In our new series, we talk to rad female entrepreneurs who are following their life and business dreams. Last month, we sat down with the women behind Juice Witches to taste some of their incredible juices and talk about how they run their business.
When I first discovered Juice Witches, I immediately texted Lily: I’ve found our first feature! Lily and I had been talking about wanting to produce a column on female entrepreneurs and this felt like a sign. I love juice and Lily loves witches. Kismet.
Luckily for us (and for those of you in NYC!) Juice Witches is more than just a sweet name. Founders Mariola Costa and Diana Scolari are passionate advocates for holistic wellness and female empowerment. Juice Witches is a true labor of love, inspired by Mariola and Diana’s joy for plant-based nutrition.
The women, who became fast friends at the restaurant where Mariola worked, discovered this joy during their first cleanse four years ago. “We were really into it,” Mariola says. “It was a huge move toward healthier living… from then on, we were basically obsessed with juice.” The profound change they felt in their health prompted them to research and experiment with recipes. They used their new obsession to concoct healing juices that tasted good. Both women loved that cleansing provided a period of self-reflection. “It puts a parenthesis on your life,” Diana says. Mariola agrees. “You’re focusing on yourself, on your body. And the benefits are huge.”
When Diana’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, Diana dove into experimenting with juices that would help mitigate the effects of harsh chemo treatment. After her chemo treatments, Diana’s mother would have juice, and it would help ease the recovery process. “So we thought, hmm, maybe something is there.” They started raving to all of their friends, and the business was soon born.
Juice Witches was born from a desire to make nutritious juices available to all kinds of customers. “There’s so many ways that it can be a part of someone’s life,” Mariola says. “It should be accessible to everyone.” It’s not so important whether you choose to cleanse, but rather that you find a way to to truly enjoy what nourishes you. As well as easing recovery or detoxifying the body during cleanses, drinking juice is also highly preventative for later health problems.
The name alludes to the history of witches preparing potions to create something beautiful. “We’re always making potions, mixing formulas and adding ingredients, while we’re making juices. That’s what we do.” The two also share a reverence for the mystical. “We believe in many things that happen with the moon and the sea and the sun…” Diana says. The name is playful, and that’s how they want their brand to be. “We don’t want to preach to anyone, or say that juicing is the only way and you shouldn’t eat solid foods at all. This is more about bringing juicing into whatever lifestyle you have.”
Both women transitioned from their previous jobs to run Juice Witches full-time. (Mariola was a freelance designer--she designed the Witches’ fun logo). Although running their own business requires immense work and dedication, the experience is deeply rewarding. “It’s empowering to be able to make decisions in the company that go along with your moral lines, with what you want for the world and for people. Even the small things, like how we use glass instead of plastic for the bottles, because we don’t want to be as harmful to the environment,” says Mariola. They use biodegradable trash bags and compost their pulp. It’s the ability to make these decisions, and to create a welcoming and warm work environment, that the women so enjoy about running their own company. “If you are going to stress so much,” Diana emphasizes, “why do it for someone else when you can do it for yourself?”
Of course, the job is actually more than full-time. “Running your own business is a 24-7 thing,” Diana says. The women are on call nonstop to problem-solve, and this is difficult to balance with other areas of their lives. Diana gave birth to her daughter a year ago, at the same time she was giving birth to the business. “If I don’t have a nanny, I still have to come in to work, and bring my baby with me!” she says.
Even on hard days, they’re happy about what they do. “Yeah, we get up at 4:30, but we do it for ourselves, for each other, for our family. And that is its own motivation.” This so beautifully sums up why going into business for yourself can be worth the risk. “There are problems,” Diana says, “but we’re the ones making the solutions.”
What’s next for the Juice Witches? They would love to make this healthy lifestyle accessible to children, showing kids, as Mariola says, “what orange juice actually tastes like, where carrot juice actually comes from; it doesn’t come from a bottle.” They also want to expand to South America, where both women are from (Diana’s from Paraguay and Mariola from Bolivia). “Mariola’s married to a Colombian guy, so we always say, next step: Colombia!” The women laugh.
For more information, and to try their delicious juice, follow them on Instagram and Facebook. We can think of no better way to kick off the new year than with some time for self-care courtesy of the Juice Witches!