We spoke with Brian Surowiec, Co-Founder & Vice President of Strawesome. Strawesome is a family owned business in Michigan that makes the most beautiful, durable, and safe glass drinking straws. We found out what the husband of the boss has to say, why we all want to go over for dinner, and how many straws he’s broken.
Was it always the plan that you and your wife would start a business together?
No. There was no plan. It just unfolded nicely as one thing led to another. Daedra asked me, “What do you think about creating a business selling my glass drinking straws?” I said, “I could build you a website.” And then it all flowed from there….
What was your reaction when Daedra first showed you her handmade glass straws?
I was proud of her for learning a new skill and being able to make something functional with it. She is very artistic and creative and had been “locked down” with our first born for so long it was a relief to see her find something to express that side of herself.
Were you eco before you had kids?
I wouldn’t say I was at all. Daedra has always been ahead of me in the pursuit of eco. I didn’t put myself into the game until we got pregnant in 2004 and started to prepare for child birth. Because we wanted a natural childbirth, It became a near obsession to learn and do everything we could to eat right, prepare our house, and understand whatever there was that seemed important to handle. This opened our eyes to an entirely new realm of opportunities to see how our choices affected ourselves, others and the planet. It’s been a great journey and we are still on it!
Do you have a favourite straw that you always reach for to sip your smoothies?
I go for the tallest and widest straw that’s in the clean storage container. Usually that’s the charcoal gray barely bent long smoothie straw. And I can’t say I’ve ever “sipped” a smoothie. Smoothies were made to be consumed as fast as possible, in my opinion. (We like drinking right out of our blender too!)
How many glass straws have you broken?
If I’m not counting the ones I broke on purpose while testing the durability of our glass, it’s actually a very small number; probably around 5. And you need to know that I’ve personally handled thousands and thousands of straws since we’ve been in business. Not only for the business, but my job in the kitchen is doing the dishes (Daedra is an amazing cook so that’s my contribution, plus complimenting her incredible meals). This year I broke the decoration off one of the kids’ straws by accidentally banging it against the granite counter so I had to use our lifetime guarantee. It feels great to know that our customers can depend on a quality product and customer service. (I won’t be so fortunate if I break my glass tumbler, but it doesn’t stop me from having cool functional art).
If Daedra is the creative, what does that make you?
Simply put, I’m the enabler! My role is to create and manage the logistics, systems, and structures such that Daedra’s dreams come true.
If Daedra is the “boss”, what does that make you?
That makes me the one that says “Yes” to every request and then finds a way to make it happen. You can see how we work well together, no? There’s no question that she’s the boss. After all, this was her idea and vision from the start. (We think you are a really smart husband!)
Do you use the word “awesome” daily?
Yes. And enough people correct me and say “Strawesome” when I do. It’s awesome to see the conversation forwarded by others for sure. Oh, and I meant to say “it’s Strawesome.”
How did you choose the organizations for Strawesome’s Special Edition Straws?
Often we are instantly inspired by what people we tweet with, take orders from, and volunteer with are up against and want to support them and collaborate. I also look for authentic people and organizations that focus on health – related to people, kids, animals, and our earth.
Do your boys get to run Strawesome fundraisers at their schools, or are they still selling cookies and magazines?
Thankfully we can opt out of the fundraisers that don’t jive with us and we are working on bringing Strawesome fundraisers to our local schools (and yours too!). Our boys share straws with their classmates at birthday parties, classroom events, and when a friend comes to visit. We have an unwritten policy that anyone that visits us goes home with a Strawesome straw.
What are you most excited about for the future?
Whenever I share Strawesome with others, they seem to instantly embrace what we are up to and the difference we can make in the world. I love that we are doing this as a family and there’s no ceiling on what’s possible with our glass straws (of all things)!