As more people embrace a healthy lifestyle, Southern California-based Nekter Juice Bar continues to expand across the country. Nekter was founded in 2010 by Alexis and Steve Schulze to offer customers fresh, clean and nutrient-rich juices, smoothies, vegan frozen treats and several varieties of its ever-popular acai bowls. Now, they have a bit of a cult following across the nation and are set to continue opening locations across the country through company-owned stores and franchising.
Schulze was raised as a vegetarian, but she didn’t actually enjoy vegetables growing up. “As a child I felt I was forced to eat vegetables, but I found my way back to healthy eating as I got older,” she shares.
As a young woman in her yoga teacher training, she tried juices as part of her health regimen but found them intimidating and was wary of the taste, although she did love how she felt after drinking them. She started experimenting and modifying her own recipes to create healthy juices that tasted delicious and more importantly, made her feel great.
Schulze saw a need in the market and from there built the idea for Nekter with her husband. As they developed the business, they had to figure out their roles based on their strengths in order to be successful. So, Steve handled the financial aspects of the business and became CEO while Alexis took on the role of Chief Visionary Officer, in which she is responsible for Nekter’s employees and recipe development. Although they are no longer married, they still work side by side to grow the Nekter brand all while raising their two teenage sons.
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“We use fresh, natural and whole ingredients to make our products,” she says. “Every ingredient we use is something I would put into my own body. People trust the brand and the integrity of our ingredients. It tastes good and it’s good for you.”
The first Nekter opened in Costa Mesa, California nearly a decade ago. “At the time, juicing was not mainstream and could be overwhelming,” says Schulze. “We wanted to show people that juicing makes vegetables taste better and makes you feel great.” Another benefit of juicing for contemporary consumers is the convenience of healthy eating while on-the-go. “As a working mom, I know how busy life can be,” she says. “Juicing is an easy way to grab something healthy on the go, and it’s also a great way for kids to get their vegetables.”
Schulze has ensured that Nekter’s products are of high-quality and puts customers’ loyalty to the brand at the forefront. “We use fresh, natural and whole ingredients to make our products,” she says. “Every ingredient we use is something I would put into my own body. People trust the brand and the integrity of our ingredients. It tastes good and it’s good for you.”
A HEALTHY START TO THE NEW YEAR
Many people resolve to focus on health in the new year. “People should consider a lifestyle that includes more fruits and vegetables and more activity,” says Schulze. “They will feel better and lose weight.”
Nekter has a variety of options to start the year off healthy for those who are new to juicing or want to try something different. “We put a lot of processed foods into our bodies, and Nekter offers juices that flush out the body and flood it with nutrients,” says Schulze. “After a holiday season where people may overindulge, these nutrient-dense juices can help put our bodies back in balance.”
Schulze starts every day with Nekter’s Greenie drink. It is full of nutrients with a celery cucumber base, and contains parsley, spinach, kale, lemon and apple which adds a touch of sweetness. The refreshing and tart Green Apple Detox is a purifying and energizing beverage made with cucumber, fennel, lemon, kale and ginger.
As the holiday season can be a time to imbibe, Nekter’s Toxin Flush can help clear toxins from the blood and liver and can also soothe the stomach with its potent ingredients like parsley, spinach, apple, lemon and ginger.
Cleanses have become one of the most popular ways to detox in recent years. Schulze suggests starting each morning with Nekter’s Celery Detox cleanse which can help improve digestion and reduce inflammation—something many of us could use more of. “After trying these products, people will notice a difference in how good it makes them feel,” says Schulze.
“Women can find a strong leadership voice, while still being kind and soft. Find your voice in the right way and surround yourself with people who support you.”
A BALANCED LIFE
After serving 10 years in a leadership role at a growing company, Schulze has learned many lessons about both the business and herself. She believes that life is about balance. “Over the years, running the business has helped me grow and evolve as a person,” she says. “Balance comes from self-worth, personal growth and learning from your mistakes.”
She also believes that it is important for women to find their voice and play to their strengths. “It took me some time to find my voice and understand what I brought to the table,” she says. “Women can find a strong leadership voice, while still being kind and soft. Find your voice in the right way and surround yourself with people who support you.”
So, how does the queen of health maintain her own personal well-being? To help keep balance in her life, Schulze enjoys exercising including hiking, yoga and spin classes.
Another passion of Schulze, who is a former teacher and author of the children’s book Sneaky Spinach, is the Sojourn Foundation, which works with children in schools and orphanages in developing countries. She founded the Sojourn Foundation after a lifechanging trip to Tanzania in 2017. Schulze is very proud and energized by the work she has done with the foundation and equally as proud of her brand, Nekter, that continues to expand while helping people live healthier lives. “We started with the idea of bringing healthier alternatives to people and we’ve been able to maintain that as we’ve grown,” she says. As 2020 is just around the bend, we invite you to grab a juice and get energized and cleansed for the new year ahead.