Get to Know: Laura Rubin – the Beauty and Mastermind Behind Allswell Creative
The popular saying “people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime” seems to ring more true as we get older and look back at the people who have come and gone in our lives And though there are people who definitely fit the bill in various ways, if you’re lucky, you’ll meet someone who comes into your life for a reason, and hopefully, a lifetime. For me, Laura Rubin is one of the people in my life who I can say came into my life for a reason and hopefully, will be there for a lifetime.
I originally met Laura about 4 years ago through mutual friends who surfed out in Montauk. Warm, kind, giving, and beautiful, Laura has been a very significant and positive influence in my life in many ways. In addition to bringing me into the amazing family of an organization that I hold very near and dear to my heart, A Walk On Water, she has also impacted many people’s lives through sharing her passion for writing and more specifically, journaling, led by her brainchild, Allswell.
Speaking from personal experience, I felt that, once I graduated from college, the art of the written word had become almost completely absent in my life, likely due to the growing presence of digitally-driven forms of communications that we are subjected to. As time went on, it became seemingly more difficult to remember the last time I had put a pen to paper or really took the time to journal or write someone a letter (birthday cards not included). Then, when Laura told me that she had decided to pursue her passion project more actively, while still working with brands through LLR Consulting, it was as if the universe had conspired to reintroduce this important practice back into my life, and for good reason.
As I entered my first Allswell workshop last year, I was both nervous and uncertain of whether I would feel "out of my element." However, I left feeling the best I had in a very long time, for there is something so monumentally healing, enlightening, and meditative about writing things down on paper.
Designed to spark the creative process, AllSwell Writing Workshops, all led by Laura Rubin, will take you through accessible writing-based activities with a curated selection of literature from the greats, such as Twain, Melville and Whitman, to serve as touch points throughout the process. Get involved HERE and if you are out East this week be sure to check out her workshop at Quincy Davis's new shop, QUINCY MTK this Thursday August 16th in Montauk.
Read more below to get to know this amazing person and how she is using her passion to inspire others. Be sure to check out her Style Guide here too!
Tell us about Allswell. How did it start/why did it start?
It all started with a surf check gone wrong. One early morning in Montauk I went to look at the waves and got skunked. So I got myself a cup of tea, sat my butt in the sand and journaled instead. I wrote “Swell or no swell, all’s well.” That’s where the brand idea was born.
I like to write and draw and was looking for one lightweight notebook where I could do both but couldn’t find any. So, I made some half lined and half unlined books, printed them in Maine on recycled materials. I showed them to some of my friends who have great stores (like Surf Bazaar in Montauk and Warm in Nolita) and they were kind enough to sell them. The notebooks sold out and I printed some more. And then those sold out.
It’s definitely been an organic process. AllSwell began as a passion project but has grown into something much bigger than I intended or originally imagined. I didn’t set out to create an integrated, multi-prong creativity company, but that’s where I am. It was initially meant to be a pretty simple offering, a single notebook that could serve as a platform to help encourage people to put pen to paper in this increasingly digital age. It’s evolved into a suite of notebooks and products, an ongoing series of workshops and international trips. Go figure.
Through your love of surfing and journaling, you have been able to make a very successful and key connection between these 2 hobbies. What have you learned in the process?
I cannot emphasize this enough: find things you love, experiences that light you up. Do them a lot. Then figure out ways to share that goodness. It’s pretty simple and it’s very satisfying. That’s my recipe for a well-lived life, business, project, whatever.
You started out creating amazing notebooks designed for people to express themselves both through drawing and/or writing. Through this, you have also created writing workshops which you hold on both the East and West coasts as well as on special retreats. Can you tell us about the inception of the workshops?
The idea for the workshops came from consumers. Folks would occasionally tell me that they loved the design of the AllSwell notebooks but they already had a stack of unused notebooks at home, or that they were unsure how to journal -- or that they were bad at it. But there is no “bad” there is just do.
That’s when I came up with the concept of an event format that could give people the motivation, tips, tools and permission to be creative. I have put together events for clients for years and I enjoy being a host at my own parties, so it was kind of a natural mashup of things I already knew how to do. I try to make sure that the workshops are fun, visually beautiful, that attendees have a little something nice to eat and drink. I’m asking people to be spontaneously creative in a group setting; the least I can do is pour them a glass of wine.
The fundamental reveal is that we all have a unique creative voice, regardless of whether or not you’re an artist. And writing longhand in the format of a journal for even a few minutes a day can have profound effects on your health. There are scientifically proven emotional, mental and physiological benefits from this practice. That’s a fact.
I’d also argue that it can transform your life. Once you identify what your personal voice sounds like, what turns you on and fills you up, then it’s a lot easier to create a day to day experience that is true to you. Not what looks good on social media or what you think you’re supposed to do, what’s real and rocks your soul.
After a very successful career owning your own PR agency, did you ever think you’d become a thought leader in this field of journaling?
As a lifelong journaler I also wanted to help people access what has made a huge positive impact on my personal and professional experience: a regular writing practice. I absolutely love my client-serving communications work and all the professional hats I wear seem to complement each other. I don’t think one “J-O-B” is how it works anymore. That paradigm is pretty limited.
What is the best career/life advice anyone has given you? How has that helped you grow and nurture your business?
I’ve gotten so much advice along the way. A lot of it has been rubbish and some of it has been lifesaving (thank you, mentors!). But at the risk of sounding Millennial-ish, I’ve learned to trust my gut. I have a bit of expert-fatigue at the moment, feeling deluged by teachers and gurus. Maybe it’s because of the rise of social media or because I now live in Venice, CA where almost everyone seems to be a coach of some kind. That’s part of why journaling is so profound. It’s accessible and simple. There’s no translator, no special mantra or mat or subscription necessary. It’s just you, a pen and some paper.
With more workshops sprouting along both coasts, what are you most excited about for the future? Are there exciting new projects you might be able to tell us about? What has been the most surprising/rewarding thing you have received from this?
At every AllSwell workshop I see breakthroughs happen in real time. It’s incredibly gratifying to see people wake up to their own creativity, make connections. I don’t credit myself, it’s the process. I’m here to help things along but really it’s about the rockstars that sign up, show up, give daunting things a try. It can be fun, cathartic and challenging but it probably won’t be boring.
I get to collaborate with people and companies I like and respect, co-creating cool stuff. What’s better than that? There’s so much amazing stuff happening at the moment that it’s kind of crazy. Just launched a new product collaboration with Goldfish Kiss and Samudra. I’m looking forward to bringing AllSwell workshops to Kauai at the invitation of Jennifer Binney (of Aloha Superette) in September. Also in the beginning stages of planning a couple of new AllSwell trips including one to Alaska in the summer of 2019 with Re: Boot Experiences. I’m also writing a series of interviews with people I think are rad about their creative process called “Expression Sessions” for Whalebone Magazine. I could go on...
What is it about journaling that you have found to be so special? What does it do for you and how have you seen it positively influence your students?
Journaling makes me a better version of myself. I’ve done it off and on since I was 8 years old and I know when I do it consistently I am a slightly calmer, happier and more self-actualized human.
There’s no cost associated with this, it’s accessible and inexpensive. Sort of like praying, you can do it pretty much anywhere and it doesn’t require a middle-man. If you want to journal in an AllSwell notebook that’s great but you don’t need to.
As for the positive effects on others, I’ve seen incredible moments of clarity, realization, courage and a whole lot of joy in the workshops. It’s a great jump start but the lasting change doesn’t occur there. It’s about the small commitment you make every day to take a couple minutes for yourself, pick up a pen and see what comes out the inky side. Meet your own unfiltered voice, no judgments or “likes.”