could continue to represent the book and find other interested publishers.
So, now equipped with another 3000 remaindered books to sell, Julie figured that a road trip was in order. She sold her house, bought a new caravan and 4WD and launched an adventure to travel around Australia talking about positive thinking in schools.
Whilst on this 3 month tour, Julie worked on illustrating and designing Secret Girls' Business book for authors Fay Angelo, Heather Anderson and Rose Stewart who she also mentored in their foray into publishing.
That book launched in 2003 and is now a best seller, distributed in Australia, NZ and USA.
After a series of car troubles and near misses, the trip was shortened to include just Victoria, NSW and Qld with the last speaking engagement being Charters Towers. So then it was back home to the drawing board.
Determined to have her book published internationally, Julie sent A for Attitude to ten publishers from France to Mexico. Persistence won out and one publisher Times in Singapore agreed to publish the book.
To help promote the book, Julie travelled to Singapore where she enjoyed wonderful publicity including being interviewed for national newspaper, magazines and morning radio.
Since then, the A for Attitude range has grown in both scope and territory. In 2002, Times publishers in Singapore (now Marshall Cavendish) licensed the rights for
Asia and distributed the book throughout ten Asian countries, including a special edition for India. More books have since come into being.
In 2011, A for Attitude, Attitude in Action, R for Richlife and The FabFirst5 were republished as a uniform series and are now distributed in: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Hong Kong and China.
In 2012 the entire series was translated into the Korean language.
'All about Attitude' quickly ranked #3 in Kyobo's children's list, one of the most famous book stores in Korea.
Then in 2013, 'All about Attitude' was transformed yet again when the text was translated into the Thai language. This version has text in both English and Thai.
The series is currently being translated into Vietnamese.
Julie's story continues as she adds more resources to her collection – the latest being the FabFirst5 Program.
As always, preparation, education and support are critical to the success of any venture so if you are considering launching yourself into the world of publishing,
be sure to investigate the ins and outs before you start.