Health food and herbal supplements are a booming business, and women entrepreneurs are leading the way with innovative ideas based on genuine needs. Two college roommates turned one friend’s food allergies into a superfood ice cream launched from their dorm room. One woman’s homemade kombucha went from her local farmers’ market to a national brand. Two best friends who used to sell their plant-based meals to friends around town capitalized on the power of nutrition to form a meal-delivery service that celebs like Chrissy Teigen adore. In this week’s entry in our How to Quit Your Day Job series, Carly de Castro, one of the co-founders of Pressed Juicery, shares how she transformed her green juice company from a tiny rented space in a cupcake shop into a national brand bringing wellness to everyone.
MEET THE JUICE PRO: CARLY DE CASTRO
Green juice changed Carly de Castro’s life. Formerly an entertainment publicist in New York City, de Castro turned to green juice to transform her own health. When her mother became gravely sick, de Castro uprooted and moved to Los Angeles to care for her. She and her childhood friends noticed the lack of convenient healthy food in LA and started selling fresh pressed juices. They rented kitchen space from a cupcake shop to juice at nights while de Castro sold the juice herself during the day. Nowadays, the busy working mom of three oversees a company with several locations nationwide and a new membership program that offers $5 juices for members as part of her goal to sell green juice at an affordable price.
Brit + Co: What’s your morning routine?
Carly de Castro: I wake up around 6am, take a couple of deep breaths, make myself water with lemon, apple cider vinegar, and cayenne, and have a bottle of our Pressed Juicery Celery Juice to soothe my digestive tract. Then it’s time for us to get our three kids fed (they love drinking our Pressed Strawberry Almond juice in the morning!), dressed, and ready for the day. After my husband takes my son to school, I head to the garage to work out while my daughters run wild. It’s total chaos, but it gets the job done. If I don’t work out in the morning, it will never happen. I take my three-year-old to nursery school by 9am, and after that, I’m ready to sift through emails and head to the office or various meetings and appointments. I try to dedicate the mornings purely to being present for my family and myself so that I can take on the day feeling settled.
B+C: What inspired you to start your company?
CDC: I was working as an entertainment publicist in New York City and fell into unhealthy habits that negatively impacted my physical and emotional well-being. I realized I needed to take better care of myself, so I started drinking green juice and began feeling better and had a clear mind and more energy. As a result, I began researching nutrition and wellness and ultimately enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I then moved back to Los Angeles when my mom became sick, and I went back home to help care for her. I realized the importance of getting proper nutrients for my mom during her illness and was also surprised by the lack of convenient healthy foods that existed in the marketplace. My mom sadly lost her battle, but I was left wanting to do something that not only made me feel good but made others feel good as well.
Two of my childhood friends, Hayden Slater and Hedi Gores, had also been positively impacted by living a healthier lifestyle, and green juice was truly a catalyst in this journey for all of us. In 2010, we came together and founded Pressed Juicery out of a tiny space in Brentwood without a real plan and no prior business experience. We juiced overnight in a kitchen space rented from a cupcake shop, and I worked the shop during the day. It was all hands on board and an amazing learning experience.
Eight years later, we have a national footprint and the largest juice facility in North America. We have made it our mission to ensure healthy food is more accessible to all people, so we created a membership program, which brings all juices to $5 per bottle. I am very proud of that!
B+C: How do you challenge yourself as an entrepreneur?
CDC: The process of creating a company that lives up to our own standards of integrity while also being accessible to millions of people is our greatest challenge and our greatest reward. We are constantly thinking of ways to make our products better, more efficient, more affordable, more innovative, and more delicious. We are constantly listening to our consumers and are open to their feedback so we can find ways to integrate their needs into Pressed Juicery. The reward is being able to help people make better choices for themselves and their families and watching their lives be enriched by our products.
B+C: Tell us about how your family and friends help support your business.
CDC: I found out I was expecting my son a few months after we started Pressed. In the early days, having the support of my business partners when I needed to be at home with my family and the support of my family when I needed to be focused on work was the only way founding a business has worked for me. My husband has always cared about our mission and knows how important the company is to me — and what a challenge it is to juggle it all. I recently had my third baby, and while my role at Pressed has evolved, I still get to stay close to projects that I’m passionate about. There is never going to be a perfect balance, and I appreciate so much that I can step in and out of my roles to be a better person within the workplace and within my personal life.
B+C: What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
CDC: My mom always gave me the best advice. She taught me how to meditate and come back to my quiet place, and she always emphasized not being too hard on myself. She would say, “You must surrender, drop the ego, and learn to let go of what you can’t control.”
I hear her voice every day saying this to me. I don’t use her advice as a cop-out, but more it helps me to look inward and think, how can I hold myself accountable? What do I have power to change in this situation? It keeps me grounded in a world where everything around me moves a mile a minute. Letting go and having acceptance don’t mean we aren’t reaching for incredible things; it just allows for a calmer, less reactive state.
B+C: What do you love about your job?
CDC: I love that we have created a company with products that improve people’s lives in a simple, attainable way. I love that our customer can be any person, from any walk of life, age, gender, and that everyone gets the chance to be inspired to make healthier choices. Our mission is to make high nutrition accessible to all people.
The health and wellness industry can be seen as elitist and unattainable at times, so we recently launched a membership program that brings all juices to $5 per bottle. I’m so proud of the team for further bringing our mission to life with this program.
B+C: Name a female hero who you think should get a shout-out.
CDC: My female heroes are all single working mothers. My mom was a single working mom, and she dedicated her life to helping others and raising a family at the same time. Sometimes I make it to the end of the day and can’t even believe I got there. I can’t imagine that feeling without a partner, or in a job where I wasn’t able to dictate my own schedule or make time for self-care. Those women truly are my heroes and inspire me in such a big way.
B+C: If you could tell aspiring creative women anything, what would it be?
CDC: I would say to find mentors and reach out to them. It brings me so much joy to answer questions and help people who want to start businesses and listen to their stories. I’m still learning too, and I find myself learning a lot from so many of the people who have come to me for advice. So many of these conversations have led to connections and other jobs. Most of the time people care and are really happy to support other entrepreneurs.
What’s your dream career? Tweet us @BritandCo to let us know, and we could feature it in the next column!
(Photos via Pressed Juicery)