Photos and videos courtesy of Cam Culture Media
“No matter how successful you are outwardly or how financialy gainful, if you can look in the mirror and smile, you are doing a great job.” Matthew Sherman
When news got out that Jugo Fresh closed all stores, everyone was left wondering why? Where are we going to get fresh acai bowls and healing juices in Wynwood now? Where are the yogis in the area going to go on their breaks between classes? Where will we get fresh juices, smoothies, and ginger shots while shopping at Whole Foods? A plant-based haven in Miami, Jugo Fresh catered to the health-conscious in the community. Despite the chain’s popularity, it wasn’t able to stay in business to the dismay of many. But why? is what everyone was asking.
Last week on Thursday, April 12, 2018, IVY Social University presented: “A Founder’s Journey.” The candid conversation was conducted by Barry Stamos, founder of start-up support organization Miami Made and a friend of Jugo Fresh founder Matthew Sherman.
Barry asked Matthew some of the questions that fans of Jugo Fresh had on their minds: “What happened? Do you think the business would have worked if the prices didn’t get so high? What would you have done differently?” And his fans are many. The venue was packed with some of his close friends, Miami vegans, and other conscious business lovers. Watch the conversation below:
Taking place in the Sacred Space, the intimate conversation also had a spiritual element. Matthew talked about his journey from a 360lb high school kid to a juice maven. After improving himself with juices, he began making them for friends who wanted cleanses. Through word of mouth, the entrepreneur started to get more and more clients. At one point, he was making so many juices that he had to wash them in his bathtub (top secret information) and work around the clock. Still, he was making about .67 per hour, but it was a labor of love, which he felt inexplicably called to do. Eventually, in 2011 he opened a place in Sunset Harbor, and the business grew.
He revealed his early struggles being diagnosed with a learning disability. He also discussed his dad’s influence on him and how he felt that he was never good enough because his dad always wanted him to do more. When he got his Master’s degree, his dad wanted him to get a Ph.D. An egotistical desire to make his father proud influenced his decision to expand the successful business into Whole Foods at his father’s suggestion.
He confessed that many of his decisions became ego-based. While at the beginning of the Jugo Fresh journey, he was hands-on, making the juices himself and knowing the recipes for everything they sold, at one point, he didn’t even know how the machines worked. He let it go. Without hands-on attention, the business started to slip.
He talked about the importance of not listening to others. He revealed that when he opened the first location in Sunset Harbor, people told him he was crazy. When he launched the Wynwood spot, everyone criticized him too. When he made the deal with Whole Foods, they all said he was a genius, and that was the deal that led him to lose control of the enterprise. He let it get to his head. Very humbly, the man behind the freshest juice spot in Miami talked about his rise and fall journey. But in the end, did he really fail?
He inspired so many in the community. One of his customers, a nightclub owner from Miami Beach, became such a fan of his plant-based concoctions that he recently opened the vegan restaurant Planta.
Overall, we still think that Matthew is a hero and as his close friend Jud Ireland, Chairman of Wisdom Trust Capital and Foundation, said Matthew’s path is similar to a hero’s journey. He said: “When I first spoke to Matt about Jugo Fresh, he told me one of his important goals was to help a lot of people, to see how many jobs he could create in the community. Matt is a good friend of mine. I am here because I want to pay respect to a man who became very successful then shut his business down and has the heart to give, the heart to share his story for others to learn from his experiences. Matt is extraordinary.”
I think Jud definitely captured everyone’s opinion of the man of the night.