Good Life Juice is the only one of its kind on Vancouver Island; creating raw, unpasteurized juices meant to pack your body full of nutrients.
Good Life Juice was started by Andrea Dershin in 2014, and she couldn’t be more thrilled with the growth and evolution of her company. Dershin started out by making juices in her home until she eventually began selling to friends, and realized she could go bigger.
Juicing is the process of squeezing all the liquid nutrients out of fruits and vegetables. It may sound simple, but it takes a lot of taste-testing and intuition to create drinkable, reproducible recipes out of the raw ingredients. According to Dershin, however, building this business has been life-giving. From mistaking cayenne for cinnamon in “Creamy Cashew,” to curating a line of 15 juices that she’s proud of, she has thoroughly enjoyed every victory and learning curve.
“We are the only raw juice place on the island,” Dershin said. “I get it, it’s a hard business. It’s raw, it has a four day shelf-life, we have to deal with expiration and waste. We deliver twice a week to retailers, so it’s very costly for labour. Good organic produce is expensive and the price keeps going up.”
Drinking raw juice gives the digestive system a break while still nourishing the body. While Good Life Juice does provide specific cleanse packages, however, their juices are also geared toward everyday consumption. The 15 juices the offer vary from vegetable, to fruit or nut-based. The popular immune boosting juice “Fight Club” is full of orange juice, ginger, cayenne, and oil of oregano. They have a “Mylk Chocolate,” with “raw cacao, maca, almonds, cashews, maple syrup, and dates,” and “Beauty Tonic” is an exotic-tasting drink with schisandra berries, rose, collagen, and coconut water.
One of the more difficult aspects of this business, Dershin says, is “understanding finances, setting budgets, and following budgets.” She feels like after much trial and error, they’ve dialed in their deliveries as best they can. “The drivers each have an iPad with an excel sheet and it shows them that on Tuesday, X-many flavours were dropped off, they input what’s left on the shelf, note any recorded waste, and then have to decide how many to drop off.” The intuition of their drivers is imperative to the operation running smoothly, but it doesn’t stop there.
Nickolas Graham is the lead on business optimizations. He looks at what’s been purchased, what’s been delivered, and decides what juices they need to make on the next production day. “It’s all in the name of reducing waste,” Dershin said. “Sometimes someone comes in and decides to do a cleanse so they clear them out, so we leave more and then there’s a snowstorm and no one shows. It’s not perfect, but we do our best.”
Good Life Juice expanded into food in 2019 and are looking forward to what they’ll do with local produce this year. Their tofu poke bowl and rainbow nourish bowl are their mainstay salads, and they offer various soups including medicinal mushroom broth and a lentil stew. They’ve even created goodies like cookies and pineapple doughnut holes. In the summer they’ll bring back the watermelon juice as a seasonal treat, and when the weather turns, they’ll be back to eggnog lattes.
The company delivers across Vancouver Island and are currently the only one of their kind producing raw juice. It’s been a long haul, but last year, the business moved into a bigger space with room for storage, many more fridges, and space for a kitchen.
“The first two years were tough,” Dershin says. “We worked out of my home kitchen and bought produce in large batches from grocery stores for nearly two years.” It’s not always easy, but Dershin is pleased knowing they’re making a difference in people’s health and wellness.
“We’re happy we’ve stayed the course.”