Gluten Dude
helping celiacs

Dude note: To help celebrate and promote Celiac Awareness Month, I will be writing 30 blog posts over 30 consecutive days (weekends excluded) with the theme “30 Days of Helping 30 Celiacs”. Each post will be aimed toward helping one specific person or group of people. If you or someone you know needs help, guidance, advice or a shoulder to cry on, please contact me and I will do what I can to help. On the 31st day, you’re on your own. Totally kidding.

Today’s 30 for 30 blog post is for: Jules Shepard…aka Jules Gluten Free.

I had the pleasure and the privilege of hanging with our very own Jules Gluten Free last weekend at the Orlando Gluten Free Living conference. I had spoken to her on the phone a few times and did a couiple of her radio shows, but had never had the opportunity to meet her in person. I was not disappointed. She was totally cool.

Jules is in a world of hurt right now with her business and since she is a rock star in our community, I offered my platform to help tell her story.

So here’s basically what went down…

Jules founded her company Nearly Normal Cooking, LLC after her first book was published in 2006. She taught herself everything there was to know about being a gluten-free food manufacturer and finally released some gluten-free products in 2007.

In 2008, to help with the demands of the business, she brought on some partners to help run the day-to-day business. These businessmen did not invest cash, but instead exchanged their work for half of her company.

jules-quoteRecently, it became evident that their visions for the company’s future and how to interact with her customers were very different. The relationship with her partners eventually became hurtful and contentious, with her partners eventually no longer paying Jules for her work, locking her out of their communications program, preventing her from sending out her weekly recipe e-newsletter, denying her administrative access to her blog, and cancelling flour orders Jules had placed to make her wedding cake next month, among other things.

Yeah…real nice people. What is it about money and power that can turn people into complete jackasses?

Anyway, Jules finally resigned from any role she had in the company and formally rescinded any license her business partners may have had to use her name, likeness or image.

Her partners’ response? Silence. They completely ignored her.

After a week of waiting for them to comply with her license revocation, and seeing that they had no intention of doing so, Jules emailed most of her newsletter subscribers (she didn’t have access to the entire list, nor did she have access to their buyer list), with a short video explaining that she had resigned from Jules Gluten Free because of a business dispute, and that she was no longer overseeing or affiliated with those products.

help julesWithin the day, her partners had sent an email to the entire customer list from JulesGlutenFree.com, shockingly saying that Jules didn’t have the right to send an email to HER follower list, and that they were investigating whether credit card numbers had been compromised by her actions. Mind you…she had NO ACCESS to the credit card numbers. Zero.

No seriously…this really happened.

The situation Jules is at this point is quite difficult. She wants to help bring her products back as quickly as humanly possible, but starting a new company while embroiled in expensive litigation over their use of her personal intellectual property, will be quite the feat.

Jules has started a new company called gfJules, and been negotiating contracts for production and shipping, securing certifications, developing new logos and labels and creating a temporary website. In this industry, ingredients, blending and packaging have to be paid before the sales even come in, so she needs tens of thousands of dollars to make all this happen right away.

Here’s a direct quote from Jules: “I cannot wait to run a company for the right reasons, without the shackles of business partners who do not understand our community.”

So there you have it in a nutshell. After starting and running her own business with her own blood, sweat and tears, she now has to go court and spend tens of thousands of dollars simply to try to sell the products that SHE CREATED using HER NAME and HER FACE.

What can you do to help? Good question.

Number one: Stop buying products from julesglutenfree.com. It is no longer her company even though they are doing everything in their power to make it look like it still is.

Number two: Unsubscribe from the julesglutenfree.com mailing list.

Number three: Head over to gfJules.com and sign up for her email list. This way, you can be notified when the real Jules is back in business.

Number four: Support her in any way you can. She is spending an obscene amount of money in lawyer bills and is no longer getting paid by her old company, even though they are still selling her product. She is offering a variety of ways you can support her. Please, please check it out here and do what you can. I have already made a generous donation and I am hopeful you can do the same.

I thank you and Jules thanks you.

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(1 down…29 to go :) )

65 thoughts on “When Bad Things Happen to Good Celiacs: The Saga of Jules Gluten Free

  1. Dear Jules,
    It was such a treat to meet you last weekend (and a double treat to learn we share the same birthday) and I meant what I said, but I will say it again: Thank you for all you do for the GF community.

    I am sorry you have had to go through all this, but I can tell you are a strong, courageous woman and you will persevere. We stand behind you. I made a donation this morning. I wish it could be more.

    As I told you, I recommend your book “Celiac: The First Year” to everyone on celiac.com . It helped me immensely when I was first diagnosed.

    It may amuse you to know that even at my age, my Mom and I baked cookies together (yours!) the last time we were able to be together and I suspect we will do it again when she comes to visit this week. You are a part of many families’ traditions, no doubt.
    How cool is that? very cool indeed.

    Jules, we never know whose lives we may touch. I can assure you, you have touched a lot of lives, hon.

    Hang tough.
    hugs, Ginny

      • Oh boy, you’ve started my morning off with a good cry, I can tell you that! Thank you so much for your kind words, and for making me a part of your baking traditions with your mom. That means more to me than you know! It was a pleasure to meet you in Orlando, as well. Hope our paths will cross again in the very near future!!!
        xoxoox
        ~jules

  2. Well, this is truly horrible. I, for one, never got the emails, so THANK YOU GLUTEN DUDE for alerting me to all of this. I will sign up for the new email and pray that Jules somehow is able to get a new company up and running. And while I know this is a hard lesson, hopefully Jules will have learned enough about business in this debacle to have a stronger company in the future. The first lesson being, always have a lawyer to protect your interests if you are setting up a partnership. People you perceive as friends now may not always be friends down the line. She needed to have kept 51% of interest in her own company and she needed to have a legal agreement in place so that if all the parties were no longer able to work together, that a plan was in place for buying one another out etc etc. Yes, it may have slowed her initial growth to pay for all of this at the outset, but she would be protected now. I hope she is able to somehow start a new company as I have really liked her products in the past.

  3. Jules,

    I am so sorry this has happened to you. I honestly didn’t fully understand what was going on when I got their inflammatory follow up email after I got your original email. Luckily for me, at the moment, I had a stockpile of your amazing product, and so I didn’t inadvertently order from those sleazeballs. I am SO sorry that your business partners treated you, and your dream like this. You have an amazing product that brought options back to my life that I thought I had lost after I learned I was gluten intolerant. Because of your products I can feel normal at holidays again, and not feel like an outsider who is always seeing ‘can’t’ everywhere. Your products gave me ‘can’ and ‘will’ back. Thank you so much for the positive impact you’ve had on the gluten free community, thank you for sharing your dream and talent with us through your products, and I can’t wait till the moment you are back on your feet, kicking tush, and able to sell your product freely again. You’re wonderful!!!

    • Thank you SO much, Jess!!! I can’t wait to be able to provide my products again, to support your “can” and “will” every day! It makes me so happy to be a part of any of that kind of real, every day success. Thanks for sharing with me.
      xoxoxo
      ~jules

  4. Thanks for writing this Dude. Jules has always been generous and giving to the gluten free community, and its awful to see he have to go through this. Whats poetic about this is situation is that the community is now in a position to help Jules. I have faith in our community, and I hope they can rise to the occasion and help Jules pull through this and emerge stronger than ever!

    • You’re right, Jeff, about the community now being in a position to help Jules. The community is also in a position to send clear signals to the ne’er-do-well ex-partners that you can’t do to Jules what they’ve…IN JULES’ COMMUNITY! The court of public opinion will soon be in session! Justice will prevail (as will Jules).

      • Thank you, Jeff & Jeff & Gluten Dude!
        It’s because of our amazing community that want to start over and that I know I can. We always rally to support our own and we’ve shown we can get things done when we speak with one voice. 1in133 showed that loud and clear.
        Thanks so much for your support through all this!
        ~jules

  5. Thank you for this clear and concise version of what happened and what we can do to help. I have been confused as to which site I needed to delete but you cleared this up nicely. I use nothing but Jules flour ! I will head over to gfjules and delete the other sight completely !!

  6. A second thought: Jules, maybe you could use one of those “kickstart” websites that startups use to raise money? One of my friends used a site like that to raise money for a new sewing machine for her sewing business, although I can’t recall the name of the site at the moment. Just a thought!

    • Kathleen: that was our original idea, but Kickstarter won’t let you raise funds for a e-commerce web site. So we kind of created our own! Either way, these efforts only work by people sharing the news and spreading the word. Thanks GD, and thank all of you in advance for telling anyone you can think of who may still think the emails from Jules Gluten Free dot com have ANYTHING to do with Jules – which they don’t.

  7. Thanks for explaining what happened Gluten Dude. My wife and I met Jules during a gluten-free expo a couple years ago near Salt Lake City. She is a wonderful person. My wife has purchased nearly all of her products and will continue to do so from her new company.

    As an expert in marketing and branding, I’m concerned that her new company name sounds too much like the old company and will only confuse people. Let’s hope the old company stops using her name and picture.

    We certainly wish her much success on her new company!

    • Scot: One of the main legal wranglings happening behind the scenes is Jules’ fighting to protect her name, and get the boneheads to stop using it. They’re confusing the community and leveraging the name of a woman who owns half the company, but who they have denied access to any of the company assets, and who they are not paying. If justice prevails, they will have to stop using her name and likeness and logo and everything, leaving just gfJules in the marketplace. Alas, there’s only ONE Jules – we’re fighting mighty hard to keep it that way!

    • Thank you, Scot!
      The irony is that one of the things my former partners didn’t want me doing, was going out and doing shows and teaching classes and meeting people in our community. Of course, that’s one of the things I enjoy doing the most, and if I hadn’t, I would never have met you and your wife!
      Thanks so much for your constant support, and I hope to see you both again at a show soon!
      ~jules

  8. Jules,

    You got me through the rough time of having a gfree child – from figuring out the problem to diagnosis to how to avoid it. Our whole family appreciates how easily Mama can bake “normal” stuff that everyone can enjoy. I refer everyone I know to your site and products. Long live gfjules.com!!!!

  9. Thanks for the concise explanation, and especially the “What you can do” section of your article. It was great to know exactly how to help, and who NOT to buy from. Luckily, I have a stockpile and can wait until Jules new site is up and running to purchase again. I must admit, it was also great fun to UNsubscribe from the old “Jules gluten free” newsletter and tell them exactly why in the comments section.

    • Thank you, Pam! Hopefully, if they hear that enough times from their customers, they’ll understand that it’s not about the products, but about being a part of our community. So glad to be part of this amazing, supportive GF community that takes care of its own.
      ~jules

  10. Wow! Thanks for sharing this Gluten Dude. Jules, I’m signing up to your new website today! I hope you’re able to get your business back, but I have faith that even if those “businessmen” don’t let up, it will backfire, and they’ll get what’s coming to them. You were the heart and soul of that company, and you will be again with your new company! The customers will follow.

    • Ah, Nachomama, that is so sweet, and I hope it turns out to be totally true! I have faith that if you do the right thing for the right reasons, good things will come. Thanks for your support!!!
      ~jules

  11. Jules Shepard …. a rock star for the gluten free community. I was stunned this happened to her. Just so many things wrong with all of this!! Jules in so many ways showed me I “can” eat like other people since being diagnosed with Celiac several years ago. Your “customers” have your back and I am waiting with anticipation for the message stating you are back 100% with YOUR company. Many prayers for you and your family. You are strong as shown with all you have done. With the drive you had for your vision of 1 in 133 campaign. Remain strong and can’t wait to order again from YOU!

    Many hugs Jules

    :-)

    • PS: Forgot to ask this and hoping to get a reply :-) I see on Facebook comments that “appear” to be Jules. I posted asking if the person commenting was the “REAL Jules Shepard” and no response. Is there a new Facebook site we should be focused on and no longer following the “original” Facebook site? Again, thanks.

      • THANK YOU, Tina Marie!!!!
        Such a sweet note – I appreciate it and your message of strength more than you know! It IS me on FB. I’ll probably change the name soon, but if you’ve liked me there, you should migrate over if I change the name, without a problem. I’ve been struggling to keep up with all the comments, so I’m sorry if I haven’t responded to yours yet! I will!!
        xoxoxox
        ~jules

  12. Hi Dude,
    Thanks for printing the truth about the Jules debacle. I will share this info on our facebook page and pass the word along to my nearly 100 members. Jules is a dear soul, a hard worker and a true spokesman for our community. She WILL survive!

      • Thanks, Dude, now that song’s stuck in my head … but maybe that’s a good thing!
        Speaking of, running today, I was struck by these Sugarland lyrics — quite poignant, wouldn’t you say? Not that I wanted all this to happen, but being forced into it by my former partners, it’s an interesting perspective (5 years after the partnership was formed):

        Five years and there’s no doubt
        That I’m burnt out, I’ve had enough

        There’s gotta be something more, gotta be more than this
        I need a little less hard time, I need a little more bliss
        I’m gonna take my chances
        Taking a chance I might find what I’m looking for
        There’s gotta be something more

        Some believe in destiny and some believe in fate
        But I believe that happiness is something we create
        You best believe that I’m not gonna wait
        ‘Cause there’s gotta be something more

  13. So thankful this was brought to our attention.
    The Celiac and gluten free community are right behind you, Jules! You are not in this alone!
    I’ve been sharing this on every social media portal known to man and urging others to as well.
    Those contentious a-holes won’t get away with this!

    • Thank you so much, Lauren!!! I couldn’t do this without the support of our community! I appreciate you spreading the word, and your virtual pat on the back!!!
      ~jules

  14. Unsubscribed as soon as I read Jules’ email and then sent a blasting response to the shady message her former partners put out. Sharing Gluten Dude’s message as well.

    In the long run Jukes will be better off not being in business with folks like this, but it certainly is an attention-getter for all business owners considering partnerships. I wish Jules the best as she navigates through the next several months. Persevere!

  15. Just ordered some muffin mix. I made bread today with your flour, and it’s always delicious! I can sympathize ~~ I too have been “screwed” by people who meant the world to me but money got in the way. We’re here for you! <3

    • Hi Sarah,
      You are so right, “Money Changes Everything” … for some people. It’s one of the reasons my ex-partners and I stopped getting along. People really show their true colors when it comes to money – it’s definitely best that we’re not working together anymore. It’s a rough transition (speaking of money, having none because of what they’ve done, doesn’t help at all!) but I know in the long run it will be best for me and for the community because I will make choices based upon what I believe is best for our community (because I’m one of us!), not based on the bottom line.
      Thanks so much for your support!
      ~jules

  16. When I was diagnosed 5 years ago @ the age of 50 with Celiac Disease…..I thought my world was going to be rocked to the core since I live in the Southeast and enjoyed “that” kind of cooking/baking. Jules’ flour was recommended to me as the one I needed to buy. Soon after, I went to the first of several shows Jules’ put on in Raleigh, NC. Her flour and Graham Cracker mix were my anchor line at the time. Over the years, since my 1st order placed with HER company, my family/friends have loved every new creation of hers!
    I now have a 10 1/2 month old grandson whom I love to spend time with….and enjoy sharing snacks. He does not have to eat or follow a totally gluten free lifestyle; but he loves to share his food with me. As a 1st time Grannie, I do not want to miss a single experience with him, so I make sure I have gluten free snacks on hand when I am with him. He loves muffins made with Jules’ flour, & graham crackers made with her mix!!! No matter how messy he gets, I can even clean him up when we’re done sharing snack!! In addition, I know he’s eating healthy with anything I make from one of Jules’ mixes or recipes.
    Thanks “Dude” for sharing what those unscrupulous people are trying to do to “our” (the community) Jules!!! They will not win….Jules will prevail!!!

    • How lucky was I to have met you at my cooking classes, Kathie? You have been an ever-constant gluten-free friend since then, and I always love hearing from you and hearing of your latest GF baking successes. Thank you so much for your sweet words and for your love and support!
      ~jules

  17. Thanks Gluten Dude for this great & informative article! I agree that Jules is a “rock star” in our community! I have had the pleasure of meeting Jules and have always looked up to her! She has helped so many people, personally/one-on-one, just BECAUSE that is who she is, and I love that the gf community can now return some of that help because we love Jules & want to show her our appreciation!

    thanks for the “What You Can Do” summary!

  18. I had already unsubscribed from the newsletter. In doing so I told them I did not know all the details but that I would not do business with them because of what I had heard. So sad that people act this way. Good luck Jules.

  19. Jules, I’m so sorry to hear this is happening to you! It’s crazy and unfair but I know you’ll make it through. I absolutely love your products (just made the cornbread tonight!) and I look forward to your new website when it’s up and running.

    Good luck to you and thanks for all you’ve done for Celiacs and NCGIs everywhere!

    • So glad you’re loving my cornbread mix and other products – I can’t wait to be back in production again! Thanks so much for your patience and for your support!
      ~jules

  20. Thank you for sharing this – I appreciate the clarification and comprehensive overview of what’s going on. Such a shame.

    I’m pulling for you Jules!

  21. I really wish I could use your products, but I’m relagated to using Bob’s Red Mill because I have a corn sensitivity. Best of luck in relaunching though Jules, I know lots of people love you!

  22. Hi Amy,
    thank you so much for your well wishes! Hopefully one day soon I’ll have some products that will work for you, too! No one wants to be stuck using bean flours all the time! ;)
    ~jules

  23. Jules-

    You are amazing. We’ve got your back.

    I was actually talking about you this weekend, in a good way. Well, about the sleezy email your business partners sent.

    All the bloggers I was with were appalled that you are dealing with this!

    Big hugs from Chicago!

    Gluten-Dude-

    Thanks for getting the whole story out there!

  24. Gluten Dude, thank you so much for providing this platform for the rest of us to learn what is actually happening. Jules, It was a wonderful day when I found you and your products and knowledge. You have changed so much for so many and I hate to learn that this has happened to you.. I didn’t receive your email, but did receive the one from the jerks who are responsible for this and I was shocked when I got it. It sounded like a bad divorce. It was confusing, I was in need of your products, they were reducing prices, and I’m sorry to say I ordered from them. Today I signed up for your new site and will go directly there to unsubscribe. It’s amazing to me that there is so much evil in the world and that what is fair and just doesn’t mean anything to some people in business. We’ve experienced it personally in the past and it isn’t fun. Good luck to you with your new beginning. With the support you seem to have in this community and, more importantly, with God’s help, you will prevail.

  25. Thank you Gluten Dude! I only recently discovered Jules and have yet to sample all these wonderful products I keep hearing about. In fact, I had a cart full of items to purchase but was interrupted before I could finish the transaction. Then the e-mails began. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed it. To be quite honest, the whole situation left me stunned and appalled. I felt like I was a child in the middle of a horrible divorce, being forced to choose the ‘best’ parent. Add in the fact that I am relatively new to GF – needless to say I was frustrated. Luckily Jules was recommended to me by a reliable, trustworthy person, so I listened to my instinct and subscribed to her new site. However I did not unsubscribe from the old one. Now that I’ve read your article I will be standing behind Jules 100% and will rectify that error in judgment ASAP!! Thank you Jules for all you have done to make the lives of GF families that much easier. Best of luck with all that lays before you. I have the upmost faith you will pull through and shine brighter than ever.

  26. Dear Jules, because of your products for the first time in years I was able to make really great Christmas cookies in December. Lately I have been enjoying wonderful waffles, I’ve made banana, pumpkin, and apple. Your flour mix is the absolute best flour mix I have ever eaten. I really hope that someone who had been greatly financially blessed can help. Your products have really brought back some things I have truly missed.

  27. Jules Gluten Free flour is fantastic and really has changed my life. I have celiac and to be able to have cookies or other treats, that even my non-GF family loves, is fantastic. Here’s the issue I have with how this has been handled. I don’t think mudslinging belongs in business, and it never makes either side look good. This one-sided blog post is no exception. Honestly, I don’t really care what happened. If you want to sell us great products, I will buy them. If those great products come with the baggage, people may choose to walk away.
    Even after the two emails I received I planned on following you Jules, because of your product. Then, however, I got an email sending me to your new site where I could buy a bag of flour for $50+ to support your new company, and it felt a little(ok a lot) like my “medicine” was being held hostage for a high ransom.
    Paying $20 a bag for flour is already difficult for most people with celiac, so putting us in the middle of this really ugly argument is completely unfair. I would have gladly bought a bag of flour from you for full retail price, but it felt really sleazy to find out I could only get it for 2.5times that.
    I hope the ugliness from both sides ends soon, and that we can again buy a good GF flour at a fair price. (well $20 is fair in the GF world,anyway)

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