Coldpress to Impress

Katie Raquel high above Monterey Bay, smart phone in hand.

First she conquered the Startup Challenge Monterey Bay. Then she took on balancing three young kids with her new business. Now she's selling juice from the sky.

Katie Raquel of Monterey has developed a robust lineup of fresh and certified organic juice pressed-to-order and delivered to Salinas, Seaside, Marina, Monterey, the Highway 68 corridor, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Carmel and Carmel Valley every Sunday afternoon.

For local routes, bundles of juice are packed on ice and delivered straight from KC's Watsonville commercial kitchen.

Raquel also mans a booth at The Old Monterey Farmers Market on Alvarado Street every Tuesday from 4-8pm. 

Her story is inspiring (and cute) enough that she was selected to star in a national digital campaign for Weebly, the entrepreneur-friendly platform she uses to sell her juice by tablet and smartphone.

The two videos appear here, made possible in part by the pros at Skydive Monterey Bay of Marina.

The Weekly took them as an opportunity to check in with Raquel and see how the juice is flowing.

What's the biggest challenge of running a business and managing three kids? What’s the biggest satisfaction?

Oh jeez. As a former perfectionist, I still get frustrated from from time to time by my limitations.

I am constantly saying no to interesting opportunities and activities, and have to stay super focused on the big picture: quality time with my family and building the business in a way that honors its mission and our customers.

Nearly every moment of my day comes back to those two goals. The good news is, I love my family and the work so much that I don't need much else.

I get to collaborate with my husband and mom on work projects, introduce my daughter to a world she might not see otherwise, engage with the community, and I get non-stop opportunities for creative problem-solving. I feel extremely lucky for the opportunity to do fulfilling work alongside my family.

How does having a business fulfill you in ways other things can't?

I’ve always been intrigued by business. The idea that you can create something, send it out into the world and watch it become something so much bigger than yourself.

And I love chewing on interesting problems. There’s always another one around the bend, and I have to face them and power through, so I get a ton of great learning experiences.

I’ve learned to really enjoy being outside of my comfort zone. And there’s a sense of autonomy in business that I haven’t found anywhere else. If I learn something new and want to apply it, I can immediately see that progress.

Having worked in a government organization for a few years, I am especially appreciative of that flexibility. And at the end of the day, business is a form of creative expression and community service, for me. It’s hard, but so fulfilling, and rarely feels like work.

What's it like to look back at the Startup Challenge now?

I’ve been a judge for the past two years, and I have so much compassion for the people pitching!

Sharing your idea with a close friend is intimidating enough; sharing it with a group of judges without any context or emotional investment in you or your idea is downright scary.

Preparing for the 2014 competition forced me to refine my concept and face that fear. It opened me up to constructive criticism and gave me the confidence to move forward.

My biggest piece of advice to people interested in the Startup Challenge would be to look at it as an opportunity to improve your business plan and presentation, and as a way to connect with mentors and partners that can collaborate with you on the long road ahead.

My friendships that began through the Startup Challenge have been so much more valuable than any cash prize.

•••

For a look back at when Katie's Coldpress got its start, check out "Monterey County's Katie's Coldpress, puts on a smart squeeze play."

Deadlines for the next Startup Challenge arrive March 13.

For more on Startup Challenge Monterey Bay, which has awarded $350,000 to date, click through to the website.

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