Featured Profile: Janine Allis squeezes the most out of business
Bec Fary / July 08, 2013 04:13 PM
Health food entrepreneur, Who’s Who entrant and self-described “girl from the ‘burbs”, Janine Allis is no stranger to struggle and success.
Photo credit: Boost
When Janine opened her first Boost Juice store in 2000, her Adelaide landlord said he’d keep the ‘For Lease’ sign handy, expecting the business to flop.
But what began as a humble juice bar in Adelaide has now grown into an international empire. Boasting 250 stores across 14 countries, Boost Juice is the world’s largest and fastest-growing smoothie chain.
When Janine realised she wanted to start her own business, her dream was to do something different.
Unsure how to enter the entrepreneurial market, Janine and her husband, former Austereo radio executive Jeff Allis, first tried their hand at publishing and touring comedians.
However, nothing took hold and not until after a trip to the US did Janine feel truly inspired. Seeing the success of the Californian juice bars, Janine came to realise what was lacking in the Australian market: healthy fast food.
As one of the first Australian stores to offer a loyalty program, Janine built her customer base one by one.
Now, 13 years after the first store, no shopping centre is complete without the distinctive whir of juice blenders, blaring music and neon Boost signs.
Boost currently sells over 1 million juices and smoothies every month and goes through more than 50 tonnes of mangoes each year.
But it’s not just the Boost Juice market plan that sets the business apart. Janine’s warm, giving and inspiring leadership style has allowed the store to craft its own unique place within the retail sector, reflecting the business motto ‘love life’.
“If someone comes up and says ‘I’ll try and do it’, we say ‘don’t try, just do it’,” Janine says on the Boost website.
This positive attitude has become the lifeblood of her business.
“So many times through our journey, particularly through building our stores, there have been many ‘no’s that were converted to a ‘yes’.
“If you go in with a positive attitude you can do anything”.
Building the brand from the ground up, Janine has always kept Boost close to her heart.
“I flew to Adelaide to open the first store; I ran it, scrubbed the floors and really learnt the business. It meant I was continually developing and growing it,” she said.
Photo credit: Boost Juice
Even once Boost franchises began popping up all over the country and around the world, sometimes in places as far afield as Estonia and Chile, Janine made sure her management style was direct and consistent.
“If you complained, you could get to me…my email address was in store,” she said in an interview with The Age.
But Janine is quick to give credit to her support team and Boost franchisees, whom she refers to as “partners”.
“They are an important part of the Boost family,” she said.
“Their success is our success and vice versa. Once you’ve put the right people in place, everything is easy.
“A lot of franchisors worry about their top line because they get royalties. We worry about franchisees’ bottom line because we want to make sure they are as successful as possible, because if they’re a solid business it helps the business overall.”
Janine is also very supportive of her crew of young juice-makers, who she’s dubbed the “Boost Army”.
The Boost story is just one chapter in Janine’s broad career life, which includes stints as a media assistant, model, nanny and Camp America counsellor.
Living in France, Janine worked the bar on David Bowie’s yacht where she met Steve Martin, Michael Caine, Mick Jagger, Princess Margaret and served a naked, sunbathing Bowie afternoon drinks.
However, Janine’s biggest achievements would come later in life when, in 2004, she was named Telstra’s Australian Businesswomen of the Year.
Boost has also been inducted into the ‘My Business’ Hall of Fame, named Amex Franchiser of the Year in 2005 and ARA Retailer of the Year in 2007.
A global expansion program is underway, which will see Boost franchises opening in India and Mexico.
Yet Janine’s business prowess does not look like it’s going to stop at smoothies.
Janine’s time in the US sparked a love of “fresh Mex” healthy Mexican food, from which she has opened a growing franchise of Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grills.
With 41 stores and plans to open more, Salsa’s franchises are popping up in shopping centres around Australia.
And as health-conscious teenagers and parents alike slurp smoothies from Boost’s distinctive bright green takeaway cups, the brand has become a symbol for the successful growth of a grass roots business.
Sources: The Age, Australian Businesswomen’s Network, Boost Juice, Women’s Leadership Institute Australia.
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