Many of us harbor the dream of someday running our own business. Taking the one thing we are passionate about then growing it into our work and a source of income. An added bonus would be that while we make money, help our local economy and create jobs, we are also running a business that is sustainable, ethical and does not harm animals. For many vegans this would be a dream come true.
While veganism has been around for as long as people have inhabited the planet, it has recently exploded to the point where it’s entering the mainstream. What does that mean? That restaurants, clothing stores, products, etc. are now customizing their offerings to cater to this growing niche segment.
Plant-based products are more and more prevalent on supermarket shelves and in previously non vegan friendly restaurants. And, that’s just the food industry. The cruelty-free, vegan beauty market, the ethically made fashion industry, and more – they’re all on the up and up.
If you’ve always dreamed of starting your own business, especially a vegan one, there has never been a better time. And, you don’t have to run out and start a restaurant. There are plenty of vegan businesses that are home-based, one-person operations, and those that have a low overhead.
We spoke with three established vegan entrepreneurs to get their advice on what aspiring plant-based entrepreneurs should know before launching their own business.
Melanie Cochran, co-owner of The Wild Cow
Sandra Reid, owner of Nom Noms Dog Treats LLC
Kim Giovacco, owner of Veg Jaunts and Journeys
- Make sure you have solid business knowledge.
- If you’re starting an online business learn all you can about shipping.
- Stick to the vision you have for your business, don’t take on a partner if they don’t align with where you’re taking your business.
- Explore demand for your product by testing it with friends and family. This also helps you with fine tuning.
If your business involves food:
- Know that quality, vegan, organic, local ingredients cost a lot more than ingredients from a place like Sysco. Be prepared to have higher food costs
On marketing your business:
- Mix it up, try a variety of tactics to see what works best for your business. SEO is a great tool to be found online.
- Apps are a good, low cost tool for reaching niche targets.
- Network heavily among the vegan community.
- Find a good balance in pricing, and keep and eye on your profit margins.
- Get as much advice and guidance ahead of launching your business.
Just like veganism is a continuous journey of discovery, so is starting a business. They both begin with taking that first step.
The good news is that every day more and more resources are available to help the start-ups and small businesses that make up the VegEconomy®. This means, you won’t be alone and unsupported in your journey.
Speaking of resources, check out vWire which launched recently. The platform offers press release distribution to reach hundreds of vegan media outlets and influencers in the plant-based space. Through the month of August vWire is offering your first press release at absolutely no cost. Maybe this is the time to announce your new business venture. If you’d like to be featured on one of our future blogs sends us your pitch at [email protected].
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