Exactly five years ago Annie Lawless was having a hard time getting out of bed. Lawless was in law school and less than happy. Although she was doing great in all of her classes, she found herself in a deep state of depression she had never experienced before. She knew something had to change. With no definitive plans she quit school.
Lawless knew she needed to be inspired, instead of tired, by something. She turned to what she loved – nutrition.
Diagnosed with Celiac as a child she studied nutrition as a necessity for her #health. She learned how to consume the most nutrients by juicing, specifically through a cold press juicer. Other juicers create heat during the process reducing the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. She has been experimenting with juicing ever since.
Her company Suja, meaning long, beautiful life, embodies the promise that flows from the cold-pressured beverages it delivers in each and every bottle. Suja was founded by four diverse San Diegans from different walks of life that came together in the most unexpected of circumstances to form what is now the fastest growing organic, cold-pressured and Non-GMO beverage company in the U.S.. Suja’s story all began from a shared dream to help people everywhere transform their lives through conscious nutrition.
Co-Founder #Annie Lawless had been juicing her entire life and from a young age had been aware that what you put in your body affects how you look and more importantly, how you feel. Her friend Eric Ethans had a background as a raw food chef and spent his entire life researching and pairing ingredients to create healthy, delicious meals. The two met in San Diego and bonded over their mutual love of delivering convenient nutrition through foods and beverages that also tasted good. They were frustrated by the lack of pure, organic products on grocery store shelves and decided to create their own juices at home.
Take one small step at a time. Surrender to the Universe. Who knows, you may just find yourself running a $300M #business too.
Lawless discovered another friend, Eric Ethans, shared her passion for fresh, raw, and organic juice. They started to make creative juices concoctions out of their homes buying all of the produce from natural grocery markets at full retail price. They sold the juice to their friends in the yoga community. She even hand-delivered the juices with her two-door coupe around town.
Demand grew quickly! A husband of one of Lawless’ and Ethans’ customers, James Brennan, just happened to be a successful businessman. Brennan saw the potential and asked to be involved. Originally skeptical of receiving help, Lawless and Ethans soon realized they could use Brennan’s experience when they were no longer able to meet customer demand. Brennan brought in NIKA water’s founder and CEO, Jeff Church to come on board and Suja was born.
Shelf life was critical to bringing the Suja vision of organic and non-GMO juice for the masses. The original process using a Cold Press Juicer only had a shelf life of three days making national distribution an obstacle.
It would have been easy for Suja to use other technologies and compromise the health benefits. Instead they set their hearts and minds to finding a solution that aligned with their mission and values. Suja found they could use High Pressure Processing (HPP), which essentially crushes out the possibility of bacteria contaminating the juice.
HPP extended shelf life to over thirty days while maintaining all the health benefits of a Cold Press Juicer making national distribution possible.
In September of 2012, just one year after inception, Suja launched in Whole Foods.
They are now in over 10,000 outlets with annual revenues estimated at $80-90M and growing quickly. This August, Lawless and her co-founders sold 30% of their company to Coca Cola for $90M and 20% to Goldman Sachs for $60M valuing the company at $300M. The partnership with Coca Cola will give Suja supplies at lower costs, a new production facility, and a much larger distribution channel.
All this and Lawless is not even thirty. Wise beyond her years, her philosophies in life are something we can all learn from. Here are a few for your benefit. There are even more on her inspiring blog, BLAWNDE, and if Annie Lawless’ food diary doesn’t inspire every person on the planet to eat healthy, then I don’t know what will.
She a total juice master; her & her partner, Eric, started Suja Juice out of their houses a few years ago & it’s BLOWN up. Lately US Weekly, Vogue, & InStyle have been dying over Suja.
If you want a little more background on this bombshell, click here.