Chapter 1, Part 1
I seriously can’t believe it, Gundalow Juice has turned four! Every year feels like a fantastic victory, mixed with total disbelief of “It’s July again? Already?” Ever since starting Gundalow, time really seems to fly and part of that reason is because when we produce our juice we date it with a “Best by” date for 60 days from production, which means juices made in our birthday month already have me thinking about September. The year goes by fast.
I am excited for this birthday year for a few reasons. 1) Four is my favorite number. 2) We are expanding this year to New England. 3) We are starting something new on the blog: I want to start telling the story of how Gundalow Juice came to be and continues to grow. I have learned so much from other small business owners telling their story, so my hope is that this series of blog posts might be able to help someone else with their small business. It will definitely not always be pretty, but I hope it is useful and helpful. So here we go, how it began….
A little over 5 years ago, I had owned Nutreatious (now Gundalow Gourmet), my personal chef business, for just about 3 years and I was looking for what could be my next project in the business. Our goal with Nutreatious had always been to “simplify the healthy life in the most delicious way”. One of my personal chef clients asked me to make him some cold-pressed juices. He had been ordering cold-pressed juices from companies all over the country, but the flavor was falling short or the shipping didn’t work. So, I said “OK, sure, why not, I’ll make some juice!” I went to Williams-Sonoma that day (you get a nice discount there if you work in the food industry), bought a juicer, a bunch of Weck jars, and I mapped out some juice flavors that I thought sounded like they would do well together. I was excited! My brother was into juicing at the time (he had just bought this slow press juicer) so I was intrigued, but I had very little experience on my own with juicing.
The next day, I went grocery shopping for a bunch of produce, and took the juicer and jars to my clients’ home to start juicing. Boy, I had no idea what I was doing. I knew how to use the juicer-- I cut everything down to actually make the juice-- but I had no idea that I needed so much produce! I made two more trips back to the grocery store that day. Also, I had no idea how much time it took to juice (a long, long time). Plus, I decided that ginger should come with some type of warning that reads “may totally take over and ruin the flavor of your juice that you have been working on for the past hour and a half.” How different things are now since I love our GInger Shot!
I am pretty sure I was in my clients’ home that day for about 10 hours making 14 juices. These clients were not only my first juice customers, but were also my first personal chef clients. They have been incredibly kind to me and have helped me grow from the very beginning when I started cooking in their home at age 21. They are true mentors and some of the kindest people I have ever met. Plus, it was really fun taste testing all day! We talked about how good the pineapple concoction would be with vodka, and at the end of the day my clients looked at me and said, “this could be a business” right after trying what would eventually come to be known as Mainstay Green.
Then, just like that, more of my clients were asking for cold-pressed juices. So, I would come to their home with juicer in tow, set-up shop for about 6-8 hours and leave their fridge with delicious juices. My clients felt great and I really loved making juices that not only tasted good (first priority), but were made with the best quality ingredients to give that energy boost we all need.I loved that I made my clients’ lives easier and more nutritious and they didn’t have to sacrifice their lifestyle.
I started to see that juice was going to be a great vehicle to help spread our mission, “Simplify the healthy life in the most delicious way,” and I really always tried to stay true to the latter part of that phrase. It seemed like these juices did exactly that. It bottled our mission and service in 16 delicious ounces There were plenty of companies at that time that were making really healthy juices, but I really didn’t care for the taste of them. I wanted to make juices that people actually enjoyed drinking. I decided if this became a business, it was my responsibility to make the juices healthy, the only job I wanted for our fans was to enjoy an entire bottle of juice.
And so it began, in one kitchen, with one juicer, and a whole lot of produce. That’s the beginning of what would become Gundalow Juice.
Some of our first bottles made, I am totally cringing at these labels.
Next Blog in this series- Juicing in the Moonlight.