Entrepreneurs of the Week: Juice Hugger

How two Brooklynites turned their passion for healthy food and drinks into a burgeoning business

What would you like your customers to leave with?

Our current company slogan is “HUG LIFE”. We want our customers to understand that healthy beverages and food can taste great, be affordable and aid in a better quality of life. Food should be considered body fuel, not make you tired and uncomfortable.

Give us an idea of the types of items we can find on the menu and what makes them unique to your brand?

We serve pressed organic bottled beverages and healthy food with vegetarian/vegan options. Our customers love our Juicy Greens (often called our “salad in a bottle”), our Strawberry Limonade, and our Cashew Milk. We offer an amazing Vegan Chili using Soy Chorizo, a Split Pea with Tempah Bacon, and a Chicken Noodle made from home made chicken stock. Our various Wrap styles are on Whole Wheat or Flaxseed wrap bread. We serve Brown Rice & Quinoa instead of White Rice. We also make delicious baked goods that are all vegan (we use an egg replacement or apple sauce instead of dairy.) Our most exciting item is our Juice Hugger Juice Cleanse (The Love, Happiness & Clarity) which offer six (6) 16oz beverages per day as a juice fast in order to give your digestive system a rest and purge your body of toxins.

What have been are some of your biggest challenges?

The biggest challenge is educating potential customers on the value of drinking pressed juices as well as getting them to try it. For many, healthy means “bland”. We also find that folks have it hard-wired in them that healthy food is also way more expensive then fast food but that really isn’t true anymore. Yes, our food prices may be slightly higher than traditional fast food chains but what you are getting for the cost far exceeds the extra $1-$2 you may have to spend.

What are your greatest achievements?

Opening our first café on a shoe string budget! We are so grateful for the opportunity to offer our products to our community. We found a kitchen that needed so much work it was a little daunting but with help from friends & family, we opened. My father painted our café, Keelo’s father did all the electrical and we found great people in our community to do the rest. We still pinch ourselves at how far we have come & are invigorated at the prospect of how far we can go.

What are some ways you’d like to expand the business within 2012?

We are expanding our product line to include hand cut “nachos” and dips. We will be selling additional “healthy replacement” products and organic produce for people who want to cook at home more healthily. We are doing a Pop Up Gift Store series in which we bring in local businesses to offer their small business products to our customers near “gifting holidays” like Valentine’s Day & Easter. And we will continue filming additional episodes of “Cookin With Crush” in order to help educate our loyal “Huggers” on how to eat to live your best life.

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  • Ian Jones

    Great article and very inspiring. Being from Brooklyn, there aren’t much healthy choices in the “hood” and being that you guys went against the grain really speaks volumes.

    Ian Jones,Co-founder & Gm of Piton Mechanical Heating and Air-Conditioning

  • Yvette

    Wow! Great to see young people promoting a healthy lifestyle. I admire the fact that they wanted to take the time to brand their business first, and proved those business advisors wrong in the process! From a graphic designer perspective the branding process is essential to any new business and is often overlooked.
    Yvette ~ Destined Designz

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  • Linda Jackson

    Thank you for such an inspiring story. I started Juicing on 2/6/2012 losing weight and loving how it has changed my life. I would love to start a small business to help my community, need guidance on how to get started, any ideas?

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