Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Aleks Pevec, Owner of Lipsmack Surf, located in Santa Monica, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Our mission is to guarantee every person, and every couple, a safe space to learn how to catch a wave. If you ever felt like surfing was something that you wanted to try but feared that it might not be the kind of warm community that you seek, Lipsmack is the perfect place to start. We offer a place to learn and grow as a surfer in a supportive environment where you can be yourself.

We specialize in surf lessons for new beginners, individuals, couples, friendships, anniversaries, and life partners. We are especially interested in spreading a love of surfing throughout the LGBTQ+ community. The ocean, waves, and sandy beaches are for everyone.

Tell us about yourself

I created Lipsmack Surf during the pandemic. I was a working Broadway actor who suddenly found himself without a job and without purpose. When I started to brainstorm ways to keep motivated and busy, surfing was the one thing that kept popping back into my head. Building a community within the walls of this business was always the point from the beginning. I really wanted to bring people together by doing something that I loved.

I've struggled to be an openly gay man out in the water. Whether people are okay with it or not, I always felt safer just keeping my identity private. Unfortunately, like sexuality, surfing has mostly stayed in the past. At times, surfers can give off the impression that they are part of an exclusive community.

From the outside, it appears that only skilled experts belong on the board, and those who do not fit in due to factors as diverse as skill level, personality, gender, race, or sexual orientation should watch from the sand. It scares me to have something that I love so much be ruined by people who brand any personal identity as wrong or who impose a barrier to entry that turns interested surfers away before they even give surfing a shot.

The idea for Lipsmack was born because I was passionate about bringing these diverse communities together. I wanted to create a safe space on the ocean where everybody could be themselves. Whether you are gay, straight, trans, gender fluid, a-gender, bigender, intersex, or gender variant, you should be able to enjoy your time in the water.

The thing that motivates me the most each day is watching people catch waves and share in a passion that's been a part of my life since I was a kid.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I think the biggest accomplishment through the business has been the amazing community that has formed as a result. The one thing I hear from everyone that I take out is that I make them feel safe. That's a really good thing to hear when you are a teacher, especially a teacher in the middle of the ocean where anything can happen.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

There were moments during the last three years of the business where I certainly felt like I wasn't doing enough. It was a lot of hard work with no visual payoff. A friend of mine recently told me that during that time, I was planting all the seeds. Three years later, I can finally see the business growing. The hard work finally produced something I could see and acknowledge. It grew a community.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Listen to your clients. They are always right, even if they are not.
  2. Love whatever you do. There are too many hard days not to love your job.
  3. Give yourself a day off. Your business needs you to be your best.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

If you ever want to catch some waves in California, please send me an email. I will answer any questions you have and promise to make you feel safe, provide wetsuits and boards, pack you a little post-surf lunch, and welcome you into the community with open arms. Surfs up!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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