Names: Erica Huss and Zoe Sakoutis
Company: Huss and Sakoutis launched BluePrintCleanse in 2007 out of a little kitchen in TriBeCa. The idea was to take the hassle out of cleansing and to make the concept more palatable to the mainstream. Users can do fresh squeezed nonpasteurized juice cleanses for 1, 3, 6, or 12 days.
Measure of success: Business tripled from the first year to the second year and from the second year to the third year, however, the demand for BluePrintCleanse exceeded their production capabilities, limiting their growth. Once the company began production at their Long Island City facility in 2009, they could meet the demand. As a result, business has grown nearly 100 percent yearover- year. The company now has 75 employees.
Why they are fierce: Huss and Sakoutis started the business with the goal of making raw food diets and cleansing convenient and accessible. The two launched a PR campaign to get the word out that this type of detox isn’t just for raw foodists, vegans, or vegetarians. They are changing the public’s perception that cleansing is extreme and encouraging people to see that it can be taken into any lifestyle. Customers on the cleanse get the juice delivered to their homes or offices. For anyone who has ever cleaned a juicer, you know what a revolution this service really is.
Because of the perishable nature of fresh juice, delivering this type of product daily and nationwide is a first. Huss and Sakoutis had to look to other food industries, such as seafood, to figure out how to get their products to customers without the juice spoiling. Huss and Sakoutis get glamour points for counting trend setting celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Jessica Szohr as clients.
In Their Own Words:
Daria Meoli: What have been some of your greatest challenges in starting and growing BluePrintCleanse?
Zoe Sakoutis: Growing very quickly and wanting to move very quickly to get the employees in place to help us has been a challenge. There have been times we’ve not done our due diligence on hiring, and unfortunately, that has come back to bite us. Getting people in place who are trustworthy and capable has been a little bit of a challenge.
Erica Huss: I think another challenge that we face is there’s no precedent for what we’re doing. There’s no model, prototype, or anything we can compare ourselves against. So, while it’s exciting to be able to blaze our own trail, it’s also a little bit intimidating because we never really know 100 percent if a decision that we’re making is going to work for us. We’ve been faced with an overwhelming abundance of ideas and wanted to execute all of them. Keeping ourselves in check and keeping a perspective, even though we have really no model to base ourselves on, has been challenging throughout the process.
ZS: Sometimes there is a huge advantage to being second place because you get to learn from industry leaders’ mistakes.
DM: What is your marketing strategy?
EH: We made a decision not to spend any dollars on a splashy ad campaign because that doesn’t go nearly as far as hearing about us from a friend or reading about us in a magazine that you trust as a resource. From day one, we were very committed to really making strong efforts in the PR category. We put a lot of energy and effort behind the product and the service. Cleansing is something that is unfamiliar and intimidating to people. Asking people to go off solid food for three days or five days and not eat and drink the way they normally do is pretty scary.
So, we knew right away that we had to overdeliver on information in terms of talking people through the process and providing support on an almost a 24 hour a day basis. We weren’t necessarily going after people who were already familiar with the world of juicing and cleansing.
DM: What have been some challenges you’ve faced as women entrepreneurs?
EH: Let’s be honest. We’ve gone into more than one meeting with some bigwigs, whether it’s for a partnership discussion or a financial discussion, and we’ve walked out feeling that if we were dudes in suits, then we may have been taken slightly more seriously, at least up front.
They look at us as not having a significant amount of traditional business training but obviously we have the instincts and the experience to get ourselves where we are today. At the end of the day, we do get taken seriously but I think that there’s a little bit of a barrier that we have to work our way through first.
Daria Meoli is the Executive Editor at The New York Enterprise Report. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org