So what came next?
We brought over two tiny machines from the US, started mixing flavours, designed a logo and opened our first shop in Old Street tube station – selling out of a branded vintage bathtub on wheels I picked up on Ebay for £60. We took inspiration from gas stations in the US and put the drinks on ice. It made even an ordinary can of Sprite look enticing in the States and did the same for our juices – and anything to make it more fun or easy for a customer to come up and engage with us. It was a hectic time, but people were buying the product. There wasn’t a lot of sleep between keeping up the production and running the stall, but we felt it proved the demand.
Talk to us about cash flow… How did you get the money together to start?
Georgie and I both had some money from savings and some from parents, who have been amazingly supportive all the way through. We had enough to open our first store, but not enough to choose the right location. We actually made the terrible error of opening in an off-pitch site, which made retail so hard. We just didn’t have the money to open something in a great site given the deposit and build requirements, so footfall became a real issue. We were also so consumed with building the place and making it right that we forgot to broadcast that we were opening. It’s shameful when I think back, but we learnt some core lessons early..
Tell us about your first product…
We had been in LA and Georgie knew this guy named David who started a place called the Beverly Hills Juice Bar around 1976. He found it amusing that the rest of the world had finally cottoned on to the fact that cold-pressed vegetable juices and smoothies are insanely good for you and delicious. We spent days studying under him and learned the art of juice making. Because we knew that green juices were at the leading edge, we developed our Lean Green and Easy Green juices first, then our Hot Green juice with jalapeño.