JUICE JAM: INTERVIEW WITH KIEL POLLITT
You all know I love my juices (mainly because it’s one of the only healthy choices I make each day) but with a new juice shop popping up every block, it’s hard to find a place that stands out from a product and business standpoint. Since I’m in the branding industry, I’ve become quite picky about what businesses I choose to align myself with personally or professionally, so when I came across L.A. Juice it was love at first sight! Not only is their Rose Water one of the best things I’ve ever tasted but when I started reading more in depth about the brand and the unique juicing process, I knew I needed to tap into the mind of the branding genius behind the operation.
Kiel Pollitt, L.A. Juice’s founder (a.k.a. the branding genius I was referring to), has more than nine years of experience working in the holistic health world and holds a certification from The Institute For Integrative Nutrition, a Holistic Health School based in NYC. I guess it’s safe to say he knows his stuff!
Keeping reading for more about Kiel, L.A Juice, and what it takes to stand out in the business of juice!
Honestly Unfiltered: How did you come into owning your own juice shop?
Kiel Pollitt: I originally worked for another juice company and learned so much about the business from experience. After I attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC and became certified in holistic dietary theory, I was encouraged by the program to be an entrepreneur. Next with the help of family I was able to launch our first store on Melrose in West Hollywood.
HU: How has your background in holistic health and nutrition helped you shape L.A. Juice?
KP: My life revolves around living well and only putting the best into my own personal body. I truly believe that food is medicine and can heal your body from the most debilitating illness. I envisioned L.A. Juice to be a place that not only provided customers with a high quality nutrient packed product but one that also tastes good! I believe my background has helped me formulate unique blends that have a different spectrum of nutrients that a generic juice company may not sell.
HU: What sets L.A. Juice apart from other juice shops?
KP: We are different from many shops in that we are a small operation, that gives us the ability to have a high quality product that is consistently good. Moreover, we offer a recycling program that customers can return their bottles for a one dollar credit towards their next purchase. This allows us to keep the earth happy by recycling and the customers enjoy receiving the discount. We source all local organic California produce that you can taste in every sip.
HU: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a business owner that you wish you would have known before starting your own company?
KP: So many things to list actually! I think every business has their own unique set of obstacles, but I’d say my biggest lesson learned thus far was having a well thought out business plan is essential rather than doing it freestyle.
HU: What was your biggest fear going into business for yourself?
KP: Going into business for yourself is always scary. You fear you might fail, you could lose everything and have to start from nothing. I consider myself to be a spiritual person and I do believe everything always does work out even in the worst of times.
HU: What’s been the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur?
KP: I love watching something that was created from scratch and watch it come to life. Choosing everything from the bottles to the store design is exciting and rewarding on so many levels. Hearing from customers who love your product always gives you such a sense of pride. Especially knowing you are selling them something that is good for them – that feels extra amazing!
HU: What do you think is one of the biggest mistakes other entrepreneurs have made in the early stages of their business that cause the brand to fail?
KP: I think it takes a team to make a business successful. You have to have the person that has the big picture, the person great with numbers, the creative expertise and awesome employees who are passionate about their job who are representing your company. A great location is essential too. I can’t say it’s one of these factors over the other, but they all are key factors in having a successful brand.
HU: What do you think has been your number 1 key to success?
KP: I think having a great team as I stated above has helped us go forward into the future. Offering something different from our competition , like unique ingredients or beautiful packaging, also helps to set us apart. In addition, I believe that you can never compare your business to anyone else. Your experience is unique and your business should always be a reflection of you and your personal beliefs.
HU: What does a typical day look like for you?
KP: I have a French Bulldog named Max he’s 1.5 years old. He’s my best buddy! We usually start the day off with a walk which is perfect for both of us to get the day started. I drink a green juice from the shop usually Melrose Greens or Alex’s Mix. I hop on the computer and check emails and depending on the day, it usually requires a lot of running around Los Angeles. Picking things up, dropping things off. I spend a lot of time in my car to be honest. L.A. is known for traffic and I certainly spend a lot of time in it! I usually pop by the shop once or twice a day. Everyday is different so it just depends on what might be happening.
When I’m not running around, I love a great hike. L.A. is great for it, so I try to go out and take advantage of that if time permits. I also like to eat, and healthy food for that matter. Some of my favorite spots for lunch or dinner are Inaka, Café Gratitude, M Café and Real Food Daily. To wrap up my day, I try to take an Epsom salt bath – I sleep so well if I take one at night. The magnesium in the salt is a natural relaxant and puts me in the perfect space to go to bed.
HU: A work life balance is something that everyone seems to struggle with these days. What do you do to make sure you don’t overwork yourself?
KP: I’ve always been pretty good at taking personal time to relax whether it’s hiking, doing some reflexology or infrared sauna. Wellness has to be number one because without great health it’s not possible to work hard and do your best.
HU: What’s next for you and L.A. Juice?
KP: We opened a location in Tokyo, Japan last April and it’s going really well over there. We will hopefully work to expand locally in Los Angeles this year. I’d really like to be able to travel this year and see more of the world. I love to travel, I think its’ really great for being inspired on many different levels including work.
MORE WITH KIEL POLLITT: Favorite juice on the menu? I love Alex’s Mix its Apple, Grapefruit and Kale. Alex is our awesome Juice Chef. Most popular juice? Vero Greens, it’s a classic green juice with apple and ginger. Favorite thing about living in LA? I love the weather, sunny warm and a beautiful landscape of mountains and the sea. I know you write monthly horoscopes. What’s your sign? Pisces Most used app on your phone? I use an astrology app called Moon Phase it tells me the sign and degree the moon at anytime of day. Coffee or tea? Green Tea for sure! Song that’s currently on repeat on your playlist? Bryan Adams: All for love. Favorite weekend getaway spot? I love Laguna Beach Favorite food? Japanese, Macrobiotic, anything fish and veggies.