Re//Store Sisterhood: Charisse Baker, founder of The East London Juice Co.

28-03-2017

East London Juice Co. first came on my radar pretty soon after they opened in BoxPark, Shoreditch in 2015. A beautiful curation of objects amongst which Palo Santo, crystals and the best Acai bowls (which where so hard to find in London around that time) and cold-pressed juices were on offer with clean, yet personal aesthetics. I didn’t get to meet the founder back then but was certainly intrigued by the person behind this wonderful concept. What I really loved about it is that the space felt welcoming, beautiful, open, unpretentious and there was no sign of the usual “cleanse” or “detox” spiel that I find a little tiring and not to the point to why I choose an organic juice above a pasteurised commercial one. I was happy to see they became a permanent fixture opening in Ace Hotel and it became my weekly routine to try something from their genius menu, either picking up a tonic, vegan waffles, cold pressed juice, a crystal, or all at the same time.

MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-17 MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-18

And then one day, I finally got to meet Charisse Baker, the founder and director of the company. I was happy to meet such a kindred spirit sharing the same energy and focus towards a future where sustainability and environmental awareness play an important role. I met Charisse in her previous warehouse live/work space in Shoreditch a week before she moved to Surrey to be surrounded by nature. Her new residence will be the base for a new project called Field Station
which I can’t wait to see develop. Residing on the edge of a forest, the project will involve perma-culture, nutrition, esoteric nurture and human nature. I am sure it will look and feel equally magical as her strength lies in combining her knowledge of nature, wellness and botanic medicinal combinations with her beautiful and artistic aesthetic, showcasing her visual strength and direction where her back ground as a fine artist transpire.
Make sure you visit East London Juice Co. when you find yourself in East London, and enjoy their offerings!

MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-01
MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-02

How would you describe your personal style?
I feel most alive when:

Turmeric stained fingertips,
Beetroot-memory lips.
Natural hair and comfortable feet,
Anointed in plant oils and herbal treats.

What made you decide to start your company?
Life. No ‘aha’ moment but rather a response to a series of questions.
Questions like:

· Why are we, as a collective, still allowing companies to engage in body shaming?’

· Can a business live by a mission statement rather than a business plan?

· How can we go from industry feeding us to nature feeding us?

In a way perhaps defining the structure as more like an art project rather than a business; continuously morphing with our journey and hoping to leave a sense of wonder in all who engage with us.

MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-03
MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-04

What inspires you at the start of new recipes?
The quality and source of our ingredients and the element of trial makes room for error.

Exacting measurements in recipes are important for the responsible use of functional/ medicinal ingredients. Beyond those elements however, a more alive and experimental approach can invite intention and withdraw from monotony, then the experience for the maker results in more alchemy and less ‘factory’.

Questions inspire recipes:
Where does this ingredient come from?
Who benefits from this?
What impact will it have on the planet and our internal world?
Our guts?
Our psyche?
Our bones?

Let’s not craft recipes to fulfil cravings; more fat, sugar, salt or reduce food to a unit of calories.

MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-05MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-06

When you develop your holistic recipes do you have a sustainable approach?
Sustainability is a concept that is constantly trying to be defined and our definition reaches beyond the environment.

There is an intention to choose “Nutritional Sustainability” over “Economical Sustainability.”

Remaining aware of Orthorexia and aiming for balance – so important.
We refrain from using catchphrases like Detox/Skinny/Clean.

MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-07

And how do you put this in process?
By making small, hand crafted deliciousness sourced with as much love and locality as humanly possible and encouraging others to use ‘waste’.

What is the favourite element of your job?
It does not feel like a job or a business but rather an applied belief.
This belief feels realised when a new discovery is made. New ways to close the loop.
A connective conversation with someone at the Dispensary.

 MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-08
MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-15

And biggest challenge?
The nature of our intentional small-batch offerings leaves VERY little for ‘profit margin’ yet our prices are considered high. I don’t feel comfortable with the exclusivity that dynamic creates but at the moment this is a reality.

I’m completely self funded which effects cash flow and a literal ‘hands-in-every-aspect’ approach makes my friends think I’m ignoring them.
I’m seeking more work/ life balance (how ironic).

It’s the creative process that’s keeps me going in an ever evolving art project.

What role does yoga play in your life?
I have a personal practice that is a blend of sound, breath, threshold consciousness and art. It helps to calibrate my inner compass to my true north; a necessary practice for me.

MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-10

What do you listen to at the moment?
In the day – bird song and four year old demands.
In the evening – white noise.

 


I have a personal practice that is a blend of sound, breath, threshold consciousness and art. It helps to calibrate my inner compass to my true north; a necessary practice for me.

 

Could you recommend an organic / local produce cafe / restaurant in your area?
The local Supper Clubs!
I think it’s amazing that people would often rather buy a ticket, eat from a restricted menu, bypass hygiene and zoning to break bread with strangers. There’s something that a Supper Club fulfils for people that a restaurant does not.

MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-11 MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-12

Where do you go to shop for clothes / accessories?
I barter with many small batch makers and crafts people. It’s wonderful to work in that way. Otherwise, I often go where the wind takes me. (Completely drooling over your yoga mats btw!)

Who would you like to see on here in the future?
My daughter. She’s my power animal.

MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-13MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-14

What is your favourite plant based / Vegetarian recipe?
@Kangaraw’s Foraged Fireweed (Known in Britain as Rosebay Willow Herb) Kombucha.

//

Thank you Charisse for our afternoon, I truly enjoyed our chat and your overall vision, and am in love with everything I have sampled so far from the East London Juice Co.!

Interview and photos by Maaike Mekking www.maaikemekking.com

MaaikeMekking-CharisseBaker-16
image1 (3)