Slater began incorporating cold-pressed juice into his morning routines.
Besides juice, it serves smoothies, flavored waters and frozen fruit soft-serve.
The cold-pressed juice market was worth an estimated $4.3 billion in 2017. But despite Pressed Juicery’s success in that market, CEO Hayden Slater experienced his share of setbacks -- including a career 180, a health department shutdown and two run-ins with the FDA. Like any ‘80s kid born in Los Angeles, a young Slater grew up with fair weather alongside the film and TV industry and watching TGIF shows such as Full House.
Slater’s initial reluctance to take the class faded quickly and was replaced with inspiration.
He would never forget his teacher’s most loyal sidekick: an ever-present thermos of green juice.
“It was mind-blowing how quickly I had forgotten how eating clean made you feel,” he says.
“Eating crappy became my norm again.”He started off as an assistant to executive producer Cynthia Mort on the show Tell Me You Love Me, then started helping out in the writers’ room. Slater was filled with fear because, even if he hadn’t admitted it to himself yet, the industry seemed unattractive to him for the first time.After the show’s wrap, Slater bought a one-way ticket to travel southeast Asia. The battle between creatives and executives drained him, and he could feel what he had loved about the industry -- brainstorming ideas, building them out, filming, editing -- “fizzing away quickly.” Those things were largely inextricable from the industry’s trademark “bullshit,” he says, and after what he’d discovered in his time away, he wasn’t even sure he cared about them anymore.Slater planned to spend a few months traveling through Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, India and Japan, but he couldn’t have known embarking on the trip -- and his subsequent juice cleanse -- would change his life. A light bulb went off in Slater’s mind, sparking his idea to take his newfound passion for health and pursue it professionally. Build some sort of all-encompassing health business? Various people in his life figured if they let him pursue a juice business, he’d soon realize it was a bust and come back to the “right” path. He remembers his boss saying, in typical repartee, “I’ll see you in a couple months when it doesn’t work out.”Within less than a year, Slater pitched his juice idea to two childhood friends and brought them on board.He was in his mid-twenties with no spouse or dependents, so he told himself it was the best possible time to take the risk.“Everyone from my parents to my boss at the time thought I was crazy,” he says. Carly de Castro, who had recently lost her mother to cancer, felt that if she’d discovered juicing sooner, it could have helped prolong her mother’s health -- and perhaps even lead to recovery.Slater remembers his father sitting across from him, saying, “A juice company? In 2010, drinking your fruits and vegetables wasn’t very trendy.Fresh after graduating NYU, Slater landed a full-time gig at HBO, the network behind shows such as Sex and the City, Westworld and Game of Thrones.But the industry’s trademark long hours -- and tables full of free food via craft service -- meant it wasn’t long before Slater fell back into old habits.Slater was still making juice at the cupcake shop, and the health department had shown up for a surprise inspection.When he saw the representative, he was almost excited.In this series, The Gambit, Entrepreneur associate editor Hayden Field explores extraordinary risk, speaking with successful people about how they overcame unusual obstacles to found a company or switched industries entirely in a "career 180."On an island called Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, Hayden Slater was attempting a 30-day juice cleanse.It was August 2008, and he was staying in a tiny hut at an alternative health spa, surrounded by coconut groves, dense rainforest and white sand beaches.