Family and Community Are Always Fashionable
By Dawn Robinette
Photography by Brittany Paul
If you think working alongside your mother and father means you’re allowed to skip to the head of the line when you become part of the team, don’t look at Courtney Percy’s path at Julian Gold. As Vice President of Marketing, she oversees strategy, public relations and communication for the five Julian Gold stores in Texas.
But her COO dad made her start from the ground up, long before she ever considered a career in retail, gift wrapping in high school, then college, where she helped in the Austin store when it opened. “I grew up in the industry, and it was very much a part of my life. My mom also grew up in a retail family and so it’s just something that’s always been around for me. They never pushed me in this direction. That was not the expectation. But as I started to learn different aspects of the business, it became very engaging to me.
“I credit my dad. He was very particular about it. ‘If you’re going to learn the business, you’re going to learn everything about the business.’ He told me, ‘You can’t walk out onto the floor and expect to have this presence that you haven’t earned.'”
After stints in all of Julian Gold’s departments, Percy took on the marketing role, ultimately bringing marketing efforts in-house. “It’s so relationship-driven, there’s so much opportunity to engage with the community – I love all of those personal connections. I love when clients come in and we know everything about them. And I love developing new relationships with people that are not familiar with Julian Gold. I think we position ourselves to do that just in the involvement that we have with the community and how we try to support and embrace the causes that are important to San Antonio.”
Of course, Julian Gold has grown beyond San Antonio, recently opening a new location in Lubbock, giving them five stores across Texas. And they work to know their customers in each location. “I feel like every store has its own identity. We’re able to cater to each market differently. Being able to go out and target what each community really gravitates toward is incredibly important. It’s very special that we’re just small enough to be able to do that, but just big enough to have the reach that we want to have.”
That flexibility helped Julian Gold weather the pandemic. “The last few years have been pretty challenging. I think it’s all in how you approach and look at it. I like to look at any situation and think, ‘We can overcome this.’ Whether it is something that’s going to take time to overcome or whether it’s a quick fix, you have to go into it with the right mentality. Covid is a perfect example.”
The new Lubbock store and the continued growth of the company are a testament to how well that mentality worked. And Percy credits the full Julian Gold team for making it happen. “Everybody had to work harder. We were asking people to do things that were outside of what their normal responsibilities were.
“We’re not one for titles around here. I feel like sometimes, when you have a title, you feel like you’re kind of confined to that role. When you’re here, it’s all hands on deck all the time; go where you’re needed. To have everybody work together as a team to carry the company through was really neat to watch. Some of these people I have grown up with my entire life, so to be a part of that together, in the sense of an extended family, was so important to us.”
She feels the family ties strengthen the business. “Not everyone has the opportunity to work alongside their parents. I am grateful that I have the relationship that I do with my parents, that we can work alongside each other every day and, at the end of the day, still be family. I think that contributes a lot to the kind of culture and feel of the store itself for our staff and our clients. They feel that family aspect. We have staff here that have been with me my entire life. To be able to work alongside them is a privilege.”
But work talk ends when they leave the store. “When we’re home, we’re able to turn off and just enjoy time as a family, which I think sometimes people don’t think would be possible. But we value that time. Just like my growing up, my kids are up here all the time. They run around the store. They come sit in my office. They have decorated my office. It’s very much the way I grew up. There’s nothing that they can’t be included in, much the way my parents included my brothers and me in what they did.”
She and her husband Charles also prioritize family time with their two children, Charlie and Caroline, making time for dinner as a family each night. “As our kids get older, it gets harder, but as much as we can, sitting down together at the same time and having a meal. Just to have that moment where we can all sit down, share about our day, even if it’s quick. Being there for our kids as much as possible and hearing the things that are important to them in their lives right now, because this space, or the season of life, is not going to last much longer. And we want to be a part of it as much as we can right now.”
Percy makes time for herself by prioritizing her mornings. “I love the morning. It’s just incredibly quiet and peaceful to me. I get up at 5 a.m. That’s my rise and shine time. From 5 a.m. to about 6:30 a.m. is a little bit of my time. I’ll read and reflect on a few things. I also take the time to exercise in the morning. It’s just a good chance to kind of clear my head and set the tone for the day.”
Part of that tone is looking ahead. “I think in business, you constantly need to be looking forward. Learn from what you’re doing but be looking forward. Condoleezza Rice said, ‘What you know today can affect what you do tomorrow. But what you know today cannot affect what you did yesterday.’ If you continue to reflect or dwell on things that are finished, you are not helping yourself.”
She also looks at success beyond what happens in business. “So often, I think we look at success just in terms of your professional career. But I like to use the word ambition because it applies to everything. Ambition in your career, ambition for your family, ambition for your community, and how you commit your time to the things that are important to you. When I am at Julian Gold, what can I focus on and improve here? And then, out in the community, how can I involve myself, and where can I best serve? And of course, at home with family, I think you have to really be able to focus on creating the home and life balance for your children, for your spouse, for yourself,” she explains.
“I am inspired when I come to work. I’m inspired when I’m out in the community. San Antonio has so much to offer and the people and the culture, and beyond San Antonio, even in Texas – there is an opportunity and so much around us. Inspirations don’t have to be grand. They can be just simple little things that you see every day.”
Being an active part of that community is something she takes seriously. Percy has served on the boards of the Cancer Center Council and Texas Biomedical Forum, where she led the board of directors as president. She is currently a Sponsor of the Charity Ball Association and President-Elect of the Woodridge Elementary School PTO. She has also been actively involved in the Children’s Bereavement Center and the Alamo Heights School Foundation, which may seem like a lot to juggle. But she sees it a different way.
“You can ever say no to an opportunity. Whether you are nervous, whether you feel like you don’t have time, you have to embrace and accept those opportunities that are put in front of you. Whether it be career-related, travel-related, or family-related, to look back and think, ‘I wish I would’ve done that.’ That’s a feeling that you don’t want to have. Just go for it and try something.”