August 2, 2017

Powerhouse Juice, In Their Shoes

Author: Cori Galligan and Gabi Sherman

In Their Shoes is a Vistaprint program that helps team members better understand what it’s like to be a microbusiness owner. Many teams have participated in In Their Shoes, and as a result, they have several insights to share about microbusinesses and their experiences with the program.
When Vistaprint employees Nick Figueiredo, Erin Shea, Kelly Lakow, and Beth Davis teamed up for the In Their Shoes program, the first item on their to-do list was to find a microbusiness partner.  They browsed a list of local Vistaprint customers who were recently active with our company, as they wanted to find a business that was at least moderately engaged with Vistaprint. They concluded that they would ask Powerhouse Juice, a mobile concession trailer offering cold-pressed, organic, made to order juices. They had placed several orders with Vistaprint, had purchased a variety of products, and the team thought their business was interesting. Following a brief e-mail introduction, Powerhouse Juice founder and owner Heather DeBerio agreed to meet with the team, talk with them about her business, and share her perspective on what it is like to be a microbusiness owner. Here are a few key things the team learned:
1. Inspiration can come from many (and sometimes unexpected) sources
– Heather was inspired to start her business for several reasons: she received a juicer as a wedding gift, a children’s television program about a smoothie stand sparked her thinking, and she wanted to do something where she could use her experience in catering and food service.
2. The ability to be flexible and pivot quickly is critical
– The business started as a food truck, but quickly transitioned to a farmers’ market and delivery business when the owners realized that they didn’t have enough volume to justify the expense of the truck.
3. Owning a business is not a 9-5 job
– Summer is the busiest season for the business. Heather and her husband work 12-18 hour days at their peak split between making the juice, selling at markets, and delivering web orders to customers around the Boston metro area. Heather’s greatest need was cash to build her business. The team worked with her to determine how best they could support this need, and they decided to partner with her on designing some networking cards to promote an online fundraising effort. In addition to the cards, the team also provided her the monetary gift card to use for signage for her busy season (farmers markets).
The team was struck by how much of a mutually beneficial relationship Heather had set up with other small businesses in her network. They were all helping each other out in many ways. For example, she was trading leftover scraps from her juicing with a contact who was using them for their business. She was also doing some trading for help with her rebranding.

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