If there’s one thing that Project Juice loves, besides a perfect Acai Bowl smothered in almond butter and drizzled in honey, it’s a strong woman. March 8th is recognized as International Women’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement and general awesomeness of women everywhere. Today, we’re celebrating our female founders!
While Project Juice’s growth is attributed to the entire team that dedicates their days (and often nights and weekends too) to Project Juice, there are three fierce women at the heart and soul of the company. Three bosses and three moms – Devon, Rachel and Marra.
With seven children collectively and a hands-on approach to driving the company to reach new heights, our founders quite literally do it all! From changing dirty-diapers and attending high-school lacrosse tournaments, to building websites, negotiating with farms, and innovating new superfood products.
Their ‘project’ started from messy, sticky and beet juice covered beginnings of physically making juice and delivering it from personal vehicles, and has now grown to what will soon be 10 juice and smoothie retail locations across California and a thriving eCommerce business which delivers your favorite organic juices, smoothies and bowls straight to your doorstep.
Since the inception of Project Juice, five years ago, the popularity of cold-pressed juice has skyrocketed and there are tons of juice brands vying for the primo spot in your fridge, next to your Lime La Croix. The road for Project Juice to earn their rightful spot in your belly and your heart has been as windy as Lombard Street. And yet, Project Juice continues to flourish because the women behind the brand have palpable determination and an unwavering commitment to helping you (and every customer) feel awesome – which is the brand’s promise. Meet our fearless founders, the women behind Project Juice.
Note: We also have an awesome male founder, Greg Malsin. We adore him, but March 8th isn’t about him 🙂
MEET RACHEL, MARRA, & DEVON
Who or what inspires you?
R: What inspired me is being able to make real change in our customers lives by providing them with easy access to foods that they can feel good about. I am also inspired by the incredible commitment our team has towards this mission.
M: In relation to business, our awesome team is what inspires me. I’m consistently blown away by the dedication and talent that collectively comes together on this team to make the wheels on this bus keep turning. Witnessing our team work towards our common goal of delivering the best customer experience and fulfilling our promise to help people feel awesome is what inspires me day after day. I’m constantly in awe of our team.
D: My business partners – it is amazing to work with a group of people that are so passionate, dedicated and work tirelessly to make this business successful. It inspires me every day to work harder.
How do you juggle being a mom and also a co-founder/business owner?
R: I am still working to master this! However doing R&D and quality control with my kids as test tasters certainly helps.
M: I practice being completely present in whatever I’m doing at that specific moment. When I’m at work, I 100% focus on work and when I’m with Leo, he gets my full attention. I then work again once Leo is in bed for the night. I find that trying to multi-task both roles in the same moments in time, doesn’t work for me. Both require and deserve my full attention -so they each have to get that at different moments in time.
D: Being super organized – many to do lists but also keeping home life and work life separate! Setting time for both personal and work to make sure I don’t neglect either! It is the only way for me to do both.
Why Project Juice?
R: I suffered from food allergies my entire life that made me sick. There are hidden allergies and sneaky ingredients in so many food products we buy everyday. Project Juice is a place where customers can feel safe knowing that all of our products are CLEAN. We stay away from both common allergies like gluten and dairy but also pay extra attention to hidden irritants like gums.
M: Ha. This is a question I have asked myself repeatedly over the years. There are endless ways that I or anyone could spend their days. For me, I choose Project Juice because our mission is one that I believe and know in my core to be true. If people don’t feel good, they can’t go out into the world and do good. Whatever form ‘do good’ shows up as for each person, requires them first to feel good. So when I’m having an intensely challenging day (which happens), I come back to this why and that alone can shift everything.
D: I love being able to provide people with products that make them feel great.
What has been the toughest PJ obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
R: OH MY. There have been plenty. The hardest obstacle we have overcome is convincing landlords to take us on as tenants and trusting that we were going to be a success. We were!
M: There’s not one singular moment that comes to mind. In general, the toughest obstacle has simply been staying ahead of the quickly evolving beverage & wellness space. Cold-pressed juice saw a massive growth spurt in recent years and became hugely saturated. Luckily for us, innovation has always been a pillar of our business, so we’ve been able to continue to meet our customers needs where they are through other product offerings, like smoothies & bowls. Still, navigating the path from what started as a juice business to these other products, was not an easy endeavor.
D: Just dealing in the unknown – Is it going to work, where will we get funding to make this dream bigger, will customers love our next product, will a store be profitable and welcomed into a new community? There’s a lot on the line every day and often time a fair amount of uncertainty exists around choosing the absolute best path.
What do you think Project Juice does better than everyone else (competitors)?
R: Quality Quality Quality! Because we have such rigorous standards we either manufacture our selves or have co packers customer manufacture to our specs.
M: We put customer first, always. We try to make decisions from the seat of the customer. We seek feedback constantly and when we get it, we listen intently. This customer-centric approach has helped us to create products that our customers love and has helped us to form relationships with our customers which have become the foundation of our business.
D: Product quality, taste and customer service are the areas where we shine.
Any words for those looking to start their own business? Any words for women specifically?
R: Having a business partner is like a marriage! You will go through ups and downs together. Make sure you find someone you trust and love working with. Also make sure to hire people that are smarter than you and know more than you.
M: If you love the mission, I say – do it! I believe there is truth in the old saying of “You’ll never regret the things you do as much as the things you don’t”. You have to truly love and believe in the mission because hard days are inevitable, and belief in the mission is what’ll keep you going.
D: Makes sure you are passionate about what you are doing – you are going to spend a lot of hours on it, so it should be something you feel incredibly passionate about. Also, don’t try to go it alone! It takes a village – so network, make connections, find mentors, investors, really anyone that is interested in helping. I could have never done this without my business partners – their support guides me every day!