As I sit here on the eve of International Women’s Day, I wonder to myself which angle to write the article from. Shall I give you the story of how and where we began, shall I tell you how bold and brave our women employees are, shall I lean towards the story that Prodjuice was founded by women and has been for the most part run by women for its lifespan so far… I don’t see myself as a fundamental feminist but at this point in time I feel a shift in the air, times are a changing and the feminine is surely rising.
So I’ll give you a little snippet of my story so far….
Prodjuice began as I was at home nursing a new baby, used to being constantly busy and always working at something, I found my idle time in those early months very challenging. As I look back at it now in retrospect I can see it from an entirely different perspective. I was young, broken by a hideous relationship, faced with the huge task of becoming a single (and first time) Mum and if I’m honest with myself, I’d lost my way completely. In those early days, whatever was left of my identity felt like it had slipped right away, I felt like nothing but a shadow of my former self stuck in a deep, dark hole.
So I did what any overachieving young woman who won’t let the world crush her would do, I got busy. I got busy thinking of every damn business idea I could, until I finally settled on cold pressed juice. At the time it was a fresh new buzz word and the U.S. had caught the bug bad. My theory was, if Starbucks was throwing millions at it, it must be worth investing in. So then I pitched the idea to my Mum, ’cause after all – I was a brand new single Mum and in absolutely no financial or physical position to start a business alone. To my surprise she backed me from the get go (this was certainly not the first idea I had put to her) and we were off.
Neither of us had ever even tasted a cold pressed juice before so we promptly ordered the top of the line domestic juicer online and eagerly awaited its arrival. In the mean time I spent hours, days, weeks searching for that iconic Prodjuice bottle all over the world – I knew if I was going to do this the brand had to be different to anything else on the market at the time. And the name, the name came to me clear as day during one of my early meditations (I had just learnt the art of Vedic meditation in the hopes of relieving some of the deep dark stress, anxiety & sadness I was going through), and so it stuck – Prodjuice.
I met with our beautiful designer, who is still one of the most talented women on the Prodjuice team today and we set to work creating the initial look for a juice brand that would be unlike any other on the market at the time.
Months passed and flavours were finalised as I tested and tested again in the tiny derelict kitchen in the little apartment I was renting. Meanwhile Mum was sorting out all the fun stuff like ABNs and business name registrations. Setting up companies and convincing the bank to give us a measly loan to get started.
After that there’s much more to the story of course, but to make it brief we began making juice and it was well received, everyone loved it. But building the business up was an absolute slog. There were days I didn’t think we’d make it, there were days we were totally disillusioned and there were also the days we were on top of the world as things began to grow and we could start to see the fruits of our labour.
It was utterly exhausting – it took a huge toll not only on my health (ironic I know for someone who preaches health on a daily basis). I became bitterly run down and was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue and a very unwell liver. As the long, hard, sometimes very stressful days passed I wondered what this was all for, should I bail out now to save my sanity & my health? ” I couldn’t possibly” I would say to myself, “what would people think of me?” “But I’d lose all that money…” the self chatter was unbearable, and so we went on.
Years passed and Prodjuice grew and grew, as we hired more staff I was able to step back and relinquish a lot of my duties and begin to live a much more stress free life. I also dove deeper into the practice of meditation and philosophical study – it was time to start filling my cup back up. Then came the opportunity to make the move to Byron Bay – somewhere very dear to my heart and a place I always knew I would return to, with my daughter. By this time, I was lucky enough to have a new partner by my side, making life a little easier, and the load lightened yet again. Life here has felt a lot more fulfilling and there has been much more time for me to sit and consider this whole story (though you’ve only had a very brief version) and how I actually ended up here – at times it felt like I was hurtling along on a freight train with no brakes, unable to stop…but finally I have found the brakes and have learnt when and how to use them. There are still periods of fast downhill speed as well as slow chugging along plateaus but we’re in control…and you know what, once you stop taking it all so seriously it becomes a bit of a game, it’s kinda’ fun.
And so I write this to you (or maybe, really to myself) on International Women’s Day, to let anyone out there who is feeling trapped, exhausted, crushed or sad know that there is only one way up and you can and will get there if you keep looking forward. We all make our own way, each and every way has huge compromises (mine had some of the biggest!) and there is no perfect route, we must wander our way through this as strong, intelligent, wise women setting powerful examples for the little people who learn from us so intently, surrounding ourselves by equally wonderful and inspiring men and women. For there is no greater support & inspiration in this life than those close by.
Prodjuice would not be here if it weren’t for all the incredible women who have and still do work with us today. We currently have a team of a dozen women and four men. The men are equally as invaluable to us, but for some reason this company founded by two women has always attracted very strong, intelligent inspiring female staff – as well as men who respect and support all the girls along the way. So today I would like to say thank you to all our fabulous ladies – continue as you are, wise beyond words, beautiful beyond measure and ever so precious in this world.