For many of us, inspiration for that great business idea that strikes on a Friday night is forgotten once the routine of a new week sets in. Tejomay Rastogi’s story is a little different. The 35-year-old health freak decided to bottle Naanima’s life hacks and sell it to weary Mumbaikars looking for an energy and wellness boost. The idea came to her one Friday in April 2014 and by Monday, she had put in her papers at work and Juicifix was born.
Thanks to that bold move, several people across the bustling metropolis awake to the colourful, liquidy goodness of cold-pressed juices delivered to their doorstep in dainty glass bottles.
“Everybody knows this stuff. We all know that amla is good for the skin and hair, and that jeera soaked overnight relieves gas. People just needed someone to validate these sure shot homegrown hacks. I found myself becoming that person. All I was doing was remembering every last one of my mum’s secret findings, and looking for ways to spread the love,” says Tejomay.
Tejomay’s Juicifix – a range of fresh cold-pressed juices available on subscription basis all over Mumbai – chooses not to get ahead of itself and jump on the bandwagon to becoming a mass product. It retains the charm and freshness of the juice you would ravenously seek at a cart after a long morning jog. Incidentally, that is exactly how Tejomay first started out.
She first began by selling fresh juices from her car at Carter Road in Bandra. Most promenades in the city are dotted with little vans selling healthy pick me ups for the perpetually-stressed Mumbaikar who has just finished an exhausting workout or a tiring day at work.
Tejomay has been at this for a year, and has never looked back – for this decision was very instinctive. “I have always been a risk taker and for me. What was I trying to achieve? Helping busy people get a healthy lifestyle. It was a good cause, I thought, along with a great idea of serving health. It felt like the right time to begin and I didn’t mind taking that chance,” says Tejomay.
Business picked up immediately and Tejomay began getting orders for weddings, diet plans and parties. She wanted Juicifix to be the “neighbourhood juice cart” all over Mumbai, until she realised that logistics and science wouldn’t agree with her plan. Science, because the essence of juice lies in its freshness, which would be lost in the time it took to transport the juice from the eastern side of a crowded suburb to the west. And logistics, because the number of orders streaming in kept growing. She realised she had to change her format to match these needs.
This is when she stumbled upon cold-pressed juices, a rather old albeit strangely uncommon
technology of extracting juice. Cold pressing maintains 90 to 95 per cent of the nutrition, by trituration, which is the process of first steadily grinding fruits and vegetables into a sludge, from which every drop of juice is sucked out under pressure. This process keeps the live enzymes or the biologically active proteins found in raw food intact and helps it stay fresh for three days.
Sourcing her equipment from the US, she and her boyfriend, Avrio Rebello, who supported both her cause and her passion, started selling juices on a subscription model in November 2014. To their delight, her loyal customers placed their first orders with the newly revamped model as soon as she was in business. Among her customers is Sunita Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor’s mother, who is a die-hard fan of Tejomay’s “Green juice.”
“Juicifix, Go Green is the perfect morning juice. It’s got the right blend of all greens that gives you your daily dose of anti-oxidants. I have been having Go-Green for a year now and I just love it!” says Sunita
Customers can avail of several subscription packs – 5, 15, 30 or 90 days – and a cold-pressed, almost assuredly hand-made, chilled bottle of juice is delivered to their doorsteps between 6 am and 9 am every day. The cost is between Rs 110 and Rs 150 for a 275ml bottle, depending on the duration of your subscription.
One of Juicifix’s most popular offerings is the ‘Cleanse’ package. People sign up for a five-to-seven-day package, and a flurry of crates arrive packed with juices for each day of the week. These juices either replace meals or complements them, resulting in, as the name suggests a complete cleanse of toxins from the system. Juicifix started with a customer base of seven subscribers, and has now grown to nearly 350 over the past year. Revenues are now anywhere between Rs 3 lakh and 5 lakh a month.
There have been many forks in the road, and Tejomay has been faced with some tricky choices. But she never wavered on her resolve to never compromise on the principle she built her brand on. She wakes up at 4 am each morning and personally makes as many juices as possible. Even if it means that economies of scale will have to wait another day; she continues to use glass bottles over plastic and encourages clients to recycle them. She steers clear of high-pressure processing, which is in the eye of a big ethical storm in the west, even if it means her juices won’t last beyond three days. She is also very upfront about the fact that her juices are not directly responsible for weight loss, so that are not misled.
The market for cold-pressed juices was worth Rs 9,000 crore in 2010, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20 per cent to Rs 22,500 crore by 2015, according to retail advisory Technopak. In this space, with other competitors like Raw Pressery, Jus Divine and Jus Pressed that supply to large chains of supermarkets like Nature’s Basket., Tejomay wants to keep her line of juices at this medium scale so she can focus on personalisation, and stay in touch with her end consumer to ensure constant product improvisation.
“Our aim is not numbers, at this point, it is loyalty. People have rarely discontinued our subscription based on taste. Customers call saying they dreamed about our Pineapple Express or Green juice… those are our milestones, “says Tejomay.
They plan on securing a stronghold in Mumbai, before branching out to other metros like Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and the NCR area.
“For now, we will stick to home deliveries of fresh juice and subscription plans with corporates and restaurants. Getting into retail would be the next step for us.”