For a decade of my life, I was a vegetarian.
In my late teens working at a pizza shop, my Jamaican, Rastafarian Manager Anita challenged me to abstain from consuming any animal products for a couple weeks, after I marveled at her lifelong dedication to vegetarianism. After the first two weeks, I felt amazing both physically and mentally, and those two weeks became 10 years. The discipline became part of my persona.
Every now and then, my current savage, carnivorous self will revert to vegetarianism for a short period of time as a form of “detox” and “reset.” One of my favorite things to ingest during these times are raw, cold pressed juices. Any frigid drink with real ingredients like ginger root, lemon, kale, and cayenne give you a jolt like that first sip of coffee hitting your lips in the morning. You know something is happening to your body immediately.
One of the juicing companies that recently caught my attention is Nature’s Thirst Trap in Los Angeles. I was initially attracted to their beautifully shot and vibrantly colored social media posts. After connecting with CEO Imani Jackson and her describing her fateful path towards starting the juice business and what continues to drive her, I knew this was a story that more people should know about. There are dozens upon dozens of shops selling cold-pressed juices in the greater Los Angeles area. With so many choices, I believe it is that much more important to know the story behind the business you choose to support.
Nature’s Thirst Trap does more than just serve cold-pressed juices.
It targets the parts of Los Angeles classified as “food deserts,” defined as areas with limited access to affordable, fresh, and nutritious food. These are the areas where there are too few grocery stores selling fresh produce and far too many easy-to-access and cheap fast food joints. One of these long-time food deserts is the city of Compton, where Jackson grew up; therefore, Nature’s Thirst Trap is more than just selling juice. It is a way of giving back to her community and similar communities in the area. In addition to providing nutrient-packed juices, Nature’s Thirst Trap further helps these communities by educating residents on healthy eating in hopes of sparking long-lasting changes.
Our Interview with Nature’s Thirst Trap’s CEO Imani Jackson
Free Range Kings (FRK): What inspired you to start Nature’s Thirst Trap?
Nature’s Thirst Trap CEO Imani Jackson (Jackson): I became vegan back in 2017 after I was introduced to the benefits of veganism in the documentary What the Health. The documentary led me to my decision to go vegan cold turkey. That year, I experienced the difficulty of finding vegan foods in Compton, where I resided, and in nearby neighborhoods. I had to travel about 20 minutes out of Compton for vegan food and raw juice.
One Friday night, I went to a meditation circle in Santa Monica, where I focused on discipline and experienced a calling to purchase a juicer. I made it to Target right before closing and got myself a juicer. Juicing was an easy way for me to get my daily nutrients in, but oftentimes I would feel too busy to juice for myself. I knew if I was experiencing this, so were others who wanted to eat healthier amid their busy schedules.
The struggle of living in a food desert inspired my process of starting a juice bar in my city.
FRK: How did you learn the process of juicing, as well as managing your own business?
Jackson: I learned how to juice by watching one video on YouTube, and from there, I started to experiment with different vegetables, fruits, and herbs. I’d put them in mason jars and write crazy names on them for fun. I would occasionally post them and receive good laughs because of the names and a few questions about the taste and benefits. I had no actual intentions to sell them until one of my mom’s friends suggested that I should. That triggered the thought of starting. It took me about a year to plant the seed.
I’ve always listened to podcasts with a focus on entrepreneurship like Side Hustle Pro and Girl Boss Radio. So, once I started the business, I had a little knowledge and some idea on what I needed to do next. My own creativity certainly helped as well.
FRK: What is the product concept?
Jackson: The concept behind the menu items is to provide nutrition in every bottle and educate the consumers of those nutrients. Each juice offers its own benefits, and those benefits of each ingredient are listed on the back of each bottle. It’s important to me that we educate the community of living foods and their benefits, so we can move towards making better nutritional choices to combat chronic disease.
The industry has strategically conditioned people to forget about the healing power of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Nature’s Thirst Trap is not only dedicated to serving juices, but also teaching people about the plant foods.
“The struggle of living in a food desert inspired my process of starting a juice bar in my city.”
FRK: What are the health benefits of raw and unpasteurized juices?
Jackson: Drinking raw and unpasteurized juices is the best way to ensure no preservatives or chemicals have been added into your beverages. Nature’s Thirst Trap’s juices are always prepared fresh per order to ensure that more nutrients will be gained.
FRK: What do you think sets you apart from other juice vendors?
Jackson: What separates Nature’s Thirst Trap from other juice vendors is the fact that we make it our duty to educate our community on plant foods, not just serve them what we’re creating. There are juice bars out there that claim they are affordable so that everyone can have access to them. However, they continue to open doors in neighborhoods that do not look like my own. In a sense, they are still feeding into some sort of idea that health and wellness is upper class elitism.
This is where Nature’s Thirst Trap comes in. We are committed and dedicated in refreshing urban communities with raw juices and love.
FRK: What specific communities/neighborhoods are you targeting?
Jackson: The communities and neighborhoods we are currently targeting are food deserts across greater Los Angeles. We offer free delivery to those who live in Watts and will deliver to those in surrounding neighborhoods for $5. We also ship nationwide and offer the option of pick-ups.
FRK: What are your top-selling juices, how often do you add new items, and what is the process to test a juice recipe before making it available?
Jackson: Our top-selling items are Beet It Up and Pineapple Express. Pineapple Express is a great alternative to high sugar and high processed fruit drinks. We can guarantee that Beet It Up is the best beet juice you’ll ever experience. We are currently in the process of releasing some new summer flavors which are refreshing.
The process of testing a juice recipe includes me listing out some ideas in my notes, juicing them, and allowing friends and family to try them out. My family and friends are honest, so I consider what they have to say about the juices in the test round.
FRK: Describe your marketing technique and how you have gotten and continue to get your name out there.
Jackson: In such a short span of four months, Nature’s Thirst Trap has reached over 1,000 followers and has delivered to celebrities like Estelle. I think that the name of the brand and label designs reeled people in, while the taste kept them coming back. I think people could also see how authentic and genuine I am. Amid that, I think the images I captured and posted on Instagram proved that this was a legit brand. I do my product shots myself and try to be consistent on posting daily to remind people that we are here for them. I’m learning new skills every day!
FRK: How can someone purchase Nature’s Thirst Trap products?
Jackson: One can purchase drinks from our website at Nttjuice.com.
We plan on expanding into doing food markets, subscriptions, and eventually, opening our own physical location. As of now, we offer delivery, pick up, and shipping.
FRK: In addition to providing a healthy product to communities long referred to as “food deserts,” are there other ways you are educating these communities on healthy eating?
Jackson: Yes, as mentioned earlier, it is extremely important for me to educate our communities on healthy eating through Nature’s Thirst Trap. We also have a coloring book for children called Fruit for Thought. The coloring book is for children to express themselves creatively while learning the name of fruits and their benefits.
FRK: How receptive have your targeted communities been to your products and mission?
Jackson: I wasn’t shocked to see that my targeted communities have been extremely supportive. I have heard from some about how helpful Nature’s Thirst Trap has been in their lives. The Beet It Up juice has helped lowered blood pressure, Pineapple Express has cleared mucus caused by asthma, and the Gin and Juice has fought colds! All three have aided in the weight loss journey of a few. This has been such a fulfilling and rewarding experience.
“What separates Nature’s Thirst Trap from other juice vendors is the fact that we make it our duty to educate our community on plant foods, not just serve them what we’re creating.”
FRK: What is next for Nature’s Thirst Trap?
Jackson: A couple of my short-term goals is to expand by doing food markets, offering juice subscriptions, and purchasing a refrigerated truck for deliveries. The long-term goal is to open a physical location that would be more than just a juice bar. The physical location would be a safe space for the community to come in and release their traumas, express gratitude, share art, and learn about holistic health practices. I would love to incorporate weekly discussions with my community in this same space as well.
FRK: Describe anything else that you would like the Free Range Kings audience to know about you and the business.
Jackson: Nature’s Thirst Trap strives to offer juices that do not sacrifice flavor or health. We are rooted in love and wellness and these are things I am proud of.
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