Successful woman-owned business sprouts out of SNU

SNU+students+and+sisters+Emme+and+Maea+Wistrom+pose+in+the+evergreens+with+an+EverGreens+juice+six-pack.

Courtesy of Maea Wistrom

SNU students and sisters Emme and Maea Wistrom pose in the evergreens with an EverGreens juice six-pack.

Maggie Galloway, Editor

The Sierra Nevada University business competition gives students the opportunity to win money for their entrepreneurial ideas. In the 2019 business competition, alumni and sisters Maea and Emme Wistrom, entered their juice company idea, EverGreens, into the competition.
Maea was required to enter to enter the competition due to one of her entrepreneurship classes.
“Entering the competition ended up being amazing for the business because it forced us to sit down and run all the numbers and logistics to see if this could be our reality—which was really scary to think about, but once we had everything down on paper it really propelled us forward,” Maea said.
Maea found the business competition to be very stressful and put a lot of her time into it, in hopes of winning.

EverGreens juices.

“I even brought in multiple juice samples for each judge to try and extras for my professor,” Maea said. “I was picked first to pitch so I was super nervous, but I was stoked because my pitch went so smooth. I felt super confident in my delivery and everyone in the room loved it, but the judges didn’t even try my juice samples, they just left them there for the entire event.”
Unfortunately, EverGreens didn’t end up taking the podium at the competition.
“I didn’t end up placing the top three, which was a huge blow, but it definitely motivated us more,” Maea said. “After the competition, all of my professors, peers, and even some of the judges came to me personally to tell me that they loved our idea and that we should move forward with it even though we didn’t place in the competition.
“I got so many emails that night, so I was confused on how we didn’t place. It felt like no one understood our vision since it wasn’t some massive corporate money machine. It’s just a small, simple passion project that makes us happy and connects us with our community.”
Despite the disappointing showing – and the missed cash prize that would have been valuable startup capital – after the competition, they decided to fully commit to the passion project.
“It was definitely difficult to commit to,” Maea said. “Obviously, we’re both so passionate and excited about EverGreens, but it’s so scary to fully commit to something like this. Both of us are very open to whatever the outcome may be, but the idea of failure is scary.
“But I think we both agree that even if it does remain just a small local business then we’re just happy that we’re even doing it. If we never did it, we would still be thinking about it years from now like ‘What if we made it work?’ and we would regret never trying. It’s been so difficult to adjust our mindsets to trial and error, but I think it’s been super helpful for us both to just relax and give it our best shot.”
Being an entrepreneur is difficult enough, but being a female entrepreneur makes it so much harder according to Maea.
“Most people assume that we haven’t thought out every little detail,” Maea said. “A lot of people are surprised when I tell them our profit margins, which are surprisingly really great, as if they didn’t expect the numbers to be so good. We get so much unsolicited advice from so many people that we barely even know. And every time someone suggests something it’s something we have already thought about and discussed and decided it wouldn’t be realistic or profitable. Everyone is so quick to ask about the money as well. They always ask who’s investing or what kind of loan we took out as if it’s anyone’s business to know our financial breakdown.”
Currently, they are looking for a permanent retail location to sell their juice.
“The hardest part so far has been finding an affordable space to lease,” Emme said. “We’ve been close to signing a lease multiple times but can’t afford the remodel process and building out a commercial kitchen just yet.”
As of today, EverGreens is operating through delivery on Sundays.
“For our first month or so we operated on a delivery only basis, just to get our name out there and to build a small community of local consumers,” Maea said. “Emme and I are both lucky to have a lot of connections in the community because we have both worked as nannies, housesitters, and dogsitters for so many local families that happen to be our ideal target market. They’ve all been super supportive and have remained regular, weekly customers.”
“We’re hoping to further our juice company by participating in farmers markets this summer and events when COVID-19 restrictions lift,” Emme said. “Hopefully within a few years when we’ve raised enough capital, we can find the right commercial space for our business.”

The company takes orders at evergreensjuicery.com.