A Q&A with The Founders of Dose Juice
Posted: Jul 27 2016
Ever wondered what it's like to build your own juice brand? We do, on the regular! So we caught up with the Founders of Montreal's Dose Juice - just as they expand into Ontario for the first time - to find out.
Pictured: Raphael and Gen, Founders of Dose Juice. Click HERE to get $10 off your first order!
The Chic Canuck: What fields did you each work in before starting DOSE in 2013?
Dose Juice: Raph and I (Gen) both studied finance at McGill University in Montréal. Immediately after graduating, Raph went into investment banking for a few years, then co-founded a visual effects company before starting DOSE with me.
I took a slightly different route after school. I’ve always liked numbers and finance, but I was adamant about working in a creative environment. So when the opportunity to work in the planning/buying department at Le Chateau (the clothing company) after graduating came up, I jumped at the chance. I worked with Le Chateau for three years before going to the planning/buying department at Frank & Oak, the Montréal based start-up. It was at Frank & Oak that I fell in love with the small-biz start-up world and became inspired to start my own company – DOSE Juice.
TCC: What was it that made you realize you wanted to start a juice brand in Montreal?
DJ: It was something that happened gradually. Raph and I both bonded over trying to be as healthy and as good to our bodies as possible, and wanted to find an efficient way to incorporate more raw fruits and vegetables into our diets. We read a lot about the benefits of juicing, so we bought a juicer and started making juices at home. Although we loved the taste and the effect it had on our health, maintaining the habit of juicing every morning became tricky with our increasingly busy lives. So we went looking for a local company that would do it for us and deliver, but back in October 2013, nothing of the like existed in Montreal. So we thought, why not do it ourselves?
We started small with a very simple website and a limited delivery zone. Quickly (and unexpectedly), the demand grew. Local cafés showed interest immediately and started distributing our products. Fast forward to today, and we’re now distributed in more than 100 retailers Ontario and Quebec, and growing!
TCC: What was the beginning process like when you started your business?
DJ: Once we decided to embark on our juicing endeavour, we read the book, “The Lean Startup” by Eric Reis. It talks about the importance of testing your idea early on and not spending too much time on an extensive business plan, trying to guess consumers’ response to your product. We decided to follow that method and gave each other six weeks to test out the DOSE model on our friends, family and likeminded health-conscious people; everything from the idea to the first purchase. I don’t think DOSE would be what it is today if we started out any other way. Through trial and error, we tested and adjusted our recipes, website, delivery zones and packaging based on our target consumer’s response and interactions with our product.
Sometimes over-thinking can prevent you from moving forward with a project or simply increases your fear of failure. Starting out with a successful business right off the bat is almost statistically impossible so trying to avoid failing is useless. Embracing failure and learning from it is key and part of the growing process, a key learning from our journey.
TCC: When did you reach a point when you knew your business was going to work, and succeed?
DJ: I’m actually not sure I’ll ever reach a point where I’ll say, “Ah, NOW we’ve reached success.” In business, nothing is certain and success (while celebrated and enjoyed!) can be very brief. Everything we do is centered around small wins, like when we secured distribution in Whole Foods Market or when we nail a great new recipe. Once a goal is completed, we’re already working on the next opportunity or challenge we need to surmount.
TCC: What is it about DOSE that's different from other juice brands?
DJ: Many things! First, our motto states “nothing else.” This means we will never add any sugar, anything artificial or any preservatives to our juices. We always source certified organic produce that’s in-season. A good portion of our vegetables are sourced locally – we are proudly certified organic.
We also firmly believe in reducing our footprint as much as possible. For instance, the pulp left over from the juicing process is either transformed into compost or given to animals living in farms near buy (like for our staff’s chickens that provide us with our eggs!).
Most importantly, we use a technology that is new to Canada. Each juice is cold-pressed using industry-leading hydraulic press juicers. This unique process allows every bottle of juice to last, unopened, in the refrigerator for up to 45 days, making it easy to keep a stash on hand and incorporate into your daily routine. The process of using mechanical pressure seals the freshness of the juice, preserving the full concentration of vitamins, enzymes and minerals without having to use heat pasteurization or add any chemical preservatives.
TCC: You've just expanded your brand to now be sold in Ontario, do you have more plans to expand?
DJ: Yes, looking ahead we plan to sell DOSE Juice across the country. We are slowly planning our Canadian conquest one province at a time.
TCC: What are some of the challenges you have faced as young entrepreneurs in Canada?
DJ: Raising money was definitely a challenge. It’s a very long process and it’s really a matter of meeting the right people at the right time. The key is to never give up and constantly re-work your pitch until it hits the right mark to compel financers.
TCC: What advice would you give to fellow Canadians interested in starting their own brand or business?
DJ: Start now and test your idea as soon as possible. Like I said before, it’s really important to not over-think your strategy at this stage. And don’t forget your network. They say it takes a village to raise a child, well, it takes an entire city to start a business. Do not be afraid to reach out to your contacts (and potential contacts) and ask for help.
TCC: What has been the most exciting part of building your brand so far?
DJ: When we hear someone saying they love our juices, or see people posting pictures of themselves drinking their DOSE on social media. It still makes me awestruck to see someone I have never met, who lives in another city (like Toronto), drinking the juice that we made and taking a selfie with it. Thinking about those moments brings me a lot of joy and pride.
TCC: What is your favourite flavour of DOSE juice?
DJ: YOGI. I am addicted. We call it the expert juice, because it contains 98% green vegetables (cucumber, celery, kale, romaine lettuce, spinach, parsley, lemon and ginger) and no fruits. I love it and I think my body thanks me for it.
TCC: What is one flavour that you think everyone must try?
DJ: Besides all of them(!), in the summer I always recommend TAXI (containing pineapple, apple, mint and lime) or our new flavor HONEY (containing honeydew, spinach, lime, aloe vera, chlorophyll and lemon) to people who have never tried DOSE. Both are amazingly refreshing. For the veggie lovers, CACTUS (containing apple, cucumber, celery, kale, romaine lettuce, spinach, parsley, lemon and ginger) or SAMBA (containing apple, beet, carrot, cucumber, orange, kale, lemon and ginger) are delicious and full of greens.
TCC: Where can we find DOSE juice?
DJ: You can get it delivered right to your door through our website (www.dosejuice.com) or you can find us in more than 100 retailers across Ontario and Quebec, like Whole Foods Market, select Loblaws and smaller grocers in the GTA. Visit dosejuice.com/retail for more information.
So are you ready to try some DOSE Juice for yourself or what? We're obsessed!! We've teamed up with this amazing brand to offer your $10 off your first order when you use THIS LINK HERE.