BABE #216: MARYGRACE SEXTON - Founder/CEO, Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company
Marygrace was strolling around a Florida orange grove with her daughter, Natalie, when she was hit with the inspiration to start a business producing fresh, high-quality juice. Today — and with her oldest daughter as the company’s namesake — Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Co. continues to maintain its family, ethical and social values after 30 years in business.
Produced right here in our home state, Natalie’s stands out through its simple mission, minimal ingredients and successful female leadership. We admire Marygrace and others like her who strive to keep wellness at the forefront of their work, and we’re excited to share the story and babe behind a brand that our team and community knows and loves so well.
Hometown: Vero Beach, Florida
Current city: Vero Beach, Florida
Alma mater: N/A
Very first job: Dental Assistant
Hustle: Founder and CEO, Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company
Babe you admire and why?
That’s easy! I genuinely admire my eldest daughter, Natalie. She’s the one who inspired me to follow my dreams and start my own company. She’s also one of the toughest girls I know. And as a millennial with social media and marketing skills, she’s helped us grow our business by introducing our juice brand to a whole new generation of customers. She, along with my other smart, ambitious and beautiful younger daughter, Lucy, are my two heroes.
How do you spend your free time?
A few years ago I began road cycling, and I honestly think it’s helped me become a better CEO. It gives me time to focus and recharge. I also enjoy visiting with my first baby granddaughter. I’m just in love with her!
What’s something you want to learn or master?
Right now, I’m trying to learn how to consciously step back from technological distractions. We’ve become so dependent and addicted to our mobile gadgets. I see it with my family and friends, so I want to come up with strategies we can all use to recapture the joy of solitude, reflection and genuine “me-time.” It’s why Natalie and I recently established a charitable organization called A-GAP, which provides people with engaging, tech-free experiences.
Current go-to Natalie’s juice flavor?
You’ll usually find me enjoying our Orange Beet Juice because it’s a great sports recovery juice. I drink it after cycling, since it helps replenish the blood with oxygen.
Tell us about your hustle.
As the CEO of a clean label juice company, you’ll find me doing everything from coming up with new blends in our R&D kitchen to overseeing our production operations in the middle of the night. I’ve been hustling since day one, when I convinced a local butcher to lend me his refrigerated truck so I could fulfill my first big juice order back in 1990.
What does your typical workday look like?
No two days are the same! I’m a very involved CEO, and we have a lot of projects going on right now. Currently, we’re expanding into our new facility due to increased demand and growth. Also, we’re in the process of developing a new product line.
What inspired Natalie’s?
Starting our own line of fresh juices was my husband’s idea, but the demands of being a citrus farmer didn’t allow him any time to see the vision through. I was walking in the orange grove one day, pulling a very young Natalie behind me in a red wagon, when the thought hit me to start the business myself. I wanted to produce clean, fresh juices from local fruit grown in Florida. It was my passion and purpose to produce a juice that was authentic and without additives for my family. It’s a legacy I’m excited to be handing down to my kids.
What differentiates Natalie’s from others in the juice industry?
Natalie’s is set apart for many reasons—for one thing, after 30 years we still remain family-owned and -operated. That’s very important. We put our customers and consumers first. They are the reason we’re in business today, and we are truly grateful for them! At Natalie’s, we only produce juices that we would feed our families. Made from the highest quality fruits and vegetables, all of our juices have five or fewer ingredients. They’re minimally processed and have been nationally recognized over the years for quality and fresh taste. For the past two years, Inc. Magazine has named Natalie’s on its annual Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest growing private companies. Also, we’ve always believed it’s important to give back to our local community, which is why we donate over 16,000 gallons of juice each year.
How has owning a small business influenced your relationship with your local community?
Natalie’s was born from the simple idea of providing the families in our community with authentic and fresh juices. We source our ingredients locally from Florida farmers whenever possible, and today we value the relationships we developed with our local community. We give back in many ways, including donating 16,000 gallons of juice a year to the local causes we support.
How has being a woman affected your professional experience?
I’m in a business that has traditionally been a man’s industry. We started 30 years ago, when it was nearly unheard of for a woman to run a juice company. It has been an honor and privilege to be a woman business owner and leader.
Career and/or life advice for other babes?
Powerful women don’t have to prove themselves. Be calm, composed and direct. Know where you’re going and pretend you are already there. Be diligent and work hard, and the rest will fall into place.
Sponsored by: Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company
Founded and led by today’s featured babe, Marygrace Sexton, Natalie’s is a women-owned clean label juice company that has been family-operated for nearly 30 years. With a unique product line including over 20 high-quality, fresh squeezed juices, Natalie’s works directly with local farmers to produce small, handcrafted juices with no preservatives, no artificial ingredients and no GMOs, right here in our home state of Florida. Head to their site and Instagram to learn more, and click here to find the closest Natalie’s distributor(s) in your area.