After completing a BSc at McGill University, Hana James was en route to medical school when she decided to explore another passion: helping people improve their health through food. In 2011, she founded Café Shu, a juice bar and healthy café with two locations in Toronto. Fast forward to today and Hana is now a co-founder of Greenhouse Juice Co., its Director of Community, and a co-author of The Greenhouse Cookbook, a national bestseller. We caught up with Hana ahead of our exciting Evening Series Finale taking place in Toronto June 13th where will be joining some of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs to share their trade secrets.
My first job was… dog walking. I went to a computer camp one summer when I was 7 years old. We had to make a flyer, and I decided mine would be for dog walking. I then persuaded my Dad to accompany me on my dog walks.
My proudest accomplishment is… my current life situation; I’m able to do something I love and truly believe in, but also have time for all the important people in my life.
My boldest move to date was… putting myself first by giving up medical school to become an entrepreneur.
I became an entrepreneur because… I wanted my day-to-day to be something I’m passionate about. I wanted to create something for my community and myself.
My favourite product in our range is… The Good.
The most challenging part of my day to day routine is… fitting everything in! There is always a lot to do, and it can be far too easy to get bogged down with the little things. So, I try to take the time each morning to select my priorities for the day and make those my focus.
I would tell my 21-year-old self… to be bold. Speak up for what you believe in and don’t back down from a debate!
“I always strive to be better and believe there is always room for self-improvement and growth. This keeps me motivated.”
My biggest setback was… realizing my plan was not what I actually wanted deep down. It was a shocking realization.
I overcame it by… taking the time I needed to make a new plan. I had to take a step back and make a conscious decision about what it was that I actually wanted to do, and not worry about what I thought I should be doing.
My greatest advice from a mentor was… to ask for help; to utilize the resources around me, and not be scared of looking “weak” because I don’t know the answer.
To me, Wellness is…balance.
If I were to pick one thing that has helped me succeed, it would be… my family and support system.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… that I was a big tomboy. I made my Dad buy me a (goalie) hockey stick when I was in grade two so I could play with the boys!
I stay inspired by… continuing to be curious. I always strive to be better and believe there is always room for self-improvement and growth. This keeps me motivated.
The future excites me because… there is so much opportunity; both for me personally and in my professional life.
My next step is… to continue to work towards Greenhouse’s mission: to offer widespread, sustainable access to plant-based nutrition and wellness of the highest quality. And I’m getting married in January!
Hear the rest of her incredible story at Building a Brand: How Three Top Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Scaled for Success. Join us on June 13th, along with BDC and Cisco, to tap into the trade secrets of three of Canada’s savviest lifestyle entrepreneurs who rose to the top of their respective markets by launching a compelling idea into a brilliant brand that resonates. Find out how they did it and the secrets to scaling for success. Tickets are available here.