We had the good fortune of connecting with Francesca Costa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Francesca, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Honestly, I didn’t want to work for anyone else again. I wanted to work for myself. I have given many years of hard work, sweat and tears (cliche but true) to companies and organizations that exploited me. It was wasted passion on my end and it really took a toll on my mental health. I wasn’t satisfied. I felt I wasn’t making a difference or utilizing my strengths to its full potential. I wanted to throw myself into something, a brand, a message that I 100%, wholeheartedly believed in – so I created my own.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We launched Cranky Carrot Juice Co. in May of 2020 in Houston, Texas. We make cold pressed juices, shots, nut mylks & cold brew lattes and sell them at events and farmer’s markets. We not only focus on providing our customers with healthy food options but also provide our community with vital education on nutrition, specifically fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts/seeds & legumes, and the power it has over our health & wellness. We love interacting with our customers and spreading the message that through real, whole foods we can achieve healthier lives, free of chronic illnesses and ailments. Through unique recipes, like our almond-based Café con Leche, and collaborations with other local small businesses & chefs, we devote a lot of our time to teach our customers that eating healthy does not mean giving up your favorite or cultural foods but rather modifying and using real, unprocessed ingredients. All of our recipes are crafted in-house. One of the key factors driving the growth of the cold pressed juice market is the high nutritional value of cold pressed juices. We use my background and education in nutrition as well as scientific information and research to tailor our recipes for specific health benefits; and, to educate our customers on the best juices for them based on their current health, concerns and goals. As I continue my education and gain work experience in the nutritional field, we plan to expand and include nutritional counseling as part of our services. We believe having a strong background in nutrition and science as well as offering nutritional services strongly sets us apart from our competitors. This shows we are not just focused on selling juice but also committed to promoting and building a healthier society. It definitely has not been easy to expand as quickly as we have. I work as a nutritionist for a government agency full time and work at a restaurant part time in order to take care of personal bills. This allows Fred to be able to run the day to day operations full time. If not, we would not able to make enough juice to keep the business afloat. We have worked through the night on various occasions to make enough juice for multiple events and fulfill orders. The more juice we can make, the more we can sell. It often feels like we just can’t make enough juice! We have had to learn to accept that there is only so much product we can physical produce. Because Fred was laid off after COVID and decided not to return to work in order to expand our business, it has been extremely hard for us to secure traditional business loans. We are seeking funding to open a brick and mortar store in Houston’s East Downtown area. With a store, we would be able to reach more customers as well as expand to smoothies, healthy wraps, bowls & other snacks. Fred and I decided to pursue our own business partly because of the mental exhaustion that came about from toxic work cultures. For many years, we gave our lives to corporations that exploited our work ethic. It was discouraging, destructive to our mental health, and a waste of passion and energy. Everything happens for our reason though and, through our trials, we were able to understand the huge role that employers can have on the quality of life of their employees. It is our life goal to not only build a brand that promotes a healthier society but also create a safe and rewarding work environment for others. After all, health & wellness also encompasses mental well-being. We don’t want to just open a store and sell juice, we are building a health-conscious, tight knit community in a time and place where it is needed most.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Right now, we can’t afford to take any weekends off from our markets and events! If our best friend were to come visit, she would have to put her kitchen gloves on and help us make juice! Saturday we would head off to either the @veganstatefairtx or another local market, like the @feelgoodgrp markets. Sunday we would be selling juice at Humble’s @buylocalfarmersmarket from 9pm-1pm and sometimes at the new @curbmarketlowerheights from 12pm-5pm. Attending farmer’s markets and pop ups is honestly one of our favorite things to do, even if we weren’t selling juice. These are some of the best places to support local small business, connect with other like minded individuals and eat delicious foods like our favorite plant-based sandwhiches and burgers from @bloomfoodshtx. We have actually met a lot of good friends at the markets and have found some of our favorite brands – @bigolescoop ice cream, @establo_blanco’s vegan candles and @magsmunchieshtx protein bars, just to name a few!
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 want to dedicate my story to my fiance, Fredy. Without his hard work, encouragement, support and dedication our brand would not be where it is today. He believed in me and my vision from day 1 and dove right in with me. After he was laid off from COVID, he turned down several job opportunities because he saw the potential. At one point, juicing became too physically demanding for myself and he has since taken over the entire day to day kitchen operation. Without him, there would be no juice right now. He works from early morning to sometimes late at night – picking up produce, making juice, running events, delivering all over town and much, much more. Thank you for all you do for our company, Fredy!
Facebook: Cranky Carrot Juice Co.
@bigolescoop @sarahanzola @dafnesanchezg