Best friends Jamie Stephenson and Marcella Williams launched the first organic juice bar in Las Vegas, The Juice Standard, after both had experienced the benefits of juicing fruits and vegetables.
The idea for the company started when Stephenson was in Australia studying under renowned female portrait photographer Sue Bryce. When Bryce became ill and couldn’t eat solid food for a couple weeks, Stephenson had been juicing food for her family for years and offered to make anything she needed. After a few weeks, Stephenson said Bryce felt wonderful and asked she ever considered juicing as a business.
Stephenson broached the idea to Williams, her best friend. “She didn’t even hesitate, she just said yes,” Stephenson said.
Getting involved in launching a juice business was a no brainer for Williams. “My kids would drink it without even knowing they have just consumed an entire head of romaine. I knew that other parents had to be struggling with similar situations. I knew other parents had a hard time trying to get their kids to eat veggies and I thought if it could work for me, it could work for others,” Williams said.
Stephenson acts as the chief executive officer of The Juice Standard and holds managerial meetings where they get together to problem solve. She is also in charge of the growth strategies at The Juice Standard while Williams., as COO, takes on the day to day operations. She seeks out new, potential employees and oversees their training and maintaining of the sanitation standards required by the health district.
The juices are not made with high pressure processing and they are not pasteurized. Since these methods are not used, the shelf life for the juices is short, but the duo said it is much healthier and guarantees freshly made juice every day.
The Juice Standard currently has three locations: The Buzz on the famous Las Vegas Strip at the prestigious Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, The Hive located on South Fort Apache Road, and The Rose located on St. Rose Parkway, in Henderson, Nev. These locations were given these names because Stephenson and Williams have an affinity for honeybees. “The bees you see flying around, pollinating flowers, are female. The honey bee is an incredibly devoted, little, insect. Pollinating all the fruits and vegetables we eat,” Stephenson said.
Due to this affinity for honeybees, when the two women were naming their first location, they thought about where bees congregate, and where they make nectar. Well, they make it at the hive, resulting in the name of their first location. There second location was named The Rose because bees love flowers. This “location is very much a coffee shop bar, lots of seating, wifi, juice and hanging out with friends,” Stephenson said.
The third location, The Buzz, is the only one of the three locations that has a license to sell alcohol. The name is a play on words, bees of course, buzz around, and when people drink alcohol, they catch a buzz. Williams, who has a culinary background, created all of the cocktails that they serve.
“For instance, we have a cashew nut milk, Bee Happy, that literally tastes like a chocolate milk. When you mix that with Kahlúa, it kind of resembles a White Russian. So we call it a Happy Russian,” Williams said.
Stephenson’s favorite juice is the Bee WHealthy. It has 10 ingredients: cucumber, celery, romaine, kale, apple, dandelion, parsley, lemon, ginger, and turmeric. Stephenson said the juice’s unique name is derived the “saying that your health is your one true wealth,” describing it as the most fantastic green juice you can get your hands on.
When asked what the hardest part of her job was Stephenson said, “The most difficult and the most rewarding part of business, especially in the retail world, are the people. They will challenge you to work as hard, they will challenge you to inspire belief, and they will challenge you when you think you are doing everything right.”
She said she is often confronted with letting go of some control she feels she needs to have in the business. She takes ideas from her employees. “They have these ideas, and that was the hardest part, to take their advice. They aren’t the owner, they aren’t the CEO, they don’t know what they’re talking about. But, yes, they do. They are the ones on the frontlines and now when they give advice we take it and that was challenging at first, but now it is a blessing,” Stephenson said.
Williams agreed that employees are important and the lifeline of any business and said finding and keeping quality a quality team isn’t easy. “The reason why is because in Las Vegas small businesses have to compete with the strip. You can go on the strip as a dish washer and make $16 an hour or something. We can’t necessarily afford to pay that. We have to come at it from a different approach and we do that by treating our employees as our number one costumer. We want to train them so well that they could go anywhere but treat them so well that they never want to leave.”
When asked what advice she would give to another entrepreneur, Stephenson said other women need to be obsessed with their businesses. “The way Marcella and I got our investors was that we were obsessed. What I would recommend to female entrepreneurs is selling ideas that you cannot stop obsessing about. Don’t worry about your weakness, don’t worry about your short comings. Ask, how can I get this done? What will it take for me? Where can I find the answer? It is somewhere out there, it is up to me to find out. I must use my creative genius that lives in every single human. Tap into it, ask for it. When you think like that, the answers come right along, the opportunities come right along. Stay open minded and open hearted.”
Williams’s advice is to find your highest values. “When we say values, we don’t mean: honesty, integrity. I don’t mean character traits. What I mean is, what do you do in your free time? What do you change the subject to? What do you spend your money on? Make a list of your highest values, and when you have those highest values it will help you tune into what it is you are supposed to be doing. Because if you aren’t passionate it is going to show, people will pick up on it. But when you are passionate and you fall asleep thinking about it, already excited because you are on that path, you are unstoppable. It doesn’t happen overnight. But you do have to keep working at it.”
Tyler St.Louis is a Creative Writing major at Western New England University. He is currently in his third year of college. Tyler describes him self as a novella writer, with a focus on the fantasy and horror genres. He is also a strong advocate for professional wrestling (which his friends find weird) because he views it as an art form more than a sport.