Boost Juice founder Janine Allis has told how she came ‘close to’ being raped and murdered twice as a ‘naïve’ solo traveller – and how a short-lived summer romance on David Bowie‘s yacht saw her return to Australia seven years later with a baby boy.
Allis, now a multimillionaire and the woman behind some of Australia’s most successful businesses, believes it was the seven years she spent travelling the world during her 20s that saw her develop the resilience to weather the storm of starting her own company.
The founder of Boost Juice, a juice and smoothie bar that has found customers in 13 countries, Allis told The Entourage’s Make It Happen Summit that at the age of 21 she found herself alone, completely broke and living in the south of France.
She entered a local bar and lied that she had experience being a stewardess, explaining that with no internet or mobile phones at the time it was near impossible for potential employers to check her resume.
Allis (pictured) believes it was the seven years she spent travelling during her 20s that saw her develop the resilience to weather the storm of starting her own business
Allis spent two years sailing the Mediterranean as a stewardess on a boat purchased by the late rock star David Bowie (pictured bottom right onboard the yacht)
David Bowie is pictured on board his yacht Denab Star at the height of his superstar fame
Because of that, Allis nabbed a job as a stewardess and spent the next two years sailing the Mediterranean on a boat purchased by the late rock star David Bowie.
On the yacht, she rubbed shoulders with Princess Anne, comedian and actor Robin Williams and Rupert Murdoch’s wife and model Jerry Hall.
She even played frisbee with Mick Jagger from The Rolling Stones.
Allis said she was lucky enough to accompany her celebrity friends to the Cannes Film Festival and the Grand Prix, but there had also been dark times.
The Boost Juice founder said her naivety as a young solo traveller landed her in all kinds of scrapes and that her family back home rarely even knew what country she was in.
‘It gave me resilience,’ the 57-year-old told Daily Mail Australia.
‘As a young 21-year-old travelling around the world, coming back with a two-year-old as a single mum, there was seven years of resilience.
‘I didn’t speak the language, I got myself into all sorts of troubles, where I was close to being raped and murdered, twice.
As a teenager, Allis modelled for Greyhound and CB Action Magazine, and later worked odd jobs like teaching aerobics and being a ‘door b**** ‘ at a Melbourne club
Allis worked from her Melbourne kitchen for the first few years and in 2000 sold her family home to fund her Boost dream, saying of this decision: ‘We were all in’
‘To being in Tenerife and being offered drug money to take things across (the border), or having people in the back of your car offering you a contract to take them to a safe house.
‘But it created resilience, because I got myself into situations through naivety, where failure wasn’t an option, because failure in those circumstances was a very bad outcome. So I had to find solutions.
‘I could only rely on me. I didn’t have anyone else to rely on. There wasn’t a Facebook, there was no internet, there was no mobile phones to call for help.
‘When it was truly you relying on yourself, there was an incredible resilience that has created what I draw on even today.’
Allis joked that while some daughters bring their mother home a souvenir from their travels, she gifted her mother her first grandchild.
Allis joked that while some daughters bring their mother home a souvenir from their travels, she gifted her mother her first grandchild (pictured, the Allis family with their beloved dogs)
She said her son Samuel, now in his late twenties with his own children, (pictured) had been born overseas off the tails of a ‘romance’ on David Bowie’s yacht
She said her son Samuel, now in his late twenties with his own children, had been born overseas off the tails of a ‘romance’ on David Bowie’s yacht.
The single mother was forced to move back into her family home in Boronia, in Melbourne’s east, and worked odd jobs to make end’s meet.
As a teenager, Allis modelled for Greyhound and CB Action Magazine, and later worked odd jobs like teaching aerobics and being a ‘door b***h ‘ at a club.
However, she said it was when she met her husband, Jeff, when her true entrepreneurial spirit was unleashed and the idea for Boost Juice was born.
Allis worked from her kitchen for the first few years and in 2000 sold her family home to fund her dream, saying of this decision: ‘We were all in’.
The entrepreneur said the key to launching a good business was delivering a product that you would personally want to consume.
Allis will soon travel to Switzerland with her teenage daughter Tahlia in a few months time ‘purely to open up my eyes’.
‘What new ideas are there? What new concepts can I look at? What other business can I do? What can I take that I can actually contribute to Boost?’ she said.
‘When I say the meaning of life is learning, I truly believe it with every atom of my being, I can learn from everybody and everything.’
Allis (pictured) plans to travel overseas with her teenage daughter Tahlia to Switzerland in a few months time ‘purely to open up my eyes’
Allis has been an investor on the television show Shark Tank, written a book called The Accidental Entrepreneur and competed on a series of Australian Survivor (pictured)
Allis has been an investor on the television show Shark Tank, written a book called The Accidental Entrepreneur and competed on a series of Australian Survivor.
She also fronts a podcast ‘Superwomen… We ain’t’ with Gram Consulting Group founder Margie Hartley in which the women discuss their successes and failures.
Allis and her husband sold 70 per cent of Retail Zoo for nearly $70million in 2010 but remain major shareholders and contributors.
Boost Juice is now part of the Retail Zoo group which also includes Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill, CIBO Espresso and Betty’s Burgers and recently opened stores in Cambodia.