In 2013, Andrea’s Healthy Kitchen was born out of a desire to encourage healthy lifestyle changes among friends and family. It was also an experiment to document her own personal health and wellness journey, says founder Tatiana Mejia Pacheco.
Five years before she launched her organic fruit and veggie detox juice line out of her own personal kitchen in Rosemead, California, Tatiana struggled with many physical and emotional insecurities. There were moments when she lacked self-esteem and struggled to embrace the woman in the mirror.
“My insecurities were not only physical. As a Latina immigrant, I felt disadvantaged, like it was a combination of a lot of things that made me feel less than others,” said Tatiana, noting that one of her insecurities before launching her small business was dealing with a language barrier after moving to the U.S. and learning English as a second language.
“I would say language was my biggest barrier because I came to use English when I was already an adult.”
There was also a period of unemployment that caused Tatiana to find other income revenues to support her family. She lifted herself back up again by diverting her attention to a journey of juicing and healthy, clean eating. These hurdles and setbacks are what ultimately led Tatiana to create Andrea’s Healthy Kitchen.
“Unfortunately, I got unemployed for the third time in less than four years, so I got tired of depending on a paycheck. I didn’t know what to do to bring extra cash to my house, and at that time, I was on a new journey of eating healthy,” said Tatiana.
In the years before launching Andrea’s Healthy Kitchen, Tatiana didn’t pay attention to her health. She recalls eating junk food and drinking alcohol every weekend until she realized how toxic it became. Tatiana later decided to make the change in her life by meal prepping, avoiding processed foods, and taking an online nutrition class, where she later discovered the benefits of juicing. She knew it was her calling and realized there was a need for juicing in the San Gabriel Valley.
The 38-year-old mama soon realized that in order to help others, she had to heal and love herself first.
“This definitely was the beginning of my new lifestyle,” said Tatiana, who named her small business after her daughter, Andrea.
“I wasn’t happy with my lifestyle so I decided to totally change my routine to have small goals in order to achieve them.”
Tatiana shares that her mom was the first to gift her with her very first juicer to start her business—a kind gesture she will always cherish. Tatiana also remembers the first juicing concoction that made her taste buds crave for more. She threw in some cucumber, kale, ginger, lemon, and green apples to make an extra healthy juice that her daughter, Andrea, loved.
She also noticed her business started to pick up when she showed respect for herself, making great strides in her own fitness and health routines. With the support from her daughter Andrea and her family, Tatiana decided to start selling her organic juices to former coworkers and family members. The popularity of the juices grew and she began to get more orders. She was inspired to name her small business after her daughter’s name, Andrea. Tatiana recalls how her child always chose salads over fries and always showed an eagerness to learn about healthy alternatives like juicing.
To this day, Tatiana didn’t realize her business would take off at the magnitude it is now. Today, Tatiana says she is proud to be the first Latina in her family to start her own business and is excited about the future of her juicing business.
Born and raised in Lima, Peru, Pacheco and her husband immigrated to the U.S. in 2001 and worked a variety of jobs, everything from fast food restaurants, Target, retail, driving school buses, and serving as a community liaison for schools an an Americorps member before realizing her passion: helping others reach their health goals through juicing.
This November marks the fifth anniversary of Andrea’s Health Kitchen, and Tatiana says she never imagined starting her own business but that she is grateful and inspired by the health transformation stories and testimonials from customers whose lives have changed by her detox line. She knows she has a passion for helping people, and she is finally happy to be able to be her own #GirlBoss and help others reach their health goals. She has over 100 clients every month, many of whom are regulars. Over the past five years, she estimates that she has served at least 1,000 clients.
Andrea’s Healthy Kitchen sells organic, 100 percent natural juices, according to Tatiana. “AHK juices don’t have any preservatives and are made by order. We never have juices for days in the fridge waiting to sell. That makes us very unique.”
Some of the names for the juices she’s come up with include “Love Verde,” “Aloha Express,” “Tropical Breeze,” and “Let’s Beet it.”
Tatiana says used to be spotted in her old Jeep that carried the AHK logo during drop-offs for her juices in the SGV and other neighboring cities. She says she continues to do special drop-off deliveries for her juices and will travel within a 30-mile radius. But some of her customers will also drive to her because they can’t wait to stock up on their next batch of juices. Many of her loyal customers reside as far as San Diego, Palmdale, Riverside, and Hemet.
“I have a lot of loyal customers from when I started because they say it’s an addiction to AHK juices. They love the results and how they feel.”
When she first launched her business, she noticed the lack of affordable and healthy juice bar options in the San Gabriel Valley and wanted to do something to bring more healthy choices to families.
“We still need to promote more healthy food. Unfortunately, most of the juice bars or healthy restaurants are based on Pasadena or DTLA. It’s important to motivate the healthy and active lifestyle to avoid future diseases,” said Tatiana, who also shared that she has customers who used to take medication for blood pressure or cholesterol but have since stopped taking their medicine after regularly drinking AHK juices.
Her juices have been well received in the Latino community, says Tatiana. She says she was featured on Telemundo and Univision numerous times to talk about her juices and inspiring health and weight loss journey.
Tatiana says as a Latina-owned small business, she is starting to get more recognition when she attends public events, sharing that some people even stop her and call her the “Juice Lady,” she says.
Tatiana says there needs to be more tools and resources for Latinos, particularly Latina women, who are thinking of opening a business but don’t know where to start.
“We need more workshops and information for Latinos thinking about opening a business,” said Tatiana.
“I think we need to feel more free to ask for help or look for resources because a lot of the times Latinas don’t like to ask for help just because it’s our culture that we need to solve everything by ourselves (including myself).”
Since launching her business, Tatiana has lost nearly 50 pounds thanks to juicing and simple lifestyle changes like avoiding processed foods and incorporating fruits and veggies and managing stress better through exercise and yoga.
Juicing has changed Tatiana and her family’s life for the better, she shared. “We don’t take any type of medication because ginger is everything for us and juicing has a lot of benefits like it cleanses your system naturally, accelerates your metabolism, and helps with inflammation.”
Tatiana has big dreams to take Andrea’s Healthy Kitchen to the next level. She currently operates from a commercial kitchen where she has more space to make juices. Her customers can either pick up the juices from the kitchen or through her delivery service. Her juices are also now for sale at Monrovia’s “Something Healthy Cafe.” She hopes to continue to sell her juices in more shops, gyms, studios, or markets.
“Until today, I have people looking at me like crazy when I say that I want to see AHK juices all over the U.S. Don’t know how many years are going to take me but I’m sure that I want to be all over the USA.”
Tatiana knows how much the business means to her daughter Andrea, and is excited her daughter may be ready to take over the family business someday in the near future.