Boost Juice executive chairman Jeff Allis has shared a rare glimpse into what it took to build the popular juice retail brand with Janine Allis, saying true collaboration between the pair is what has sustained the 16-year-old brand.
Speaking at the eftpos Australian Retail Awards in Melbourne last week, Allis reflected on the challenging, albeit incredible, journey of building a global brand with his partner in life and business.
“Why did it work?” said Allis.
“Well I think at the end of the day [it was] two minds coming together: me, her.”
Although he is the co-founder of Boost Juice, Allis often stays out of the limelight with Janine being the face of the brand, as well as an investor on Channel Ten’s Shark Tank.
But Allis was once in showbiz himself.
In the late 1990s, Allis was the head of programming at Austereo, Australia’s biggest radio network, which manages major commercial stations like Triple M and Fox FM.
And it was this background that helped him in take the reins at Boost Juice.
“Retail is tough but radio is very tough,” he said.
“You basically create this free medium, you create this product, people don’t have to pay anything for it and they can push a button when they’re in the car and get rid of you within two seconds, and then fill out a diary to show whether they listen to you or not, and you get your results every eight weeks.
“My job was what went on the air.”
During the talk, Allis revealed he played an instrumental role in creating radio personality Kyle Sandilands, who rang in saying Australia needs a “shock jock under 40 persona”.
Allis gave him a shot and the rest is history.
“I don’t know whether I should be happy or sad that I was part of creating the Kyle Sandilands model,” he said.
Using a ‘rate or die’ approach, Allis also put comedy duo Hamish Blake and Andy Lee on the map.
“They walked in and I said, ‘uh, okay well let’s see how we go’. We put them on air on Sunday nights on Fox FM10 till 12.
“[We] gave them some petrol money to drive in, they did that for about eight weeks and it was stark-rating obvious we had the next Australian superstars.”
But Allis says he decided to leave the radio business and start a new adventure when he met Janine.
The dynamic duo launched Boost Juice and changed the game for retailers in Australia and beyond.
“The two meetings of the minds …[The] radio media guy, I was probably arrogant, naïve, no financial background, a bit of a warrior, ‘we can do anything’, [without] a sense of fear,” he said.
“Janine was and is the Boost Einstein.”
With 550 Boost stores around the world “and growing”, Allis showed a fun video to capture the 16 years of growing the business from an idea on paper to where it is today.
“I love that video, it makes it look so easy,” he said.
But he reminded the room that the reality is different.
“We sold our home, almost got divorced,” he said.
Janine echoed the sentiment in a recent interview with StartupSmart, saying the business wouldn’t be where it is today without the dark days.
“What people look for in life, in war, in business, in everything, is a leader,” she said.
Allis says Janine’s sound business sense and ability to drive through any challenge has helped put them back in the ring time and time again.
“Any problem, she can solve it,” he said.
“Any problem that I would present – constantly – whether it be copious amounts of leases on her desk at any one time, or creating all the products, the ingredients.
“This is a woman who had no formal training, who went to Knox Tech School where they taught metalwork and woodwork, and her aspirations from her family were for her to be a secretary.”
To others heading into or already in the midst of their entrepreneurial journeys, Allis encouraged them to surround themselves with great people and say “yes”.
“Train the brave within you,” he said.