With a leap of faith and more than a few long hour days, creativity found Shizu Okusa and Jennifer Ngai taking a jump from Wall Street to the world of cold pressed juice right here in the Nation’s Capital. Their business background, discipline, and risk for the flavors unknown have led them to open stores in five locations throughout The District with the support of over 20 thousand followers. They’ve mastered the juice photography and caption game, giving their audience something to look forward to scrolling through every morning. Everything about JRINK Juicery is capture worthy – from the chic (and functional) glass bottles to the modern open layouts of their shops, these ladies have created a brand that not only looks stunning but will make you feel your best self even on your busiest days. We had the privilege of getting to speak with part of the #girlboss team, Shizu, to give us a little behind the scenes of this rapidly growing Juice bar, and a little (hint) about what is to come. Dive on in…
Q. How did you go from walking on Wall Street with a finance position to walking into DC-based JRINK Juicery and a superfood profession? What has been the most rewarding since making this lifestyle girl boss change?
Like anything creative/crazy, it was totally nonlinear and unplanned. My biz partner, Jennifer, and I met at Goldman Sachs in 2010 and took separate paths until we reunited back in DC working at the World Bank. We were working crazy hours and found that our health was always a tradeoff to productivity and juice seemed like a natural solution. Literally. That said, there was no juice place that we thought was doing it well, and the rest is history.
Most rewarding moment. I kinda struggle with that question because I think humans are inherently forgetful creatures. My belief is that it’s important to celebrate small wins, daily, for personal and business growth + happiness. It’s not easy – but that in itself is very rewarding.
(Yup, we will second that!)
Q. Where is your favorite #MadeInDC place to stop in before you take on your day at JRINK?
So, I’m a habit of creature and can be pretty stubborn in my morning routines. I’m my best/most productive when I can start every A.M. with the same flow – minimal decisions and maximum headspace, ultimately so I can give more to others. If I’m not in my personal office space, I like to be outside by water or greenery – there’s nothing that makes me feel stronger, freer, than nature itself.
Q. Describe one of the most exciting moments you’ve had during your entrepreneurial journey.
I’d say a few things. First, speaking engagements – from Fox News to the White House, I’ve never been a huge public speaker but I now realize there’s many other things that scare me – the personal excitement bar only gets higher. Secondly, meeting our customers – I truly am my happiest when I know we’re helping others achieve their best self. Lastly, be able to hire and work alongside an awesome team – Jenn, our managers, investors, staff. While I don’t realize it on the daily as much as I should, it’s truly them I learn most from.
Q. You have added superfood bowls (yum) to your menu, what other delicious items do you have in mind for District fans can get excited to munch on?
While it is our #1 focus and core competence, we are slowly evolving beyond just a cold-pressed juice bar. Our goal is to make “healthy” approachable and fun, while keeping to our core values of “quality nutrition and quality service”. We’re constantly product innovating + testing, and are excited to introduce our Winter Menu over the next few months. ALSO, stay tuned for our opening date in Clarendon!! (Music to our ears.)
Q. What is the most outlandish JRINK recipe you have come up with? And did it make the cut?
I mean, we thought our blue bowls were pretty intense but figured hey,we’ve never been the type of company to shy away from risk (we were originally gonna call it “blue balls”…whoops). Also our black magic looks like potion, which can be quite intimidating but has turned out to be one of our most popular juices.
Q. Now for the fun ones…..if you could be a fruit at any local Farmer’s Market, which one would it be, and why?
My spirit fruit? I’d probably choose a Honeycrisp apple, only because I would like to be in-season all year round. But in reality, sometimes, I can be a cherry – sweet, sometimes bruised, and best in Summer.
Q. Name one song lyric that you would give as a piece of advice from one entrepreneur to an aspiring one?
I like vocal dance music as an “upper” and I think the best advice is always one that you can create your own story or understanding from. My best advice: “Don’t stop dancing”, from Kaskade.
We don’t know about you, but we definitely feel inspired to dance. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this talented team and their delicious juices + bowls. See you in Clarendon! Stay tuned for more #girlboss stories….