Boost has been a consistent darling on the investment circuit, catching the eye of the right people at the right moment to ensure impressive growth. Each new wave of investment has enabled the business to move on to ever more impressive growth goals.
Keen for a new challenge, in 2005 Nick and Dr. Soraya Ismail found themselves thinking about their future and that’s when they decided that leaving their corporate lifestyles to bring Boost Juice to Singapore and Malaysia was what they really needed to do.
MEP: What was the research that went into Boost Juice launching this side of the world? I mean, you said so yourself that you’ve been out of the country for most of your life at that point.
S:We could see that the gym culture in Malaysia star ting to take off. In fact, it was more Yoga at the time but we also noticed that were no healthy snacks available in any malls. Yes, there were all these local owned juice stores but they added sugar to it. There was nothing quite like Boost Juice. So, having seen how it was built up in Australia and seeing the fitness revolution grow in Malaysia, we could see that this would fill in the gap and realised it would be a great addition to growing the health industry. Because as you can see in Malaysia, when it comes to trends we’re always just a little bit behind about 10 to 15 years. But that gives you the opportunity to grow.
So when we decided to do it, we focused on the business phase, did some surveys and travelled back to Malaysia to make sure we knew the rules and laws. Because Malaysia has strongly enforced franchise laws. So, we checked what the implications of what we’re about to embark on, spoke to friends and family as potential customers. We did the whole business case for the franchiser. So, we dedicated ourselves for one month and then proceeded to work on about eight months on negotiations with the franchiser because obviously, at the time I was still working. It took us altogether about a year before we actually signed on the dotted line.
MEP: How has social media helped in growing your business?
S:Well, its helped us the same way its helped ever y other F&B outlet. I guess for us in terms of our demographic. A big portion of our demographic is within the 18 to 35 year old individuals who are fairly active. Social media basically comes down to people’s opinions. Its just another channel for you to tell people who you are. But, when it comes down to it, no matter how good you portray yourself to the consumers out there, you still need to back it up with your own brand promises and your end product. Its good and all having great social presence in this world but if you don’t have a proper product and a customer ser vice and actually deliver to your promise, you have nothing.
But I think social media is good because people can share their experience with your brand, if its good they spread the news but at the same time if you have a bad experience they also share it, right? So, its a double edge sword. It’s relatively cheap compared to traditional methods of advertising, so that benefits all types of businesses. So much cheaper to get the word out.
So, you got to take it with a pinch of salt and navigate through it.
MEP: Between 2015 to 2016 the juice trend sort of reached its peak. At one point there was just too many juice businesses. How did boost juice stay here through all of this?
S:I never saw this as a trend and that’s the difference between Boost Juice and many other fad-ish brands that have come and gone. We star ted this business from scratch and grew it ver y slowly in a sustainable manner. There are some products where today you see nothing and tomorrow you see 40 stores out there; and in two years time you see half of them closed and the business die out within four years. We have now been in the market for eight years, we star ted from scratch with one store. Then, another three in six months and expanded even more the next six months.
Eight years down the line, we now have 90 plus stores across Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore. It’s about focusing on your core business. Trends are going to happen, fads are going to happen and there are going to be businesses that operate that way but our business model has never been to be a fad or a trend. To us, it is basically freshly made to order smoothies and juices made with quality products and great service which obviously is a challenge. And good looking, clean outlets that makes you feel just a little bit better about yourself than you did when you first came in. We’re like a luxurious treat or just a drink to make you feel good about yourself.
We just never stop and Boost Juice is not just about our juices. Actually, our best selling are our smoothies but of course juice is still a big par t of our brand as it takes 30 per cent of sales especially in Malaysia because its a hot country, its refreshing. So, we’re going to keep growing and keep to our brand pillars.
When asked of Boost Juice’s plans within the next five years, Dr. Soraya in her bright manner expressed that there’s nothing more to do but to sustain themselves and grow continuously. Recently, the brand has expanded to having outlets at specific Shell petrol station locations. And, as an extension to Boost Juice, she has set up London Sandwich Cafe (LSC) that serves grab-to-go healthy salads and sandwiches now open in NuSentral, KLCC and Taman Desa. In a couple of months in fact, Boost Juice will grow to a hundred stores in Malaysia alone.