It’s 2 am on a Saturday night in the heart of summer and center of the Jersey Shore. I’m pouring tequila shot after tequila shot. Vodka sodas for those newly 21’s, spray tanned and home for summer break and yet another LIT for that Guido still wishing he were in college. In between the shots and cocktails poured out of my exhausted hands meant for brewing bowls, I would visualize surfing challenging waves and reefs. The bigger the imagined wave, the faster I concocted the drinks. The more beach towns I imagined myself in the faster the shift flew by. And, despite the chaos of that small town bar, I would imagine myself laying in the warm sand, drying off under the sun after a day’s worth of riding the tide.
Tequila. Lime. Soda. Surf. Rest. Repeat.
What I didn’t realize back then was that I was visualizing the business I own today.
That’s right -- I don’t just make money from smoothies in a bowl. The surfer’s lifestyle is what I sell. Each and every one of my acai bowls allows its flavor to guide the consumer to the tropical climate that houses the surfer bro or babe. Our superfoods’ tells the intricate story of the local beach kid, one bite at a time. My designs in every store reflects the reality in which we Playa babes and bros live.
After all, being a traveler and surfer girl is how I found my product.
Although most business experts would say the product is the key to success, the story it tells is the open door to that success. The lifestyle you reflect in your product is the story to tell. When we first gained success on our small acai bowl stand circa summer 2014, the customers were really into the stories of my travels and thrived on the passion I have when sharing these memories. As they waited in line, they too imagined the challenging surf, the exotic beach towns, the sand between their toes. As they took their first bite, they tasted exactly what they envisioned.
It’s no different than the lavish, French country lifestyle exuded in your favorite glass of Cabernet or (for the millennials reading this) the VSCO-filtered photos of avocado toast, green tea matchas, and environmentally-friendly products making up Instagram influencers’ accounts. The product is the lifestyle and the lifestyle is the product.
Even becoming a lifestyle business is more lucrative than a start-up. A lifestyle business consists of you being your own employee, making just enough to support yourself and having the freedom to work your own hours.
As nice as that sounds, you still have to put in the hard work to get your business where you want and need it to be. Sure, you can drink a Mai Tai made by the post-college, lost-in-life Abby Taylor’s of the world while “working” for four hours. Sure, you can surf all day and work for a couple of minutes at night since you don’t answer to anyone, but a franchise won’t arise out of it.
You have to force yourself to work those 9-5 hours. Do everything you need to do to get that product out there, exude its lifestyle, and tell its story. Work those long bartending shifts at night, wake up to blending bowls all day, and catch that wave on your very brief break.
Even with the great deal of success I’ve attained, I still work long, hard hours. Are they as physically gruesome as my bartending days? No. But, the responsibility level is higher than ever before. It is now a mental grind. I am responsible for the jobs of hundreds of people, the quality of the product, and everything else in between without letting the good vibes go awry. Thanks to the rough beginners grind, I’m fully equipped and qualified to take on these challenges with a large smile on my face.
I just catch the waves on the weekends.