Welcome to the Monday morning Girl Boss Blog series. Today we would like to introduce you to a Girl Boss based on a small tropical island in Thailand, called Koh Tao. Janine became a dear friend of mine after I moved to the island myself to start a new life. A new life means loads of new friends & this is how it all started for us.
Janine is the owner of a Juice Bar called Living Juices
. She was looking for a change but definitely didn't expect that life would literally GRAB her and take her all the way to the other side of the world, where she now lives the island dream. Let's hear it from the girl boss herself. Introducing Janine & Living Juices from Koh Tao, Thailand.
Q - Tell us about what you do?
I own a healthy green juice and smoothie shack on Koh Tao, Thailand called Living Juices. We sell a variety of vegetable and fruit juices and smoothies and recently introduced smoothie bowls. We also make some homemade healthy snacks and gluten free bread.
Q - How did you take the leap & decided to move to Thailand?
I took the leap 3 years ago almost to the day, April 1st.
Q - How did you find your business?
I found the business online through Facebook! I was studying online to become a Holistic Health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in 2012 and through this program I became connected to thousands of other students who were studying at the same time all over the world. During the program the school setup a Facebook group page where we could all communicate together about a variety of topics.
After graduating in 2013 I tried to break away from my corporate job, but didn’t think it was possible at that time. So instead I decided to begin building upon credentials and soon enrolled in my 200 YTT. Shortly after I started this program I knew that I wanted to focus on finding a job that could incorporate both of my newly earned certifications. It just so happened that one evening in November 2013 as I was pursuing Facebook and our IIN Community Pages I found a post regarding a sale of a juice bar in the Gulf of Thailand. I played with the idea and spoke to a few close friends and by Jan 2013 I had a ticket to Thailand booked (never been to SE Asia before this trip). I spent 10 days on this little 7km island I call home now for 10 days and by the last day I was sold!
Q - What are the pros & cons of running such a business in Thailand?
Throughout my three years of owning and running Living Juices I have experienced a variety of pros and cons. I think the main pro is that really anything goes as long as you are willing to wait ‘Thai time’ get somethings done. You may need a contractor to come take a look at a leak or a damaged machine and if tomorrow they will ensure they will be there, then tomorrow comes and it soon becomes another tomorrow. The other con I would say is not necessarily true through all of Thailand, but the living on Koh Tao, sometimes makes it logistically impossible to get certain superfoods and products I need for our breads and snacks.
Q - So you are essentially changing people's lives through food. Have you got any inspirational stories from customers?
Yes, I suppose you can say that, but I would prefer to say that I am helping them incorporate healthier nutritious choices into their diet while either on holiday or for the local expat community. I have facilitated many 1, 3, 5 and 7 day detox programs with customers throughout the years and hearing their reactions after their detox is complete is always inspirational. They are no longer bloated from all the pad thai, reduced sugar cravings, better sleep and clearer skin.
Q - If you could give yourself any advise back to the early days in business what would it be?
I would ask myself why didn’t you do this 5 years ago? Then I would say trust yourself and believe that you CAN DO THIS.
Q - What's it like to live the island life?
Koh Tao is a small island with a large expat community who are mostly dive instructors or business owners as well. There is always a party happening, someone arriving or leaving, someones birthday or could just be a random Wednesday and you will find everyone out for the night to celebrate. It is very laid back community and most of my friends don’t even own a pair of actual shoes (which can cause a problem in Bangkok when you are trying to go to nice places). There is also a very fitness oriented side to the island with a variety of activities such as hiking, Crossfit, Muay Thai, Stand Up Paddleboard and Yoga.
Q - What kind of advice would you give to someone who'd like to relocate to a different country and start a business?
JUST DO IT! If you have the opportunity to experience working with a new culture, new challenges, new beginnings. Why NOT do it?Just be sure to immerse yourself into the community once you find something and build strong relationships with other business owners who can give you advice.
Q - Let's say I want to start a business but have no clue what I want to do - how do i find an idea and follow it through?
This is a bit personal for each person, but I would say you would need to ask yourself what are your passions, what is it that you would like to wake up for everyday and what would give you the most sense of accomplishment?
Q - How do you stay active on the island & do you find that this makes you a better business person?
As I mentioned before there is a variety of ways we all stay active on the island. I don’t know if it makes me a better business person, but it makes me a better person in general when I can be immersed in the jungle hiking, punching bags in Muay Thai or taking deep breaths in yoga.
Q - I know you're also a yoga teacher, is that a means of making an extra income on the side for you?
Yes, I completed my 200 YTT and the very next day I boarded my one way trip to Thailand. After settling down a bit in my new home I found a yoga teacher mentorship through Ocean Sound Yoga here and through this program I began to build confidence in my teaching. I soon landed a job with Grounded Yoga and was one of their resident teachers for over 2 years. I have since taken a bit of a break from teaching and I am now offering private classes at my house and villas throughout the island.
Q - Take us through a very short process of starting a business like yours in Thailand.
I purchased the business from someone that had already started the business so I can’t say specifically what it is like to start on up. When I purchased the business we just simply transferred over our names and the business was mine :)
Q - If you could do any other business what would it be and why?
During my three years here on Koh Tao I have also started working as a Property Manager for some villas around the island. I enjoy meeting the customers and assisting them in enjoying their holiday on Koh Tao. I could eventually see myself doing something on a larger scale or owning my own property and incorporating my other credentials like yoga, health coaching and juice/smoothie master.
Q - What have been the biggest highlights of relocating to Koh Tao & running a business there?
The biggest highlight relocating to Koh Tao is all the amazing friends that I have met. I wouldn’t have made it very long here if I didn’t have such an amazing community of friends who are like family and always willing to help me out in anyway they can.
Q - Do you travel much?
Yes, I try to travel at least a few times a year, but there is still so many more places I would like to go to on this side of the world. I try to get home to the States at least once a year to see my family and friends back home as well.
Q - And last but not least - We'd love to buy 3 Healthy Juices for the first 3 people that get to read this Blog - what's the code they should use to claim their prize? LJMANTRA (Please note, this code is only valid for the first 3 users).
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