Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company featured in
When Life Gives You Oranges
How a red wagon, a borrowed refrigerator truck and a mother’s love for her daughter turned into a great American success story.
We all strive to be the kind of mother who is able to strike a balance between the needs of family and the needs of career. It’s a tough balancing act for sure. But recently I learned about a Florida mother who founded one of the most successful independent juice companies in the country – while at the same time raising two young daughters. One of the daughters has gone into the business with her and recently became a new mom herself. I wondered what tips this duo might have for all us mothers out here trying to have it all.
But first, some background: 29 years ago, Marygrace Sexton took on a pair of challenges that definitely put her in the Supermom category. She and her husband had always dreamt of producing a fresh juice product that would be free of all the additives and flavor packs big companies typically use in their juices to extend shelf life. As a new mother, she didn’t want to serve that kind of juice to her family. She wanted something authentic and clean.
The dream became reality shortly after Marygrace had her first daughter, Natalie. Walking through the Florida orange groves one morning, pulling her young daughter Natalie along in a little red wagon, Margygrace realized that having a wholesome juice option available was more important to her than ever. And she knew it would be important to other mothers seeking a nutritious alternative as well. Both Marygrace and her husband knew Florida oranges were the best tasting and highest quality citrus fruits in the world, so that day in the orange grove, Marygrace decided to take the plunge into the juice business and founded Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company, named after her little girl.
Finding the perfect balance between life and work is always a challenge, especially for a mother caring for her children while at the same time trying to get a commercial business off the ground. Marygrace is the first to admit it wasn’t an easy task. But what kept her motivated was her faith, and a belief her work would ultimately benefit her own family and others. Belief and passion have always been strong companions for Marygrace. With them, she has had the motivation to conquer all sorts of business and personal challenges.
Along with faith, the fact that Natalie’s is a family managed company helped as well. Family members were there to keep check and support one another. Marygrace remembers a particular occasion when one of her brothers had to sit her down and remind her it couldn’t “all be about work.” That’s when her brother gave her a bicycle. They had both enjoyed riding bikes as kids, and the gift actually kick started Marygrace’s rediscovery of bike riding and building exercise into her work/life balance formula.
Today, Marygrace is an accomplished cyclist who has already participated in 4 century rides and will continue to train for more road races. She credits her rediscovered joy of cycling for helping her stay healthy and inspiring some of the new juice blends Natalie’s has recently introduced to the market – juices like Natalie’s Orange Beet Juice that actually helps athletes with sports recovery. She is most proud that it is an authentic and natural sports drink free from chemicals and artificial ingredients.
What’s interesting about Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company is that Marygrace’s daughter, and namesake of the company, Natalie, has also recently become a mom herself, making it a multi-generational company. A career-focused millennial, Natalie’s own take on motherhood is a little different than Marygrace’s, but as a senior officer in the juice company that bears her name, Natalie still has the challenge of balancing success at home with success at work.
Natalie has followed her mother’s example and uses exercise to help balance work and family. She’s a runner who regularly enters running races including half marathons. Time spent beating the pavement helps her achieve a sobering perspective on the important things in life, and when that doesn’t work, her very young daughter is always happy to fill in.
Today’s technology has given Natalie some scheduling flexibility that was never available to Marygrace, the ability to work from home on occasion. That’s helped a lot, especially with an infant. In addition to work from home opportunities, Natalie has enlisted the help of her mom, and a loving nanny, to assist with home and work demands.
In the end, both women have adopted a work hard/play hard approach to life which they claim helps them strike the balance between career and family. Their faith, support from other family members at work and the use of exercise routines as a stress outlet are all keys to their continued success.