An Interview with Raymond O’Hara – Green Beards Juicery
We get into juicing, health foods, business and much more in this really interesting chat with Raymond O’ Hara (right) from the awesome Green Beards Juicery.
For people who don’t know, what is Green Beards all about?
For me it was the starting off point for realising how important what we eat is and how it effects everything else.
Green Beards is all about convenience health-foods. Everything is dairy free, gluten free and where possible organic.
Also, we are conscious about our carbon footprint. We use glass bottles and encourage our customer to return them for a 20c refund. When we can we have them washed and reused. The cups we use for our smoothies are compostable too.
Where did the name come from?
Myself and Kev went through loads of names. Green Beards is the one that stuck. There’s no real meaning behind it. We were trying to encapsulate what we’re all about – ‘green’ but not too serious. There’s a preconceived notion that healthy salads and juices are boring. We wanted to express that it doesn’t have to be that way.
What did you do before starting Green Beards?
I worked as an Account Strategist for Google managing around 10 UK and Irish finance clients dealing with their overall advertising strategy.
Yourself and Kev are business partners – how do your roles differ?
We both met in commerce. We both worked in advertising and have complementary skill sets. I’m more marketing and he is more finance. As time went on we naturally fell into these rolls but they do overlap.
What made you decide to go ahead with Green Beards?
At Google, I used to go to Archie Talks which for entrepreneurs and I was always thinking of startup ideas. My dad was an also entrepreneur and that rubbed off on me. Working at Google I always looked for startup ideas too. I saw this industry as one with big potential as it’s very big in the states already.
I first chatted to Kev about it and at the time he was looking at the green tea market. He was originally skeptical. In his mind people he had the preconceived notion that juices had to be these sugar filled creations. But then he looked into it more and realised that this was a new iteration – dairy free veg based and healthy – rather than an unhealthy juice dressed up as healthy. It was a complete 360 and he was on board.
Did you deal with negativity starting out?
Yea – for example, with the landlord (this place used to be shoe shop) he was like, ‘Juice? No that won’t work’, we had to convince him.
You have to have the vision in your head and be blinkered to an extent. Now people come in and see what it’s all about, but it took perseverance at the start to get the idea across.
‘Fat Sick and Nearly Dead’
No, that’s too extreme. He found himself in an extreme situation. We wouldn’t promote anything like that. I do 1 day or 3 day cleanses, but generally I just supplement my diet or have a green juice or smoothie as a meal replacement or in between meals to keep my energy and nutritional levels high. He needed to do something extraordinary to create the film.
What does your perfect food day in Dublin look like?
Blazing Salads – where possible I like getting good, clean food.
Cocu Kitchen – a great salad bar.
And a nice juice of course.
When was your last takeaway?
I just moved house last week and we got a takeaway from Rasoi Indian.
What does your average day consist of?
The juices are cold pressed so the shop opens at 4am and I prepare the juice. I’m always in before 6am. There’s a few processes that need to get done before we open our doors. After about 3-4 hours work have a smoothie then I’d finish up after lunch when Kev comes in. We alternate it. It was 6/7 days a week for about a year and now it’s 5/6 days.
What’s your favourite juice?
I really like The boss and Beets by Ray. I drink them a lot.
The Boss – 100% veg.
Beets By Ray – Beetroot, carrot, lemon, pineapple, apple, orange and ginger.
What’s the big difference between Juice and Smoothies?
Juice has more nutrition. Smoothies are good for slower release energy and are more filling because they retain the fibre.
What kind of equipment would you recommend people get if they want to juice at home?
Good question, a lot of people ask that.
Get a good masticating juicer. Don’t get the cheaper centrifugal juicers. They don’t get the juice out of leafy greens very well and over a year you’ll get more value out of your veg from the masticating juicer which are about €200 – €300.
Where would you like to be in 5 years?
I’d like to have a base in City Centre. That would be great. Our Pop-Up this summer on Baggot Street will be a good way to dip our toe into expanding.
We’d like to have different foods and salads too.
Who are your influences?
My dad. He owned a record shop in Belfast years ago. He even expanded to ballroom dancing before the troubles. It was good to have a tenacious, positive person around growing up and I take a lot of inspiration from him.
What are you reading at the moment?
What books would you recommend the most?
China Study – if you’re interested in nutrition it is a great book.
Open, the Andre Aggassi autobiography – I really enjoyed that.
What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur?
Talk to people about your idea. Lots of people keep it to themselves for too long.
Go to talks and speak to similar businesses. This helps to evolve the idea.
Research, research, research and the idea will morph into something better.
Go to see where it is happening in other countries.
Fail fast. I don’t mean jump into it fast, but talk about it to see if it’s a goer or not.
What advice would you give yourself at 15 years of age?
Learn more about nutrition and eat better. It definitely would have impacted how I played sport, and studied.
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