We had the good fortune of connecting with Annie Niou Vonheim and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Annie, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
“There’s got to be a better way.” This has got to be the number one thought that pops into any entrepreneur’s mind when they decide to take the giant leap of faith to create something new. Not only that, this “better way” will embody something that we believe in so fiercely that we are willing to put it all on the line. We are willing to leave behind comfortable careers, a certain level of living standards, our social lives, free time, sleep and all our life’s savings to make this thing into a reality. That was the thought process that went behind my decision to start my own business. I believe in the power of plants so strongly that I left it all behind to start a new company, a new life and a new approach to therapeutic nutrition. As a nutritionist and holistic specialist that has worked in the medical field for the past 15 years, I just knew there was a better way to create a quality of life. Even though we worked with severe conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, these were all conditions that could be managed or prevented with the right diet- one that is bursting with a huge variety of healing, restorative, reinvigorating plants. With any chronic condition comes decades of the wrong behaviors in the wrong environment- an unhealthy diet, a social network that further encourages unhealthy behaviors, exposures to industrial toxins, and so much more. The solution to preventing chronic conditions comes from making the right choices today, and that is why there needs to be a better way. Try asking any doctor the typical questions that go through all our minds- how do I stop my cravings? How do I cure my chronic bloating problems? I want to eat healthier and take care of my body, how do I start? The answer is the same across the world- “eat better and exercise.” What does it mean to eat better? How do you even start? This was my “aha” moment behind creating SMART Pressed Juice. I decided to create a solution for busy people to get everything they needed from plants- in a convenient and affordable format. I broke down exactly what nutrients people needed, then created a system of “juice” powders that pack over 60 organic superfood fruits, vegetables, proteins and fiber that can nourish the best of us. When I presented my first prototype solution to a few well-known medical doctors, they loved the concept and agreed to try my system on their patients and were astounded by the results. With nothing but plants, we were able to achieve results such as significant fat loss, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, high energy levels, no more bloating and better sleep. All this was achieved without any pills, supplements or any other interventions. Just plants. Seeing these results lit a fire in my soul- the solution is plants. It’s so simple, yet so difficult to comprehend. There had to be a better way. So I created a company.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Smart Pressed Juice solves the problem of busy people and unhealthy eating. Whether it’s cravings, bloatings or digestion, we created the perfect system to get you right back on track. Every one of us is too busy to eat right every single day. In this fantastic movement of self-care, we are finally becoming more aware of what we need to survive, flourish and thrive. And the very first step of self-care should be focusing on what nourishes our bodies. Our customers are frequently overwhelmed with all the health choices that exist on the market. There are thousands of health and fitness gurus who tell you to eat fat but don’t eat fat because it causes pancreas and heart problems, carbs but no carbs because GI problems and heart disease, eat dairy, eggs and meat for protein but don’t because of the animals, and so on. With all the conflicting information, it’s no wonder the average consumer is so utterly confused. However, the one thing all these diets can agree on is to get more plants. Eating plants is the only undisputed dietary advice that has lasted throughout the ages- nothing is more powerful to change your health, body and mindset, than a diet rich in a high variety of plants. I created SMART Pressed Juice to capture the very best of the plant world. I have a slight advantage, having worked in functional nutritional medicine for the past 15 years, so I had a head start in selecting the very best plants that have the best clinical research and outcomes for the optimal life-long diet. That’s why I made sure SMART Pressed Juice broke down all the steps to healthy eating into just five steps: 1. Plant-based proteins- we all know we should get more protein, but most of us have never considered the sources. I picked 10 of the most protein-dense plants in nature and put them all into our Proteini. 2. Greens- none of us get enough vegetables, and that’s something that is easily fixed. I chose 20 of the most nutrient dense greens in nature from land and sea and worked with a popular smoothie chain to make it taste amazing. 3. Roots- to get our blood pumping, energy levels buzzing, and our liver detoxing, look beneath the surface to roots. Roots like beets, ginger and turmeric grow underground, which concentrates nutrients to levels you just can’t make in the sunlight. These deep, earthy hues are what restore, ground and rejuvenate our body. 4. Fiber- put down your mother’s giant bottle of Metamuck. Fiber should come from living plants, not some orange frankenpowder filled with artificial ingredients. That’s why we use 15 different forms of sprouts, some of nature’s most nutritionally dense foods, that are rich in vitamins, omegas, as well as fiber to do the deep-cleansing for you every day. 5. Immunity- instead of synthetic vitamins with low absorption rates, look to nature’s solution to immune health. Turmeric, ginger, lemons, apple cider vinegar and echinacea are packed with phytonutrients and antioxidants that no pill has been able to come close to. Turn back to nature, who has given you everything you need to keep your immunity. These 5 products have been created with the best of science, but most importantly, with all my heart. The reception in the health and beverage industry has been wonderful, giving us 3 amazing awards and a chance to even meet the Sharks. Consumers have embraced our products and send us daily testimonials which are my absolute lifeblood- there is no feeling on earth like hearing that your products have changed someone’s life. Creating this company was certainly challenging in that we didn’t know a lot about running a company. My passion was in nutrition and creating new products that are solutions to everyday health problems. But creating a scaling a company is a new adventure that we are taking on, which is taking care of each of our customers with the same love and care as we did a few years ago when we were just starting. We want to keep growing and connecting with our juicers as much as possible in the coming years- we wouldn’t be here without these wonderful people who have supported us, loved us and shared us with their loved ones.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
For any visitor, it would be a culinary tour of Southern California. I am so proud of our amazing food culture here- we have the best of every kind of food. We have the best tacos, the best pho, the best sushi, the best dumplings, the best salads, the best coffee, the best green juices- the best of every kind of food representing every culture.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I met my business partner Jennifer Sevilla through my manufacturer. Jen was an attorney and a new mom to two young children. I don’t know what’s more difficult, managing your own private law practice or raising two kids (definitely the mom part), but she decided that wasn’t enough and took on my fledgling start-up. She saw the mission and believed in it so much she transformed her life and turned her own life upside down to make SMART Pressed Juice a reality. She shares my values, makes me a better professional and person, and really brought us to the next level. Over the years, we’ve learned everything from how to build our first website to taxes and accounting, inventory forecasting to logistics and warehousing. We are still learning and growing every single day as we are scaling our company to levels we haven’t ever imagined. But even more impressive than that is seeing how extraordinarily capable Jen is at handling whatever gets thrown our way. She is the very definition of my ride or die. I can honestly say that meeting someone of her caliber and goodness of heart is probably the best thing that has come out of creating this company. One more group I’d like to thank is Dr. Sean Breen and Nutritionist Cat Edgerton of Breen Center for Optimal Health, who believed in the concept and agreed to test our program through their clinic. Having the support of a well-known medical clinic by such respected professionals in my hometown meant the world to me. So a doctor, attorney and a start-up founder walk into a bar…
CJ McAllister, Lavannis Media