What inspired you to start a cold pressed juice company?
I started Daily Press Juicery with a partner. At that time he he had just graduated and I was entering my last year of university. We went to New York for a holiday and when we returned and reviewed our receipts, we realized, “Wow, we spent a lot on juice!” When we came back to Toronto, I was looking for something similar but there weren’t that many options. After doing some research and seeing the cold press juice trend in the US and Australia, we thought to ourselves, “Why can’t we do something similar in Toronto!” We rented our first shop in December of 2014, opened in March, 2015, and haven’t looked back since.
What's one of the best pieces of advice someone gave you when starting your own company?
The piece of advice that stuck with me was, “don’t spend too much time perfecting everything” - this mostly goes with the store branding, renovation, and relocation. I was really hung up on making it pretty with a certain colour theme, and wanted to maintain how I imagined it in my head. After opening new locations, I soon realized that is not the most important thing. Even when you go to other stores, you often don’t even remember what the colour of the ceilings and floors were. I was spending way too much time on making my store perfect, instead of spending more time on perfecting the products. If you can do 70-75% then it’s great already, because people come in and they take pictures and say “oh this space is so beautiful” while I see so many flaws.
Their popular juices (left to right): The Giving Tree (the greenest),
Maleficient (a great hangover cure!) and
Flu Shot (fruity flavour, rich in Vitamin C)
Your shops have 20 amazing juice flavours! Where do you get inspiration for creating your delicious recipes?
I grew up in a juicing environment, because my mom has a regular juicer and she loves making juice, so she’d be always making different combinations and I didn't really like eating vegetables so she’d always mix vegetables. And that’s actually how we started making flavours - I asked my mom if I could use her mixer, and then we just started experimented with flavours. I mostly get my inspiration from my mom!
What was one of your most rewarding experiences as a founder so far?
When I’m walking on a street and see people drinking our juice. The furthest I’ve seen is in Niagara! We also have a tote bag and I see people using it as a lunch bag and sometimes I see people bring it to yoga - it’s so fulfilling to see your product being enjoyed outside of your store.
What were some of the challenges you faced when starting a brand new company? What was your marketing strategy when you founded Daily Press Juicery in 2014?
One of the main problems was letting people know what made our product different. In the first year, a lot of people were questioning our price - they were like, “I can get a $3 juice, why would I want to pay $11?” It was crucial to train staff to explain the pricing and educate customers of the benefits of cold press juice.
Another issue we faced in the beginning was manufacturing. We hired too many employees when we started and were working long hours. We used to get vegetables fresh from the market around 4AM! We did this for two months, which was really tough. Since then, we’ve automated our process and created efficient systems - we’ve cut our manufacturing process by more than 3 times!
Our marketing strategy in the beginning was to create a wider range of juice options at a more approachable price, which enticed customers to try living a healthier lifestyle. We also used social media and reached out to YouTubers and Instagram influencers. It was very organic - we had Toronto-based influencers coming into our shop and post photos of our juices on Instagram, and we reached out to collaborate. We also work with student photographers in the community to get photos, and partner with retail stores such as lululemon and makeup brands to do pop-ups.
I tried their super refreshing Pineapple Express:
made with pineapple, Granny Smith, lemon, and mint!
Being an entrepreneur has its highs and lows. What's your go-to motivational quote when things get tough?
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
When we first launched, we didn’t carry smoothies, and I wanted to sell smoothies but I was also thinking, “what if they cannibalize juices because they’re kind of similar?” So in the beginning I was doubting it, but after one summer we started producing smoothies, and we found that people just bounce back and forth! And even if there are negative results from trying something new, you can always stop doing that and try something else! So I always think trying is better than staying stagnant. If it’s an acceptable risk then I think you should take it.
Any advices to ladies who are interested in starting a new business?
Working with your local community is very important - especially with other female entrepreneurs. I learn a lot from other people, such as the cafes we wholesale our products to, or talking to other founders like Connie at NIU BODY. When we chatted, we shared unique perspectives based on our different industries. After learning more about NIU BODY, we thought to ourselves, “why don’t we also try selling juices online?” We launched on Shopify shortly after, which we never would have thought of if we weren’t open to new ideas.
Also just put yourself out there - you’ll be surprised that a lot of other businesses are willing to help and work with small local business. I used to be really shy and think they wouldn’t care about me because I’m nobody, but they actually like to work with us! I think that’s one of the benefits of working in Toronto - people are really nice to each other, and it’s a small community.
It is also important to have more than one stream of income and not put all your eggs in one basket. When we first launched, we had a really great summer and short winters for the first two years, and then this past winter was really long, which affected the traffic. Since we branched off to wholesale and online sales, we were able to mitigate this lower traffic and stabilize our revenues.
200 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1Z2
605 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 1Z5
Interview conducted by Yuri Hirama