When retail is in your soul and you’ve worked for some of the spendiest names in spendom, where do you take your career? For Amber Cariker, The Juice Standard’s district manager, the answer wasn’t up, but in.
After years of mighty success helming stores of high-end brands, Cariker claims that life felt on the half-full side. After committing to some soulful switcheroos, fate led her straight to the hiring table across TJS co-founders Jamie Stephenson and Marcella Williams…and so far it’s been a match made in juicy heaven as Cariker has used her boundless energy and business acumen to help TJS deepen its public outreach into the hearts (and bellies) of Las Vegas’ health enthusiasts.
A pint-size pixie with a bionic heart, Cariker casts sunshine on everyone from the folks who walk into our stores to our blessed bees that buzz beehind the counters. Bonus? She’s never met a green juice she didn’t like. Do we have Cariker’s sweet momma to thank for her palate? Survey says she’d slurp something she didn’t like if it meant selling on beehalf the company she loves…and boy, if that doesn’t spell #ItTakesAVillage, we don’t know what does.
So…meet Amber Cariker. And while you’re at it, next time you see her at a store, thank her. Most likely she made getting your order a little easier, in ways you’ll never know. (We may not, either….)
ALL ABOUT AMBER
I’ve lived in Las Vegas…off and on since I was little. I formerly moved here when I was 8. Since then I have lived in California, Texas and Oregon. I most recently moved back from Portland in March 2012. (Vegas has a way of pulling you back in. Plus my Momma is here.)
I can remember when I decided I wanted to start my adult life here. It was the year… 2014, I was sick of living a toxic lifestyle, and I wanted a job that matched how I wanted to live my life, not how I was living it. I always seem to associate a lot of my happiness with what I am doing for work since I am a work-a-holic. (Literally.) During my early 20’s, I was sort of lost—partying and living free-spiritedly—and I decided I wanted to learn more about nutrition, plants, flowers, the desert, wood, conversations, the present, and mindfulness.
What appealed to me about living in Vegas was…my Momma lived here, and my Pops lives near Joshua Tree, Calif. It felt right to be close to home, and when I started to appreciate the outer beauty of Vegas away from the nightlife and partying, I found a new way of partying. What intrigued me was the forest, Cold Creek, Nev., where the wild horses roam, off the path trails in Red Rock.
In my experience, the biggest misconception about living in Las Vegas is…that everyone who lives here maintains 24/7 availability. Even though the city runs 24 hours, it is important to find your core values and un-plug every once in a while. The other misconception? That everyone in Vegas is superficial. Some of my closest friends, who I would call my “tribe” or “village,” are from Vegas. We can pick up wherever we left off, even if months go by.
The thing I secretly (or not-so-secretly) love most about living here is…the heat. The desert.
People who know me well know that I’m super close to my sister. Her name is…Stephanie. I love her with all my heart. But the thing that drives me nuts about her is… she lives so far away, in Rosario, Argentina.
(…and the thing she’d say about me that drives her bonkers is… I never make time to visit!)
If I had to pick a daily mantra or a quote I try to live by, it would be… “Bringing sunshine to people’s lives”
If I had to pick a theme song for my life it would be… Tycho by Spectre.
A person who inspires me every day is… my sister, Stephanie.
…and the way she inspires me is: She runs her own business in South America. She is committed to inspiring people to take part in their culture, and she hosts things like: book clubs, “bar-lingual” (a hopping around of bars), and walking or bike tours in her city of Rosario. She has two young babies—both are bi-lingual and play soccer—and she teaches English, does yoga, and plays guitar. She’s just amazing.
Something people would be surprised to know about me is… I collect dead things. (Hahahahaha! The whole company laughed when we introduced a new employee and they were waiting for me to say that and I didn’t!) I am a geek for natural history…like, when you were a little kid in a museum. I love taxidermy, bones, insects, wood grains, plants, and cacti.
I don’t have a ton of free time but when I do, this is how I like to spend it: Hiking, gardening and cooking.
AMBER ON WORK
I work for The Juice Standard as the company’s district manager. When people ask me what I do, this is how I explain my job: Usually, I get asked if I am the owner (I think this is because I am a Chatty Cathy and love to talk all things TJS), so I usually say: “NO I am not the owner…but I wish I was because this is a pretty amazing company!” Right now, I assist in being whatever role the company needs me to be in: hiring, development, networking, eventing, and being an awesome support system for everyone on our team.
What appealed to me about working for TJS was…the company’s transparency, ethical practices, and its fresh, organic product – product that’s really organic, not just partially.
The other factor? Jamie and Marcella. I fell in love with them during our first meeting. How they speak, listening to their ideas and needs, hearing their passion, seeing their investment in people that are already on their teams….They painted this beautiful picture that expanded the Las Vegas community and its culture.
When it comes to managing or working in retail, this isn’t my first rodeo: I got my first job at a store when I was 15 years old, when I supported my sister where she lived in Avila Beach. She managed a cute little coffee shop called The Steaming Bean and Tea Leaf, and it was a place where they served yerba mate (my favorite thing in life); made fresh sandwiches (think fresh-baked croissants with feta, sunflower sprouts, cashews, cucumber, and cream cheese). Seriously? I want one right now.
After that I worked for Aveda for close to 8 years in Texas, Oregon and Nevada. Then I went on to work for companies like Lush Handmade Cosmetics and Ted Baker.
One of the things about working for big brands that I loved was… that 4 weeks of vacation…unpaid or paid. (Ha: No s#@t!) I learned a lot about structure and problem solving without becoming frantic. I learned a lot about tools, and how to use them with your teams to be more successful.
Something about working for big brands that I loathed was…how larger companies lose sight of their bottom line: the people. Most of us can all agree we have had leaders who didn’t care about us as people. What’s worse is when large corporations have district leaders and executives who are snotty, entitled or pretentious. They never know who you are or what you look like, and your usual contact with them comprises their telling you that you didn’t perform well enough, or that you could have done better…and there is no checking for clarity or development beyond that.
Best perk or discount I ever had thanks to one of my jobs was…Aveda: 74 percent off plant- and flower-based beauty product…are you kidding me? (Die-hard Aveda girl over here…)
Since working for TJS, the most surprising thing I’ve learned about myself doing the job that I do is…not necessarily surprising, but more like an aha moment: I was told long ago that I wasn’t a very present person. I am one of those people who seems like they’re in dreamland or daydreaming (or, talking up a storm), and since I have worked for TJS, being around Jamie, Marcella, and our team, has really taught me the importance of conversation, communication and present listening.
The most exciting part about my job is…meeting new people and sharing our story! Jamie and Marcella’s story.
Best thing I’ve heard a customer say about TJS juice is…that it saved their life. Andrea Millsap, whom I believe you interviewed in last month’s newsletter… she was told she couldn’t get pregnant because of her Lupus and she did!
Most awesome thing I’ve witnessed on the back-of-house staff side of working at TJS is…everyone singing and dancing to Tupac. Everyone is always joking and talking while they work. Very hard and consistent workers in our kitchens and on our teams….
True or False: “The most challenging part about my job is deciding whether to valet or self-park at The Cosmopolitan when I go visit The Buzz…because like butter and bacon, valet makes everything better.” True…hahaha! But I have never valet’d
The advice I’d give my younger work self is…Take that harsh constructive criticism and look at it as a challenge. Don’t become defeated. Don’t give up. And don’t ever let anyone tell you that you talk too much or have too much energy, because it’s usually what lands you a job in the future.
AMBER ON HEALTH IN LAS VEGAS
In my opinion, the biggest change in Las Vegas’ healthy-living scene in the last few years has been…not only are we now seeing new healthy options bounce onto the scene, but we are seeing local, smaller run businesses trying to bring culture into the city.
No matter how busy I get at work, this is what I do to make sure I eat well during the week: I think about meals and what the leftover options look like. I literally steam artichokes four times a week and eat them with a little bit of soy sauce, lime juice, garlic powder, and salt. It’s so delicious.
The fruit(s) or vegetable(s) you’ll always find in my kitchen are… Valencia oranges, limes and lemons (citrus fruits are my favorite). Love berries, too. Always making agua frescas in my Vitamix.
My don’t-even-think-about-judging-me-guilty-pleasure food is… nachos with freshly sliced jalepeños but with real cheese!
The health habit that gets me teased the most is… I swear your hair grows like a miracle when you drench it in olive oil straight from the kitchen cabinet. I apply, then shampoo and condition about three times per week.
True or False: “Thanks to Facebook we hear you recently made cashew cream for the first time and that it.kicked.ass.” Hahahaha! TRUE. I have taught myself to make so many things with cashews since working with TJS.
AMBER ON JUICE
The person who introduced me to cold-pressed juice was… my Momma. Her very first job was in Yucca Valley, Calif., where she worked at Sue’s Health foods, and she got that job in order to buy herself a Champion Juicer which still sits on our counter to this day.
The first time I drank green juice, I thought it was… amazing. I never struggled drinking juice. I knew how good it was for you without the research.
The reason I started drinking cold-pressed juice was because… to get my nutrients. (Hello, 3.5 pounds per bottle of greens?)
The reason I kept drinking cold-pressed juice was because… it made me feel more alive. More centered, more focused, less stressed. It made me feel motivated. And it helped me sleep through my nights, eliminated my acne and helped my hair grow!
True or False: “Making juice at home is a royal pain in the tail.” True: I never make it at home. But, I also would never buy it from anywhere that uses high-pressure processing (HPP) now that I know the difference between fresh and processed juice. I want my juice made fresh today, please…not 15 days ago and then packaged and delivered under the notion it is fresh.
True or False: “A ginormous perk of my job is free juice.” Huge bonus. I literally make sure I get my greens every day!
The reason I like TJS’s cold-pressed juice is because… it’s fresh; truly 100 percent organic; and it has a mission that is committed to integrity and transparency.
My advice to a newbee juicer is…take a deep breath and take small bite-size chunks out of all the knowledge you’re about to absorb. I usually tell them give it 6 months until they feel like a pro!