Five years ago, three friends from Minnesota realized the need for better access to real food…and JuiceBot was born. LJ Stead, Eric Ploeger, and Kamal Mohamed believe that organic should be an all-the-time convenience, not something that must be pre-packaged for affordability or cost an arm and a leg for freshness. JuiceBot vending machines are the first ever robotic juice dispensers that keep light and heat oxidation out of garden fresh fruits and vegetables for really amazing, really fresh juice at the push of a button. We had a chance to visit their office, journey to Commissary Kitchen in Downtown LA, and roll with them to a few of their kiosks, witnessing a true farm to bot experience. These guys are challenging the food industry in order to redefine how we as consumers can eat fresh.
Stay Curious: This is an audio interview, but we transcribed it below. When turning sound to words, we do what we can to make it readable and authentic. Sometimes the two mediums may not always line up, but we figured you’d rather it make sense without all the “ums” and “likes” – Enjoy.
Boye Fajinmi: Alright guys, I’ve got Kamal and LJ from JuiceBot. How are you guys doing?
Kamal Mohamed: We’re doing really well. Thanks for having us.
LJ Stead: Excited to be with TheFutureParty.
Boye: Nice. Unfortunately Eric (Ploeger) couldn’t join us. He’s working hard, but I know you guys will represent well. So, who are you? Where are you from? What do you do?
Kamal: Yeah. So, who am I? Kamal. I grew up in Minneapolis and met these guys at The University of St. Thomas, and we’ve been working on JuiceBot for a little bit over four years now.
LJ: Yep. Myself and Kamal met in college with Eric, and we’ve been working together for the last five years to create better access to real food, whether it’s vegetables or fruit, through our vending system.
Boye: Tell me more about the process behind JuiceBot. What does it do?
Kamal: Yeah, essentially we’re trying to build a different platform for food. What you’ve seen up until now is a good distribution system for foods that already have a shelf life. We’re trying to figure out a different way to get food to you that doesn’t have a shelf life. Looking at raw beverages as our starting point, like cold press juice, your option before this were something that’s already pasteurized and pre-packaged sitting on a grocery store shelf or going to a juice bar which can sometimes cost between $10 and $12, and you have to go out of your way. We wanted to give you the convenience of going to get something pre-packaged, with something that’s as fresh as going to a juice bar. So, we call JuiceBot a juice bar inside of a vending machine.
LJ: A lot of the companies before us have done a great job to create systems and distribution systems that allow us to survive, but we also need to start rethinking systems that allow us to thrive. That means having those foods available to us that allow our bodies to get vital nutrients on a daily basis at an access point that is not only localized but also available for a price that’s feasible to have more consistently in your life.
Boye: How’s it been going? What’s been the response? Where are you guys in the lifeline of the business?
Kamal: Right now we only have about 20 machines, but the demand far exceeds that. Our goal is to build a model, learn from that model and put more machines in the field, not only nationally, but also internationally. We get contact on a daily basis which shows us that people are looking for something that’s healthy, but they want it in a more convenient manner, and for us convenience is not just location, but also price. I live in the Arts District in Los Angeles and at times I’m like, ‘Wow, this is right next door to me, but I don’t want to pay $20 for a salad or $20 for a cold pressed juice.’ We see that the demand is there because there are a lot of customers who are not being served, from our perspective.
Boye: It sounds like your business has a lot of moving parts, which is really interesting. I’ve seen that you have the machine that processes payments, but you also prep the juice, vegetables, and food, and you deal with the manufacturing of the actual bot. Can you walk me through the whole process of what it takes to just get a bot in a location?
LJ: One of the really exciting parts about our business is being able to try to create this intersection between tech and food. We look at ourselves as a machine meets garden, and what that really means is making sure that we are creating these micro-distribution systems. It really starts at the farm, creating local partnerships within surrounding areas that allow us to get the freshest fruits and vegetables on a seasonal basis, creating a community within these food spaces to be able to have our prep done locally as well, and then distributing to the spaces that we have available to reach our customers where they work, sweat, play and travel. There are a lot of moving parts to be able to get that all in line, but that is one of the fun parts about our business; being able to be a part of all those different interactions.
Boye: LJ, what do you do for the business?
LJ: A lot of what I’m doing is trying to align with the appropriate partners, making sure that we’re bringing the right people into our business that are going to allow us to really grow. We’re looking for great personalities; hard driving people that really know where they can find themselves inside of our company. Then also finding locations. We’re working with a lot of different corporate cafes and finding different retail locations around Los Angeles. Nationally, it means we are putting ourselves in a position to be a great microphone for our brand. We’re hitting the place that our core consumer lives, or where they are currently visiting.
Boye: Cool. And what about you, Kamal, what’s the day-to-day for you?
Kamal: One of my main roles is to set the vision, not only on a quarterly basis, but also for where we are going to be a year to five years from now. What I think most people don’t see, whether they’re looking at the media or at their favorite CEOs or entrepreneurs, is that it really does take a team. I think the most important thing I can do is make sure that not only do my co-founders have the resources they need, but also that anybody else we bring on has the resources that they need, so we can learn from them. We hire really smart engineers and every single day they teach me things. I feel like I’m going to engineering school. The beauty of our team is that everyone knows they can learn from somebody else. I think in order to move the bus forward, you gotta have the right people in the right seats.
“The beauty of our team is that everyone knows they can learn from somebody else. I think, in order to move the bus forward, you gotta have the right people in the right seats.
Kamal: That’s the main role that I try to fulfill on a daily basis. Outside of that, I love talking to customers. I love seeing the machines in the field and making sure that the investors also see our vision from a quarterly to a yearly basis. So, it’s supporting everybody else and also making sure that we’re staying on track to hit our goals.
LJ: One of the fun things is that because we have such a small team we’re all really defining where we are best, making sure that we’re utilizing our talents to be able to be available for our team in those facilities. But then, we all have our own hobbies within our own business too. And we play with the weaknesses that we have to try to always get better at these different projects that we are excited about.
Boye: Startup life. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Kamal: I think a lot of that will be answered through the types of questions that our team is willing to ask. For example, one of the things that we asked was ‘Why do we always have to pasteurize our food in order for it to be safe?’ We’ve looked at it historically, and asked ‘Why do we have to keep doing it that way?’ By asking the right questions, we’ve been able to get to a place where we’ve worked with inventions done at MIT, funded by DARPA, where we can look at food and see if there’s any listeria or E. coli within 30 minutes to 24 hours, whereas in the past that would take up to two weeks and it was too late. We got there by asking the right questions. So, where we are going to be five years from now is going to depend a lot on how much we’re willing to push ourselves and what type of questions we’re trying to challenge in this industry. The food industry moves slow, and we’re applying technology to it. Hopefully, five years from now we are a leader in the food industry, and we are the people who are coming in with data and are able to help out other categories within the food industry – not just juice, but also salads and other healthy foods. We could tell you, in real time, how many nutrients are in your food and why we have to prepackage things. Five years from now we, hopefully, want to be at a place where you look at us as a company that challenges a lot of the current notions and is willing to ask questions that redefine how close we can get you to the farm.
“Five years from now we want to be at a place where you look at us as a company that challenges a lot of the current notions and is willing to ask questions that redefine how close we can get you to the farm.”
LJ: We really want to push ourselves every day so, in five years, we’re a brand that’s truly trusted by our customer. They know that we are fighting for them, on a local level and on a larger, national governmental level. We want to make sure that we’re helping people and we’re really fostering technology to create better access to food. So, we try really hard to better ourselves and our business every single day to make sure that we are creating the standard that our customer can be really appreciative of and excited about, and will allow our company to be very transparent. Hopefully that transparency allows us to be trusted.
Boye: It’s interesting that you guys are starting this business around this time, right? This idea of fresh pressed juice in a vending machine at a time when the Millennial generation is not drinking soda. We’re more health conscious. I would argue to say that your average person drinks coffee, tea, sparkling water, and pressed juice, maybe some Kombucha. Have you seen anything in the response to your product that aligned in this? Do you have visions of taking over the “Coca-Colas” and “Pepsis?”
LJ: Yeah, I think that our product does really speak to the times. We are creating a solution for what we have found, right? This project came from Kamal’s entrepreneurial project, the capstone, and it really identified these little missteps within the market based on what consumers expect and want to have access to. We always want to be a part of conversations though, so we don’t look at Coca-Cola and Pepsi and say they’re an absolute we’re fighting against. We want to help them understand who we’re fighting for, and we certainly hope they fight with us. Now, if those types of groups decide that they’re fighting against what people desire and what people really want for their body, then that’s a different type of conversation, but we have found through our interactions with these different organizations that they really are trying to rewrite the ship. They are trying to look toward what customers’ expectations and intentions are, and they want to create better systems for the future. We really hope to be the type of company that can be nimble enough to allow ourselves to be mercenaries that are going out and doing that right.
Kamal: Yeah, I mean it’s you’re either with us or you’re against us, and that’s not what JuiceBot says, that’s what the customer says. And so, the customer is saying, ‘Look, I’ve done my research and this is what I’m looking for. Are you going to serve me? Are you going to put me over profit?’ One of the biggest benefits of being a startup is that we can listen to our consumer and act quickly. We’re the little boat in the water, we’re not the big ship. And as LJ has mentioned, we look at these big ships like Pepsi and Coca-Cola and also, in a sense, I think they’re also looking for how to best serve the customer. Yes, they’re a business at the end of the day, but there are a lot of people within these companies that are trying to figure out how can we better serve the consumer. We want to find those people and say, look, we have one of the ways to do that, and if you want to fight with us then so be it. But, we don’t really see companies fighting against each other anymore. It’s more about, are you willing to listen to the consumer? Because if you don’t, you’re not really going to be around. Somebody else will come in and fill those shoes and you can’t move too slowly because before you know it, companies like Amazon will come in and fill that space. So, just think about it, ten years ago Yahoo was trying to buy Facebook. Two or three years ago, for the same price that Yahoo was trying to buy Facebook for, was how much Verizon bought Yahoo for. So companies now, even the giants, are going down in a decade. It is really important to listen to the consumer and it’s so easy to do that because they’re willing to tell you, you’re with us or you’re against us. That’s what the customers have said, especially Millennials. And we said, ‘Hey, we’re with you and we’re gonna do everything we can to be with you.’
Boye: For sure. Question – as you talk about Yahoo and Facebook, I’m seeing that a lot of these bigger organizations are actually having issues being in touch with their customers. I’m wondering, do you think that Facebook will be down in a decade?
Kamal: I went to a talk two or three years ago at the Facebook headquarters in San Francisco and this question was posed to Zuckerberg. He said, ‘I expect Facebook to end someday.’ He said, everything comes to an end, and I think it has already served its purpose in a lot of ways, some good and some bad. Will it be here in a decade? It’s really hard for big companies to stay relevant for that long now because it’s really difficult to be everything to everybody. I think they’ve hit that peak now, and if they stay here 10 years from now, it’s going to be because they’ve divested and bought Instagrams and other startups that come into the space that better serve that niche. I think that’s the game that the big guys are playing now, whether it’s Pepsi, Coke, Facebook, they’re buying smaller niches and then letting them be as is and creating micro avenues of revenue versus this one big thing that is going to serve everybody because that’s not gonna work.
LJ: And I think just as a business owner and as you grow larger, which I can’t imagine what that really has to feel like, but it’s hard to understand different markets so well, and I think you just have to be honest with yourself and say, I don’t understand everything. So when these larger companies think that they are the smartest people in the room, that is a key indicator of knowing that they are gone within 10 years. But if they’re willing to be honest with themselves and say we don’t know everything but we’re trying to surround ourselves by the top talent and great businesses that are connecting with people, if that’s the type of vision, that will allow you to be around for a long time. I think it’s a balance within your heart to be able to maintain that focus on a day to day basis. So it is really subject to the leaders within those companies that if they’re going to put everybody in line with that type of expectation.
Boye: It’s definitely interesting. I agree with you guys. At the same time, I’m looking at companies like Apple and Amazon who just became the first trillion dollar companies. And it’s hard to think that those companies won’t exist in a hundred years. I actually feel that in my ‘dystopic’ imagination feel like some of these companies may become countries in the future with all their wealth and with all their power of technology and surveillance. And I agree with Zuckerberg, but it’s an interesting time we live in where really effective products can touch half the globe at the snap of a finger, which is really interesting. So question for you guys – Of all the places in the world, you’ve chosen Los Angeles, why is that?
Kamal: It has a great intersection with a few different things. First is the fresh produce and access to produce. Ninety percent of the produce that’s distributed around the country starts here from California and a lot of it is in southern California.
Boye: Oh really? Wow.
Kamal: Yes. So that being said, there’s also a world of startups that are out here, similar to San Francisco but in a different way. Then lastly, the consumers are willing to be early adopters or first adopters, so between the early adopters, the access to local produce and the bed or the microcosm of startups out here, we thought that this would be a great place for us to launch from and hold to our identity.
LJ: Yeah, being from Minnesota, we really found that there’s a few different communities, whether it’s New York or LA or San Francisco, that different areas of the country really look to, to vet product. And LA really is a city that creates culture and a lot of other spaces are looking at this saying like what is next? And the people that are living in this area are really excited about being that microphone to be able to tell their friends back home what they’ve found. And so, it’s been a great spot for us to be able to Beta because we find a group of people that are very excited to kind of play with things that aren’t perfect yet because we know as a brand that we’re not done. We’re not complete, we don’t exactly know who we are, we know where we’re going though, and we love to be within a community that allows us to build and also build kind of with them and through them.
Kamal: It’s also hard to stay relevant in LA. There are so many cool things that happen on a daily basis where if you can stay at the top of your game in LA or San Francisco or New York, then it’s sort of like training wheels to sort of expand to the rest of the country because at least you know that you have what it takes to do well in other cities. It’s very diverse. It hits, you know, all types of demographics and consumers, you learn a lot and you know, for the most part it’s pretty honest. So when they say, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, I think LA has definitely proven that time and time again.
Boye: For sure. I think you hit on something earlier, LJ, when you talked about culture and I think a product like yours, I believe, makes sense. Right now, it’s how do you expand that beyond just making sense and having it really just touch the rest of the nation. I do agree that LA, even more so than New York or Austin, Chicago, all of these cultural hotspots really leads the trends. I was at an event the other day and normally they would hand out cocktails, right? Your Jack and Cokes or whatever, but they were serving pressed juice, pressed juice cocktails, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. And I thought that was so cool to be at this branded, premiere party event, and I could just get a pressed juice and that is just, that’s culture, you know what I mean? And it’s good to get to have you guys here. I’m curious, this is a startup and oftentimes people talk about what goes right, what are some hard moments that you guys have had and what did you learn from it?
Kamal: Here’s the one advice that I have and this is advice that I want to give to myself if I could go back in time. It’s the idea of like there’s a reason why you should pick something that you love because there’s actually no easy route. There’s no easy way to do something great. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears. So the only thing that keeps you in the game, especially when out of the month 28 days are really hard and two days are wins, is the fact that you actually have an intrinsic motivator. It can’t just be extrinsic, it can’t be money or a fame thing. It has to be something you really believe in. I would tell most people stick to your day job if you want to be happy, like you can actually do a nine to five, have a hobby, have weekends, but if you’re going to pick something, you gotta ask yourself, am I willing to do this seven days a week and am I willing to battle it out and lose or have little losses like, you know, 98 percent of the month, then go ahead and do it. So we moved to San Francisco, we drove uber. I think between the three of us, we’ve done 10,000 rides. That’s actually how we found our investors. We raised $3,000,000 driving Uber. We told everybody our story, I mean, we’ve had situations where I’m pitching somebody on our story and it got down to the point where we could tell our whole story in just a minute and they’re like, Oh yeah, I’ve met your co-founder LJ. It’s like we covered that city and so
LJ: That happened all the time. That’s scary when you finally been that deep in and you’re like Wow, they’ve met Kamal and Eric.
Kamal: I mean, if you think about it, when we moved to San Francisco, we ran out of money in six months. The city of like San Francisco was wanting to shut us down because they’re like, well, your technology doesn’t fit in our current laws and so we’re fighting legislation. Our competitor Juicero raised $100,000,000.
Boye: and they tanked
Kamal: And they tanked. And we can get into that.
LJ: I swear we were in every single boardroom like six months after them. It was like, Hey, we’re raising this much. We just gave this group this much. How are you ever going to compete? And we’re like, just so you know, it’s not going to work.
Kamal: And we can talk about like, why we saw as to why they weren’t going to work even before we raised our capital. But I mean at that time you gotta ask yourself like, okay, you moved to San Francisco, you’re driving Uber, your competitor has $123 million dollars, California the state and the city of San Francisco want to shut you down because your technology doesn’t fit into their current laws. It feels like almost an impossible task to overcome in every different direction, whether it’s legislation or business or your current day to day. And so the fact that our team has been through that and we’ve come out at least on top for this current moment, I think is a testimony to how much of an intrinsic love and motivation we have towards this thing. And it’s a story we haven’t yet told but I think that once we have a brand and our brand actually matters, because that’s what is most important to us first, and I think once people hear this story, they’re going to understand that there’s a lot of love that goes into this product. And so when you go up to the machine and people are excited and in front of it and they try the juice and they love it, that means so much to us because we’ve put everything we’ve had in the past four years into it. That’s why it’s really important to do what you love because it’s going to be difficult. It’s going to be really hard. And if it’s not for that, you will fail. During those really difficult moments, no matter how famous you think you want to get or how much money you think you want, it won’t get you through those days. And that’s why it’s really important to pick something you love.
LJ: You know, I think like the NFL and sports teams have such a luxury because they have seasons. Business doesn’t get to have seasons. Even though we do in board meetings say we’re going into this season or this is off season, this is the recalibration month or you know, now this is the first day of the year, we gotta step up to this moment. I think it starts with being honest with yourself on a day to day basis and then creating a team that’s willing to be honest with you because a team that’s going to be honest with themselves is going to be honest to the community that they’re creating. It is one of those things that is just a day to day struggle and it always starts with yourself and then it starts with the people that you see on a day to day basis and say, let’s just be honest together about every single thing that we’re doing right and every single thing that we’re doing wrong and let’s start checking off that list of what we can do that’s right in front of us. It’s so easy to see all these different bullet points on the wall of what you can do or should do and not always be able to just decipher what you can do in this exact moment. And so that’s my day to day struggle is just kind of seeing like, what can I do in this moment to be able to better this business and then also myself today. From the process of waking up with that type of mentality over different seasons, I’ve found that it allows me personally to be able to be a better person on the team, but also to create value within our business.
“I think it starts with being honest with yourself on a day to day basis and then creating a team that’s willing to be honest with you.”
Boye: For sure. Both good points. One thing that you were talking about Kamal made me think about what’s going on this last season with Colin Kaepernick and Nike. Just that whole believe in something so much, I’m paraphrasing, that you’re willing to sacrifice everything. Obviously he was talking about everything with the kneeling, but I feel like it applies to entrepreneurship, right? You’re sacrificing the opportunity to do that nine to five and have that freedom and that stability and be safe for all intents and purposes.
LJ: Well, we always live by this code of chances make champions and then we don’t know where we’re going to be, it’s like trailer park or amusement park. It’s going to be one of them, but we want to make sure that we take the type of chances that put us in one of them and we can live with that as long as we’re able to understand the risks that we’re taking and at least that the risks that we’re taking are for good because there’s a lot of risks that our society needs different organizations to make in order to create better community for us all and better access for us all and we just want to be that type of group and people that are willing to step into that type of a situation.
“…there are a lot of risks that our society needs different organizations to take in order to create a better community and better access…and we just want to be that type of group.”
Boye: Yeah, that’s cool. It’s cool that you guys have been together for like five years through that. I didn’t even know you guys are driving Lyfts and Ubers and that’s great. I mean, I think that’s when you really know that you what you do, right? Because you guys could easily be somewhere else, you know, doing whatever. So that’s really cool. So I always like to ask, and Kamal, I know you just kinda gave us your advice, but if you have more, our listeners are creatives and entrepreneurs that are the very people who are taking the chance. What’s one piece of advice that you have for someone who is working on something that they love?
Kamal: I would say for me the biggest piece that’s missing, especially for millennials and sometimes you know, I reach out to people all the time for advice and sometimes people reach out to me if they’re thinking about doing a startup. And the biggest thing for me is just patience. What will happen is for whatever reason, I don’t know why we have this mindset, but it’s like I did it for a month. I did it for six months and it’s just not working. But it’s like, you gotta have a 10 year mentality, a 25 year mentality because nothing gets done in six months. So imagine if Jeff Bezos is sitting in his office like, actually I’m going to go back to Wall Street because not enough books are selling this past six months.
Boye: You’ve got to have different worlds that you live in.
Kamal: You gotta have this mentality where, you know, even a lot of shareholders jumped off the Amazon stock just even three to five years ago. But I think it’s really important to have the patience. First is like, do I love this thing? Like, is there anything else I’d rather be doing? No. Okay. Am I willing to do everything for it. Yes. Then from there it’s just having the patience because from the day to day it just doesn’t feel like that much. It’s the same thing as like working out or getting into shape. It’s like, yes, you’ve been to the gym for two weeks straight, but you’ve been eating bad for last two years. You’re not going to correct that in two weeks. So you’ve got to give yourself, even geniuses, whether it’s, if you look at music, for example, like all the best classical music that has stayed the test of time, none of them have been produced within the first 10 years. Let’s say it’s Mozart or anybody, they didn’t produce in their first 10 years. They had to have time to sort of give themselves the space to create and create and create and create. And then do a masterpiece, right? It doesn’t happen in six months. And so if you’ve done something and you see no fruits in six months or a year, it’s okay. That’s not the point. The point is, do you believe in this? Do you believe in this cause? Do you believe that the world needs what you’re going to give them? Yes. Stick with it and give yourself the time.
Boye: How about you, LJ? Give us some advice.
LJ: So one thing that we were kind of talking about today is live life like your 10 year old self is following you. And either your 10 year old self is walking around right behind you, three steps behind you being like, Yo, we’re doing it like this? Yeah, let’s do it like this. We’re living in LA, we’re making it happen. We got this happening. Or your 10 year old self is like, we have all this going on, step up. This is everything we ever wanted. Like pull it together, like make it happen. This is perfect. Like do it right. So having that kind of youthful enthusiasm but also useful criticism in your heart to say do it right, every day. That doesn’t mean it’s hard, just like make it happen. Wake up to the moment that you’re in and be appreciative of the space that you’re given. Be respectful of it and be the person that’s willing to walk into the challenges that your 10 year old self would be proud of. Your dad would be proud of. Your mom will be proud of all of, that type of stuff. I think that we all need to live more generationally and understand that we’re fighting for more. I’m a big God guy. Like you know, love God, serve people. And what it really just means to me is let’s put ourselves in a place to be able to push for more on a daily basis with the expectation that we are the type of person that can move that baton a little bit further, and we try to do that for our team all the time, like sometimes understanding you’re not the person that’s going to take it to the goal line, but just give it that little bit extra effort to be able to pass it to the person that can. And so whether that’s on your team, whether that’s just kind of generationally as a community. But to live with that expectation, that enthusiasm that we get to be here to be that person and that can be exciting. It’s a challenge. It can be scary. But we need to be excited about it.
Boye: Sick, guys. Well, I’ve had a great time catching up and chatting and I think we’re going to call it.
Kamal: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for having us. It’s always fun coming to one of your parties and I’m always looking forward to it, so really appreciate the opportunity. We know that you spent the Friday with us and as much as we were talking about us, taking the time to work and do this project, it’s like, actually the only person that’s really putting the sacrifice is you because you’re coming through with all this equipment, you had a professional photographer come through. So we really want to thank you for, for putting us up. I really appreciate it.
Boye: For sure man. It’s fun. Where can we find you? How do we get ahold of you guys? Where can we drink the juice? Where can we find you on Instagram?
LJ: Yeah. So @JuiceBot, that’s our Instagram handle. You can definitely get all the updates on our different locations. We’re in the Arts District right now, we’re in Disney Animation. We have a lot of great locations that are going to be debuting here in the city pretty soon. Some pretty fun like national partnerships that we have going on as well. So that’s the best place to be able to keep updated on us. We do have JuiceBot.com too if you want to really educate yourself on a deeper level about where we are as a brand and where our technology is going.
Kamal: And one funny story. So we used to be @JuiceBotSF and this is one of the things that LJ loves to do. He found the guy who owns @JuiceBot and the guy was getting married so we were able to buy it from him for an undisclosed amount, but he had a wedding and he needed to pay for a part of his wedding. So it happened at the right time.
LJ: It was so funny because he lives up in kind of like San Francisco Bay area and we’ve been talking to him for about a year. Like, Yo, you got this JuiceBot handle. He’s like, yeah why do you want my JuiceBot handle? I’m like because I have this company and this is important for our branding and he’s like, but you know, JuiceBot has been my name since fifth grade. That was his nickname. And so we’ve been talking for like a year, would bring it up periodically every three months, like, hey, is there any way that we could possibly buy this? So about six months ago he was like, Yo, I’m starting to get tagged a lot and it started to get annoying and I’m like, well, so how can we help your life? What can we do to be able to get this JuiceBot handle and help your life out? He’s like alright, to be honest with you, I’m getting married and my wife doesn’t like the nickname and I would really appreciate it if you could pay for our wedding photographer and I’m just like Kamal, let’s pay for this guy’s wedding photographer and we can get our JuiceBot handle, let’s do this. So, he actually negotiated a good price with his wedding guy and we were able to get our JuiceBot handle. So it was just kind of a fun thing that allowed us to be able to have just a good connection with somebody who had been kind of holding on to like one of our batons and to have that passed off was pretty exciting.
Boye: That’s awesome.
Kamal: Yeah, I mean similarly our flagship spot that’s a 24/7 ATM. It’s on 826 East 3rd Street right here in the arts district. The owner, I’ve been bothering him for like four months, like, hey, that space looks empty, doesn’t call me back. Finally calls me back and says okay, we’ll think about it. You gotta just stay with it because just because somebody said no the first time doesn’t mean it’s actually a no, it’s just like maybe come back at a different date and a different time.
Boye: Timing is everything.
Kamal: It is. And it’s the persistence that comes with it. So it’s like, hey, we really need a machine right there, we really need this handle. We’re going to just keep asking until you get annoyed and you say yes. So that’s one way to do it.
Boye: Last question, what’s your favorite flavor that you sell?
Kamal: I think for me it changes, but currently it’s our smoothie. It’s so cold. It almost gives you a brain freeze. People love it.
Boye: Nice. What flavor?
Kamal: So it has kale, spinach, raw honey, a little bit of lemon, almond milk
Boye: Is that the apple banana one or the avocado?
Boye: I love that one. It’s delicious.
LJ: So, we have this juice partner called Made With Love and they make this juice called Glow. It’s got some Kale, some pineapple. It’s a banger. It’s a great juice. So I am, when it comes to cold pressed juice, it’s really all things green, that’s really what you’re supposed to be focused on, something I appreciate most. And they have a great variety of how to do that right.
Boye: All right, there’s a storm a-coming. See y’all later.