Have you ever wondered who influences influencers? Then meet Julia Lang, founder and creative director of VEERT. The entrepreneur and designer made her way from Germany to New York and would manifest a career that most kids venture there in the Big Apple to achieve. It all started after graduating from a university in Nuremberg, Germany, flying to New York for a four-month internship with a “no name” marketing agency over 15 years ago.
Julia Lang, the German-Tanzanian marketer turned creative director, was born in East Africa and emigrated to Germany with her family when she was 4 years old. Today, she works her magic for big business and small brands on social media, and other platforms and outlets. In 2015, Lang would receive an O-1 visa, designated for “individuals of extraordinary ability and achievement.” This would give the entrepreneur an edge in positioning their business in a global hub.
“As a European, it was very difficult to settle permanently in the United States without being married or tied to a business,” she describes. “I work for myself, I’m not tied to anyone. Once I got the visa – which is not easy – it was a no-brainer to move [New York City.] I’ve been thriving ever since.
Working notably with music mogul Kareem “Biggs” Burke, Lang won over the hip hop businessman with an “elevator pitch” of Lang as a branding expert. Soon after, she wouldn’t even have to introduce herself to the panoply of street culture influencers. VEERT happens to emphasize all of its efforts – attendance and networking at fashion weeks in Milan and Paris, entrepreneurship, and displaying a particular “cool” that other companies would struggle to try to replicate.
She dove deep into her brand on the phone during our Saturday call, explaining that “the work never stops. I work every day. I run 3 companies, so it never stops. We’re also working on l global time. I have always had the philosophy [that] “I work hard now, so later I can live comfortably.” The last ten years for me – I don’t know what a weekend is.
Lang goes on to state, “At this point, I’m kind of like a workaholic. It pays, but I’m used to it. In New York, the work you do here really shows. I also lived in London and Berlin, and had the same work ethic, but it really didn’t give me the same results. In New York, if you’re a hustler and you work hard, you can really go a long way. That’s why I love New York. ”
Lang mainly wears his signature green in his clothes, true to his VEERT brand, a play on the French translation of “green”, “green” VEERT was born and flourished through the accumulation of individuals in Lang’s extensive network . Early in his journey, Lang founded 1 of his 3 agencies to focus on image consulting and marketing, now having over 10 years of experience. She would handle public relations opportunities for herself and gain clients through the interest generated.
Ideally, Lang is associated in circles with names like the late Virgil Abloh, Miguel, and ASAP Rocky. She worked her way to the top, consulted with her clients and strategically positioned them at Fashion Weeks in Milan and Paris, giving cachet to their personal brands. She took these talents from the American market to the global market. Lang’s client list includes athletes and artists, as well as other artists located around the world, in Tokyo, Seoul and Germany, to name a few.
His cool would create an orbit that appealed to hip-hop culture as well as fashion and business savvy people. After front-row seating arrangements that put her next to influential cult rapper Westside Gunn in January 2020 at Paris Fashion Week, who was Lang at the time, oblivious to who he was. “I made an impression on him and people started tagging him under my photos on Instagram. He reached out to me [during] New York Fashion Week, a week after Paris [Fashion Week.] We went to the Palm Angels show together and we were seated, again, side by side in the front row.
Gunn is said to be interested in Lang’s prowess and the irony of sitting next to each other in separate fashion weeks. Lang’s “cool” influenced the Buffalo, NY hip hop artist to create an important moment in street culture and hip hop history. “We have become very good friends. I met his mother, his daughter and his wife. So it’s not just a superficial industrial problem. I think he thinks highly of me, so bless him. One day he just called me and said ‘Yo! I made this song, listen. And I want to make a video next week. So he’s super spontaneous – creating the song “Julia Lang”.
Westside Gunn called Lang about a year later to surprise her with a song named after her. The track “Julia Lang” would cement her status in the industry as a businesswoman influencing male culture, not just street culture, but hip hop culture and fashion, respectfully. In a way, this has been the underlying fabric of VEERT’s success, showcasing often feminized jewelry on masculine canvases, harnessing the asexual qualities of accessories and lifestyle products.
She wouldn’t have had the idea for VEERT until the end of her career after a decade of turmoil and purposeful assignments that, if at all, eliminated her ability to have a great vacation. “When I started VEERT, it [became] all my heart. I guess that’s also why it’s successful. I’m taking what I’ve built with my agency over ten years, and taking that network and those already in my corner, building a brand on it,” Lang says. The workaholic finds her footing and receives guidance from the friends she puts around her, building a corporate aesthetic that she has maintained for herself.
The story of VEERT starts from the smallest moment in the journey of Lang, a trusted friend and fellow culture influencer. The late legendary hip-hop photographer Chi Modu met Lang between Paris and New York Fashion Weeks at Soho House in January 2020, just before the pandemic hit. She recalls his life-changing words, saying, “I remember [Chi Modu] telling me, ‘Julia, you are so powerful. I see the world in you. You have no choice but to start a product line. Your agencies will make you work on the ground. Now is the time, she thought.
Chi Modu died in May 2021, but not before seeing her words impact Lang who eventually launched her line in November 2020. Lang saw the pandemic as an opportunity to learn as much as possible about the business of jewelry making. . She recalls “working day and night for an intense period”, learning the brands and other aspects necessary to properly launch the lifestyle and accessories brand VEERT.
VEERT uses recycled 925 silver in most pieces while also using 18k gold, gold vermeil and other materials like green onyx, peridot and malachite, which Lang loves for his healing powers. VEERT also offers all creations in solid 18-carat gold. It currently donates 1% of the gross income from its sales, allocated to sustainable causes for the planet. Lang also lays claim to a 100-year plan for lifestyle brand VEERT, aspiring to a heritage label. She is currently in talks with luxury companies, creating lifestyle products under the VEERT name, such as home fragrances, porcelain, candles and self-care products.
Jewelry is VEERT’s best-selling brand, helping to achieve nearly one million sales in its first year. Lang also does not rely on big backers or investors to operate. She’s a hard worker – working weekends as we call – who wants the younger generation and young women to know that her life “wasn’t easy” and that she “really worked hard”.