Cousins and Oklahoma City natives Annie Portman and Liz Portman Black always dreamed of running a business together. But Portman worked in a Fashion Industry Gallery showroom after college and, later, helped launch Gilt City in Dallas, while Black was in New York City pursuing fashion and marketing.
When Black visited her cousin, she often craved a good juice — one of her favorite healthy indulgences, available on every corner in NYC. "That was before all of the juice shops popped up here," Portman says.
A year ago, the two began talking more seriously about starting their own company. When Black moved to Dallas in October, the juicing began. "Vim + Vigor is something my mom used to say," Portman says. "It's an old saying from the 1920s, which means health and vitality."
Unlike most juice cleanses, Vim + Vigor’s program allows you to eat dinner. “People shouldn’t have to starve themselves,” says co-founder Annie Portman. “We want people to succeed.”
Naturally, that's what their juice company is all about.
Portman says they are taking an educational approach to juicing, to help people understand the importance — and impact — of the foods they put into their bodies. They consulted with two local holistic nutritionists, Tayler Sandvick and Brian Johnson, to help with the recipes. Sandvick and Johnson will also field questions from customers with concerns about nutrition and recipes featured online.
"A lot of people get negative symptoms with juicing — especially fruit juices — but it doesn't have to be that way," Black says. That's why Vim + Vigor juices are mostly vegetable blends, because the sugar in fruit feeds yeast in the body, which can cause lethargy and other reactions. But they're still clean, palatable and tasty — even the greens-heavy No.1.
Everything is fresh, fresh, fresh — made by the girls themselves. Portman and Black use a hydraulic cold press in a commercial kitchen in Addison. This method presses the juices out of the produce, rather than grinding it to a pulp, to preserve the vitamins and minerals and produce a cleaner-tasting juice. That's why Vim + Vigor only does Tuesday and Thursday deliveries: It's a lot of work.
Juice kits are delivered — not just in Dallas, but throughout the United States — the next day. Cleanses are shipped overnight because you start in the morning, and five-day cleanses are delivered in two shipments to ensure freshness. And, unlike most juice cleanses, Vim + Vigor's program actually allows you to eat dinner.
"People shouldn't have to starve themselves," Portman says. "We want people to succeed — not just lose five pounds for an upcoming party."
Whether it's a customized kit or a cleanse, all of the ingredients are listed on the bottles. To make good on their education promise, the package includes a note with tips and dinner guidelines. Portman also says that every month they will feature a local farm on their blog and will use produce from the farm to do a seasonal juice.
So the question remains, how are Portman and Black doing it all? They credit Switch-Creative, for helping with the branding, and many other supportive people, like Sandvick and Johnson. But, for now, it's really just the two of them running the show — in and out of the kitchen.
Good thing they have all that juice around to keep them clear-headed and energized.