by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photo by Spark Photography

A Rewarding Career

Scripps Ranch resident Julie Steele has led quite a remarkable life. To start off, she is a U.S. Cycling Masters National Champion. “I used to ride and run to keep fit and have fun,” recalled Julie. “An injury forced me to make some changes.” After moving to San Diego following her college years at Cal Poly, Pomona, Julie used her psychology degree to work at the Polinsky Children’s Center, a receiving center for abused and neglected children. Later she was hired by the San Diego Police Department as a patrol officer in the Western and Mid-City Divisions. But it wasn’t until she had her first child in 1999 that Julie switched gears and decided to start her own company, Baby Bella Announcements. “I learned graphic design along the way and built a very successful business,” said Julie. “I really enjoyed the design aspect and the pure joy of working with babies.”

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Life took a turn, however, when Julie’s close friend Michelle Bono passed away after her long battle with cancer. “I desired a secure, discreet way to honor her and keep her with me,” Julie recalled. “I searched the internet but couldn’t find anything I would wear.”

So Julie enlisted the help of her good friend and artist, Gina Barbosa. “I asked her if there was a way to make a bead with the ashes infused into it,” said Julie. “She put a lot of love and hard work into it and eventually developed Sisu Beads.”


Name: Julie Steele
Profession: Co-Owner of Sisu Beads Memorial Jewelry;
Owner of Bella Baby Announcements
Community: Stonebridge since May 2013
Interests: Kids, swimming, Eliptigo, beach, and mountains
Favorite Local Spots: Scripps Ranch Swim and Tennis Club, Sycamore Preserve, Trader Joe’s


Julie has found her role as co-owner of Sisu Beads to be an exceptionally rewarding one. “We have connected with so many people at a very fragile time,” shared Julie. “We do not take lightly the great honor that has been bestowed upon us. We have done Sisu Beads for brides so they may have their parents with them on their wedding day. We have made memorial beads for parents of babies and children that passed way too soon. We have also made many pet memorials.”

Julie and Gina chose the name Sisu, which is a Finnish word, because of its meaning: “an unfaltering spirit and determination that prevails in the face of adversity.” “We find it to be very fitting to honor the loved ones for whom we create these memorials,” shared Julie. “In all the pain and suffering, it is the beautiful spirit that prevails and lives on.”

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