Filling a Pressing Niche in the Market

Alex Auger photograph by Michael Tribe
Alex Auger photographed by Michael Tribe ‘Create All Media’

22 year old Alex Auger has done what all entrepreneurs aim to do – found a business niche and filled it.  She has launched her first business ‘The Juice Executive Ltd’ and there is no holding her back.  Alex is a success already.

I met Alex 7 weeks after she incorporated her business, by that time she had organised and launched the website, lined up business and has big plans for the year ahead.  The buzz about Alex’s company is so loud you need earplugs.  ‘The Juice Executive Ltd’ has had an impressive start and yet the company is simply Alex on her own, building a brand that has success stamped all over it.

Alex is bright eyed and eager to talk about her new business. With a natural aptitude for figures and a solid business plan, she easily fits into the role of business woman and entrepreneur.

Alex Auger photograph by Michael Tribe
Alex Auger photographed by Michael Tribe ‘Create All Media’

Alex saw a niche in the market for cold pressed juices after trying them when travelling in Indonesia, where everyone was paying twice as much to buy green juices even though several competing cafes were selling juice at half the price.  Alex also bought cold pressed juices when she worked in London.

Alex wanted healthy juices for her lunch and paid premium London prices; “I searched out healthy food and drink and realised back here [Bearsted/Maidstone] there isn’t really anything the same, especially for the workplace.  If you drink a green juice at work you feel great!” The cold pressed raw juices are 100% natural with no added ingredients and have provided Alex with the niche in the market she wanted.  She decided to provide them for those outside of London, using local produce and basing her company locally too.  In doing so she is delivering the same high end products that the London market buys, but without London price tag.

So far Alex’s cold pressed vegetable and fruit juices have people talking and lining up to try them but behind the seemingly spontaneous momentum of the company lies a lot of hard work with 18 hour working days – but it is paying off.  ‘Juice Executive Ltd’ provides cold pressed juices for the work place bought through subscription or for one off events and occasions and although aimed at businesses, Alex is also looking into the idea of supplying juices for the individual as she has had a lot of interest in this.

I met Alex at her parents’ home in Bearsted, where the company is based until October. Alex eagerly offered me a cold pressed juice to try.  The combination of carrot, ginger and apple looked fantastic and vibrant (top tip – Alex informs me the bright, natural colour of the juice is due to her top, tailing and peeling the veg and fruit before they are juiced so the colour is not distorted) and it tasted amazing – as you would hope.

After an hour in her company, it was clear to me Alex is a highly motivated and driven business women.  She outlined her 5 year business plan to me, reeling it off verbatim from memory with a determination which told me she would probably achieve this in three years instead of five: “The plan is really to have a local business model. It’s a Kent business and not aimed at supermarkets.  We have a base in Kent, want one in Essex, where independent business is booming, and another in Surrey – partly due to the interest in health food already shown there with ‘Hazelmere Foods’ based in Surrey.”

In the next 6 months Alex has big plans for the company and brand, in October she is moving location to Lordswood Industrial Estate where ‘The Juice Executive Ltd’ will have a 2,000sqft unit to house the distribution centre and factory.  The centre will start at a distribution rate of 200 bottles per day with the capacity to produce up to 1000 bottles per day depending on demand.  With this move comes responsibility and staff.

The end product - photograph taken by Michael Tribe
Photograph by Michael Tribe ‘Create All Media’

“I’m creating two jobs in October this year and hopefully taking on one apprentice which KCC has been helpful with. There will be two people working in the factory and one distributer” Alex tells me.  She isn’t stopping there: “We will have a branded, refrigerated van for deliveries and aim to give my repeat clients a branded refrigerator for their offices to keep the juices in.”

”Alex is keen to get the ball rolling as soon as possible but all this does come at a price: “In the first year so far I have put in thousands of pounds of my own money, my parents have a 20% share in the business and I will have a loan up to £100,000.  It’s been a £10,000 start-up cost so far, business costs will be between £100,000 – £200,000 pa, dependent on production levels” It is refreshing to hear someone being so open about their projections and the big figures don’t seem to faze Alex.  She believes in her company and products 100%.”

So what has made Alex an entrepreneur and business woman? It seems to be something Alex was drawn to.  Her degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Exeter will come in handy in business and she told me she always knew she wanted to work with food: “My background is in food and catering as I worked at the Tudor Park from 16 until 17 and then became a catering assistant.  Throughout Uni I worked at the White Horse in Bearsted which is where I realised I wanted to work with food. I worked at Strada as a waitress which was great for gaining all my food hygiene training. When I left Uni I planned to go to a Paris cookery school but because it cost so much I thought I would save some money and work in London.”  She turned away from the food industry for reasons other than money for cookery school. On her website Alex explains: “What put me off was the realization that many successful food businesses were actually creating food and drinks which were largely nutritionally void, being full of fat, sugar, artificial ingredients and preservatives. The juice executive was founded with a back to basics ethos – a highly nutritious and delicious product, with first class service attached.”

Alex Auger photograph taken by Michael Tribe
Alex Auger photographed by Michael Tribe ‘Create All Media’

The last few months have been a whirlwind for Alex and she is a new kid on the block in business: “It’s been a steep learning curve; it’s quite lonely as very few of my peers are in business.  What I like is meeting local businesses – I’ve really enjoy that and it’s been good working with Kent  Foundation too.  It’s not usual for someone so young to be in business and I can only do it as I saved money and I’ve got the confidence.” To save money where she can Alex wears many different business hats from being ‘chief juicer’ through to designing the bottle labels herself in Photoshop: “You have to be multifunctional!” Alex smiles.

So what does it take to be in business? A lot of hard work!  There doesn’t seem to be a day of rest for Alex and she is taking opportunities when she can, especially with marketing, ensuring she uses social media to the full and meeting as many businesses as possible to reach her target markets – some of which she was surprised to find: “It’s not just office businesses who are interested, I’m talking to hospices, nurseries and schools too.”

So, why the buzz about cold pressed juices? I hadn’t a clue what the difference between everyday juicing and cold pressed juices was but Alex enlightened me: “Cold pressed juicing is a completely different technique.  It’s a juicer that uses mastication to grind the fruit and vegetables into a pulp then sieve the pulp through cloth bags and finally hydraulically press the pulp to get all the juice out – leaving only the fibres behind.” To me this simply sounds like the King of all juicers.

The benefits of cold pressed juices is also made clear on Alex’s website: “Our juices are designed to supercharge your nutrient intake – they’re packed with pure micronutrients, vitamins and enzymes. We recommend swapping coffee and muffins in a meeting for a selection of our juices, we bet you’ll notice the difference it makes!” Alex recommended trying their ‘Virgin Bloody Mary’ “it’s good for hangovers and getting rid of that Monday morning feeling!” Alex assured me.

Alex is looking into local farm produce, at the moment she sources from a variety of places including a farm in West Malling and a local wholesaler and spends a lot of her time on farms: “I’d like to grow my own but you have to have a vast quantity – I had 60 kilos of vegetables delivered last week” Alex admits.   The company is as green as possible with waste being put in the hot composter, the use of reusable cool boxes and second generation 100% recyclable P.E.T juice bottles.  The eco-friendly side of the business is important to Alex.

Alex comes across as a flexible and dynamic business women and I asked her where she got her flair for business from: “I grew up with my Dad being successful in business and my parents have been very supportive…in fact my Mum is really into nutrition which fits in with what I am doing now” Alex is lost in thought for a few seconds before adding, “it’s in my nature to work hard, I enjoy it!”

Photograph taken by Michael Tribe
Photograph by Michael Tribe ‘Create All Media’

Website: http://www.thejuiceexecutive.co.uk/

Linked In: The Juice Executive Ltd

Tel : 078466 48415
email: info@juiceexec.co.uk

Twitter: @juiceexecutive

Instagram: The Juice Executive

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