Crystal was feeling emotionally and physically drained from her job before she finally decided to quit. She didn’t have any plans lined up when she did, which was very unlikely for her. So she decided to pursue something she’s passionate about – stickers and stationery.
Juice Box Club was molded out of creativity, perseverance, and determination. This small business has faced numerous hurdles along the way, from financial uncertainty to unexpected delays in product arrivals. But despite the challenges, Crystal has remained committed to her dream of sharing her unique designs with the world.
Crystal’s designs are inspired by real-life experiences, from personal passions like fitness and mental health to inside jokes with friends. And speaking of friends, Crystal recently launched a new collection of plushies called Boba Friends, inspired by her own friend group and their real-life pets.
Now, her small business is more than just a sticker shop. She is now designing and selling lifestyle items (glassware, tote bags, apparel) and even plushies! Let’s dive into the story of how The Juice Box Club was born.
HOW THE JUICE BOX CLUB CAME TO LIFE
The process of setting up my own stationery shop was very nerve-racking and exciting at the same time. When I first started off, I used Etsy and I had a lot of support from people back home in New York City, where I was born and raised. However, when I learned that it took a huge chunk of the profits, I took it off and started my own website. I registered my shop as an LLC because I felt like this was going to be a long-term commitment.
I decided to start my own stationery shop because it was always a hobby and passion of mine. I would always collect envelopes, paper, and stickers.
The concept of The Juice Box Club came from some drawings I did and then while I was sharing it with my friend, we were messaging about a cute name. The Juice Box Club kinda reminded me a little bit of The Breakfast Club, an extremely memorable movie, and that’s what I wanted my brand to be.
OVERCOMING BUSINESS HURDLES
The challenges I have faced circled around finance, having too many ideas, running it by myself, products not arriving on time, machines not working, and rejection.
Finance — in terms of not knowing if I’ll make any sales this week or the next. I do sign up for a lot of in-person pop-up events! I rely on that more than my online sales since the internet nowadays is so funky with algorithms. I also like interacting with customers because they have an opportunity to get to know the brand firsthand.
Having too many ideas — definitely a challenge because I didn’t wanna grow too fast and then have a bunch of inventory. I used to work in fashion and I was used to always developing NEW items. I felt like I had to do the same with my brand, but I realized that I don’t and it’s okay to slow it down.
Running the business by myself — also pretty hard! Sometimes I would ask my friends if they’d want to help me at bigger events. But most of the time, I’m a one-woman team. I had to do everything from designing, packaging, shipping, content creation, handling emails, etc.
Products not arriving on time — There are times when I outsource items since I don’t have the time or the tools or make them. When I first started, I outsourced my stickers and they were LATE by 1-2 weeks. There was also another time when all of my plushies came EARLY and I had to store 12 big boxes (1,200 plushies total) in my garage and some in my house.
My Cricuit machine was not working in the beginning — I was making and hand-cutting all my stickers. I gave my Cricut a break and went back and tried it again until it finally started to work properly.. after 5 months.
Rejection is something I dealt with a lot growing up, so I thought I’m okay with it by now. But getting rejected by big conventions or wholesale sites hits differently. However, I learned to see it as dodging a bullet. If it’s meant to be, it will be, maybe at the right time.
DESIGNS INSPIRED FROM LIFE
Everything designed in my shop all ties into my life somehow. When I first started, I had seven juice box designs. Six of them were themed — three were inspired by my personal passion for fitness/bodybuilding and the other three were inspired by the importance of mental health because I’m a very functional-anxious person and have a hard time relaxing.
Some of my juice box designs were inspired by my texts with my friends so you might find cute and funny quotes on them. For example, “broke b*tch juice” was inspired by my convo with my bestie, Beth, we always talk about how things are so expensive and how we’re always broke. Or if you see the Pokémon x Soju collection, it was a merge of my childhood and adulthood — because I grew up playing Pokemon with my brother and spent my college years pounding shots of soju.
THE BOBA FRIENDS
Growing up, I didn’t have a consistent group of friends. Most of them just either change or grow apart. But when I moved to California, I met my best friend who later on introduced me to my current friend group.
Some of us in the group have pets, so I then designed characters based on our pets, and their personalities reflect the owner! I called them Boba Friends because boba gatherings are one of the most common hangouts to do now! They have different flavors as well. I own the two cats, Platinum and Luna. My best friend Beth owns Sesame, a lionhead rabbit, and my friend Justin owns Kona, the Shiba Inu. Now none of us owns a bear or frog but I dedicated Ribberto the Frog and his personality to my late friend Josh because it was his favorite.
In the future, I plan to continue producing more drawings and products for The Juice Box Club. I hope to have my products in shops and stationery stores. I am also working on a YouTube channel to show my journey and reach more people.