We can’t be the only ones who start half of our Mondays pledging to eat better this week; to work out more, get more sleep, take better care of ourselves. But it’s easier said than done! Luckily this week’s Woman We Love has us Chicago girls covered. Anne Owen, Owner of Owen + Alchemy, Chicago’s chef-driven cold-pressed juice bar located in Logan Square, is here to help!
If you are in the market for cold-pressed, plant-based juices, smoothies, nut milks in Chicago, Owen + Alchemy should definitely be on your radar. Started by Owen in 2014, the store is now announcing two brand new locations. As a recent winner of the #FLATSprojects by Cedar Street Developers, Owen + Alchemy will open a new storefront shop this summer at the Lawrence House in the Uptown neighborhood. In addition, all-new pop-up location within Lincoln Park’s stylish élu Boutique will give us all much less reason to NOT juice it up. Anne explains the benefits of actually, really taking care of yourself…
HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN THE HEALTH INDUSTRY?
I began my journey in the health industry as a consumer. I was living a fast-paced lifestyle in publishing and found that when I took care of myself and ate a fresh, mostly plant-based diet, I felt brighter, clearer, could accomplish much more, and basically keep up with the crazy world I was living in. I learned how much power food has over your well-being and mental state. At the time, there was a significant void in healthy food options in Chicago and I was excited to create a concept that would provide people access to delicious and convenient plant-based food.
WHAT LED YOU TO FOCUS ON PRESSED JUICES?
Juices are convenient and portable. You can get all the nutrients you need on the fly and/or take them with you for the day. They are literally the easiest way for a busy person to make sure they get all the whole, plant-based nutrients, minerals and enzymes their body is craving.
Our juices are all cold-pressed and raw. They are as nutrient dense as you can get. There is an average of 3-5 lbs of produce in each bottle. We try to get creative with our elixirs and introduce unique flavors, unexpected blends, and ingredients that people may not be familiar with and that provide real health benefits.
CONGRATS ON YOUR WIN WITH #FLATSPROJECTS! WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
Thanks so much! I am so thrilled. Being a part of the #FLATSproject is especially meaningful because it was the dream of a dear friend of mine who passed away last year. To have a space in a project that was designed by him is special. I feel his energy in so many elements of building.
CHICAGO FOOD IS TYPICALLY KNOWN FOR JUNK FOOD LIKE PIZZA AND HOT DOGS. HOW ARE YOU CHANGING THIS PERCEPTION?
Chicago is changing. There is a real and honest curiosity about what we are up to and the plant-based lifestyle. There is also a demand, which is growing. When we first opened, we were one of the first true juice bars in the city, and now there’s one popping up in every neighborhood, which is awesome. It means that more people are seeking it out.
WHAT ARE EASY WAYS FOR ALL OF US TO EAT/LIVE HEALTHIER?
Small steps. If you’re a meat eater, try going a day without, or try replacing your breakfast with a plant-based smoothie for a week. Put exercise on your calendar. Plan time with friends doing something active instead of meeting at a bar. And, make sure to spend enough time with those close to you – I struggle with this, but strive to be better every day.
WHAT IS THE BEST PROFESSIONAL ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
You are only as good as your word. Trust and honesty goes a long way.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?
My team is amazing. I’m inspired every day by them. I also love the people I meet. Our customers are curious and inquisitive and hungry for knowledge.
AND THE TOUGHEST?
The life of an entrepreneur can be lonely. It’s a different type of lifestyle than many people live, so I find that people don’t always understand the stress that comes along with it. I find myself seeking out other entrepreneurs, simply to share war stories, or for the much needed words of encouragement.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU AND THE STORE?
We are growing! I’m in middle of a small fundraise in order to open a few new shops here in Chicago. (Stay tuned!)