Meet the Founders: Alex and Steve Michaelsen of Leisure Project

Leisure Project

Former college athletes Alex and Steve Michaelsen weren’t satisfied with the usual sports drinks. Tired of feeling anxious and jittery, they created a wellness-ade to bring calm, balance, and clarity to everyone’s daily routine.

Leisure is uniquely designed to balance stress with a blend of plant-based and ocean-derived minerals. Crafted with adaptogenic lemon balm and sweetened with agave, Leisure offers real refreshment and essential nutrition in every can.

Recently, we caught up with Alex and Steve to learn more about their journey and hear their advice for fellow entrepreneurs.

Leisure Project

01 Why did you start Leisure Project?

We started Leisure as a brother duo team and former collegiate athletes turned creative marketers. We realized the hydration drinks we used our whole lives to fuel physical performance no longer served us, our peers, or our generation’s needs as a whole.

The effects of dehydration were constantly leaving us feeling stressed, anxious, mentally fatigued, and dealing with brain fog on a daily basis. Yet, there were no products in the hydration category made with our mental well-being in mind, so we created Leisure.

02 What obstacles did you face along the way?

Too many to count. The biggest obstacles stem from us being new to this industry. The information on how to make things happen isn’t easy to find — you can’t Google for a lot of these answers.

Luckily, we have been able to surround ourselves with advisors and industry veterans that help us when we hit roadblocks. The industry as a whole is very helpful. Even competitors have lent a helping hand more than we thought they would.

Leisure Project

03 What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Have a point of view when you create a product. We strongly believe that any new product should have a reason for existing and solve a specific problem.

It’s also important to solicit and implement feedback from your customers. We spent most of our first summer giving out samples to learn how we could improve our product. We continue to listen to, and learn from, our community of Leisure lovers.

It’s great to hear how our Leisure has helped people feel focused, happy, and more like themselves in their daily routine. And their constructive feedback has helped us improve the product that we are now selling at Bristol Farms!

04 What’s on the horizon for Leisure Project?

We’re really excited about the future of Leisure as we continue to grow and build our footprint in our home state of California. We hope to become the hydration drink of choice for Bristol Farms customers and beyond. As we look forward, we will continue taking customer feedback, improving our product, and growing the business as part of our mission to create a truly better hydration option for the next generation. The mission starts in SoCal but we have plans to continue expanding regionally and across the nation over time.

Leisure Project

05 How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?

Work/life balance is a very tricky thing. To be candid, that’s something we can definitely improve on. Steve is a big proponent of morning walks with a focus on movement and personal reflection. Alex tries to follow a cycle of “sprinting and resting”. Sprinting means staying as focused and productive as possible while working. Resting is ensuring that there’s time spent outside and with friends — things that don’t involve work.

We’re very inspired by our father who passed away when we were both very young. His life mantra was “Do your best and keep your promises.” He would tell us that every morning. This mantra is the inspiration behind the legal name of our business — DYB+KYP LLC is printed on the can, and it’s what drives us to live out his legacy.

Additionally, we’re inspired by the early lovers of our brand that now drink Leisure on a daily basis to help them feel like the most creative, productive, and happiest version of themselves each day. We want to help more people to feel this way.


  1. Barb says:

    Looking forward to trying this drink! I’m all for more choices on no sugar drinks.

    1. Nicole Vuletich says:

      Thank you for commenting on our blog, Barb! We couldn’t agree more about reducing sugar.

  2. Howard Lavitt says:

    Excellent and we are ready to buy more Leisure

  3. Anne says:

    I love these drinks! Very delicious and hydrating. I drink one every day!

    1. Nicole Vuletich says:

      That’s great to hear, Anne! We’d love to know your favorite flavor.

  4. Toni Rios says:


  5. Anne says:

    My favorite flavor was Blueberry Lavender but right now I am really enjoying the Mango Ginger.

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