Boost Juice founder Janine Allis may be a mother of four, multi-millionaire corporate powerhouse and Survivor contestant but don’t call her ‘Superwoman’.
While building her business Allis sent her kids to school in the wrong uniform, she is not much of a surfer or tennis player after practising for years, and she still can’t do without her mum.
‘I think that people think that you’ve got this magic formula to get it all right,’ Allis tells Daily Mail Australia in an exclusive interview. ‘And there were absolutely times when I got it all wrong.’
The 53-year-old started Boost Juice in her Melbourne kitchen 19 years ago after seeing the popularity of healthy juices and smoothies on a trip to the United States.
The Boost Juice mission is ‘to become one of the world’s most famous and loved brands’ and parent company Retail Zoo is estimated to turn over more than $350million annually.
Boost Juice founder Janine Allis may be a multi-millionaire corporate powerhouse, star media personality and mother-of-four but don’t call her ‘Superwoman’. While building her business Allis sent her kids to school in the wrong uniform and she still can’t do without her mum
Janine Allis started Boost Juice in her Melbourne kitchen 19 years ago after seeing the popularity of healthy juices and smoothies on a trip to the United States. Boost Juice now has 550 outlets and its parent company has an estimated turnover of more than $350million
Allis has been an investor on the television show Shark Tank, written a book called The Accidental Entrepreneur and is competing on the current series of Australian Survivor
Boost Juice now has 550 outlets in 14 countries and Allis has been named one of 15 Australians to have changed the way business is done in the past 35 years.
Allis has been an investor on the television show Shark Tank, written a book called The Accidental Entrepreneur and is competing on the current series of Australian Survivor.
She also fronts a podcast with Gram Consulting Group founder Margie Hartley in which the business women discuss their successes and failures.
The podcast covers ‘the truth about starting a business, crafting a career, having a family and managing to fit it all in’. It is called ‘Superwomen… We Ain’t’.
‘I think it’s true,’ Allis says. ‘Superwoman I ain’t. I think that quite often you can’t do everything. There’s balls in the air but often those balls fall.’
Her latest project is a campaign to help small business owners understand what makes their enterprise unique and how to use that to their advantage.
Allis has collaborated with leading local marketing material producer Vistaprint Australia to launch a promotion called ‘Why Factor’.
Small businesses account for 57 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product but more than 60 per cent fail in the first three years.
‘Businesses never know when they are going to get hit so it’s important to find a way to distinguish your business and stand out from the crowd,’ Allis says.
Business powerhouse Janine Allis has a simple answer when asked why she accepted an invitation to appear on the latest series of Australian Survivor. ‘Why wouldn’t you?’ she says. ‘How could you not say you live a life of “love life” and not go and have an experience like that’
‘It’s not just about what you do or how you do it. It’s the why that sets your business apart and once you find the emotional driver – the “why factor” – the rest will follow.’
For Allis, the ‘why factor’ of Boost Juice is summed up by her company’s attitude and personal philosophy: ‘love life’.
‘Everything regarding “love life” relates to me personally,’ she says. ‘It relates to the customers, it relates to the staff, it relates to everything you do.’
I think I’m too much into the detail to be a true entrepreneur and in some respects I’m probably too conservative for that definition
Allis sees herself as an adventurer more than entrepreneur, despite all her success and a swag of awards including Telstra Business Woman of the Year.
‘I think I’m too much into the detail to be a true entrepreneur and in some respects I’m probably too conservative for that definition. I love an adventure in life.’
‘Whether that’s an adventure in business, whether that’s an adventure on Survivor, whether it’s an adventure of travelling overseas when I was younger. I think life is an adventure.’
Raised at Knoxfield in outer suburban Melbourne, Allis left school at 16 and her first part-time jobs were picking strawberries and as a Target checkout chick.
She became a media assistant for advertising agency McCann-Erickson and has worked as a gym instructor, door girl and model.
Overseas stints included time as a camp counsellor in San Francisco, a nanny in France and two years sailing the Mediterranean as a stewardess on the late rock star David Bowie’s yacht.
Allis sees herself as an adventurer more than entrepreneur, despite all her success and a swag of awards including Telstra Business Woman of the Year. She is also certified to teach yoga
Back home in Australia and raising a young family Allis had her idea to turn consumers onto nutritious, delicious juices and smoothies.
She says the local fast food and drink market back then offered almost exclusively unhealthy options.
‘At the time nearly 20 years ago there was nothing – no fruit, no vegetables, no fresh anything,’ Allis says.
WHY DID JANINE ALLIS GO ON SURVIVOR?
Business powerhouse Janine Allis has a simple answer when asked why she accepted an invitation to appear on Australian Survivor.
‘Why wouldn’t you?’ she says.
‘If someone says to you you’ve got an opportunity to absolutely have an experience of a lifetime and it won’t be a very comfortable experience and it could be the worst and best time of your life how could you say no?
‘Do I like sleeping in a nice bed? Yep, sure. Do I like sleep? Yes.
‘How could you not say you live a life of “love life” and not go and have an experience like that.’
Allis agreed to compete as a ‘champion’ against a team of ‘contenders’ in the current series which was filmed in the tropical paradise of Savusavu, Fiji.
The challenge was too great to resist.
‘To be able to sit around with 12 people you’ve never known before… ‘ she says.
‘To sit in front of campfires without internet, without anything.
‘To challenge yourself every day physically, mentally, emotionally, to see what you’ve been made of.
‘I mean, how could you not say yes to that?’
‘And I thought, “Imagine being able to help people get more fruit and vegetables into their diet”. I’m one for nutrition and not having empty calories.
‘Of course Boost has its cheeky smoothies with the indulgent range but every single product that we have has a fruit or vegetable or both in them so it just helps you with that and also it tastes great so it makes you feel good.’
Boost Juice began when Allis was on maternity leave from a publicity job after giving birth to her third son.
Husband Jeff Allis was program director at the Austereo radio network when the company, which opened its first store in Adelaide in 2000, was born.
The couple sold their home to help fund Boost Juice and Allis worked 100 hours a week, after giving a 40-hour-a-week job.
Allis originally set out to ‘create the dream that I wanted to dream’, mixing motherhood with the ‘flexibility’ of working for herself.
‘Little did I realise at the time that when you run your own business there is no flexibility and you don’t get to see your kids at all. However that was the theory at the time.’
Juggling the demands of business and parenting was particularly difficult when her boys were young.
‘The kids always went to school in the wrong uniform,’ Allis says. ‘I never signed the right form.
‘Without the support of my mum to help me with my kids I wouldn’t have been able to do it.
‘Often when you’re doing too much everything was suffering and other times everything was under control.
‘Life is a pendulum. Sometimes there was too much work, and then not enough work.
‘But that’s what life is – you’re always trying to get your life in balance and it never is. It’s always a battle.’
Boost Juice is now part of the Retail Zoo group which also includes Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill, CIBO Espresso and Betty’s Burgers.
Juggling the demands of business and parenting was particularly difficult when Janine Allis’s boys were young. ‘The kids always went to school in the wrong uniform,’ she says. ‘I never signed the right form.’ The mother-of-four says she would not have coped without her mum
Allis and her husband sold 70 per cent of Retail Zoo for nearly $70million in 2010 but remain major shareholders.
The couple has four children: Samuel, 28, Oliver, 22, Riley 20 and Tahlia, 11. The family also includes two Dobermans called Leroy and Grace and a Boston terrier named Bailey.
Family is important to everything Allis does.
She was recently back under the roof of her parents Joan and Tom for two weeks while her own family home was being renovated.
Every time we’ve moved house or renovated or something I’m always back at mum and dad’s house
‘Every time we’ve moved house or renovated or something I’m always back at mum and dad’s house,’ she says.
‘And I’m hoping my house is the same, that for the kids it’s a revolving door. Come and go, stay the night, stay a week, stay a month, stay a year. That’s what you want, that’s family.’
While husband Jeff does not get the public attention of his wife, the business would not have succeed without him.
‘It’s very much of a team effort,’ Allis says of their partnership.
‘I think a big one was we respected each other’s strengths. We were very strong in completely different areas.
‘Jeff was incredibly strong with marketing, understanding the consumer and the customer. So he was very much into leasing and into the marketing side.
Janine and Jeff Allis have four children: Samuel, 28, Oliver, 22, Riley 20 and Tahlia, 11. The family also includes two Dobermans called Leroy and Grace and a Boston terrier named Bailey
‘And then I sort of was the mechanic that actually created the stores and the look and the feel and the vision but without the two of us the business wouldn’t be what it is today.’
Allis’s varied experiences in her early jobs continue to inform her business practices and attitudes, including not caring what her employees wear to work.
After turning around a struggling Singapore cinema Allis was stunned by her employer’s response.
When people blame the world for all their woes and not take accountability for themselves is probably my pet hate
‘It was making a profit and my boss came over and said, “Oh, can you make sure you wear sleeves?” I thought, “Oh my god, you’re kidding me aren’t you?”
‘I thought I will never judge anybody by what they wear. From that moment on I thought I don’t care what you wear, just do a great job.’
Allis says she has one pet hate: ‘I’m not a fan of people who are victims.’
‘When people blame the world for all their woes and not take accountability for themselves is probably my pet hate.’
Through Shark Tank, the podcast, motivational talks and now the Why Factor campaign, Allis aims to teach others about starting a business, including pointing out the greatest pitfalls.
‘I think that people think that you’ve got this magic formula to get it all right,’ Allis tells Daily Mail Australia in an exclusive interview. ‘And there were absolutely times when I got it all wrong.’ Allis says she is also still just a ‘very average’ surfer, horse rider and tennis player
‘I think the biggest mistake is they spend too much and they spend too much on the wrong stuff,’ she says.
‘For example, they might go “I’m a business owner now, let’s go get an office” instead of going, “Let’s go and borrow my mother’s garage and see if we can set up there.
‘For me, every dollar that I spent at Boost it was very important that it could return me a dollar.
For me, every dollar that I spent at Boost it was very important that it could return me a dollar
‘So for the first two years we worked from my home and I didn’t take a salary for three years. Every dollar that went into the business returned a dollar.
‘And I think that sort of tight mentality or understanding that cash is king in business some people don’t get. And once they get it, it’s too late.’
Allis reckons she didn’t take any money out of Boost Juice for the first five years and believes many people are not patient enough to wait that long.
The other major mistake new business owners make is to become caught up with ‘the pretty stuff’ like designing logos, at the expense of ‘the boring stuff’ such as setting up accounts properly.
‘That’s the stuff that people often don’t enjoy and often get wrong and often is their downfall.’
When Allis is not working she is a self-described ‘very average’ surfer, horse rider and tennis player. ‘I love just getting out and challenging myself,’ she says. Allis is pictured on Survivor
When Allis is not working she is a self-described ‘very average’ surfer, horse rider and tennis player. ‘I love just getting out and challenging myself,’ she says.
She is also certified to teach yoga – her first professional qualification.
As part of the ‘Why Factor’ campaign Allis has come up with her top five tips for making a new business stand out from the rest of the market.
Allis suggests first finding out what you love, asking what you are naturally good at and working out where you can add value to others.
It was important to understand the difference between the how, what and why of running a business and worth considering what you would want on your tombstone.
As for what Allis would put on her own grave, she says: ‘I don’t know, maybe “She had a crack”.’
JANINE ALLIS’S TOP FIVE TIPS FOR FINDING YOUR ‘WHY FACTOR’
1. Find what you love
This is one thing you cannot force; this is the thing that you go to whenever you have free time, it is the thing that you think about that makes you feel good. Everyone has something they love, whether that is a sport, collecting something, caring for children or a hobby. I did not realise how much I loved doing business and creating products until I did it. So, my advice would be to get out of your comfort zone, if you do not know what your ‘WHY’ is right now then say YES to lots of things and find what you love.
2. What are you naturally good at?
If you love sport, writing, music or art then often you’ll have a natural talent for them, which means that you practise more, which in turn makes you better at your passion and the cycle continues. I would love to sing, but alas, no practise on the planet will make sweet noise come out of my mouth, so I have not put the time into this (much to the delight of my family). Find out what you are good at, you do not have to win an Olympic medal but if you love what you do then you will find great joy in it. Make the time for your passion. I know many talented people who stopped painting or writing due to time commitments. Make the time and encourage the people around you to support you in your passion. Happiness creates good people, happy women and men become good wives, husbands, mothers, fathers and friends.
3. What do you want on your tombstone?
My mother’s ‘why’ or purpose is her family, she has four children, 11 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren and she is passionate and committed to every one of them. Her family love her, because they have been her why, her purpose, her passion. She is present for every major event, her open arms and door is known to all of them, and it is very clear what is going to be on her tombstone. But every now and then she will get her priorities wrong, she will put cleaning the house before going for a picnic with family. But, when you show her this, she knows that in the end the clean house is not what she would want to be known for. What will be on your tombstone?
4. Where do you add value?
What comes with purpose and ‘why’ is how we add value to others. As mentioned above, my mum’s ‘why’ is clear. For me, I mentor up and coming business people and I get enormous pleasure from seeing their success. I add value on boards, I add value within my business, with family and with friendships, in fact, I find it so much easier to give than take. People need to be needed and this is an important thing to remember with regard to your ‘why’.
5. Understand the difference between how, what and why
Often people get confused with the how, what and why. Let’s look at them individually using business as an example:
HOW – Write a business plan, set up a good accounting system, get funding and look for partners and/or staff that will assist.
WHAT – This is the product or service you are creating.
WHY – This is the emotional connection to the outcome. How does it make you feel, what do you want to achieve emotionally? It is the emotion and the connection that will make people follow you and stick with you when it all looks too hard.