We had the good fortune of connecting with Raven Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Raven, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
I was terminated from my full time employment back in September of 2019, due to discrimination in the workplace, in which I am still seeking justice. I loved my job. I am a Student Affairs professional. That’s my calling. Pour Up Atlanta is very important to me as the company provides job to young people, including some of my former students. It allows me to give back to the community and activate my creative passion of mixology. When I lost my job (and my access to my calling), I contemplated giving up on Pour Up Atlanta because I felt inadequate as a Black woman and professional, and I didn’t feel that I could run a business if I couldn’t even keep a job. The next 4 months were filled with intense anxiety, panic, stress, and overwhelm with life. In addition, the financial constraint that I was introduced to was oftentimes unbearable to the point of complete isolation. It was during this financial depression that I was somewhat forced into expanding my business, Pour Up Atlanta. Even though I didn’t feel the energy or drive, I had an obligation to take care of myself. I was blessed to have even started my business 1.5 years prior to being released from my job, in order to even be able to expand it. This is where I decided not to give up. I realized the blessing that Pour Up Atlanta has been to my students and others who were seeking part-time work, and would not otherwise have supplemental income. I thought about how happy me and my team made our clients at each and every event! Finally, I think about the impact of my dad who never gave up on himself and started his business over 30 years ago, resulting in future generational wealth for my family. Why would I give up on continuing that legacy? Pour Up Atlanta is still a start-up, but we have the potential to be so much more! I cannot give up on that. I cannot give up on me.
What should our readers know about your business?
I think what sets Pour Up Atlanta apart is our commitment to creativity and building relationships with our clients. We are small and don’t have a ton of them, but the customers that we do work with really support our company and it’s values. There are many challenges that I continue to face, daily. We are nowhere near where we want to be, but strive everyday to build more, organically.
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?
Atlanta has so many cools spots to eat, drink and just be. I would definitely take my friend to some local craft bars because I love craft beer and cocktails. I would also take them to some trails or mountains. People truly underestimate Georgia’s natural beauty. I LOVE the Bamboo Forrest at East Palisades Trail, so I would likely take my bff there! Atlanta is also well-known for it’s amazing Black-owned establishments (restaurants, studios, and art districts), so we would definitely plan that out. I really love a lot of local restaurants! There’s also really great spots like Ponce City Market, Grant Park art district (and local restaurants) and Krog Street Market to explore, and I have more recently discovered La Plaza Fiesta, and indoor Latin shopping experience nestled outside the city (AMAZING STREET TACOS!).
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to Shoutout my father, Bruce Johnson. He is the owner of Avatar Salon & Wellness Spa, located in Silver Spring, MD. He is also an philanthropist and teacher within his profession and the community. I would attribute my overall life mentality to my dad. With him as a parent, there were no excuses, B’s are for average people, and hygiene was essential to daily success (haha)! He taught me to follow my passion, work hard, and give back to others often. I get my assertiveness and charisma from my dad. He always commands the room, and people love being around him. He is the largest part of my success story!
Daniel Christopher Photography (@danielchristopherphoto) Ariel Perry Photography (@arielperry)