A small-town girl from Port Isabel, Texas, Director Julie Schuster’s O2 journey began two years ago after attending her son’s baseball game.

Little did she know that her chance encounter with an Origami Owl® Living Locket® would turn into a free Jeep and the title of 2020 Diamond Designer of the Year such a short time later.

“I was watching my son play baseball when the beautiful shine of (an Origami Owl Living) a Locket caught my attention in the stands,” Julie recalls.

With her daughter’s quinceañera coming up the following month, Julie knew she needed to buy jewelry as part of the traditions for the big occasion.

“I reached out to one of the moms on the team and asked about the girl with the Locket,” shares Julie. “My friend gave me Erin’s (Mentor and Executive Team Leader Erin Roberts) phone number, so I texted her and she gave me her online shop link and offered me a 20 percent off promo code.”

After placing an order, Erin reached out to Julie about meeting up for dinner with her and her husband.

“Erin told me she was trying to earn the incentive trip to Walt Disney World Resort® Theme Park and needed someone to throw a really good party,” shares Julie. “I said, ‘I know how to throw a good party!’, so I hosted a Jewelry Bar® and invited all my co-workers (I was a border patrol agent for 11 years).”

That night, after the Jewelry Bar, Julie spoke to her husband about joining Erin’s team as an Origami Owl Designer.

“He said, ‘Nope, absolutely not,’” says Julie. “So, what did I do? I went into the living room and joined Origami Owl! I didn’t tell him, but he started noticing the blue boxes arriving in the mail and never questioned it!” (Note: To prove her husband wrong, Julie later surprised her husband with a trip to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, an incentive trip she worked hard to earn, since that’s where they went on their honeymoon.)

Starting an {Unexpected} Team with a Force For Good® Mission

Soon, Julie’s Mentor Erin had to move away from Texas in support of her husband’s military job.

Erin put her in touch with Texas Senior Director Mirta Hernandez who became her local support for everything.

Soon, Julie decided to use her business as a Force For Good® to raise money for a high school friend’s daughter, Mia, who was suffering from cancer. She organized a community-wide “la lotería” with Tiffany Garza, who decided to join Julie’s team and later became a Team Leader.

Read the full story on LiveSparkly.com here.

The day of the fundraiser, Julie looked around the room at the hundreds of guests and just smiled.

“This is what I’m meant to do,” recalls Julie. “It filled my heart with so much joy. I just cried knowing the difference we were making.”

That unintentional start of a team has since exploded as Julie’s passion for being a Force For Good and creating a community of women has caught on. Her team, Team Fancy Whooters, now has over 230 members (and growing), and still holds fundraisers all the time.

“Before I built a team, I felt lonely. I had an accident at work where I ended up with chronic pain. There were times where I was trying to figure out why me? Why am I here?” recalls Julie. “I’m not alone anymore in this sisterhood. I have these women who reach out to me and want to join my team. I know if I pick up the phone, they’ll be there for me (and I’ll be there for them).”

One way Julie’s team rallied around her was when she decided to set her sights on the 2020 Diamond Designer of the Year title.

The Road to Diamond Parliament

“At the 2019 (The O2 Experience) convention in Savannah, I remember seeing the jeep parked outside at the top of the stairs (while I was with some of my team members) and getting this crazy feeling in my heart,” she said. “I said out loud, ‘I’m earning this jeep next year!’ I even took a photo and sent it to my husband with the hashtag #2020goals.”

Knowing there were a lot of Designers growing their teams and earning promotions, Julie did wonder if it could really happen this year, but she and her team refused to give up.

But, she leaned on her personal motto to get push through: “Don’t ever give up on yourself. Put your big girl panties on and think of everyone you’re doing this for!”

Earning Diamond Designer of the Year

Fast forward to this year’s virtual The O2 Experience. Julie received a call from Co-Founder and CEO Chrissy Weems who wanted to talk with her on screen about her recent Force For Good initiative.

“I blocked out a little corner in my office so that my kids wouldn’t interrupt me while going live,” shares Julie. “Then, once Co-Founders Bella Weems-Lambert and Tyson Basha came on to say ‘hi,’ I knew something was up.”

As soon as they announced she had earned Diamond Designer of the Year, Julie started screaming and yelling for her 7-year-old son, who came into the room to give her a hug.

“They got me really good,” exclaims Julie. “I had no idea. That moment was absolutely perfect. Now, I’m looking forward to getting the jeep, which I’m going to name, ‘Fancy the Force For Good Mobile!’ From handing out food for Thanksgiving to giving gifts for Christmas, we’re going to help as many people as we can over this next year and beyond!”

Ultimately, Julie knows who helped get her to where she is today.

“I really want to thank my team for everything they’ve done because earning Diamond Designer of the Year truly is a team effort,” says Julie. “We may be a small team, but we’ve accomplished so much in this last year. I’m also grateful for leaders from other teams who have reached out and helped me when I had questions.”

Now that Julie and team have reached their goal of being a Diamond-Designer-of-the-Year-led team, they’re not stopping there.

Future Goals

“Our next goal is earning Senior Director,” shares Julie. “We were really close to earning it earlier this year, but it didn’t pan out. We gave it our all, and that’s what counts. We’ll make it happen this year!”

In addition to earning Senior Director, Julie’s goal is to continue to show other Designers the importance of growing their own communities.

“The hardest thing for me before Origami Owl was giving up on myself and feeling down,” shares Julie. “The reason I fell in love with Origami Owl in the first place was because of the sisterhood. If I decide not to stay on this journey anymore, how many lives have I missed out on touching? There are so many people out there who need help. I’d be walking away from all those people and my team.”

She adds, “So many of these women (and men) depend on this business to put food on their tables. We need to continue growing our sisterhood and changing lives of the people we meet along the way.”

2020 Diamond Parliament + Parliament Earners

See whooo our Top 10 Diamond Parliament members and Parliament members are here.