Figuratively speaking, Angela Yee serves tea every morning on The Breakfast Club à la her popular radio segment "Rumor Report". Literally speaking, Ms. Yee also proves she's got the juice by serving juices and smoothies at her shop, Juices for Life, in the heart of Brooklyn, New York.
When I first met Angela Yee a few years ago, I was interning at her radio station, and noticed she'd have a green juice for breakfast each and every morning. Fast forward five years later, and who knew that what the female lead of the biggest radio shows in the country was putting into her body, would later lead to what she'd put into her business, and more importantly, what she'd put into Brooklyn.
Recently, I got the chance to catch up with Angela at the Brooklyn spot she called hers. We traded gems and talked about everything from Juices for Life's conceptualization to how she's groomed her hustler mentality over the years. As she placed the finishing touches on my smoothie, she revealed to me some insight into her purpose, "This neighborhood is changing really quickly, and I feel like it's important for us to have businesses in our neighborhoods too. Instead of letting other people come from the outside and put these businesses here and make money off of our environment, we should make that money ourselves. Also, it was what I was putting here. There's a lot of fast food places, there's a lot of liquor stores, things like that. I really wanted to put something that I feel would be positive and beneficial for people, but also be really fun to be at. It's kind of like we made it cool to be healthy!"
Cool and cozy, to be exact.
I scoped the shop as I sipped my "Morning Rush," a peanut butter-based protein drink, and couldn't help but feel like I was in a home away from home. Angela, who partnered with TBC co-host DJ Envy and rapper Styles P back in 2016 to open a location in Brooklyn, confirmed that the cozy feel of the shop is intentional.
However, making sure the shop's aesthetic was as appealing as the drinks are appetizing did not come cheap. "This was my first time opening a business and I realized it was very costly," she said. "This place needed a lot of work done. A lot. Gut renovation type of work. We spent a lot of money just making sure that the place looked incredible. We had a real designer from GUCCI do a wall at our juice bar, you know what I'm saying? And everybody comes and takes pictures in front of that wall."
"I just wanted people to come in and be like, 'I'm so proud of what this juice bar looks like. It's so cool, I just want to hang out here.' All the kids come in, they love it, they run up and down. It's nice and open. It looks like you're at a brownstone in Brooklyn," she continued.
However, decor isn't the only thing important to Angela when it comes to business. Attention to detail is one thing, but intention in business is a different thing altogether. With certain juices labeled under the ailment they provide aid to (e.g. "Hypertension High," "Sore Throat," "Ulcers," etc.), Angela is not just selling juices, she is offering better health immunity and hope to the community. Something she feels is, well, priceless. She shared:
"Purpose and passion in your profession is everything."
"There is nothing better than when you can make money doing something that you're really excited about and that you really enjoy and can see results [from]. When you see people that come into Juices for Life, every day and they're like, 'Oh, this woman in my building has cancer and I've been bringing her juices every day and it's the only thing that makes her feel better.' Things like that are really important to us," Angela revealed as she beamed with joy. "One woman was like, 'I have high blood pressure, and I see you had the juice bar and I came in here, and now my blood pressure is normal.' It's things that make a difference in people's lives. When kids come up to you and say, 'I never thought of owning a business, but now that you have this business here, I feel I can do it too. That's inspirational and it means a lot more than anything."
She also confirmed that it's not her business prerogative to ever have people overpay for a good juice. As a matter of fact, the radio personality added new dimension to the familiar adage of "health is wealth" by affirming to people that they don't have to be wealthy to be healthy. Angela's drinks are not only fresh ("Never frozen, never pureed"), they are also large in serving and start at just $5 a pop. Talk about cost-effective.
Angela is creating her own lane and attaining success by her own means in her own way. However, despite winning in more ways than one, Angela is no overnight success story, nor does she glamorize the grind. She has been very transparent in the past about her own slow-cooked rise to fame. Among her confessions, the media maven has spoken openly in the past about taking a major pay cut when she took her first job in radio.
Having had her share of trial and error when it comes to career and financial woes, Angela has decided to take her efforts in the detox game up another notch by hosting "Wealth Wednesdays," a weekly financial workshop held at Juices for Life that teaches others how to detox from debt too. Not only is health wealth, knowledge is too, and Angela has made it her mission to spread both to her community in abundance.
When it comes to career prosperity, Angela can't stressed that a patient spirit, as well as a proegressive mentality are keys to success. "I tell everybody this, especially the people around me, wherever you're at right now, you have to be thinking about what's next: 'How can I progress in life? What am I going to do that is going to make a difference to the world and also going to make me happy?' But we also have to be patient," she stated.
"Sometimes it takes a while to get to where we want to get to. It could take years. It could take more than 10 years. It could take 20 years - but you just have to be doing things that put you on a path to get there."
Yet, even at the top, it's always important to know how to work at the bottom, especially when transitioning from being a top-tier employee to a first-time employer. After all, with barely a handful of folks on staff per shift, Angela's shop is indeed a small business, and she is very clear that, when need be, she is ringing the register, making the juices and "cleaning the bathrooms" too.
All in all, to live a life of purpose appears to be well worth the work to attain it. During our time together at the "brownstone" juice bar, patrons of all ages were sure to stop and greet the lady of the house.
They say 'home is where the heart is,' and Ang hustles with hers. "It's important for you to do more than one thing. Sometimes we get really caught up in our 9 to 5 job that we have every day, and then we're like 'Ok, now I go home and relax!' We've all had jobs when we've woke up in the morning and was like, 'Should I call out?' Nobody wants to feel like that every single day. A lot of people will complain like, 'I hate my job, I hate my boss. I hate my coworkers.' Well then you gotta do something about it!"
"It's one thing to complain about it and make moves, but it's another thing to just complain about it every day and do nothing about it."
"It's really important for you to make sure that you're also set up like, 'What am I going to be doing in the future? Is this where I want to be five years from now? Have I hit a ceiling from where I'm at? Do I feel like I could be happier?' I think life is all about trying to pursue those things that make you happy. There is nothing better than when you have a life that you're passionate about, and things that you enjoy and that are good for your own spirit."
We'll drink to that!
Follow Juices for Life on Instagram and keep up with Angela Yee @angelayee.
Featured image by Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com