She spent two years working for independent fashion retailers who became ersatz mentors, teaching her more about small business than she says she ever would have learned in school.Several years later, she would repeat her decision, opting out of University at the last minute, using her student loan to start a business.
By then, I had a sense that I could keep going in the direction I was going, and just continue to grow. And the only way to have a healthy and successful business is to have a strong organized back of house. I recognized that having someone who could give me feedback and be the backbone of the business, that would be the key to my longevity.” Barry helped her write a business plan as she was preparing to seek funding.
So I didn't go to school, and I used my loan money to start Juice for Life. Ruth offered him a chunk of the business in exchange for being her partner.
Fresh ingredients and preservative-free recipes made for limited portability of their core product.
The partners moved from another platform to Shopify in 2016 to have more independence over managing their ecommerce juice sales.
"My industry was so early-days that it was hard to explain to a mainstream person why I was making certain choices.
I'd had so much resistance from everyone around me. It took a little bit of time for me and Barry to learn how to be good partners to each other.To build the business that I have takes time.” When Ruth launched a business in the 90s, it was ahead of its time, and timing ended up being a huge factor in her success. Ramping into the millennium, plant based diets started to catch on, and inspire a rash of new vegetarian, vegan, and juice businesses trying to catch up with the trend.Before the surge of interest, growing her business and winning over new customers relied on a soft approach.Juice for Life, as it was called at its outset, was a one-woman outfit, a travelling juice bar that would pop up at music festivals, markets, and health conferences. And that was how I started my business.” In 1992, the business took the leap from mobile to stationary, with a permanent stall set up in the trendy and bustling Queen West Market. “I'd been doing my own books, but they were a mess."I had applied for an OSAP student loan—it was about ,000. Within very little time, she realized she was already outgrowing the space. I was trying to keep it together, but I started to realize I was in the weeds.“That's why I'm sitting in LA right now, on my porch,” she says, “and the business is running without me.” What’s the secret to getting to this place?Sticking with it, she tells me, because success doesn’t happen overnight. I don't look back and wish I had done anything differently because I wouldn't be here today.We started off with baby steps, and then, as the business grew and as our confidence in each other grew, it's become an amazing partnership.It’s probably the best thing I ever did.” Together, they opened the brand’s second location.Everything that I did along the way, even the mistakes that I made, brought me to where I am today.Even in the face of doubt, even in the face of resistance from people around you, if you really believe in what you're doing, and you have a passion for it, it's really about sticking with it and seeing it through.