Brittany Shimmin: Lightning in a (juice) bottle

Brittany_ShimminAt 23, Brittany Shimmin was an inexperienced but incredibly driven entrepreneur with a dream of bringing fresh, sustainable, local food to the Salt Lake Valley in a creative way. The product of that dream—and four years of hard work—is Vive Juicery.

Shimmin, who was born and raised near Sandy, always knew she wanted to be her own boss. She earned a scholarship to the University of Utah, where she planned to major in business and minor in photography. But between going to school full time, working two jobs and living in her own apartment, she was overwhelmed. “I went to one class and canceled everything,” she says. “My parents were furious.”

She spent the next several months trying to figure out what excited and inspired her. She took a part-time job with Massage Envy, gradually working her way up to being general manager of four locations and over 100 employees.

While she gained a valuable business education, massage therapy also introduced Shimmin to the holistic lifestyle. “When you eat better, you feel better. And when you feel better, you show up for your community better; it’s a ripple effect,” she says. “I wanted to play a really active role in that positive ripple.”

Shimmin researched juice bars and came up with a business model. Disheartened at the prospect of taking out a loan or giving up equity to investors, she reached out to the community for support. She raised $7,000 via Kickstarter and a crowdfunding party, then combined it with $3,000 of her own savings.

Vive opened for business in August 2013 as a ready-to-order bottled juice delivery service, “Growing a company organically presented a lot of different challenges,” she says. “I didn’t anticipate how dynamic it would be. I expected long nights, but that first year I was literally working 18-hour days.”

The first juice bar opened in April 2014 in Salt Lake’s Sugar House neighborhood, followed by another in downtown Salt Lake City and the newest, in south Draper. Vive now employs a staff of 25 and contracts with an off-site kitchen facility. In 2016, sales crossed the $1 million mark. “It’s been a really humbling and really amazing experience,” Shimmin says. “It’s been pretty wild to watch this dream come true.”

“The company grew so much faster than I ever could have imagined. My goals change all the time because they always end up being bigger, and I don’t want to limit myself. I want to see where the business takes me.”

By using the cold-press method rather than centrifugal juicing, which uses heat to extract juice more quickly but also starts to break down the nutrients, Vive juices will last three to five days without any pasteurization or preservatives. Vive bottles exclusively in glass. Every recipe includes three to four pounds of locally sourced or certified organic pesticide-free produce.

Shimmin anticipates that Vive will be certified as a zero-waste facility by the end of this year. Customers are encouraged to participate in their bottle exchange program. Through a partnership with Wasatch Community Gardens, over 1,000 pounds of pulp will be donated weekly for use in compost.

She also hopes to open two more locations within the next couple of years. “The company grew so much faster than I ever could have imagined. My goals change all the time because they always end up being bigger, and I don’t want to limit myself,” she says. “I want to see where the business takes me.”