On Sundays I Reflect.
I didn’t drink alcohol this week.
I’m turning 30 on Tuesday. That means I have two days to get on the Forbes 30 Under 30 List. Nothing is impossible, but it’s going to be tough.
Despite not making the list, I have a lot to be proud of. My studio has been operating for almost three years. This has been the most challenging undertaking of my life. It is my proudest accomplishment, and for the first time in my life it’s a place that is my own. While it’s still a struggle for me to get on the torch here, when I do it’s the most comfortable I’ve ever been blowing glass.
Two years ago on my 28th birthday I got drunk a few times in New York. It started with brunch at Sidelle’s where I consumed a handful of mimosas followed by a scotch before a mid day nap. I was branching with three friends and a handful of other people who knew me from other parts of my life kept coming in the door unexpectedly as they were coincidentally brunching at the same spot. A man at the table next to us asked my friend Yoni if I was a celebrity and who I was because so many people came to our table to say hi. On my way out the door I bumped into my last acquaintance Justin, a younger kid from my fraternity who may or may not have lived in my closet for a few weeks with his entire pledge class (but that’s another story I won’t be sharing here). We each had a glass of scotch I insisted he let me buy for him on my own birthday. His girlfriend at the time was less than amused.
When I woke up, Yoni and I went to a pregame with some other college friends of mine where we drank shitty tequila and beer I think. I was now in a dinosaur outfit and things were quite chaotic. After the pregame we went to a show at the House Of Yes in Brooklyn where some of my favorite DJs were spinning vinyl. We met my friend Joel there who had turned me on to the tunes, along with the girl I was casually seeing at the time. I proceeded to drink heavily and could sense my friend’s frustration with me. I didn’t care at all. This went on for hours, until I accidentally followed a friend outside around 4:30 am to find out there was no re-entry. I drunkenly begged the security guard to let me in, claiming I left my phone inside. I tried to sneak in another entrance that was chained closed (in a dinosaur outfit) to no avail and a threat to have the police called. Even drunk Ben was usually smart enough to get that message (except for two underage drinking tickets in college). Finally Joel and my lady friend came out and took me home. Joel was accustomed to drunk Ben and tolerated him, despite his obvious frustration. I woke up at my lady friend’s apartment and spent the day apologizing and addressing my problems and misbehavior. I decided to stop drinking that day, and I think she assumed I was full of shit and wouldn’t change.
Since then I’ve been experiencing nothing but transformation, and it has been anything but comfortable. I told someone recently that when I was drinking I was the life of the party, until I wasn’t. It was a very fine line that I crossed more often than I’d like to admit. Since then you’ll rarely find me at a bar or concert, nor other social situations centered around alcohol. At first it was awkward for me, and I wanted to drink at various triggers or while experiencing certain emotions. Now I rarely have a desire to drink, and when I do it doesn’t linger for long. My social life has diminished due in part to my abstinence, but more so because of my investment in my business.
Snowboarding is the only real time I take off from work. I’ve got almost twenty days on the hill, and we might get a big storm for my birthday. I had to cancel my trips to New York and/or Miami I was planning for my birthday which fortunately I had not booked with all the uncertainty surrounding the Corona Virus.
I had a week full of meetings and projects. I got to make a custom Kiddush Cup for an old friend of mine passing through Vail on his move to San Diego. I’m working on some prototypes of designs that I’m hoping to get into production soon, pending my discussion with an artist friend experienced in the scientific industry and his ability to help me with production. I’m optimistic about finally getting out a full line of stemless and stemware Drinking Vessels handmade at a production level.
The meetings I had this week were tough. I have a counsel of friends and mentors that has developed over the years. These are people who I can ask for business advice and bounce my ideas off. They are all exceptional business minds, some especially versed in art business and collecting. Each bring a unique perspective to me in regards to how to achieve my goals, and each have different ideas for how to do so. These people also pick apart my business and find all the flaws, at my request. It can be brutal for my ego but I highly value the no bullshit feedback without the fluff.
I’m going to have to make big changes in order to make this brand sustainable. I’m exploring all kinds of options, but ultimately my priority is staying true to the brand. I accept and recognize that I cannot do all of this myself. As the brand grows it will become more of a brand separated from my personal life. For the last five years there has been no separation. I’ve had help along the way of course, but for five years this brand has just been me. I’m looking forward to the growth ahead, and the new challenges it will present whatever form it may take.
I hope you read the interview with Emily Marie (link) and saw her latest drop! Our collaborations were a lot of fun to make and the rest of the work she brought is absolutely amazing.
The Booty Ban on Ben has been lifted. Some of you know I haven’t been allowed to go live on Instagram for a few weeks. I’m back with our weekly Mug Monday Live at Five PM MST stream. You can see the latest cups there or checkout the shop here on the site. New product edits are coming in from Reda regularly and I’m uploading them as fast as I can. Aside from the live streams I’m still taking a break from Instagram and I’m grateful for the help I have from my brother and J. Cost.
Fresh cups from Henry (@thewiscokid_glass) are coming soon as well. Henry came through in his ambulance for a few days to work in the ssa
Check out our St. Patty’s Day specials for my birthday on Tuesday. I’ll definitely have some deals going down in the shop to celebrate.
As always, thanks for your support,
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