Writer's Notes: Local Jersey City vendors, Squeeze'D, have been great friends with #Baonanas for quite awhile now. Lloyd recollects #Baonanas' first encounter with the juice masters during our first ever participation at the Pacific Flea market here in Jersey City.

"They helped us out without hesitation," Lloyd said. "We didn't have a tent and they offered us one, told us about industrial clips and gave us advice."

Other than having such humble hearts and warm welcomes, Lloyd continuously praises the beverages Squeeze'D provides to their customers. Compared to other juice shacks and shops that carry out cold-press smoothies, Squeeze'D promotes healthy drinking with the use of fresh fruits and vegetables made on the spot! That's right. If you ever come across these guys at the Farmer's Market, it is 100% guaranteed your drink is made FRESH with their blenders and ingredients on deck!

This week, Lloyd had the opportunity to chat with Squeeze'D founders Carolyn and Victor to see why they're #Baonanas about grinding things up at Squeeze'D! Check it out below!

And as for next week, we will take a break from #WAYBF as we have a huge project in the works! So, if you have a withdrawal, make sure you've got the chance to check out the other stories and profiles we've shared! Thanks guys!

Were there any moments for you guys that kinda stood out [in this business]? 

V: I would have to say, for me personally, it would have to be last year's season participating in some festivals. You believe in the hype because everybody, right away, jumps it up. They might have a Facebook page or something and you right away go with the flow and then you end up wasting time. More than money, ultimately you are going to pay to be there but it’s more time than anything.

This year, we weren’t blown away. We had a set questions, we ask specific questions. [...] We need to know how many years you’ve been doing it, who’s gonna be there, different things.

C: We look at the sponsors. We do all that before we commit. We wanna make sure that they're at least close to what they are pitching to us. So we’ve learned to make better choices as far as festivals and events that we chose to participate in this year. [...] One is always expect the unexpected and be okay with it.

Last year, I’ll never forget the first market day, it was a disaster and then right after that we lost our vehicle. So you wind up having to rent a U-haul truck for a week until we were able to purchase a truck. This year, we had our van sized right to buy a riding truck but it still works. [..] You have to ride it out and then at the end of the night like wow, I can’t believe we actually made it thru. That’s always gonna make you stronger. That’s one thing.

The second thing that I’ve learned is don’t set your expectation levels as far as what you are going to make for each [market] and not every market and not every festival, not every event is the same or every day. 

If you’re in business for yourself, you can’t be scared. The best thing you can do is plan it out the best of your ability and then ask your pair the possible and ride the wave no matter what comes. Some times that wave is high and will take you for an awesome ride and sometimes you are gonna crash.

Where were you guys in your life and how did the idea Squeeze’d come to be? How did this transition from, I think we’re gonna do it, how did that come about?

C: Victor and I have been friends now for 17 years. I used to be roommates with his Uncle and that's how he and I met way back, when our kids were really small. He was married at the time and I was doing my thing in corporate America running around in French heels all over Manhattan five days a week.

So fast forward, I decided to relocate back home to New York City. I was coming out of a domestic violent relationship and had to go into hiding for two years. I just got to a point in my life where I felt I was suffocated. I wasn’t living what I felt to be living.

V: When it comes to Squeeze’D, I think I was already on a lifestyle change since about 2010. I got training for 11 months. I lost over for a 100 pounds. I’ve been on a slight of a roller coaster. Since then, up down up down up down. And a relationship that didn’t end well but it ended.

C: We needed a real friend, we trusted each other. He would vent to me his situation. I would vent to him about what I wanted to do. And I started doing art showcasing in New York City. I’m an artist that painted and [do] professional photography and make up and things like that. At that point, I was just starting that venture. I've always been an entrepreneur. I always been doing that on the side.
[...]
That’s where that lifestyle change comes in where we both wanted to be healthy. And I used to be smoker. I quit smoking. I was like 30 years in smoking. I gained weight. He always had his own issue with weight. We both came together and changed how we treat ourselves. And that’s really where the journey started. He decided to do a 60 day juice detox. I did a 10 day.

How was that? Was that fun?

V: It was brutal. It was hard. First two weeks, it was tough. Then after that, it was second nature. [... I] started to create recipes where I can tolerate them 'cause they started to get a little nasty to me. Taste wise, I got tired of the greens, reds and browns.

You are always going to be faced by a bunch of anxiety, fear, doubts and that’s just at the cost of any accomplishments and transformation of your life that’s always going to be there. It’s a common theme I’m seeing in every single business owner. Have you guys been able to kind of deal of that. Whenever you find yourself in a moment like that, how do you slowly begin to reframe yourself?

C: This is funny. I find it funny because I am of the belief that fear is just an emotion and it’s just going to pass. So I have to think logically and I've got to think numbers. That what’s going apply in the decision I’m going to make.  [...] Every entrepreneur is a chance taker. A lot of people say, “No, you don’t wanna take chances.” But the fear can hold you back.

With Victor, the way I do it, I will plant the seeds two months in advance. When there's something coming up that I know is a good thing for Squeeze’d. I think of Squeeze’d. I don’t think about Victor and Caroline, and our staff. I think about Squeeze’d.

Outside of the business, what else are you guys #Baonanas for or what are other activities do you guys like to do when working on the business?

V: Honestly, I have no other passions right now. Right now it is all about Squeez’d. I personally do have to find a way to disconnect and do some that I enjoy. Like I said earlier, you know my journey on a lifestyle change start on 2010. I really would like to get back to that. I really would like to get back to fitness not for anyone but myself.

I don’t really believe that I’m representing my business in the right way because I’ve given it everything. I think I’ve slacked on the true lifestyle and fitness level of it. Ultimately, what I really want to do is, when you do see me, you see that I’m living that Squeeze’d lifestyle - whether be food, fitness, being real and honest, having integrity. That’s what I want to give out.

C:  I really would like to focus on being more of an advocate; talking to other women and young girls about my experiences [as a survivor of domestic violence] and hopefully teach them what resources are available.I just want to help the next female that's in that situation. I’m very pro-woman and am always making sure that I inspire or help inspire women to be their best.

[...]
If I can help one woman, I feel like my time here would’ve been absolutely amazing. I don’t feel like I've done anything unless I help somebody do something. And that is one of my biggest passions: helping other women grow and learn about themselves and understand that they are strong, and can fulfill a lot of dreams. You have to be real with yourself.

What's your advice to others to be motivated in what they do?
 
C: One of the things that Victor and I decided very early on [with Squeeze'D], which something that I would tell anyone starting their own business is, baby steps. Don’t get excited with everything that happens because I noticed with a lot of vendors, they come out or whatever, and then I don’t know. New York shines a little something in front of them and they run over there and they get suck in to this. And next thing you know I think they kinda even forget really why they started it.

One of the things we both decided on, was that we are not gonna leave Jersey City. We don’t wanna do markets in New York right now, we don’t want do events in New York right now. We don’t wanna go, we want to stay home. We live here. We work with the community here. We wanna build it here. This is home-based for us.

Be sure to check out Squeeze'D at this year's All About Downtown this weekend, September 17! Or check them out by Grove St. PATH during the week as well. For updates, make sure to "Like" their Facebook page and follow them on Instagram!

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