The visionary founder of Organic Avenue, Denise Mari brought cold-pressed juices and a high-vibe lifestyle to New York City in 2006, before healthy living was even on most people's radars.
Her lifestyle brand quickly became a local celebrity in its own right, and it was nearly impossible to walk down the street without catching a glimpse of the iconic OA orange tote.
After temporarily closing its doors in 2015, Organic Avenue is now back, with Denise at the helm. With one NYC location reopened this week and three more soon to come, the new OA has evolved from its juice cleanse and raw hemp party roots into a more modern food and beverage destination. (Think strawberry sage kombucha, gluten-free pastries, an organic espresso bar, and pressed sandwiches.)
I reached out to Denise to find out what it means to come back to the brand she describes as her first child and, of course, get an alkalizing green juice recommendation or two along the way.
A Q&A With Denise Mari
What does it mean to you personally to come back to this brand after the ups and downs of the last few years?
Organic Avenue is like my first child. It feels like an overdue reunion—a miracle.
The original Organic Avenue was a resource for products that supported an exciting and abundant vegan, plant-based diet and lifestyle. We had everything from organic clothing and clean beauty products to food preparation classes and movie nights.
With our relaunch, we're mostly focusing on the food. We've brought back the Marketplace, which will feature a growing selection of quick-heat organic, vegan meals, raw soups, and cold-pressed juices bottled in glass. We've also added a Vegan Caffe with a selection of pastries and an organic espresso bar with specialty alternatives like maca lattes made with cashew mylk. Everything that customers can't find in current stores, they'll be able to find online.
You're clearly an expert on all things plant-based. What's your go-to healthy breakfast?
I try new things throughout the year, and my routine often shifts. Right now, I'm focusing on lots of green liquids to start the day. I'll pick up a wheatgrass shot, smoothie, and green juice first thing in the morning so I have what I need to stay nourished, clear, and energized through lunch. I don’t need any heavy foods clouding a fresh start to a new day!
I love packing my green juice with cucumber, kale, spinach, apple, romaine, lemon, parsley and celery. When it comes to green smoothies, I'm a fan of kale, spinach, pear, banana, almond butter and organic soy milk.
How do you maintain balance as a busy woman who's constantly on the go?
When my routine changes, I reinstate healing practices like yoga, meditation, baths, and spiritual meetings. Once I incorporate these practices into my routine, I start to feel the balance returning.
How does your vegan lifestyle translate to your beauty routine? What's your morning skin care ritual?
I am always searching for beauty products that are safe, effective, and don’t rely on animal testing or use animal by-products. I love to be able to look at a product's label and know exactly what's in it—just like I do with my food. I turn to companies like DoTerra, 100% Pure, and Beauty Counter and artisans like Nadine Artemis of Living Libations regularly.
Do you have any go-to supplements?
I get most of my essential vitamins from my LOVE*Lifestyle plant-based diet, but I look to supplements for an added boost. I use a daily B-12 spray and a D3 spray in winter. I also take Garden of Life's whole, plant-based multivitamins twice a day.
I look for methylcobalamin forms of B vitamins and vegan D3s, as most traditional ones are derived from lanolin, an oil made from animal wool.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
I create my own reality. When I don’t like my reality, I can change it. I am constantly challenged to grow and learn.
Think sustainably. Go slowly and spend time learning the things you don’t know. After all, you don’t want to get burned out on the thing you love most. If running your own business seems a bit too overwhelming at first, lend your abilities to an organization that can take over some of the logistics.
I think the best time to chase your own business is when you have an idea that is not being done yet or is not being done well. If someone else is doing a really great job with it already, you may want to think about teaming up to move the cause forward. Both approaches will give you the opportunity to do what you love every day.
What are some important lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?
I still have a lot to learn! Yet I think the best lesson is that everything is a part of the journey, and there's no endgame. I've learned to enjoy the process, stay engaged, and remember why I'm doing what I'm doing.