Vivian de Castro: Happy Verde
Meet Vivian from Happy Verde! I'm still not 100% sure where exactly we first met... probably in a market somewhere, but ever since we've had an Instagram DM kind of relationship. It is amazing how entrepreneurs are so busy you barely have time to go out and network, tsk tsk... but social media has greatly improved the networking odds and that is how Vivi and I carry out our hang outs. From time to time we chat about retail spaces, ideas and vent about the usual growing pains of being an entrepreneur.
She is such a sweetheart and her juice blends are not only healthy and delicious but fun to drink with names like "WATAHH Melon", "Zana Zana Culito de Rana" and "Bien Cuidado" all which reference Panamanian culture as clever word plays. I invited her to tell us a bit more about Happy Verde. Oh! and the brand name is another play on words for "Happy Birthday" where "Verde" means green in Spanish! Who wouldn't fall in love with her brand?!
Where are you from and where is Happy Verde based out of?
Happy Verde is based out of Panama City, Panama and I was born in Miami but raised in Panama since before I turned 1 month old.
Tell us about Happy Verde
Happy Verde is a company that crafts cold pressed juice and healthy snacks. Our juices are made in a special machine that keeps the nutrients and enzymes alive so we can guarantee a very pure juice that is also delicious and full of nutrients.
Why did you launch Happy Verde ?
I used to live in NY when the green juice craze first started. And of course, I fell in love with drinking juice. I was in college and would order my juices straight to my dorm and drink at least two a day. This was my splurge. But I felt better than ever.
So when I came back home to Panama, I missed my juices, and making them was a huge hassle. Buying the vegetables and fruits (in huge quantities), creating a recipe that would not taste bad, and the worst part, cleaning the juicer was so much work to do every day. So a friend and I decided to make bigger quantities of juice and update to a real cold-pressed juicer and orders started coming on their own... We were actually the first people selling juices in the country back in 2011. But it was basically a hobby! We had fun making them and made very small batches from home.
After a few months, life happened, and we both got busy with building our homes and life as newlyweds. But I kept on dreaming of what really made me happy: making juice. So a year later I upgraded to a bigger and more commercial juicer and so...Happy Verde was born.
What was your background before Happy Verde?
You won´t believe this but I am actually a Chef specialized in Artisanal Bread Baking. Yes, bread. I graduated from the International Culinary Center in NY. We baked bread, but not the usual bread. I graduated in actual bread baking from scratch. Literally from making the levain to scoring and steaming the bread. It is a big misconception that bread is unhealthy. Bread can be the most nourishing foods if made correctly. I also graduated as a Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in 2011 and a certified Eating Psychology Coach from the Institute of the Psychology of Eating.
What inspires you for your creations and what does your process look like?
Well, I know it is a bit strange, but I love to mix! I can spend hours mixing different ingredients (and nutrients) to create delicious flavors of what usually people would think would not taste good. I believe in the personality of Happy Verde´s juices. Each one of our juices has a name, a history, a mission... Happy Verde has an integrative approach on health. We believe health can be achieved with a balance of being great physically and mentally. What we want when people drink our juices is for them to feel HAPPY and VERDE. Which are both so important for overall health.
The making of the juices is a very long and labor intensive process. It takes about 8-10 hours daily of hands-on work. Our machine first pulverizes the veggies and fruits and then a hydraulic press, literally presses the pulp and extracts the juice. The process is slow so we make sure the juice never gets heated or oxidized. This is the only way we can ensure a juice that is full of nutrients and that will last for days without losing its nutritional value and enzymes. Our juice extraction process is scientifically proven to extract much more nutrients and to last more days than home-made juices. Not to discourage you from making your own juices though! Although making Happy Verdes take lots of time and work, we make them with love! I believe in energetics (or that energy flows from one thing to the next) and our mission is to spread health and happiness so we make it a part of our core values as a team to make the juices with very good vibes and lots of love!
When was Happy Verde born and how long after was your first sale ?
May 2015. I started production the first day with more than one order. It was only myself at that time. From buying the vegetables and fruits, to pressing the juice, cleaning up and delivering. Work would start at 6am and finish around 7-8pm. I would get home literally with splashes of different colored juice from head to toe and run home to spend some time with my 6-month old baby.
What advice do you give to other entrepreneurs or those who wish to start their own business?
It is hard. It is really a hard. But don´t give up. Do what makes you happy and things will work out. This doesn´t mean it will get easier. But you get better and the result is very rewarding.
Every business has highs and lows points, what keeps you going during the low points?
Basically what keeps me going is that I think of what I would do without Happy Verde and I can´t really imagine myself doing anything else. Also, all the time and hard work that has gone into the business makes me even more attached to it. So I keep on going...
Which juice is your #musthave?
This is a tough question because it is very personal and depends on the necessity and taste of each person. For me, Santo Remedio is a must. It is almost 90% veggies in this juice, but I love how it makes me feel each morning and what it does to my skin!
Where can we find you?
And finally, what's your favorite NATIVO product and why? :)
Nativo's Elixir! Because it leaves my skin glowing and the smell just makes me feel as if I am in an enchanted forest.
Have you tried Happy Verde cold pressed juices before? Love to hear your thoughts! Don't forget to share and comment below to let me know you enjoyed this interview👇🏼
This is a new blog series where I'll feature amazing inspiring #tribunativo entrepreneurs from Panama and the world in the hopes to inspire you to take the leap and follow your dreams like I did! For more inspiration, join the tribe @nativoskincare