In the lead up to Labor Day, we have put together a Q&A series we're calling "Q&Aid" with some of the top entrepreneurs and city/business leaders to get our volunteers' creative juices flowing.
For the latest installment of our series, we sit down with John Wiseman, an original Lemon-Aid volunteer and founder of Curious Elixirs.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
After cutting my teeth working for NBC, Focus Features, and on Broadway, I joined Thrillist as the 3rd employee and head of marketing. Leading Thrillist's marketing and partnerships, we took the lifestyle publication from 15,000 readers to a multi-platform content + commerce group with millions of subscribers in 20+ markets.
After Thrillist, I joined Skillshare, the global learning community where anyone can learn real-life skills from incredible teachers. Our mission: to democratize learning + help people build their careers without soul-crushing student debt.
After growing Skillshare by 600% in one year, I founded a marketing agency with a new way of doing things: Good Business. We help companies that do well AND do good in the world, primarily in the food + wellness industries. Our mission is to help passionate people grow companies that provide nourishment without sacrificing flavor. A few companies we've jumpstarted include Daily Harvest, Health Warrior, and most recently BUBBLE.
In 2017, I founded Curious Elixirs, a booze-free cocktail company whose mission is to redefine how we drink socially by providing delicious, complex, and healthy adult beverages packed with adaptogens.
Together with partners, I've also built bars and restaurants. In 2010, we opened the subterranean bar The Whiskey Brooklyn, the boutique liquor store The Whiskey Shop, and also invested in the Williamsburg's OUTPUT, which ran for 6 years as NYC's premiere techno club.
I've also been honored to advise on the marketing council for the Food Bank for NYC, which helps provide millions of meals for hungry New Yorkers every year.
Please tell us about your favorite lemonade stand experience.
Watching Katie Eller rev up the crowd at my high school with passionate way of empowering kids to be the change they're looking for in the world.
When did you know you wanted to do what you do now?
After drinking 20 drinks in one night, I woke up the next day and knew I had to cut back on alcohol. But I still craved something delicious, complex, and ADULT, without the booze. No such drinks existed, so I set out to make some and Curious Elixirs was born.
Who is your biggest role model or mentor and why?
Martha Stewart. Her unshakeable confidence, drive, creativity, and team are endlessly inspiring.
This Lemon-Aid stand is my first entrepreneurial venture… any advice or suggestions?
Like the Boy Scouts taught me, Be Prepared. Think through the ENTIRE customer experience, and find your weak spots (do I have enough ice? the answer is almost always no). Be confident and if that doesn't come naturally, pretend you're playing a role (because you are! You're an entrepreneur!). Pretend that you have as much confidence as Martha... I do, and it works like a charm.
What did you wish you knew when you were a kid that you know now?
To practice yoga and meditation regularly for a flexible mind and body.
What has been your greatest failure and what did it teach you?
Making it all the way to film Shark Tank, and being cut from the show. It taught me that building a great business isn't enough to be good entertainment. You have to put on a SHOW.
What drives you to keep going when things get difficult?
My mission and my wife.
How do you feel you make a difference in the world?
By providing better options for people where they don't now exist. Whether it's our Curious booze-free cocktails or a clean label Nutella called Hella, we're helping people live more delicious, more convenient, more nourished lives and that trickles down into every aspect of life. A generation from now, I'll be able to look back and know that we helped millions of people live healthier lives.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Find 2 minutes a day to sit down and let your brain and body breathe. It works wonders if you let it.