Who: Laura Johnson, Founder, CEO and Distiller of You & Yours Distilling Co.
Where: San Diego
What: As one of more and more female distilleries in the country, Johnson brings a creative and fresh perspective to the creation of spirits and handcrafted cocktails. Johnson’s San Diego-based distillation company and tasting room was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 before their business hit the two-year limit. It is California’s first “Urban Destillery”.
The most exciting thing about starting a business is … that everything is up to you Your failures are your own and your successes and victories are your own. Of course it takes a team to build a business and I happen to have an incredible one, but just having the freedom to make the decisions for the company and let them be entirely yours is really helpful.
I am most happy when … We get a really amazing rating or when we release a new spirit or product and we get the kind of feedback we want to hear. For example, when I bring out a new gin, I inevitably hope that people will pick up on certain tasting notes or enjoy them in a certain way. When someone resonates with something that I have created and published in the world, it brings me immense joy and satisfaction.
When creativity arises … Make sure you write down my ideas. When I get pen on paper it helps to solidify an idea in my head. But I also really like to take immediate action. When I have an idea for a flavor profile, I will immediately take steps to research and develop that product or call our formulation advisor so I can immediately start the process of bringing this creative idea to life.
I keep the creative fires burning by … meddle a good amount of game. Take your time and give me permission to really explore and enjoy myself and my space and time. I have to give myself the time not to be “in” all the time. When you start your own business, eat, sleep, and breathe it. I think it’s really important to take a calculated step back on a regular basis.
I am inspired by … Trust. When I see it in others, it inspires me to bring up a little more of myself. While I’m incredibly proud of how far I’ve come and what I’ve built, we can all remember a little pat on the back from time to time.
The best book I’ve read recently is … Aesthetic Intelligence: How To Increase It And Use It In Businesses And Beyond By Pauline Brown. I read it last year and bought a copy for everyone I know and love. It’s a really powerful book because it’s about the importance of aesthetics and design to every single facet of a company and a brand. This really appeals to me as I’m a huge advocate of this way of thinking. I am very sensitive to aesthetics and therefore appreciate it when they are done well.
I define success as … Satisfaction. There are many different levels of success and I think that as an entrepreneur I struggle with that. We are never satisfied. Even if we hit a goal, or make a big win, or hit a goal, we take some time to celebrate and then it goes right on. Success means being satisfied with the journey and the pace at which you are achieving those successes.