By Rishi Sharma
High school students bear a heavy weight on their shoulders in attempts to fuse their academics, social life, and their wellness into their available time. As a result, teen entrepreneurship is a very rare sight to see amongst high school students all over the globe.
Meet Yara Mersi, DAA’s very own entrepreneur. She’s a Junior, who is doing her first year of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, and simultaneously, is the founder of #JUICES. The company, which was once just a passion, is now a running business that takes orders every day and caters to the students and staff at DAA. The following is an interview with Yara Mersi:
The Pawprint: Tell us your story. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Yara Mersi: Well, I was always in the kitchen, either cooking some dinner, baking some cake, or blending some fruits. Whenever I would make smoothies and juices at home, I realized that most of my friends had a negative outlook on them. Either they perceived them as “too healthy” or something that will help them lose all the pounds. However, when I brought it to my friends and family to try, they fell in love. This is when I decided to launch #JUICES. I began delivering to the students at my school. The more I blended and pressed mouthwatering ingredients, the more I loved the process. I started inventing my own recipes. My thirst to know more turned into taking online courses, offering free juice tastings door to door for more feedback, and even delivering a TED talk on my thoughts. I spoke about how I became vexed at society’s approach to food in light of fad diets, fit teas, and calorie counting. I share my ideas on the importance of food and its influence on the food industry, and how the global perception of nutrition has distorted into an unhealthy obsession. and therefore, being an entrepreneur allows me to pursue my passion and spread my message, especially youth.
TP: What makes #Juices different from the other juice companies out there?
YM: It’s homemade, it’s made to order, and it’s made by me, not a manufacturer or an unmotivated employee. And that’s what makes us special: that personal touch – from production to delivery. Also, we are not your average extreme detox juice bar, but rather one that you can have daily. Through our Instagram, we try to educate people on how to transition and maintain a healthy lifestyle that is both pleasurable and sustainable. We also donate a bottle of juice to the hard-working laborers in Dubai for every order.
TP: How hard is it to manage such a business as a high school student? How much will the IB Diploma affect the business?
YM: Sometimes, the hours in a day feel way too short! With #JUICES, as well as playing basketball, hanging out with friends, doing extracurriculars at school, and also balancing my schoolwork, it may seem like a heavy load, but to me, I see it as a way that makes me use my time efficiently and makes me have no choice but to become more diligent and smart with my study time.
TP: What do your parents feel about such a venture in high school?
YM: Since the time I was really little, my parents kept telling me to always find what I love and do it, and today, they are incredibly supportive.
TP: What message do you have for other high school students that have a passion for entrepreneurship but are not confident enough?
YM: To start with, do the easiest or smallest thing. Sometimes, the hardest part is taking the first step. Therefore, I think that a lot of people think they have to do something life-changing or big, but starting small can be less intimidating.
TP: Do you look forward to continuing the company during university, or even after university?
YM: My future is still pretty open, and I’m not sure exactly what I’ll work on I’m always brainstorming but I do know I’ll find a way to keep it running.
Since the start of the company, the variety of products have gone past juices. #JUICES now offers coffee, protein shakes, energy balls, and more. To find out more and to order, click here.