Julie Neill 2020 HeadshotJulie Neill is a custom lighting designer based in New Orleans. Working closely with her clients, Neill says her process is to learn their specific interests, preferences and spacial requirements, in order to craft a personal and distinct piece of illuminated artwork. Neill draws her designs by hand, keeping her studio small and client interactions individualized. Neill teamed up with her daughter Isabelle, who is the director of sales and marketing for Julie Neill Designs.


Bon Vivant: How are you navigating the COVID-19 crisis (in business or personally)?

Julie Neill: Personally, I’m loving the peace and quiet, which gives me much-needed time for reflection and personal growth. On the other hand, we have had to make some adjustments in our business to keep things working well. For those who can work from home, this has been easy to manage, but for our artisan team, there have been some challenges. Right now, we are keeping a safe distance, wearing masks, religiously disinfecting and working in shifts of one to two people at a time.


BV: What creative methods are you discovering in order to continue to serve clients?

Neill: Since most of our business has traditionally been with clients in other locations, it hasn’t been much of a different experience to work remotely with them. The creative part has been finding ways to keep production going while keeping our team members safe and healthy.


BV: Who or what is inspiring you right now and why?

Neill: I’m currently inspired by so many people, especially the caregivers and those who have succeeded in finding positivity in these challenging times.

Having the time to get out and take walks and really notice the beauty of outdoors has been very inspirational in both my lighting designs and in my art. I’ve also enjoyed looking through my collection of art and design books in a more leisurely way than usual. Next week, my friend Tara Shaw’s new book will be released, and I’m very excited about receiving my copy.


BV: What is the most helpful piece of career or life advice you’ve ever received, where did it come from, and why was it so impactful for you?

Neill: I’m sure that the most helpful piece of advice I’ve ever received is to do what you do best. Spend your energy and time developing your personal skills and talents. And find people to work with who have the skills and talents which fill in those you don’t have. Then, all areas are covered, and there is the opportunity to have the best of everything.


In addition, it’s so important to remain positive and grateful and to realize that we all have a responsibility to bring our best to our lives and the lives of others.


BV: Guilty pleasure?

Neill: Meditation, quietness, art and naps.


BV: If readers did only one thing to enhance their interior, what would you suggest?

Neill: Fresh flowers are always available and make a great impact. They bring life and joy to any environment.


Find and follow Julie Neill at julieneill.com, on Instagram at @julieneilldesigns and on Facebook at facebook.com/julieneilldesigns.