From Bowie's stewardess to multimillionaire: here's Janine Allis

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You can’t even pretend that you’ve never heard of Boost Juice anymore.

Between the iconic green cups, the blaring kiosk music and youthful staff, Boost Juice feels like it’s everywhere. And that’s because it pretty much is.

It all started in little ol’ Adelaide in 2000 – the quiet, churchy Australian city that shuts-up-shop way before 9pm – by mother of four and the super energetic Janine Allis.

Today the company’s empire stretches across 400 stores in 13 different countries, with global sales exceeding more than $300 million.

That’s pretty good for a 16-year-old school drop-out.

Instead of pursuing university life, she juggled three jobs to pay for an overseas adventure that would build her character and prepare her for professional business life.

Let’s wind it back a bit: it was 1984 and Janine Allis told her family that she was going to embark on the ever so likely overseas backpacker journey. And so she did.

Her global travels didn’t go to plan. They went much better than just to plan. She became a stewardess behind the bar of David Bowie’s yacht; she mingled with late princess Magaret and a bunch of celebrities, also including the late Robin Williams.

When she returned to Australia she was a different woman: a young mother with a two-year old child, almost seven years after she had left the country to embark on her travels.

"What travelling taught me was great tenacity, and to think on my feet.

"When I worked for Bowie it taught me that there are good and bad people whether they are rich, poor, famous, or the local farmer. So it was a really good insight into humans when you travel,” Allis told the BBC.

Some other jobs came, but they went soon after. Allis had a gig as a publicist for a movie company, and an unsuccessful venture into publishing, which she describes to the BBC as “a mug’s game”.

She toured with comedians but struggled to make a buck. This is what lead to the birth of Boost Juice – it was the late 1990s that the seed for her global juice brand was planted.

Inspired by her time mixing with the rich and the famous, Allis had her sights set on a big, bright future. She told the BBC that she didn’t want to work for just anyone – she wanted to be her own boss.

"So I was in America, and I saw the category of the juice and smoothies was just starting to hit its stride.

"And coming back to Australia there was nothing that was healthy, and the increase in obesity was absolutely in line with the fast food increases.

"So I thought wouldn't it be great. Wouldn't it be great if I could create a product that could make being healthy easy? And so with my zero business experience, other than being a nanny and a stewardess on a boat, that didn't really help, I wrote the business plan and off I went,” Allis told the BBC.

After numerous bumps along the way and financial risks (Allis put her house up as collateral) she persevered to find success.

According to Allis, there is no plan B. So for all entrepreneurs and keen self-starters it’s key to remember this: work your tail off and the rewards will find you.


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