Entrepreneur seeking to help others reclaim their health and vitality
After years of working in the corporate world, Julie Brument created her ŌRA Wellness Collective company at the beginning of 2023. Her transformation journey inspired this shift, awakening a deep desire to empower others in reclaiming their health and vitality.
Before we talk about your brand ŌRA Wellness Collective – would you please introduce yourself?
I am Julie Brument, born in the south of France, and I have lived in the UK, Australia, and China after finishing my formal education. I arrived in Shanghai in the beginning of 2012. In my past experiences, I built and strengthened brands through commercial and marketing efforts. I launched and operated a company here in China before moving to Australia in 2015. I navigated the dynamic marketing landscape in Australia for a few years before returning to Shanghai in 2019 to orchestrate campaigns and shape brand narratives for an agency.
My nature is curious and adventurous; I enjoy bringing a vision to life and making an impact. However, ambition comes at a cost, and I believe I struggled to manage stress and fatigue in my twenties. It led to a feeling of complete energy depletion. To cope, I discovered effective tools to manage physical, mental, and emotional stress. While still working in the corporate world, I began training as a yoga teacher, Breathwork coach, and in other holistic techniques.
At the beginning of 2023, ŌRA Wellness Collective was born. My own transformation journey inspired this shift, awakening a deep desire to empower others in reclaiming their health and vitality. As we journey through life, both personally and professionally, we sometimes reach a point where the life we are accustomed to, the life we know, no longer suits us. We need support to find tools that help navigate these moments of profound change, self-discovery, and redefining what balance, vulnerability and resilience mean to us.
This is essentially what ŌRA does. Through education and holistic practices, we help companies and individuals learn accessible tools for everyday life — reducing stress and anxiety, improving performance, and achieving balance in energy levels and emotions.
Why, after living in Shanghai for a few years, did you decide to strike out on your own to build your own company?
I am not really new to entrepreneurship in China. Back in 2013, after several months of living in Shanghai, I found myself captivated by the dynamic business environment and inspired by the innovative spirit around me. I opened my first company when I was 24 years old, importing organic beverages (wine, spirits, juices and beers) to China. It has been the most rewarding experience, I have loved every second of it.
I then left for Australia for four years where I worked in marketing and opened a restaurant with my husband. Back in China in 2019, I worked for an agency. But honestly, observing the vibrant entrepreneurial scene and witnessing the growth of various projects in Shanghai motivated me to take the plunge into entrepreneurship again. The decision to build my own company was a result of a desire for autonomy, a hunger for creative expression, and the belief that I could make a meaningful impact, helping corporate and private to access tools for managing their health, stress and wellbeing effectively.
What makes Shanghai's business environment so remarkable?
Shanghai's business scene is a bustling marketplace. Innovation isn't just a word here; it's a lifestyle. The city is a playground for anyone looking to develop an idea or a project.
Shanghai is really a powerhouse of talents, bringing diverse skills, backgrounds and ideas to the table. The business environment is remarkable for that, it‘s a pool of endless possibilities if you have ambition and work ethics. I have never seen a market which can be so agile. There is a spirit of entrepreneurship here and if your business idea has the potential to expand and scale, your project can reach a global audience. It is really encouraging.
Yet, the city isn't merely a business hub; it's a cultural melting pot where work and play seamlessly blend. I see this as one of Shanghai's greatest strengths — the ability to unite people through diverse groups and social activities. Even if you land in Shanghai not knowing a soul, you'll quickly form connections that last a lifetime.
What were you trying to bring to the local community?
The hustle and bustle of a big city like Shanghai often comes hand in hand with high levels of stress. The fast-paced lifestyle, demanding work schedules, busy social life, our food consumption, screens, etc. contribute to heightened stress levels which can be experienced as insomnia, digestive issues, mental fatigue, headaches, anxiety, muscle tension and pain (especially neck and back), depression, etc. If we are able to build our resilience — both physically, mentally and emotionally — we have a key to feel better, and navigate life's storms with better ease. This is what I have been trying to bring to the local community: accessible tools to live a more intentional and purposeful living, while managing the stress around us and stay grounded. And that's the ethos behind ŌRA.
What are the biggest challenges setting up a business here? How do you stay motivated?
Setting up a business in any foreign environment comes with its unique set of challenges, and Shanghai is no exception. One prominent hurdle is navigating the complex regulatory landscape, where understanding the local laws and regulations can be complicated. It is essential to work with people having very good knowledge of the market. Language barriers can also pose many difficulties.
I am staying motivated and inspired thanks to the connections I have created, mostly with other entrepreneurs but also with ambitious and creative profiles in bigger corporations. These connections are not just a source of motivation; they form the backbone of resilience and inspiration that propels me forward on my entrepreneurial path.
What was the moment that made you most proud?
Collaborating with large corporations, schools, or hosting my workshops at beautiful venues like The Puli or Middle House make me really proud of course, but working 1:1 is equally rewarding and fulfilling. Honestly, I feel fortunate to be in a profession that has a human impact. Each time someone sends me a thank you note or shares how they successfully dealt with a stressful event, it fills me with immense joy. There is a long way to go for ŌRA and I would be really proud to bring the power of the breath to companies I admire, such as Nike or Lululemon but also to more schools, because investing in kids' mental and emotional health is investing in our own future. They are the leaders of tomorrow.
What are you working on?
I believe that the significance of proper breathing has been overlooked in our daily lives in general. It is a missing link for performance (both mental and physical), concentration, sleep, emotional management, and even nutrition. We seem to have forgotten the importance of breathing correctly and the benefits of it. My focus right now is on raising awareness about the profound impact of breath on stress management, prevention, and recovery. It is to equip the community with essential life skills for navigating the challenges of today's world and having a better response to stress. I also work on developing more partnerships so we can unite our voice to reach more people.
Who is a female role model who inspires you?
I am inspired by women who have not only achieved excellence in their fields but have also paved the way for future generations, challenging stereotypes and inspiring others to pursue their passions. There are many phenomenal women out there and I can list famous ones, but I am also inspired by women who are not in the spotlight but still battle every day, like a mom, who runs a company and raises four children, or by a women who has followed her heart and passion to become who she was really meant to be. Unfortunately, women are facing more challenges than men in achieving success and I am really inspired by the women who have broken through barriers to achieve something meaningful for them or their community.
Do you have any advice for women entrepreneurs?
As women, entrepreneurs, we have to get past the fears and believe in ourselves, while staying grounded and confident. And it is far from being easy. In between an idea and running a company, lies an entire world. While a brilliant idea is valuable, without operational skills, structure, and clear objectives, it may not translate into success. My top five pieces of advice would be:
1. Believe in yourself.
2. Set realistic goals and objectives.
3. Surround yourself with a support network.
4. Continuous learning.
5. Prioritize self care.