Create & Cultivate 100: Food: Carly de Castro

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Pressed Juicery is the OG of the juicing movement.

Along with her two co-founders, Carly de Castro launched the company after struggling to find products that supported their individual health journeys. After identifying this gap in the market, Carly and company trailblazed one of the most revered health food brands out there.

Pressed Juicery’s adaptability and ability to pivot with consumer trends has helped grow the brand into a lifestyle unto itself. The brand’s editorial platform, The Chalkboard Mag, has a cult-like following that has spawned into a health community and resource for people in every stage of their health journey.

The thing about building something as successful and unique as Pressed Juicery is that it breeds copycats. While the juicing industry has grown exponentially since the brand’s humble beginnings, Carly is a master at turning a challenge into an opportunity. As the industry has become more saturated, Carly and her team continue to focus less on the competition and more on product development. Enter Freeze, the company’s plant-based soft serve that is truly out of this world. This pivot to providing clean, plant-based desserts that *actually* taste good is just one example of how the juice hustler is always exploring new ways to introduce health at scale.

The mother of three has some sage business advice, so ladies: Take note.

What was the inspiration behind the concept of Pressed Juicery?

I started Pressed Juicery with two friends, all of us on our own health journeys. We wanted to create products that were high-quality, nutritious, accessible, affordable, and also tasted great. At that point, none of us really could find juice products that checked all of those boxes, so we decided to go for it ourselves.

There are so many pressed juice brands out there now. How does Pressed stay fresh and relevant, even after all of these years?

It is not easy to stay relevant, but I think we've done it by maintaining simplicity as a core value and not getting too caught up in what other people are doing. We focus on new and innovative flavors, bringing down our price point whenever we can without sacrificing quality, and coming out with new products that are in line with who we are. Mostly, we listen to our customers. We use evolving technology to understand what they are looking for, and we use our lifestyle site, The Chalkboard, as a reference as well.

If you could have a meal with someone, living or deceased, who would it be and why? What would you eat?

Oprah, obviously. Has anyone ever hung with Oprah and not said it was transformative? We would cook pasta, drink wine...sounds like a dream.

What do you crave in life?

Hot baths, hugs from my children, really good french fries.

What about your job makes you feel the most fulfilled?

That I took an idea I was passionate about and that was rooted in doing something to improve people's daily routines and have been able to see the mission in action, playing out and making people healthier. So much has changed since we began, but I still feel gratified by seeing how we have been a part of a bigger movement towards health and wellness being mainstream.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

To step back and get out of my own way; to trust in something greater. My mom always told me that and I remind myself of it almost every day.

What’s been the biggest surprise or highlight of your career to date?

How we have grown. Our footprint is so much bigger than I had ever imagined it could be. Aside from our 70 stores, seeing Pressed Juicery on airlines, in coffee shops—in all those places where finding a healthy option used to be impossible—makes me so happy.

Where does your passion/drive come from?

Initially it was generated out of losing my mom. Going through a loss  gives you that cliché sense of, "Wow, life really is so short." And grieving can reset your priorities because why spend the little time we have doing things we aren't passionate about? I was really driven by that truth that I reached as she was slipping away, that what I had thought was healthy living was actually so misguided. It was like I kept uncovering so many simple things that would have made her healthier, if only we had understood them years prior. That discovery, and knowing it was too late for my mother, really drove me in the early years of the company. Now, of course, I am driven primarily by my family, and thinking about how to create a healthier world for my children.

What keeps you up at night?

It takes a lot for my brain to quiet. A lot of things keep me up at night: Books I want to write. My three kids and the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with being responsible for them. Mostly this overwhelming sense of gratitude for the peace in my life, and also a restless feeling that there is so much to do out there in the world, and a desire to contribute in a greater way.

Whose career really inspires you?

Brene Brown's. I have been a sociology geek for a long time, and I just love how, as a social scientist, she has mainstreamed into popular culture and continues to give us new tools with which to see ourselves and how we relate to one another. What she is talking about on some level are very simple concepts—authenticity, shame, vulnerability—but they are rooted so deeply and layered with all the stuff we don't want to deal with. And when you peel the layers back, there is so much to be revealed about our potential. I just think she's really brave and inspiring and has used her platform to change the way we think and lead.

As someone who is a people pleaser, being a mother has forced me to say no to things, which is such an invaluable lesson.

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What has been your biggest opportunity or biggest challenge as a female founder?

Jumping into motherhood unexpectedly when the business was only a few months old. Back then, I was just trying to survive and make it out on the other side. I found myself constantly feeling guilty to my business or my family, and usually both, because I was only half in on whatever I was doing. But as we've grown as a company and I have grown as a mother, I've been able to step outside a bit and really see how the challenge itself was an opportunity. In it, I have been able to carve out my priorities and be very mindful with my time and my goals. As someone who is a people pleaser, being a mother has forced me to say no to things, which is such an invaluable lesson.

What are the common challenges you've seen among women in the food industry?

It's probably the same as in any industry: Pay gaps and a lack of female executives.

When you hit a bump or hurdle in your career, how do you find a new road + switch gears to find success?

I think being flexible is essential to being able to achieve satisfaction and happiness. Life is all about expectation, and disappointments are natural. But it's important to be able to switch gears and be resilient. For me, this looks like a lot of quiet time with myself, really getting focused—meditating, writing and allowing myself to have disappointed thoughts and negative feelings. And then, after I've allowed that, it's time to see the bump in the road as just another chapter in my story and really focus on moving on. I believe there is a greater, higher good for myself that I'm not in control of and it goes back to just letting go and stepping out of my own way.

What are you most excited for in 2019?

Opening more stores, reaching more people. Finally getting to work on some new projects I have had in the works.