Women in Wellness: Meeting your customers in their health journey with Olivia Esquivel from Wildcrafted Collection

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Olivia Esquivel, co-founder of Southern Pressed Juicery and Wildcrafted Collection

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“We welcome every single customer the moment they walk through the door. We learn about where they are in their wellness journey and meet them there.”

Olivia Esquivel

I believe that people are here in order to make a bigger impact in the world — and with my book, ‘Make an Impact’, I had the chance to prove that hundreds of people are using their influence to improve other people’s lives.

As the founder of the Health Bloggers Community, my mission is to support people with growing their passion into a business — and so many women are building businesses empires all over the world.

This series is a chance to spotlight some of these women.

Olivia Esquivel is the co-founder of Southern Pressed Juicery and Wildcrafted Collection. She is a mother and entrepreneur who is passionate about representing a holistic lifestyle that can change lives for the better and it starts with food. A Cuban-American now living in the land of Meat N Three’s, Olivia was plagued by the lack of organic and plant-based options in the South.

Olivia and her team at Southern Pressed Juicery are making waves across the nation with features in Southern Living, Vogue, New York Observer among others, they are on track to change the course of history and the food scene in the South.

Hello Olivia, thank you for joining us! Could you please share with us when it all began?

My husband Anthony and I are avid juicers. However, it was my role as a new mother to Luca and Alessandro that made me seek an even greater level of health and wellness. Personally, I felt an enormous responsibility to provide only the highest nutritional foods for my new family. When I realized the massive void of organic and plant based options in the South, I knew I had to be a pat of the change. I set out to have a direct impact on our community and city by creating a hip place where people of all walks of life could incorporate healthy eating into their everyday lifestyles. I wanted to redefine how the South thought about food and ultimately create access and spread knowledge about the benefits of a plant based lifestyle or even just incorporating organic and plant based foods into your routine.

Can you share your top three “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?

I think a great place to start is to take a true inventory of what you eat on a daily basis, and notice how much of it comes from a box or is packaged/processed. Setting a realistic and achievable goal of converting some of those “foods” to organic and plant based, non processed foods. Shopping at a local farmers market or grocer can be an exciting and rewarding activity. Meeting and getting to know your local farmers, when you purchase from them you its so gratifying to know you are supporting local farms and getting the best possible product that will make a tremendous difference in your diet.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Often times we see guests that have been suffering from terminal and serious illnesses and their clinical teams often tell them that the last resort is to try a plant based diet. Every time that I hear it, it’s like I’m hearing it for the first time. It shakes me to the core. I have the utmost respect for western medicine, I just can not understand why often times patients are advised to adopt a plant based diet when nothing else worked. Why aren’t the advised to start that from day 1? Why is that a reaction instead of part of your wellness check?

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

A few times when we first opened, we spent time doing pop up shops, essentially taking the product to other locations to help reach more people, it took me a few times to realize that a pop-up shop doesn’t have to be your whole shop, haha. I was so proud of every single product we put out like each juice bottle was my baby.

Obviously, there was some product waste and I had to learn to be comfortable with saying, “but there’s so much more back at the shop!” Abbreviated versions are hard for me. Particularly when someone walks away without finding a juice they loved and you think ‘damn it, she would liked the “Lord Have Mercy” juice but I didn’t bring it’. Not a huge mistake, just a lesson in learning to be comfortable outside of your four walls.

Of course, as the line expanded I settled into the perfect products that did well on the road and showcased the brand and our variety without having to bring 48 different flavors with me.

When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

We try to take the intimation factor out of the equation. We welcome every single customer the moment they walk through the door. We learn about where they are in their wellness journey and meet them there.

Some people are just convinced they would never like anything “healthy” so for those people, before we start telling them the ingredients we just let them taste it, THEN educate.

Every guest is different, so we try to figure out what makes them comfortable and start there. Ultimately, we want to prove that we aren’t a fad or a trend, and you don’t have to be 100% vegan or even 50% to be healthy. We just want people to consume more organic non-altered foods from the Earth and to feel the healing power in plant-based foods.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

On the story of Southern Pressed Juicery, its undoubtedly my business partner Carl Sobocinski. Carl is a restauranteur and veteran in the food and hospitality industry and really single-handedly put Greenville, SC (now one of the top foodie town in the US) on the map. He is a true visionary and leader who makes every business decision based on impact for the community.

I had been a long time patron and fan of his restaurant concepts and asked if he would meet with me. I told him I wanted to open an organic juice bar in Greenville and just spilled all of my ideas on the table. I asked if he would be interested in partnering with me. He said yes, and 6 months later Southern Pressed Juicery opened its doors.

He gives me the space to grow the brand and concept in the way that I want and more importantly teaches me how to make the business successful and sustainable. We would never be where we are without Carl and his Table 301 team.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I think it starts and ends with access to healthy options. More farmers markets, more special supplemental nutrition programs and allowing food stamps to go further for healthy options. We have to get to a place where untouched and unaltered food costs less than food engineered in a lab. That whole thing just doesn’t even make sense to me. It seems so backwards.

What is your “3 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

Find the one thing you “fall on the sword for” and never waiver. — When you are small and starting out, you may issue a lot of statements about what the company will be like when you grow, what you will or will not do.

You give yourself so many rules, so many restrictions that may actually be unrealistic.

When the business actually starts growing and you are having to make bigger decisions, some of the things you thought you would never consider start coming into play. I think you have really ask yourself what is the 1 or 2 things you absolutely will never waiver from and what are the “maybes” or I’ll decide when we get there.

Do you have a “girl-crush” in this industry? If you could take one person to brunch, who would it be?

For me, it’s Annie Lawless, founder of Suja juice. She started that company as a tiny little juice delivery store and grinded and stuck with it through so major deals until it ultimately became a house hold name. Though its hard for us to compete with a $4 juice on the shelf in grocery store, she provided access. Not everyone can afford a $10 organic and unprocessed bottle of juice.

Surely the product that is Suja now isn’t what it was when she started but it’s still a healthier option then a soda. After Suja she went on to start a cosmetic line called “Lawless” that aims bring clean and beautiful make up to the masses. Her ability to reinvent herself while staying true to her values and forte is inspiring to me. She’s always thinking of what’s next, where the void is and how can she make the biggest positive impact. That’s exactly how my brain works too. Love her work.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Gosh, hardest question I’ve ever seen. How can you choose? I would say though they are all important to me, I worry the most about mental health and the broken system we are relying on to fix it. Again, I do think access is the answer. Access to better help is the only way to fix this epidemic.

Are you looking to connect with Olivia? Make sure to follow her on Instagram at @oliviaesquivel_ and follow the restaurant at @SouthernPressedJuicery

About the author:

Fab Giovanetti is a business mentor, published author, influencer-specialist, best known as the founder of the Health Bloggers Community and co-founder of the Register of Health and Wellness Influencers. Serial start-up founder and professional troublemaker, she is obsessed with avocados and helping people making an impact in health and wellness. Sounds like you? Get daily tips on how to grow your influence via the HBC magazine.

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