Nicolette Richer, Green Moustache Juice Inc

Loan Client

Nicolette Richer knows the inextricable link between the food we eat, cancer and overall planetary health. For over 15 years, Nicolette was an environmental policy developer & educator in Government and founder & Board Member of several NGOs. Leaving her career behind in 2013, Nicolette founded Green Moustache Juice Inc, providing 100% organic, whole, plant-rich meals, desserts, cold-pressed juices and smoothies. When not serving up nutritious and delicious wares, the Green Moustache collection of restaurants is also a community education hub that delivers workshops about using food as medicine to reduce cancer and chronic disease risk factors, the nature of disease, and how to build resilient bodies that thrive. The franchise arm of the Green Moustache provides up and coming entrepreneurs the opportunity to bring health to their communities by teaching them how they can start up and own and operate their own Green Moustache restaurant.

As an entrepreneur, speaker, and orthomolecular health consultant, her vision for healthy communities starts with providing people with access to affordable, 100% organic, nutrient-dense, soil to belly meals and beverages. When Nicolette is not busy growing the Green Mo' or helping her clients eat-to-beat their chronic diseases, she can be found hanging out in the beautiful mountains of Whistler with her brilliant husband, three adventurous daughters and their frisky puppy, Gus.

Q. What services has Women’s Enterprise Centre provided you and how have these services helped you?
A. Women's Enterprise Centre funded our expansion plan which gave us the opportunity to grow from 2 to 3 restaurants which included building out a commissary kitchen where we launched our catering line, dessert line and created our franchisee training centre and flagship store. The courses and additional mentoring support offered through WEC are invaluable, allowing me to continually educate myself and to thrive as an entrepreneur and mother.

Q.What inspired you to take the leap and start your own business?
A. When I worked for other organizations, I felt stifled and limited, as though I wasn't maximizing my potential, ideas, energy and skill set. I also recognized a huge gap in the restaurant world - lack of access to organic plant-based unprocessed whole food meals and beverages which I knew were expensive and time consuming to prepare at home. I decided to fill the gap and create my own restaurant that would also act as a nutritional education institution and that would provide our community with the place to gather; to learn together, eat together and get well together. I also knew that if I had my own business, it would mean that I was my own boss which meant accepting successes and failures gracefully - but also that I'd be able to scale my business as I wanted, implement ideas in a timely manner, and more. Taking the leap to start my own business just made sense at the time - like there was no other option. Once I took the first step forward, I never looked back. 

Q. What’s the biggest lesson you learned when starting your business?
A. Don't ever claim to know anything. It doesn't matter how many degrees you have or how many organizations you worked for - every day running a business is a new day that presents new challenges - some that you can predict, but most that you cannot. So you need to wake up each morning with firm goals and loose expectations and embrace each day with wonder and excitement and leave the bad and exhausting days behind you and celebrate the wins.

Q. What is your greatest strength as an entrepreneur?
A. My ability to think quickly and solve problems efficiently while maintaining a calmness inside and out - and knowing my financials inside and out.

Q. At what point did you know you had achieved success?
A. I'm not sure I have...hahaha. Seriously - when running your own business, the end goal is a moving target based on the skills and experiences you acquire and the new goals you set for yourself and your business along the way. I definitely like to take a step back and reflect on everything that went into creating my business - but at the same time it makes me laugh - because the way I did things two years ago were so inefficient because I had no idea what I was doing. And I still don't. In a way, that's the success in itself that I know I've achieved - simply waking up every morning, facing the day with joy because I'm doing what I love, and then faking it until I make it.

Q.What are your goals for the business?
A. My goals are:

  • to open Green Moustache cafes in 100 neighbourhoods in Canada. (we currently have 6 locations). 
  • to achieve one of the highest BCorp scores and be BCorp certified.
  • to be a trusted source of nutritional and sustainability education.
  • to have the Green Moustache integrated into Health Care system - to be the first plant-based 100% organic whole foods cafe in BC Hospitals.
  • to be Canada's best employer.
  • to be Canada's greenest company.

To do all the above and still achieve minimum annual profitability goal.