We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicholas Barisone and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Nicholas, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
It was the last camping trip of the Season and my brothers and I were sitting around the campfire celebrating the occasion around a campfire. I pulled out a bottle of Laphroaig 18 along with my favorite mini-mason jar to drink out of. This jar also happened to be my favorite bar glass at home and I packed it on top of the bottle of scotch to save space in my pack. Coincidentally, my older brother, Tony, also pulled out a mini mason jar to serve as his campfire scotch glass (he had seen me doing this on past trips). Meanwhile, my youngest brother Vinnie disappointingly resorted to using his coffee mug for his scotch which he didn’t want to use because it had coffee residue on it. Thus, the aha moment came to be – it was time to bring the bar glass to the backcountry and the orientation of including 2-tumblers just seemed like the right thing to do. At this point, I looked at so many 2 person products in the outdoor industry (tents, hammocks, sleeping bags, pads, chairs, etc) but there there wasn’t a 2-person flask for whiskey. The bigger picture for this idea was to make the tumblers cool enough to serve as your ideal tumbler at home as well. I thought that stainless steel had a natural place on any home-bar and, if we designed it right, we could make a multi-functional product that looked as good indoors as it did around the campfire. I met my business partner, Whit, shortly after having this idea and he was just as enthusiastic as bringing it to life as I was. It helped that he was an engineer and had incredible photography skills. Our friendship really developed throughout this process of turning this idea into a reality and its been a fun ride ever since.

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 never felt right in an office and just tried to pursue making a living through the activities I was passionate about. I didn’t even make it one year at the tax firm that I worked at and I took a job working retail so I could be on my feet all day. My first job off the retail floor after that was pure luck: I got hired as a 100% commissioned sales rep in the Outdoor Industry and just absorbed everything I could at our sales meetings as it related to starting a business of my own. I feel like I got to where I’m at today by enjoying the short term and just focusing on building up to something that I’d love to do everyday. When I had the idea for the flask, I really couldn’t think of anything else that I’d like doing more than sharing drinks with my friends around a campfire for a living. This idea just felt right and once I was able to envision what that future felt like, it was just a matter of taking one step at a time in the right direction. My advice to people at any stage in their career would be to not be afraid of taking the scenic route in life – to take the time to figure out what you really love and to find a way to work as close to that passion as possible. Once you can identify that possibility, its just a matter of being relentless in pursuing that vision.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This one is a no brainer. I’d take them on a trip up the Northern California coast, on a bike. We’d start in San Francisco and pedal up to the Pt. Reyes National Seashore to camp out for the night. Day 2 would be shucking Oysters on Tomales bay and we’d rent a canoe at night to enjoy the bioluminesence on the water and camp accross the bay in a cove with Owls and Elk colonies. Day 3 we’d pedal inland and sample a bit of wine Sonoma’s wine country, hitting the small family owned wineries with humble tasting rooms. We’d spend the night in Jenner and take a day off the following day to enjoy live music at Cafe Aquatica and drink beer and wine next door at Tastings by the Sea. Day 4 we’d pedal North on highway 1 as far as possible and burn off the calories from the day before. Day 5 we would arrive in Mendocino and stay downtown visiting the bars and saloons and eat fresh rockfish. Day 6 pedal inland on highway 128 through Andersen Valley (more wine, beer and cool towns to pass through). Day 7 & 8 – pedal towards Santa Rosa to the Smart Train and catch a ride back to the Larkspur Ferry and back to SF. This might be a bit longer than the days listed above, but it would be an amazing itinerary.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I was sitting in a business class at Foothill College, taught by Glenn Violett, and one of the guest speakers he brought in was Guy Kawasaki, author of the Art of the Start. Part of his philosophy of starting a business was to tell as many people as about your idea as possible! He even dared us to call who would be your products number 1 competitor and pitch them the idea to them. He said other companies have their own R&D schedule and don’t think too highly of outsiders ideas, and thus your idea is unlikely to be “stolen”. If I hadn’t heard that argument I might not have shared this idea with Whit and who knows where we’d be. Along the way, we had a ton of friends to brainstorm with and we got a ton of great feedback and encouragement. My girlfriend Sophie at the time also produced the first sketch of the product which was the foundation of our design. She also created the clinking tumblers logo. One other person of note was my friend Ciara Viehweg who encouraged me to work in retail instead of a tax firm and that got me on the path to product development once and for all. From there, I had so much help with this idea from friends from growing up and in the outdoor industry that I’d feel like I’d run out of space in the article.

Website: https://highcampflasks.com/

Instagram: @highcampflasks

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicbarisone/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/highcampflasks

Image Credits
Whit Guatreaux, High Camp Flasks Co-Founder

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