When Jeff Dunn took the CEO reins at Juicero in late 2016, his first big move was bold even for a start-up best known for disrupting the cold-pressed juice industry with its novel single-serve packs. Heading into the pivotal holiday season, the former president of Coca-Cola North America made the decision to slash the revolutionary juicer's headline-worthy $699 price tag to $399 to see how the reduction impacted sales of this big-ticket item.
The end result? Juicero sold as many presses in four days as they had in the previous four months.
“We had tremendous results,” says Dunn. The price drop translated to a 20 percent monthly growth, customers ordering more packets more week, and exciting momentum as the company pushes into 2017, raising $120 million to date.
Gayle King gifted a Juicero to Oprah, who flipped for the food-tech concept—giving all 400 people who worked on A Wrinkle in Time their own juicer.
Then there was the Oprah effect: Gayle King gifted a Juicero to Oprah, who flipped for the food-tech concept—giving all 400 people who worked on A Wrinkle in Time their own juicer in a very public way.
That giftable quality is exactly what Dunn is looking to cultivate with the brand in this era of hyper-wellness. “Ultimately, what we care deeply about is the relationship with the consumer," he says. To that end, the CEO's focused on giving people the physical experience of Juicero—currently the company's in 11 Whole Foods with self-serve juice bars, and he's working with Williams Sonoma as another place people can experience the product before buying.
So what, exactly, allows Dunn to make big risks at work while still staying grounded?
Here, Dunn talks about setting work-related intentions, finding outside-the-box inspiration, and using a to-do list to keep you motivated.
What led you to becoming the CEO of Juicero?
I’ve always been in some form of food and beverage and distribution, whether in big corporate life, venture-backed— I’m still a partner Acre Venture Partners—or private equity-backed companies. I’ve gone from Coke to carrots. And the thread that runs through it all is innovation. Innovation with a purpose is what I’ve been about, and Juicero is ultimate expression.
"I have to help people who come from very different worlds see how interconnected it is."
What was the biggest challenge you didn't expect to face at Juicero?
Juicero is very tech-driven, [but] we’re also dealing with farmers—and it can be difficult for them to understand each other. It requires a great deal of collaboration. Pressing air isn’t going to be very nourishing, and veggies and fruits are just a commodity without the press. So at an organizational level I have to help people who come from very different worlds see how interconnected it is.
Was there a key decision you made that was a turning point for Juicero?
The price reduction that we did for Black Friday, which we’ve now continued with, was a big turning point. It’s been interesting to see that when people can buy the juicer for less money, they end up getting more of the juicing packets per week. On average, customers are buying 10 packets per week, which is double what we modeled. This gives me a lot of confidence in the platform. People are experiencing the benefits of starting their day with a green juice.
"People are experiencing the benefits of starting their day with a green juice."
In terms of Juicero’s own corporate culture, how do you walk the walk as a wellness company?
We serve vegan food to our team, give them all presses, and we charge 50 percent less on packets. We want them to have the vitality they need to live the kind of high-performance life they all aspire to. In deference to all my years at Coca-Cola, there’s no dissonance at Juicero.
How do you start each day?
I stare at the ceiling first and let my consciousness come back into my body. I think about my day. Overarching all of it, I ask myself what my intention is for the day. If I do this I tend to have a better day. For example, I might have a lot of meetings with my senior leadership team, so it might be an intention about how the team is relating to each other. Culture beats strategy every time. I tend to think more about cultures, and this comes through in my daily intentions.
"I have an iPad with a pen and I cross things off my list and it makes me happy."
How do you keep yourself grounded and inspired?
In terms of my personal practice, I meditate daily. Also, during stressful times I take a walk outside. It slows me down. Being in a start-up environment, there’s so much info flying at you and nature allows me to synthesize it all. My wife is wildlife photographer and she goes to Africa two or three times a year, so I live vicariously through her a little bit.
A CEO’s to-do list is always long. What's your favorite efficiency hack?
Once I’ve set that daily intention, that translates into my to-do lists. I have an iPad with a pen and I cross things off my list and it makes me happy. I literally have a spring in my step when I crank through it. There's no substitute for doing the work. There isn’t anything else. It’s about the discipline of doing it every day.
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