Sometimes you get lucky.
I met Johan on the 7 train out to Flushing Meadows. A pal of my girlfriend (now wife) was moving to California and a group was sending him off with a Saturday afternoon round of pitch and putt.
I was moving a little slow - the night before I had three too many Manhattans. I wasn't celebrating. I was drowning my sorrows. My first prototype run of Q Tonic was scheduled for Tuesday morning and that afternoon I had picked up the first batch of silkscreened bottles. And they looked absolutely horrible. So horrible that on my drive back from the silkscreener I pulled over every few blocks and threw cases into the garbage can on the corner. The only thing that made me feel better was the whiskey. And the plan my girlfriend and I came up with.
"You should talk with Johan". "Ok. But first I'm going drive 6 hours on Sunday night so I can be at the glass company first thing Monday morning to buy blank glass bottles. I'll fill the prototypes in them. I'll tell everyone I'm not disclosing my design." "Whatever. But you should talk with Johan. He's a fantastic designer and he works his brains out. He'll be at pitch and putt tomorrow." "Ok".
It turned out Johan had just started aruliden, his own design company, after years of working for MAC Cosmetics. And on the floor of a moving 7 train I showed Johan my designs. As my head cleared, I told him what I wanted to do, what I wanted to make - I wanted a bottle as beautiful as the liquid it would hold. He got excited and I quickly realized he cared about design as much as I cared about tonic water. And the rest, as they say, is history.