We had the good fortune of connecting with Joanna Misunas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joanna, why did you pursue a creative career?
Honestly, I am surprised at how long it took me to pursue something in the creative realm. I’ve always been drawn to anything creative, hands on, and natural beauty. After well intended parents steered me away from any concepts of following a creative career path (e.g. ceramicist, photographer), I went the corporate route. With many job changes over the years, with each one believing would make me happy, each one actually felt as if a part of my inner soul was dying. It was shortly after I was laid off from being a financial trader in 2011, that I really sat down and asked myself what my heart was drawn to do. Naturally, the creative part inside of me woke up, and Sojourn Box was born.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think I was born with the entrepreneurial spirit. It all started with the quintessential lemonade stand. I was always trying to figure out a way to earn my own money…whether it be the ‘go-for’ girl, picking up things for the elderly and helping around their house or selling homemade ‘perfume’ to neighbors. As I got older I continued to think of business ideas, but never had the guts to pull the trigger. Looking back I can so clearly see now that the pause of moving forward was wrapped up in fear around failure and rejection. So I stuck with the safety of working ‘normal’ jobs with a steady paycheck, for over 20 years. Those jobs taught me a lot; computer skills, communication/people skills, as well as realizing that the desire to work for myself continued to hum internally. As an expected layoff occurred in 2011, I chose to return to school, for acupuncture, before Sojourn Box was even a concept. There, I was taught to slow down my rhythm and tap into my intuition, and oddly with that newly refined power, I realized that acupuncture wasn’t the path for me. What it did show me, was how much I enjoyed sharing and celebrating everything local with those who moved from out of the area to school. After getting some incredible healing work, it was as if a lightning bolt of insight struck me with passion, confidence and idea to pursue this ‘putting local in a box’ to allow people to taste local without having to leave their home. That passion took me far at first, and that passion has ebbed and flowed over the years (as it can), yet the heart and connection to celebrating ‘local’ is still there. I’ve been blessed to work with and get to know some incredible people/artisans/clients over the years, and feel like my world opened up in a larger way than it may have still working in the corporate sector. Was it easy? Ab-so-freaking-lutely not. It’s been a test of grit and tenacity every step of the way and have come to find a different place with my drive for success. A place which has felt much more sustainable and healthy. Sojourn Box really is a hands on experience and I truly enjoy the creative process of working with clients to curate their desired look and experience for the intended recipients. I rarely look back at all the different curations we’ve done over the years, yet taking a moment to pause makes me realize we’ve done some incredible projects. However, honestly the more fulfilling aspect, is that we were able to help celebrate and support a myriad of small artisans in doing so. It’s a feel good circle.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many great things to see and do in Santa Cruz. I would include the following: + A hike in Land of Medicine Buddha and grab a salad at Cafe Cruz after + A drive up Highway 1 to Half Moon Bay and grab lunch in their quaint downtown + An evening walk on west cliff to see the sunset and eat dinner at West End Tap or Bantam + A Sunday brunch fest on the west side of Santa Cruz at Companion Bakeshop, Cat + Cloud Coffee and shopping at the Swift Street Courtyard + A drive down Highway 1 to Carmel Valley (stop in at Refuge) and continue down to Big Sur for a drink and an ocean view at Nepenthe’s or Post Ranch Inn. + A morning walk in Capitola to see the sunrise and a smoothie at Amazon Juices.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh gosh, where to start? There are so many… + Bob: My loving and amazing husband, who without, I would have never gotten this far. I love you! + Jan: My dearest friend who has been a cheerleader and positive light from the moment Sojourn Box was merely a concept. + Mariko: My soul sister who has gently reminded and celebrated how far I’ve come in moments when I didn’t want to go on. + Casey: My dear friend who has celebrated and supported me in ways that I’ve never imagined. So grateful for you showing up. + Melanie + Jordan: The best neighbors, who became amazing friends and all of our evening assembly sessions. You guys are the best! + Heather: My wonderful friend who was brought to me by the stars. Your love, your support, your encouragement and your amazing eye for detail will forever be in my heart.