Julia Castelli: Pioneering Luxury Inside My Empire of Elegance


In the latest edition of The Business Woman Today magazine, an exclusive feature interview spotlights Julia Castelli, the celebrated founder of the Julia Castelli Exclusive Lifestyle Management firm and winner of the Lifestyle & Travel Management Firm of the Year at the LUX Global Excellence Awards, affirming her brand’s leading status in the elite travel and lifestyle management sector. Dubbed the “Queen of Diamonds,” Julia blends her passion for exquisite jewellery with a mission to deliver unique luxury experiences, from acquiring exceptional diamonds to running a premiere private Maldives island, embodying the luxury sector’s premium on exclusivity and customization. 

The article delves into her brand’s philosophy, global ascent, and the consistent high standards rooted in her own personal and entrepreneurial journey. Providing insights into luxury travel’s future and underscoring her commitment to growth, innovation, and sustainability, Julia sets her sights on 2024 with grand ambitions to further her enterprise and influence. She shares her expertise with the readers, exemplifying how one can leave a lasting imprint on the affluent market and serving as an inspiration for budding entrepreneurs in the world of luxury.

Julia, congratulations on winning the Lifestyle & Travel Management Firm of the Year at the LUX Global Excellence Awards. What does this recognition signify for your brand and the philosophy that underpins Julia Castelli Exclusive Lifestyle Management?

Thank you very much for your kind words. Receiving this prestigious recognition is truly gratifying, as it serves as a testament to our unwavering commitment to excellence. This award signifies that our relentless dedication to meeting the needs of our discerning and determined clients has not gone unnoticed.

In our line of work, catering to clients who are accustomed to having the very best in products and services can be quite challenging. These individuals expect nothing short of perfection. What sets us apart is the tangible difference we make in their lives, both in terms of saving them valuable time and optimizing their expenditures. We take pride in our ability to consistently exceed the lofty expectations of our esteemed clientele.

Your expertise in high-end jewellery has earned you the moniker “Queen of Diamonds.” How has your passion for jewellery influenced your approach to all the luxuries that your lifestyle management firm offers?

My journey in the world of luxury, spanning 23 years, has been deeply intertwined with my love for jewellery, earning me the title “Queen of Diamonds”. This experience has been instrumental in shaping the ethos of our lifestyle management firm. In the realm of high luxury, where our offerings range from exquisite jewellery to opulent yachts, private aircraft, fine art, and even exclusive private islands, I’ve learned that the true value lies beyond the physical items themselves.

Julia Castelli, Jewellery expert. The Queen Of Diamonds. Photographed in the Franklin Hotel, Knightsbridge and then in Chaubet on New Bond St. Shot for the National UAE newspaper

Our clientele, who have the means to acquire almost anything, value the exceptional service and personalization we provide. This distinction is what truly differentiates us. We specialize in securing rare, hard-to-find items, ensuring that each piece is not just extraordinary but truly singular in the world. Our proficiency in negotiating on behalf of our clients adds an additional layer of value, enhancing the allure of their acquisitions.

In today’s world, successful individuals don’t just spend; they invest their time and resources wisely. They are discerning, comparing prices and service quality meticulously. The era of unexamined luxury transactions is over. Navigating this sophisticated luxury landscape presents a unique set of challenges, but it’s these very challenges that invigorate me. It’s not just about fulfilling desires; it’s about crafting experiences that surpass our clients’ grandest dreams, an endeavour that I am passionately committed to.

Transitioning your brand into a global lifestyle firm is a significant shift. Can you share with our readers what inspired this evolution and how you’ve managed to maintain your high standards across diverse luxury markets?

The transition of our brand into a global lifestyle firm was a natural evolution, influenced by my extensive travels and our international clientele. As someone who frequently travels and sources luxury assets and services from around the world, expanding globally was a fitting progression. Additionally, my proficiency in five languages has been an invaluable asset in this expansion.

Central to our success in diverse luxury markets is our unwavering commitment to maintaining high standards. Reputation is paramount in this industry, and we place an extraordinary emphasis on attention to detail and personalized, direct communication with each client. I personally handle all client communications, ensuring they receive the individual attention they deserve. My team supports various aspects of our services, but the direct line of communication is always with me.

This personal touch is what our clients value most. They appreciate not being passed on to another person; knowing that the principal of the business is directly involved makes them feel special. This personal engagement is, I believe, the unique element that sets us apart in the luxury market. Making each client feel special is not just a service; it’s a recognition of their uniqueness. Their needs, desires, and dreams are what shape Julia Castelli Exclusive Lifestyle Management. I am both blessed and grateful for this opportunity to serve our distinguished clients in such a personal and impactful way.

The private island Ithaafushi in the Maldives is a dazzling addition to your portfolio. How do you ensure exclusive experiences for your ultra-luxury clients while managing such a unique property?

Ithaafushi The Private Island stands as a crowning achievement in our portfolio, epitomizing the zenith of exclusive luxury. This island, representing the pinnacle of privacy and elegance, is the largest private island in the Maldives, offering an unparalleled escape into serenity and beauty. It is a haven of exclusivity, designed for those who seek an unforgettable oasis.

The island’s proximity to Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi enriches its allure, allowing guests to immerse themselves in a tropical paradise adorned with crystal clear waters and luxurious refinement. It’s more than just a destination; it’s an experience crafted for the most discerning of travellers.

Accommodating up to 24 guests, the island features a three-bedroom beach villa, a two-bedroom overwater villa, and a four-bedroom residence, creating a sprawling sanctuary ideal for intimate gatherings or celebrating momentous occasions with close friends and family.

The essence of the Ithaafushi experience lies in its bespoke services. A dedicated personal concierge is committed to anticipating and catering to every need of our guests. Culinary desires are met with unparalleled excellence by our exclusive culinary team, offering world-class dining experiences. Wellness is also a cornerstone of the Ithaafushi experience, with a wellness concierge guiding guests through our state-of-the-art overwater spa and fitness center.

Accessibility is seamlessly integrated into the experience, with a private boat available for journeys to the main island. Here, guests can indulge in the resort’s extensive facilities, including 11 specialty restaurants, each offering a unique gastronomic journey.

Regarding activities, the possibilities are as limitless as the imagination of our guests. From bespoke excursions to tailor-made events, every experience on Ithaafushi The Private Island is crafted to be as unique and memorable as our distinguished guests. We ensure that every moment spent here transcends expectations, embodying the essence of ultra-luxury and exclusive living.

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As someone who excels in various areas including business coaching and positive mindset, how do you interweave these principals within the day-to-day operations of your business ventures?

Incorporating the principles of business coaching and fostering a positive mindset is fundamental to the way I operate my business ventures. These values are deeply embedded in our company culture and are a cornerstone of our success.

Having a positive mindset is crucial. It shapes our approach to every situation, encouraging a solution-focused attitude. This perspective transforms challenges into valuable learning opportunities and fosters resilience. It’s about creating an environment where setbacks are not roadblocks but stepping stones to innovation and growth. This approach not only uplifts the morale of our team but also drives creativity and encourages out-of-the-box thinking.

Continuous self-improvement is another key aspect. I am committed to personal development and consistently seek ways to enhance my skills. Recently, my focus has been on elevating our social media presence and exploring how artificial intelligence can benefit our business. This commitment to growth ensures that we remain at the forefront of our industry.

Furthermore, as a business coach and therapist, I value the importance of having external support. I believe in the power of coaching, which is why I too have a coach and therapist. It’s essential to have someone to provide encouragement, accountability, and fresh perspectives. This is the kind of support I strive to offer my clients. By investing in ourselves and our teams, we pave the way for continuous improvement and success. This philosophy is not just about running a business; it’s about leading by example and inspiring others to reach their full potential.

You’re recognised for assisting clients with rare investment gemstones and perfecting the gifting experience. Can you tell us about one of the most extraordinary or memorable requests you’ve fulfilled?

In my role, I’ve had the privilege of fulfilling some truly extraordinary requests for my clients, particularly in sourcing rare investment gemstones and crafting unique gifting experiences. One of the most memorable tasks was finding over 10-carat pink diamonds for the birth of a client’s daughter and a stunning blue diamond for the birth of his son. This endeavour took considerable time and effort: 8 months for the perfect pink diamond and 5 months for the exquisite blue diamond.

My dedication and success in these endeavours have earned me the nickname “The Diamond Huntress” in the media. This title reflects not just the quest for these gems but also the expertise, connections, and negotiation skills required to fulfil such specialized and high-stakes requests.

However, my expertise extends beyond just diamonds and gemstones. I also specialize in acquiring rare and elusive items like high-end watches, Hermes bags, and facilitating haute couture commissions. Additionally, I assist in finding off-market real estate, private jets, yachts, and art pieces. One unique request was to locate a racing horse for a country’s president. Each of these experiences showcases not only my ability to meet diverse and challenging demands but also my commitment to providing exceptional, tailored services to my clients.

Your success story is inspiring, spanning love & relationships, parenting, and entrepreneurship. How have your personal experiences shaped your leadership style within your firm?

My personal journey, encompassing aspects of love, relationships, parenting, and entrepreneurship, has profoundly shaped my leadership style within my firm. The foundation of my approach is self-discipline, starting with managing my own life and motivations, then extending that to managing a household and children, leading a team, and ultimately influencing broader spheres.

Raising my children as a single working mother has had a significant impact on my leadership skills. It has instilled in me greater compassion and empathy, not only towards other parents but also in understanding the challenges that come with balancing personal and professional responsibilities. This experience has made me more patient, flexible, and less inclined to control every aspect, qualities that are invaluable in a leader.

Experiences in love, marriage, divorce, and relationships have further refined my leadership. Having navigated these complex personal dynamics, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of people, whether they are team members, clients, or partners. These experiences have taught me the importance of being seen, heard, and, above all, being happy. This wisdom guides my business decisions and interactions.

I firmly believe in aligning my work with my core values of happiness, respect, honesty, and helping others. If a project is financially rewarding but emotionally draining, I choose to step away because it’s not solely about financial gain. My primary aim is to maintain happiness and collaborate with people who share similar values. This principle is integral to my leadership style and the ethos of my firm, ensuring that our work is not just successful, but also fulfilling and aligned with our core beliefs.

The luxury travel sector is constantly evolving. With your finger on the pulse, are there emerging trends you anticipate will shape the future of luxury travel and lifestyle management?

In the ever-evolving landscape of luxury travel, staying abreast of emerging trends is crucial for shaping the future of luxury travel and lifestyle management. Here are some key trends that are anticipated to significantly influence this sector:

Experiential Travel 

There’s a shift towards seeking unique, personalized experiences beyond lavish accommodations. Luxury travellers are now looking for cultural immersion, adventure, and exclusive access to events or locales that offer a deeper connection to the destination.

Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Travel

Environmental awareness is increasingly important in luxury travel. Travelers are more conscious of their environmental impact, prompting luxury resorts and services to adopt eco-friendly practices, such as sustainable architecture and carbon offsetting.

Digital Technology

Technology is integral to enhancing the luxury travel experience. Innovations range from sophisticated booking platforms to virtual concierge services, offering greater convenience and personalization.

Wellness and Health-Focused Travel

The growth of wellness tourism reflects luxury travellers prioritizing health and well-being. This trend includes spa retreats, fitness programs, and access to nutritious cuisine, all seamlessly integrated into the travel experience.

Exclusive Use and Private Retreats

Privacy and exclusivity are increasingly valued. The demand for private villas, islands, and secluded retreats is on the rise, catering to those seeking intimate and personalized travel experiences.

Culinary Tourism 

Gastronomy remains a central element of luxury travel. Travelers seek authentic and high-quality culinary experiences, from private chefs and exclusive dining to immersive food tours.

Personalized Travel Services

Tailored services are a hallmark of luxury lifestyle management. This includes custom itineraries, round-the-clock concierge services, and exclusive access to events or attractions, all tailored to individual preferences.

Cultural Immersion

Luxury travellers are keen on immersive local experiences. This means authentic interactions with local communities, participation in cultural events, and staying in accommodations that reflect the destination’s character.

Health and Safety Measures

Post-pandemic, health and safety are paramount. Luxury travellers prioritize destinations and services that adhere to stringent cleanliness standards and offer a secure environment.

Staying informed about these trends is essential for anyone involved in luxury travel and lifestyle management. We continuously monitor industry reports, travel publications, and market analyses to remain at the forefront of these evolving dynamics in luxury travel.

What are the highs & lows of 2023 for you?

The year 2023 has been a remarkable mix of significant achievements and challenging moments for me.

On the high side, it’s been a year marked by recognition and success. I’ve been honoured with three prestigious awards, which has led to considerable media attention, including features in at least 12 international publications and articles. A personal highlight was being featured on the cover of Global Woman magazine, my second magazine cover this year, which still brings me the same excitement and humility as it did when I first started.

Professionally, acquiring a private island for my client’s portfolio and becoming the managing director of the largest private island in the Maldives was a significant achievement. I also had the opportunity to share my experiences as an influencer in the luxury world with 100 international students at Queen Mary University of London.

On a personal front, I accomplished a long-held dream by graduating from the RTT school as a certified hypnotherapist and rapid transformational therapist. This accomplishment allows me to guide people towards becoming their best selves. Additionally, my daughter was accepted into an amazing school, and I’ve had the opportunity to travel abroad 13 times, among other positive experiences.

However, the year also brought its lows. Despite the successes, there were times when I struggled mentally. We faced a health challenge in the family, and there was an incident where my company was dissolved due to an administrative error. Like many, I encountered challenging situations at work. But as the year draws to a close, I feel on the rise again, full of energy, renewed, brimming with ideas, and eagerly anticipating what 2024 will bring. I am ready to welcome and manifest miracles in the coming year!

What are your plans and dreams for 2024, given we are at the end of December 2023?

As this year winds down and we eagerly anticipate the start of 2024, I’m filled with excitement about the plans and dreams I have in store. My goals are as varied and colourful as the tapestry of my life and career.

I’m thrilled to continue my quest for extraordinary jewels, gems, and diamonds. There’s something magical about discovering those rare, one-of-a-kind pieces that dazzle not just the eyes but also the soul.

My heart lies in therapy and healing. Guiding people to their best selves as a hypnotherapist and rapid transformational therapist is not just a job; it’s a calling.

I’m eager to step onto more stages, maybe even a TEDx platform, to share the tales and lessons from my life. If my journey can light a spark in someone else, that’s a beautiful day’s work.

2024 is the year I’ll pour my heart into writing and publishing. I hope my words will travel far, touching lives and perhaps bringing a little wisdom and joy along the way.

I’m committed to nurturing my online ventures and making smart investments in start-ups and real estate. Just as importantly, I’ll be investing in the most precious assets I have: my team, my family, and myself.

I can’t wait for more creative escapades, be it through photoshoots, interviews, or even a dash of TV and film. These are the platforms where I can connect with more hearts and minds.

A big part of my dream for 2024 is to elevate other women. I want to be a testament to the fact that we all can reach incredible heights, and sometimes, all we need is a little nudge and belief.

So, I invite 2024 – a year I envision brimming with growth, inspiration, and meaningful impacts. My goal is not just to chase my dreams but to kindle dreams in others, creating a chain of inspiration and empowerment. Let’s make it a year to remember!

Finally, for our aspiring readers, what key piece of advice would you give to those looking to make their mark in the world of luxury brands and services?

For those eager to carve out their own success in the luxury brands and services industry, my key piece of advice is to deeply immerse yourself in what you love. Passion is the bedrock of success in this field. Commit to learning relentlessly and gaining as much experience as possible. Strive to provide exceptional service that not only meets but exceeds your clients’ expectations.

Invest both time and resources into effective networking and public relations – these are crucial for building your brand and reputation. Collaboration with others in the industry can also be a powerful tool for growth and learning.

Most importantly, consider seeking guidance from someone who has already navigated the path to success in this arena. Having a mentor or coach who has ‘been there and done that’ can be invaluable. They can provide you with insights, advice, and support that can significantly accelerate your journey.

If you’re interested in a more structured approach to achieving your goals, I offer a coaching package designed to assist aspirants in this field. It would be my privilege to guide you and support you on your path to success, helping you to navigate the unique challenges of the luxury world and achieve your dreams.

Photo Shooting in Canary Wharf| London


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