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Starting my own raw, local, organic juice business  RSS feed

 
John Brock
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Hi there,

I am posting here in hopes anyone may take their time to offer me any valuable comments, insight and/or criticism.

To begin, I am in Toronto, Canada; and I am only 17 (well, 16 until July 25). Though, for the most-part, that is irrelevant. I have come up, and almost completed my business plan; which involves providing organic / biodynamic, raw juices, freshly juiced in front of the customer at farmer's markets; with a large emphasis on local (which is difficult due to the climate). There is no other vendor offering this service at any market I have worked at. Currently, in the city I work gardening, dog-walking, landscaping, at farmer's markets, and other odd jobs. I also work and have worked on various organic and biodynamic farms --- which is my dream; to have some land and be an organic, permaculture farmer. Anyways, in the meantime, as I pull through in my fulltime work of many part time jobs, and living in a grouphome, I have recently decided I would like to take the opportunity and potential I see, while offering valuable services and goods to people of raw, organic juices, smoothies (and I eventually hope to offer chocolate, sorbets, and other raw organic foods). As I continue my venture of starting this business, learning more about regulations and so on I realize the true difficulty in running a real business. To begin, I have already named myself, "Rawganics", bought the domain , "rawganics.ca" (which I was very surprised was not used), and plan to trademark Local Rawganics in the future when/if I grow. I plan to purchase the Omega BMJ390 juicer and when I can afford to, I will purchase one specifically for the leafy greens & grasses. At the beginning, I am planning to ask my friends (farmers & vendors) at one of the largest markets in Toronto, whether I can share their table, attracting customers to their stand & offering free samples as well as juices in the beginning until I build clientele and having a place to build market and sell my products. I am also planning to set up at free, small markets in Toronto, and also offer hand outs on the health benefits and "why juice?", etc.

Anyways, knowing you are all somewhat in this industry, and also very clearly have a lot of integrity, honesty, etc. I was wondering if you would be open to offering any advice, tips, etc. on anything from how to attract great and ideal customers (customers like those who come to you).

Anyways, in hopes you will read this message and not discard it due to its length and somewhat irrelavance to you, I will stop here. If you are interested in helping in any way possible, please feel free to message me back. I am searching anywhere at this point, to build positive relationships with people, and especially as I try to build and grow this business, in this area.

Please share any recommendations, critisms or anything. All is very much appreciated.

Thanks for your time & all you do in supporting local, sustainable agriculture. It truly does mean a lot to me.

Jake

PS. If anyone has any ideas how to get straight to having a farm to make money off of that, please let me know !!
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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Hi Jake, I admire your entrepreneurship!

I have a question and a tip.

My question is, have you run the numbers? Have you figured out all your startup costs, the cost of your product to you, and what you will need to charge to make ends meet? This'd is important. Maybe you have already. I worked at our local food co-op for years and we made delicious raw juice. Delicious and nutritous, but wasteful of pulp/fiber and not a big money maker.

My advice is, make friends with as many farmers as you can. Maybe offer to help them with work in exchange for veggies. You may be able to get oddly shaped or "seconds" veggies for a great deal. It doesn't matter if the carrot has three legs if you're just going to juice it!
 
John Brock
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Matu Collins wrote:Hi Jake, I admire your entrepreneurship!

I have a question and a tip.

My question is, have you run the numbers? Have you figured out all your startup costs, the cost of your product to you, and what you will need to charge to make ends meet? This'd is important. Maybe you have already. I worked at our local food co-op for years and we made delicious raw juice. Delicious and nutritous, but wasteful of pulp/fiber and not a big money maker.

My advice is, name friends with as many farmers as you can. Maybe offer to help them with work in exchange for veggies. You may be able to get oddly shaped or "seconds" veggies for a great deal. It didn't matter if the carrot has three legs if you're just going to juice it!


Hi Matu, thanks for the response & support!

I haven't actually done any running of the numbers to be honest. Somthing to work on this weekend. I am great friends with a few organic / biodynamic farmers which I would like to sell my products at. I actually do help at the end of the market (I work for one) and go around helping everyone load back up the truck , etc. for some food . Either way I get discounts for working at the market and on farms. I could definetely offer the pulp to some farmers to use as compost come to think of it.

For sure though , I need to come up with costs. $200 juicer + cups, sample cups, signs, gloves, cash box, bags or box for produce, possible second juicer in the future for leafy greens. I havent put a number on those, but I think those are all my costs.

Of course then theres produce though. I was thinking of just putting my drinks at the same price as local health food store, or cheaper to start out.

What do you think of all of this ?

Would love to hear a response ! So glad I posted here !

Jake
 
wayne fajkus
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Other than any licenses you may need (I have no idea if required), I say skip the planning and running numbers and go do it. The worst thing that can happen is you get stuck with a $200 juicer (which you will use) and a little money lost. You will rebound if it fails.

The downside is low. The upside is high.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
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If you can get all free organic produce that would be amazing! That's a business model that will work. Juice takes a lot of pounds of produce. I don't mean to say that you should run the numbers to decide whether you should try your idea or not. I suggest it as a way to get your books in order ahead of time so you can figure out what to expect and lay out your capital accordingly.

Is there a power source at the farmers market? Extension cords are tricky and juicers use a lot of power. It would be so cool to have a bike powered juicer! I've heard of such a thing but have never seen one.

The pulp is a welcome animal food if you know someone who has pigs or chickens. Depending on the veggies it can also
 
John Brock
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Matu Collins wrote:If you can get all free organic produce that would be amazing! That's a business model that will work. Juice takes a lot of pounds of produce. I don't mean to say that you should run the numbers to decide whether you should try your idea or not. I suggest it as a way to get your books in order ahead of time so you can figure out what to expect and lay out your capital accordingly.

Is there a power source at the farmers market? Extension cords are tricky and juicers use a lot of power. It would be so cool to have a bike powered juicer! I've heard of such a thing but have never seen one.

The pulp is a welcome animal food if you know someone who has pigs or chickens. Depending on the veggies it can also



Well, to clarify, I get a few bags of leafy greens for free ... Nothing huge; though helpful for sure. Either way, I would get discounts. But, only at this ONE farmers market where I am friends with and work for the farmers.

I do totally agree, getting numbers is definitely a great idea. What about getting numbers after I bought the stuff, if you are recommending to move forward with the business ? Also, I can't know at all how much I will spend on greens as well as make.

In regards to the extension cord, that is something I forgot to mention as well. Most of the farmers markets, there is either no power outlet, or they would not be availble to me. Is there somthing you propose in regards to that ? Or know any cheap , simple products that could help ? That will cost a lot.

I will definitely talk to everyone on Saturday when I work, and offer the pulp in exchange for cheaper produce or somthing.

Thanks for your advice and I really look fwd to your response.

Jake
 
John Brock
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wayne fajkus wrote:Other than any licenses you may need (I have no idea if required), I say skip the planning and running numbers and go do it. The worst thing that can happen is you get stuck with a $200 juicer (which you will use) and a little money lost. You will rebound if it fails.

The downside is low. The upside is high.


Hey there.
So I did just spend $90 on a Food Handlers Certificate which I need. First day of the course is today, second one is next friday which then I must pass the exam.
I understand that, and I have put a lot of time and effort into the business... Though, I am only 17, money is not readily availble and is somewhat an issue so spending $1000 with no gain wouldn't be the greatest. Though, I did just start charging my gardening clients $12 vs $11, so overtime, I can keep gardening and making my money back until things work out with the business. Still though, a huge loss due to "Oh i didnt know I needed that" would not be very good.

Thanks though !

Let me know if you have anymore advice/suggestions. I do totally agree, if the only thing I "lost" was $200 for a juicer I can use. Thats nothing. There is a power generator that I would need to get which is the biggest thing; if you have any knowledge of that ?

Thanks
 
Max Tanner
Posts: 92
Location: Ontario North and South - right now, moving North Permanently soon. Timmins Cochrane areas
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Howdy Jake,,,
Get yourself to the Pickering flea market !

There is a thriving and I mean thriving juicer/shake maker there..
food court by doors...
Stand around, have one, yummy, watch and learn !!!

The market is online, google it.
In Bowmanville someone opened up a natural shake shop, it flopped due to high overhead. Flea Markets have people coming there already, so they get thirsty wandering around looking at things.
Two days a week, smaller overhead, inside and or outside.
Look also to the Ninja prep master pro, on sale at Canadian Tire sometimes for as little as $45 - I bought one.. it is a mans blender that one! Look at the pics, you will see why!
kijiji and craigslist all have juicers for sale all the times, sometimes they are free or next to free as well. I paid $5 for one, but the opening was so tiny, def not the way to go!

BBC program called the Edible Garden - youtube it.. one episode she set up in a Flea Market, they juiced apples using a homemade contraption. Using drill etc.. it failed, but.. failure is only a lesson and the next version would be better !! Watch it, watch all 12 in the series ... BBC it as well..

Some Farmers Markets out in Durham Region, different days, different locations. Small generators, with mufflers attached, running inside a sound barrier setup, using extension cords. Don't sweat it until you see the one in Pickering first, watch them inside, watch what they do, learn....

then... go on to other inside or outside stuff !!

Since I have been living off grid for 3 yrs now, when you have seen some other setups, then pm/email me and I will tell you how to go about setting up in an outdoor area with no electriciy. Been there done that before. In BC I used to go to Rodeos and other events, do photography and sell on site, so I can help you with some things to know so you do not make same mistakes I made.
ps.. skip the cash box... use the apron or fanny pouch... much simpler, on person... less chance of someone grabbing it and O so much cheaper as well, plus lightweight.

cheers Max
hope I helped out here!
 
Max Tanner
Posts: 92
Location: Ontario North and South - right now, moving North Permanently soon. Timmins Cochrane areas
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heck..
just thinking... If you are past the I want to stage..
I could loan you a Quick setup stall .. one person open/setup
loan you a small generator
loan you an extension cord as well.
could even loan you the Ninja Prep Master Pro (name from memory)
- not a juicer, but it says it makes blends, shakes and if you keep blending it, that it will turn into juice! (not sure though, never tried it)

why.. why not...
But... I need you to go to the Pickering Market first, road trip for learning and spend a lot of time watching and learning from the juicers there (now that sounds funny... hehe..)
then LOAN you the stuff, so you can give it a whirl to see if you like it..

do you need safe food handling course?
stainless utensils?
stainless counter top?
- I am not a food prep person, so not sure.. watch others to learn quickly..
cheers
 
wayne fajkus
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There's a guy that makes smoothies from bicycle power. He was on shark tank recently. The gimmick of the bicycle helps with sales.

Not sure how a juicer "juices". If it is something that spins and could be geared off a bike, that would alleviate the need for a generator as well as create interest
 
John Brock
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Hey Max,

I really appreciate your advice and helpful words. I'd love if you could PM me , and/or email me.

I am definetely past the "I want to.." stage. I am almost completed a logo, have all my supplies except cups, apron and water holder (for washing hands). I have my food handlers certificate, bought the juicer used from a store, bought a dehydrator and much more. I am thinking I will give handouts of benefits of juicing, "my story" (someone told me to promote the fact I am a passionate 17 year old),

To create a "permaculture idea" and because I was thinking I want to market my SKILLS, and juicing doesn't take much, if any skill at all. I will be making and selling vermicompost on the side! This way, I can use my skills to make and maintain vermicompost, make some money off of it, provide a great service/good, provide a good which personally I have not seen at any market, and I can even feed them my organic pulp after juicing !!

I have been to a good number of markets ( not in pickering ) and watched, took notes, etc. on all the raw food, juice, smoothie, etc. places. I have a lot of stuff I can do, market and more. Perhaps, if I have the stand, I have been volunteering for "PermacultureGTA", and others, I could offer to help make them money by selling their produce and promoting permaculture.

Anyways, in regards to my REAL goal, I want to live off-grid , homestead, farm, etc. I would love ALL of your advice, to talk to you and more..

Lastly, if you are actually open to lending me or renting out a generator that would be awesome! That is the only thing stopping me from going to other markets (no power). Not sure if you can help with this, but I did get a functional lawnmower battery (only) from someone, and I was wondering if there is anyway I can make my own generator !?

I also like your idea with the apron and thought of that myself, much easier in every way.

If there is anything i didnt mention / comment on please let me know. But in any case I would love to talk to you about homesteading, farming and all that, as that is my REAL passion and what I would truly love to pursue. I am hoping this business can help achieve that and provide a positive service to the community in the mean time.

I also just thought, I could have a fun little "Juice quiz" with a few questions and on the back, depending on the answers people can see what is recommended or somthing ...?

Anyways, I really want to pursue the vermicomposting, small little juicing business, sprouted nuts and nut butters and maybe even eventually even selling raw crackers and stuff...

What do you think ? Thanks !!
 
Max Tanner
Posts: 92
Location: Ontario North and South - right now, moving North Permanently soon. Timmins Cochrane areas
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Hi,
just saw you responded, I will PM you later today or tomorrow!
 
Sheri Menelli
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Hi,

2 things here. Someone in San Diego started delivering in the North coastal part of San Diego her juices. She charges $30 a week I believe for a gallon of green juice (not sure what all is in it). The first week is free and then it is $30 a week. I've heard she is doing VERY well!!!

Second, at the farmer's market here on Saturday there is a juice place. They make 3 kinds of juices. $27 for a gallon. $8 for a pint. $5 for a cup. Always a line. One other vendor told me they they do $3000 to $5000 each Saturday morning.

I think this will be a great business to be in. I wouldn't branch out into other things. Stick with the juices.

By the way, they are pulp and all so not extracted juice

Sheri
 
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