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Meet Samantha Johnston of The Corner Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Johnston.

Samantha, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve had a winding road to get to the career I have now. I was working in the Bay Area tech scene doing marketing at Dropbox when I started organizing pop-up restaurants with some friends as a hobby. This ignited my passion for the food and restaurant world in a way that no job had before. Before too long, I had quit my tech job to work full-time in the restaurant industry. I started by running a food truck, which was a crazy ride, and could not have been more different from everything I knew.

I ended up in Sales and Marketing for a restaurant group and one of my best friends, who had spent years in high-end hospitality, was doing the same thing. Ultimately we realized that being in-house at a restaurant didn’t make much sense, and we figured we could offer our services to several clients and focus on what we each did best. So, we started a firm a little over a year ago, and it’s been going great. We do all things marketing for food and restaurant brands – social media, websites, events, and PR. My friend (and business partner) now handles our Bay Area clients, and I’m here in LA doing the work here.

Starting a business with a friend is awesome and it’s great to hear that the business is off to a great start but I bet there are still some challenges and struggles you guys have faced?
There have certainly been struggles along the way. It took me time to figure out what I wanted to do, and changing course every few years took a toll and was frustrating at times when I would compare myself to others on a steadier path.

Starting your own business is never a totally smooth ride, and we learned plenty of lessons the hard way. One of those was not to start a client services business right before the holidays — no one wants to talk to you or start any projects. It was brutal for the first few months. But we took that time to build up things on our side, and now know to plan around those ebbs and flows.

What else should we know about The Corner Group?
The Corner Group provides a suite of marketing services tailored to food, beverage, and hospitality brands. That includes websites, digital marketing, social media, events programs, business development, and PR. I specifically specialize in web development and content marketing for our brands, and my partner specializes in events programs and sales, among other things.

Another aspect of our business is planning food festivals. Last year, we launched the largest dessert festival in San Francisco (SweetSpotSF) with over 700 attendees. This year, we’re planning an Ugly Sweater Holiday Party and have another SweetSpot festival in the works. We love creating unique, memorable experiences for people that also help showcase amazing food and beverage brands in their city.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Seeing the SweetSpot festival come together with a sold-out venue was pretty amazing. We created a really unique, fun event and the amount of enjoyment we saw from attendees was magical. We had over 25 food vendors all with amazing and creative desserts, plus a ton of activities that made it a really unique experience.

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