I had the pleasure of meeting Jessica years ago when we attended college together. Since then, Jessica has made leaps and bounds both in her personal and professional life. She recently celebrated the second year anniversary of her Juice Bar and we took a trip to visit her and talk about her business.
- Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I grew up in Toronto all my life. St. Clair and Dufferin initially, my family and I moved to Royal York and Eglinton and I haven’t left that area since!!!
- Did you go to College, University or the School of Hard Knocks?
Actually I went to all three. I completed general arts and science in college, environmental science in university and I’ve been learning from the school of hard knocks since the day I was born. I don’t think you ever really graduate from the school of hard knocks! Lol
- What is The Raw Chemist and how did it start?
I opened The Raw Chemist Juice Bar 2 years ago. It’s an all natural juice and smoothie bar, more like a health bar. We specialize in making cold pressed juices, fresh smoothies and have a large selection of booster supplements that can be added in. Our staff is very knowledgeable about natural health so the best thing to do is come in, let us know what your looking for and we will suggest a number of boosters to add to your smoothie to make it extra special just for you.While I was in University for environmental science I learned a lot about our environment around us and within us. I really was drawn to the courses that had to do with natural health and how food can greatly affect us. After that I completed pre med courses and applied to med school for Naturopathic Medicine. I got in, however, something was drawing me instead to open up my own business where I can help people through food. At this time I was already juicing for years and making crazy concoctions for family and friends. Heart burn? Here try this! Got a cold, chug this down. The best part is that they worked! And that is when I decided to open up the juice bar and help people realize the powerful effects of food on our health, our beauty and our mood!
Tell us a little about your career paths. How did you turn your passions into the company you have now?
During school I made a living by working bottle service at night clubs. As I said before my passion was always helping others, but I never wanted a regular 9-5 job. On top of that I have always had big dreams and aspirations. Once I decided that a health/juice bar was a great way to help people feel better, I decided to take the scary plunge of opening my own business. I found a spot quickly in my favorite neighborhood; the Junction, and my dad, husband and I were there every single day for 4 months getting it ready. I hired a great brand designer and worked closely with them in creating a brand that was clean yet fun. I can honestly say it was one of the most stressful times of my life. I had to learn how to adapt when things didn’t go as planed. I was forced to learn to persevere even when it seemed too hard or too scary to continue. I had to trust my passion and trust that this was going to work. Anyone who opens a business knows there is always the moments when you think what the he** did I do? Are people going to get this? But I had to ignore my fears and trust that my dream was worth it. A month before opening I quit my job and went full force.
- What are some challenges of being business owners in such a competitive field?
The most challenging thing about being a business owner in a competitive field is staying fresh. There are new juice bars opening in Toronto every week. And that’s great because it’s creating more health food awareness. I just try to really stay true to myself and my brand. I am always learning, always researching new methods of creating natural health through food. I learn new things every week and I share my knowledge with my customers. The Raw Chemist is more then just a juice bar, it’s known to be a place where you could come in and ask us questions and have an in depth conversations about health. We really encourage that. We have also hosted seminars with our holistic nutritionist about a variety of health topics including digestion, and energy. I really don’t focus on competition. I focus on providing the best service I possibly can!
- What inspires you?
I take inspiration from so many different aspects of life. I’m inspired by dreamers. I’m inspired by people who do when others say they cant. I genuinely believe that anything is absolutely possible if you work hard enough, and often the hardest part is taking that first step. I’m inspired by life all together and I just want to live the happiest life I possibly could. I just think about that. When I look back at my life I want to say that was really fun.
- What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of doing something that was scary and hard to do. I’m proud of following my dreams and taking a chance. When I first opened I remember saying even if this fails miserably I will still be so happy because I followed my dreams and I tried! That is all that matters.
- What advice would you give to someone who is interested in following their dreams and taking the leap to starting a small business of their own?
Some advice I would give to people wanting to follow their dreams and open a business is make sure you want it as bad as you want to breath. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be scary. Things will test you and tempt you to quit, but if you work through that the reward can be great. Opening a business is not for the faint of heart, it’s for the people who deeply feel that the risk and the challenges are worth following their dream. In the end solely following your dream is the reward, not money, not success but just following your dream. When you believe that, you will never fail.
- What are some of your favourite things about owning a juice bar that is so successful?
- Totally but not so totally unrelated – what are your hopes for the future of The Raw Chemist brand?
I partnered up with my 3 sisters and we are launching a Raw Chemist supplement line. We have spent 6 months working with professionals and doing our own research to come up with 7 highly effective powdered supplement blends that could be added into your smoothies, juices or water. The blends are immune boosting, libido boosting, beauty, hair, detox, calming, and energizing. The line is meant to be an easy way to get targeted benefits at home. We are really excited about it.
Thank you so much Jessica for having us refuel after workout with the yummiest smoothies full of immune boosters and for sharing your story with us! You are a doll!
Make sure to visit The Raw Chemist and stay up to date with them by following them here!