We had the good fortune of connecting with Janet Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Janet, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
Learn the truth of who you are and be such.
To me it means to be you, not what family, friends, society, politics or religion expects you to be. For the first 1/4 of my life I did what was expected of me. I was not true to who I am and therefore suppressed my own thoughts, ideas, desires and wants. Once I came into my own, leading an authentic life without shame or guilt, good things followed.
In regards to applying it to Lily’s Gingerbread Lane. Having an idea, putting that idea into place no matter who did not support me also gave me the freedom to live my professional dream. With that mindset beautiful things have come from Lily’s Gingerbread Lane.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I got to where I am today professionally by never losing sight of the end goal. A goal of bringing a little magic and smiles to peoples faces during the holidays. It has not been easy. But it’s a passion project that stems from a family tradition.
Many challenges have presented themselves and continue to do so. Starting from the beginning, the gingerbread house itself. Shipping a gingerbread house in tact, fresh, and beautiful was a huge hurtle in itself. Putting together all the necessary components it takes to build a business aside, one of the most challenging aspects emotionally has been discouragement or lack of confidence from a small number of people.
One of the first people that told me selling gingerbread houses was not a good idea was a fellow vendor at a craft fair I was selling the gingerbread houses at craft fairs at the beginning of my gingerbread journey. The gingerbread houses were not selling, I was discouraged. She told me she use to own a coffee shop. She allowed a gingerbread artist to sell their houses at her bakery. None sold. She then told me it is not a good idea that no one will buy them. I do have a family member who just doesn’t quite get it. They lack confidence in me as my business grows quickly. Their have been others who just gave me a strange look, like that’s absurd when describing my gingerbread house dream.
Now what do you do with people who don’t get you or what you do. People who discourage your dreams, or don’t support you. You light that fire under your you know what… and prove them wrong!
Our story begins over 45 years ago with a little girl baking from scratch gingerbread houses with her mom. I have turned a magical moment with my mom into a business. If we can bring a little joy to others, that’s all that matters. It may seem like we just sell gingerbread houses, but it’s much more than that to me. We sell smiles.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well let’s start with beach of course! Breakfast at The Beachcomber in Crystal Cove. Add a little Hollywood history of the movie Beaches for good conversation which was filmed there. Next let’s head into the city. Most friends who visit want the Hollywood tour. Let’s hit up The TCL Chinese theater, Madam Tussauds, Ripley’s believe it or not. Grab some lunch at Mel’s Diner. Relive the Happy Days. Maybe hop on a cheesy but awesome tour bus for a “true” Hollywood tour and then to my favorite spot in the city. The Pantages theater. Watch an amazing Broadway production and then drinks and dancing at The Bourbon Room. Next day, let’s hike Griffith Park and go to the Observatory. And for dinner let’s try something unique, Opaque. Enjoy dining in complete darkness for a novel sensory experience.
I’m all about the museums in LA. The Getty and the Natural History Museum. Let’s visit a museum, ending our day at Moonshadows in Malibu by the beach.
For the rest of the week let’s get out of the city and head to the mountains. After all, where else can you go to a beautiful beach and to the mountains within two hours. I love Lake Arrowhead. Smell the pines, hike, eat, water sports, soak in the sun with a beautiful starry filled sky at night.
There you have the best of what the LA area has to offer. At least to me :).
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are two key people that have cheered me during the process of building Lily’s Gingerbread Lane. My husband, These two have picked me up on my rough days, helped with solutions when I felt stuck and most importantly they believed in my vision. A vision of magical customized gingerbread houses for all holidays for everyone to enjoy.
Brent Reese Films, LLC