We had the good fortune of connecting with John Weil and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi John, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is what brings passion to the forefront of your business. It is the risk that creates a sense of being backed up against a wall, creating an environment where the passion and fire in your belly drives you forward. For Sand Straw, the risk of losing my $5,000 savings when I was 24, inspired me to work till the late hours and again in the early morning. I am a firm believer that when you put everything on the line, you can only go up from there.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Sand Straw was created after a day at the beach spawn a sense of urgency inside me to create a reusable product with a mission. Seeing the amount of trash, including plastic straws on the beach was alarming, and I was confident that by tieing each reusable straw to a specific type of conservation and animal, that Sand Straw could connect emotionally with the average American. Creating a business from the ground up has been far from easy and still presents so many challenges. Covid for example, decimated our wholesale business and I was forced to pivot to 100% online for an entire year. This was a new journey for me and I was tossed into a new world of online advertising that I was not familiar with. I overcame this by studying night and day to learn how Facebook ads manager worked, partnered with the right people, and adjusted our marketing strategy to focus on e-commerce. This journey has taught me that I can never get comfortable. I need to keep my head down, work hard, and never look back at the mistakes and hardships along the way.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My ideal week in San Diego would be spent eating at Isola- an Italian sit-down restaurant that has a great selection of homemade pasta and The Cottage, a local breakfast spot, with fantastic service and a cute vibe. The remaining part of the week would be spent hanging out at Windensea beach and shopping at the newly renovated UTC mall.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My journey has been a direct result of seeing friends and mentors succeed. Steven Oskinski, a friend, mentor, and old college professor provided me with the tools and knowledge to succeed. Steven also inspired me through the stories of heartache and success with his company. My shoutout is a direct result of seeing what an amazing life entrepreneurship can provide.