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Fernanda Capobianco – Challenges of starting a vegan Business

Butter or dairy so I just decided to open wholesale business and was really really hard in the beginning because nobody even nobody knew what was vegan and I would give the pastries for free people wouldn’t even try it they didn’t want to eat and you know was really hard at one point I said maybe I should just do a regular bakery and then you know but I said I know that in a few years this will be like a long-term commitment because I know that one day this is just will come and I don’t think that yet the vegan it’s mainstream this is still it’s really very difficult I will tell you about it later but it’s now people are very interested out it and you know so many wonderful like the news and all of this the information is out there so I think that now is is really much easier so vegan divas it’s a bakery we are in the Upper East Side in Manhattan we distribute to more than 45 or 50 supermarkets and you know restaurants and locate other locations we also have e-commerce website we ship across the country and then we have the the bakery and we’re opening more locations and we’re opening something a license outside the country so this is the businesses three years old now the biggest challenge for me still it’s to fight the ingredients because they’re they’re not too many suppliers that have all the ingredients that we need so sometimes it’s really hard when I want to get something different for example tapioca it’s it’s the tapioca that I want to have for a special desserts it is really hard there’s not everyone that has or just one supplier so this is one thing that it’s very difficult another thing is that most the products they come in a packaging that is really small so for for example we buy like so much tofu I know hundred cases at a time and we have to open like each packages like these size because they don’t make it yet the tofu like in you know in a big containers like a regular bakery like they sell butter or any everything else so this is like very makes very difficult for us for to get in the large scale of the business and sourcing the ingredients is still really hard and sometimes can be very expensive and we also have to find the balance like it has to be something that we we can sell because the price has to be right or people are not going to buy but at the same time we have to keep the quality so this is I think one of our biggest challenge every day I because I was I learned with all these chefs and French chefs and you know for me it really has to taste good and the presentation has to be beautiful I love beautiful packaging I buy all of my packaging in France so I go every year to the 100 best chefs pastry chefs in the world seminar and one of the things that I do when I go there not just to try to make them eat the dessert and make the dessert without butter because they lead the business the pastry business in the world these guys and they never heard about vegan or they don’t even know what is that and they’re just you know poisoning people but I think that the way that I can touch them and talk to them is just not imposing them what I do but just trying to make they taste something different and now little by little they’re starting to make PMA of Philippe Conti Jeanne all of these famous French chefs they’re starting to make some recipes you know with less butter or no eggs or without dairy because they’re learning now that the demand is creating a demand and they know that they don’t have just to sell a product this is not just a business you know they’re really responsible for your feeding someone and you’re really responsible not to you know just kill this person with diabetes and all of these problems that we have another challenge of this business it’s when I started looking for distributors the distributors they they love the product but it’s hard for them to convince their sales team to sell this product because they when they go to the markets everyone wants to buy yogurt ice cream or dairy everyone buys milk but nobody buys vegan desserts so they have to spend much more time explaining to them this is vegan it’s made of tofu you have to put it in the freezer you have to do these so for them they don’t want to have this extra time selling the products in the wholesale customers which is was really hard for me this is one of the biggest challenge and then but now I finally have a distributor that you know they really see that it’s a in one or two years hopefully though this category of vegan desserts and pastries and baking goods will be in all the supermarket’s across the country so hopefully they will have the aisle or a section for the vegan desserts like they have the gluten free but we’re not there yet when the sales teams they go to the supermarkets they have to explain to them what is vegan most of them they don’t know and you know it’s still when we sell it’s really hard because they try to compare the our product with a regular brownie and of course our product is a little bit more expensive because we use better ingredients but for them it’s hard to say I don’t want to sell your product because it’s more expensive but they don’t have anything else to compare they don’t have 50 other items to compare there are vegan too so they say how come yours is 250 and the other one is $1.00 and I say but it’s vegan and they say but it’s a brownie so it’s it’s it’s very challenging also for the consumer it’s of course here everyone it’s maybe it’s vegan or it’s knowledgeable about vegan but in the markets people still they don’t know why should I buy this and then we really have to do a lot of demos and because of the price so this is another thing that we have to do so I think that this business we have already a regular business it’s a challenge to just be a bakery or whatever your manufacturer it’s a it’s a challenge but a vegan it’s I would say 10 times more because it’s something it’s a movement that we’re building now it’s a starting we’re creating so it’s still like in the baby steps and you have to invest everything you have to educate people we have to you know it’s a great to have events like that then people can learn and can talk about and we can spread the word but it’s for the business it’s really very complicated and it’s it’s really hard because you know it’s just you have to explain everything more than just to the consumer and to the to our customers at the bakery who goes to the bakery they’re not necessarily vegan they just like the product and because it’s healthier I think that after they don’t want to go back to a regular baked it good my husband ironically he’s a very famous pastry chef and he cooks with butter and eggs and cream and you know now I have a lot of his customers coming to my place because they they just can’t eat that stuff any more every day and when they try our brownie they say wow this is this is really taste good so I will try I’m not vegan but I with that again and I think that for that reason people they change their palate they change you know the perception and they became they have like a more operate palette this is really it’s really for me it’s one of the things that drives me on my business is just to see like the moms and the people they’re coming like you know I could never I have this intolerance of dairy or my daughter can have eggs and finally I can find something that is not just vegan but it’s healthy and you know this is really what makes us keep going because it’s really hard so maybe you guys want to do some questions now and we can continue yeah what do you think has worked in getting the word out about vegan divas how do you what do you think has worked and getting the word out about vegan divas I think that is just the timing now is right when I started I would offer everything for free and people would be scared I wouldn’t say it’s vegan you know the word was a bad word people would associate with the hippie crunchy and you know dog food if I can say that but now when I go to the places and the markets that when I say all this try this is vegan people get really interested about it so now for me particularly it’s an asset to have the name vegan on the brand vegan divas so I think that is just the the timing is right now and it’s just growing a lot yeah a who’s your target market for vegans because in America as income and education go down weight goes up so you don’t find a lot of poor people or people even in the middle class who can afford to shop at Whole Foods or pay more for a brownie it’s a lot less expensive so who’s really your demographic in your target market if you’re gonna start a pagan business of any kind so it’s mostly women and then from 23 to 35 years old and where places is California Oklahoma after San Francisco of course Chicago Alabama Las Vegas a New York City yeah but I think that what we do is a little bit more upscale and my goal is to make the product to sell the product everywhere every bodega every supermarket doesn’t matter if it’s cheap or not but you know my goal is to sell everywhere and to give the chance for people that you know I have a sweet tooth and I think that everyone does so my goal is to make the product affordable the wholesale line to everyone across the country hi can you talk a little bit about the challenge of which I would imagine is true in any business beginner or not of when you first started and you were first literally trying to get people to buy your baked goods and did you take it around to local places in your neighborhood what did you do exactly so when I started I am partner with the local market in the Upper East Side they were my partners and I was baking everything in their facility and we were selling in his place so then we would do constantly look sample of the products and then people like some people they wouldn’t try when we say try this vegan product but when we just give the product they were trying and after they like and they would buy and they would say this is very expensive so then you have to try it again and it’s expensive and you know at this time three years ago nobody most of the people didn’t know what it was vegan was just the gluten-free and and for me I don’t want to follow a trend you know I do this because this is my lifestyle is the way I leave and I’m not I don’t care attach it to like gluten-free or vegan for me it has to be its of course it’s vegan because you’re already covering a lot of things there is no cholesterol is really good for you and you know we almost use no sugar but I don’t want to say and we have of course gluten-free items but it doesn’t mean that you’re healthier because you’re vegan right some people they eat a lot of processed foods and you know they eat all of this I shouldn’t say that here but a hot-dog vegan and all of these things all the time french fries they think it’s good to be vegan but for me I don’t want to do this what do we do it’s like all we pick all the ingredients very healthy and we make them tasty so this is this is my goal it’s to make like a food that it’s really fresh in known process and you know that’s that’s the idea because just you know if you want to follow a trend after when the trend is gone I think that your business you know will be the next thing too for me it’s really I’m committed to a healthy product and then when people try and they know that it’s healthy but also another thing if you can you can tell them that it’s gluten free or vegan but if they taste and doesn’t taste good you’re not going anywhere I think that you really have to be committed to the taste yeah yes so if I want to branch out beyond deserts yes in the we have a quiche that we make yeah which is really great but to make it that in a like a big scale we have to make it it’s it’s a totally different process than the pastries and the baking goods so for now I I just want to be the best and in the deserts and the cakes you know because then it’s so different it’s different to make savory sandwiches then baking it’s totally different so we’re now focusing the dessert now when we open another store next year yeah next year we’re going to have more options like savory because people they want in the store more options so and we have also had the ice cream there the soft-serve ice cream which is great yeah yes we do we sell to restaurants that are known vegan which is great you know and that and for that I think that now more and more like known restaurants even if you go to the most like expensive like if you go to Danielle or if you go to the wine bars like they’re not really exposure people want the option and you know they really have a full menu of vegan desserts and vegan food so I think that it’s it’s really a great time for for us now and you know it’s just it’s just growing it’s just growing so I think of what can I say now for someone that wants to start this business you really have to know that it’s something that you’re doing long-term it’s not something for tomorrow but it’s really something long-term and I think that in two two years or at least in two years this will be really really big but you know just don’t think about tomorrow like sometimes you have to lose money a little bit but you know I think that at the end of the day will be worth it for everyone because we’re doing something bigger than just selling a food we’re just you know we’re passionate about something that we just we wanna cater like a better food you know anyway we want to encourage people to eat like that at home just lounge at my cookbook and the book is for people that are just known non vegan it’s for everyone I just you know doesn’t need to be for vegan it can be you can eat meat but you know the idea is to slowly just make people try something different and not telling them you have to be vegan you know I don’t like to say this just I just like to cook something and don’t say what it is and I think that people like that they will get curious and they will change their palate I think that if you try to you know impose something it’s it’s not going to be a good reaction so I think that for the business and for like as a human being like trying to help my my idea is just to just to make the change slowly and I think that people they get it you know any more questions so our next go now for vegan divas we’re hoping in Columbus Circle location we’re working in a few other things locations and then we’re opening a licensed international tool it’s a big group that asking us to open and they didn’t come because was vegan but they came because there it’s a big hotel chain they own like seven hotels I cannot say yeah where it is but they they wanted to sell vegan Eva’s because it’s low calories so that’s why there were very interested in the products which is which is great because when it’s vegan it’s covering that too of course the our chocolate mousse is 150 calories versus another chocolate mousse would be like 400 calories so you know we’re covering many things in with one product which is great any question yeah what I think that I will see main strip vegan as a mainstream when I go to all the supermarkets and we have a big you know a lot of options of everything you know like the gluten free now which is the gluten free for me it’s a little bit dangerous because you know people they get caught up with gluten free and sometimes it’s not healthy most of the times but vegan is already it’s healthier anyways it’s healthier so I think that it would be mainstream when when you can go to every supermarket doesn’t matter the price you know because people have to afford that everywhere not just in New York City but when you can buy a product in every supermarket I think that it will be amazing yeah yes yeah my partner he owns Dunkin Donuts yeah and you know was to convince him was funny because he I brought we make the bacon doughnuts and I gave them a sample of the doughnut and he was in his board meeting so all the his partners and people that work with him they tried the doughnuts and they say wow this tastes better than the aankhen doughnuts and he was like okay so now I have to invest but in general it’s it’s hard to to sometimes convince people to do business because it’s a vegan business for example we do event at Saks Fifth Avenue you know and because I have this background with more like a traditional chefs or cooking or more like upscale but it’s still this they are really for them it’s really something you they don’t know what it’s vegan and and you know I just try to show them because if these guys these big chefs now they start talking about it and they start offering and there start cooking like this I think this will be mainstream too because these people these guys they lead the market so I think that you know it’s very important to just have them doing that and talking about it and you know just the more they do it’s it’s better for us but it’s really harder when you were a vegan business because people they say I don’t want to try if you want to if you want to have a partner for a non vegan business it will be easier of course it’s harder it’s much harder so we go to a few suppliers and it’s sometimes I have to get up in France or in Japan you know I have to go to the manufacturing most of the times and you know they have the it’s is hard it’s really hard so I have someone that it’s constantly sourcing out ingredients some ingredients are not available here yet so sometimes I can’t make something because we don’t have the ingredient and it’s it’s more it’s hard to get a better price too because for most of the ingredients is just one or two suppliers selling so which makes really hard I don’t have like ten people selling butter like its if it was butter so it’s it’s hard but it’s it’s becoming now more popular I’m trying to get the other suppliers to start having a line of vegan you know ingredients and I try to help them to go to other vegan business this way they can buy more you know so they can have more different things available to everyone because if it’s just me buying he’s not going to have something an ingredient just for me so I try to push him to sell to other people when you know but yes yes there are two or three suppliers and one of them I I just don’t like to do business with them I’m honest and you know so it’s always hard because you have to go to a not to just two suppliers and they don’t have everything or sometimes the price is hard because it’s hard to the product would be very expensive so it’s really hard but at the same time I keep the product like 100% the clean there’s no preservative its 100% well it’s not 100% organic because it’s impossible but everything that I can find it in the market that it’s organic we get organic it’s more expensive but at the end of the day I think not everyone will be able to buy unfortunately but the people that they want to spend a little bit more just to to have the best product they will buy it and I think that that’s is our target that’s a niche that is just becoming bigger now any question yeah so if she’s asking if I have an advice for someone that wants to start a big in business my advice is to start small if you want to sell a product just you know first you you ask your friends or people you know just to start in the small scale in your local markets or and you know and and just try to make get people tasting and you go get their opinion and it really has to be something that tastes good because if it’s not it’s not because it’s gluten-free that it’s going to sell and you really have to have your goal like really clear because you know most of the times you will you know want to give up because it’s still really hard every day every week I think like what am i doing this why don’t I just work for someone it’s just easier but no but I know that when I move to because I first I lost my dad very early with diabetes and he was very sick and you know when I came to America I realized there was this huge crisis in the health population I was working with a Coalition for health is good and I used to go to all the public schools and the kids they wouldn’t even know what it was being they never ate beans in their lives you know was really sad the first day I was like crying because those kids they were just eating chicken nuggets and the budget in the school is one dollar so they were everyday eating chicken nuggets and the worst quality of the burgers you know and they were feeding them like all of this horrible food and dairy and most of them they were lactose intolerant so America it’s it’s really everyone I think that we have to do something you know and what I what I can do it you know is with the food we can influence a lot with the food through the food so you have any questions there now okay thank you I’m doing a book signing over there and after I would like I would love to invite you to try the our products the donuts the brownies and everything is there

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Vegan Food Business Strategist Plant Based Solutions Agency Founder David Benzaquen

You’re listening to the listen up show doorknob entrepreneur pocket I’m Mitchell Chad row your host today on show 0 for 3 today we’re here with David Penzer Quinn founder of plant-based solutions a degen food business strategist brand management and marketing agency for plant-based consumer product companies headquartered in New York we are a brand management and marketing agency acting as an outsourced chief marketing officer for consumer products that are plant-based friend is your business it’s your families your life let’s get started David started out in the business working for an animal protection nonprofit and as a natural products broker but in 2012 he founded the plant based business the company offers a range of services for pre market startups through two huge global brands including opportunity assessments business planning and forecasting new product development marketing research brand creation and a full range of marketing planning and execution in this show will discuss branding product development finance and operations push marketing versus pull marketing berroco versus agency models and scaling revenue overhead and expenses the pros and cons of working with distribution companies and brokers digital marketing social marketing in-store samplings an event packaging design and using employees versus outside contractors and much more we sign up to my email list for the latest special offers exclusive for our listen up show startup entrepreneur podcast audience at Mitchell Chad road calm / sign up I have been providing business advice resources in hell to entrepreneurs for over 20 years and i’m looking forward to helping all of you sign up for my email list again at mitchell chad road calm / sign up I will provide you with full transcript for each interview my ebaugh 30 tools to start up the startup checklist and many other education and training materials all back at mitchell chad road calm / sign up now enjoy the show hey David welcome to the show thank you so much for having me Mitch so I’m excited to be here no that’s great David what is the one thing that contributes most to your success so it’s really about landing where I want to go and then working backwards you out how to get there I have been my career wanting to influence through the word the world and make it better for people’s health the environment animal protection and by figuring out how people come to come to eat come to experience those behaviors I’ve been able to map out what areas in my career to enter and that’s been more exciting for me than anything has been to figure out where I can make the biggest difference so how did you actually come up with this idea how did you tell any idea yeah so I worked for nearly a decade in the animal protection nonprofit world and I was very passionate about that work I felt that the people I was working with were incredibly impactful and compassionate and hard-working but I realized that everybody who was working in the space was using the same approaches to solving the problem of how our eating behaviors affect the world and it was also through a method of push marketing rather than pull marketing we were so tell us a little bit about the difference between the two and how that accurately helped you you know come up with the idea sure so push marketing involves educating somebody about what they should do and whether its buying a product or changing a behavior and then hoping they’ll do it and unfortunately education has been proven in consumer psychology research to be one of the least effective ways to change behavior on the converse pull marketing is where you make something that is attractive and desirable and put it in front of somebody and allowed them to embrace it in an empowering way through their own free will so by leaving the world where I was educating people by the problems with our food system and moving to a place where I’m making delicious better options accessible and desirable through marketing and branding I’m able to attract people to try these things and be excited about it on their own and they’re much more likely to change the behavior our startup round for all your hosting needs head on over to Mitchell Chad Road calm / hosting Mitchell Chad road calm flash hosting for all your web hosting need who do you use to host this website so now you started the business back in 2012 and so we’re almost five years into it in June and so how do you actually make money selling what is your business model sure so we work in three ways we offer hourly consulting for early-stage entrepreneurs who aren’t quite ready to jump into the plunge of a bigger commitment we do project-based work where we will have a flat fee for a certain amount of work like putting together a business plan or packaging design or something of that nature and then for our larger clients we will work on a retainer where we are acting as a significant member of the executive team helping to plan their strategy and manage all of their marketing in the world so who are your typical customers or your end or their end users who would be your typical person that would approach you for work to give us an idea in terms of you know how that looks sure so our typical client can range anywhere from a brand new entrepreneur who’s looking to start a business with a plant-based food products or or supplement product to something of that nature or it could be somebody who has a very established business we’ve worked with some of the largest food companies in the world to develop new product areas in the plant-based space and we can work with them at any stage to help them get ready for market or to be successful in their execution yeah can you give us an example of one successful brand that you’ve been able to help that may be readily known to the audience sure so one brand that we worked with for a long time is called garden and they are a plant based protein company that makes over 30 different meal options for eating more plant-based protein from plan chicken and beef and pork and fish alternatives in the frozen aisle of your supermarket and we helped with them with field marketing with social media marketing PR and events and all that kind of thing so you don’t actually have your own product you actually help other entrepreneurs get their product to market it would that be accurate that’s true for the for most of our business we actually do have some companies that we become so involved in that we become significant shareholders and then metis the businesses with them so one company that I’m thinking of is called ocean hugger foods and the flagship product is tomatoes sushi we met the founder who is an incredible chef and he was looking for business partners who could help with the business side of his work and he wanted to focus on the innovation so we now partner with him to manage his business but primarily we are consulting and supporting other entrepreneurs with their products so talk to us a little bit about your revenue that you’re bringing in I don’t know if you have partners or not I don’t know how many employees you have but talk to us a little bit about the actual company and the structure and and and what your if you can talk to it what what the the revenue base is so I’d rather not speak about exact numbers but we are a small company we started in 2012 and we have focused on keeping our overhead low in order to bring the most efficient and effect and viable prices to early-stage entrepreneurs the traditional marketing agency model is one where there are so many employees to be able to provide the variety of services that a company will need and the newer model which is embraced by many startups is to keep overhead low by having a small internal staff and find the best resources in the market to be able to contract with on a per case basis and that’s the model we have internally my colleague Mary McGovern and I’ve on the business Mary comes from 25 years managing brands for the largest food companies in the world like Kraft and she and I set all the strategy for our clients and then if they need in social media marketing or digital marketing or in-store samplings or something of that nature we work with partners who can execute that I don’t get it yeah so at any given time clients are coming to you for a one type type project engagement or do you have other clients obviously that are retaining you on an ongoing basis if you can’t give actual revenue numbers can you talk to us a little bit about at what an average customer engagement is like and what that looks like so that the audience has a better understanding about this niche sure so I can tell you that on an hourly basis for example my rate is 250 dollars an hour if that’s helpful and when we’re doing a project a retainer based work we are calculating how many hours each person on our team would be devoting to something and discounting it for a bigger commitment and then that becomes the fee associated with that project or retainer our client you know what what it costs to work with us ranges so much based on what a client is doing we’ve had clients for them we’ve done projects for you know a few thousand dollars total and we’ve had clients for them we are a retainer for many times that so let’s talk about the one that provides the highest retainer how did you actually help them from their distribution strategy get into the various whether it be retail markets or distribute their product out into the into the you know the world so with those clients for whom we are on retainer in a significant way it is primarily a situation where as I mentioned earlier we are outsourced chief marketing officer so rather than there needing to hire on a very large staff very senior people that could help them with expertise in advertising and in every kind of marketing and then branding our team can come in at a significantly lower cost than it would be to bring in all of those people at a senior level and manage all of that we also can bring in the best resources in the market more efficiently not just because they’re not on our payroll but because as an agency we are able to negotiate exclusive rates with other agencies or other freelancers that a client could not do directly and our markup is very low so if I am working with John and John will have to hire me for branding or packaging design I think go get packaging design from one of our great creative designers at a fraction of the cost that they were charging directly and she ends up paying less to work with me and them with my project management institute integration then he would just to get the design work directly from them so how are these customers actually getting to you how are you getting the word out I mean obviously you’re doing interviews like this I’ve I’ve listened to you on other podcasts and I’ve read some articles but how do you get the word out about your company and how do the client actually come to you so primarily it’s been through word of mouth I do a lot of networking it’s just my nature to go to a lot of events and conferences and meet everybody I can I just love doing that but primarily our clients come through word of mouth we work very very hard to ensure that every client leaves happy and you know inevitably things you know road bumps can happen and when they do I am always committed to making sure that they are solved and that nobody these unhappy so that route that allows us a great reputation where people are constantly referring us business and we’ve been very fortunate for that in fact as we’ve grown I’m having to turn down a lot of work so that we can focus on projects that are not only more lucrative salsa more more impactful in the world and so we are trying to focus ourselves on doing more outbound marketing to go after the projects that we’re most excited about but the work just keeps on coming in to keep us busy well tell me a little bit about that business model because you know there are other entrepreneurs out there that want to scale up and you know it sounds as if there’s too much business how do you make the determination as to when to either hire more people or to basically limit it because you know in terms of growth businesses there’s a lot of people that obviously do want to grow considerably and they do want to Gail up so how do you how do you balance that when do you make the determination as to when to do that or just stick to you know where you’re at and that was another reason for me asking about the revenue numbers because i think that people are curious not just because of you talking about the numbers itself but to get an idea in terms of you know if they want to either go into this niche or if they were thinking about growing their own businesses you know what that actually looks like short so i think that to be honest the agency world can be a very difficult one to scale part of the challenge is that when one is early and is working with a lot of contractors their margins are very thin and that means that the more work you can keep in-house the more money you can make however if you’re early and you don’t have the revenue to be able to hire a big staff internally you have to use outside contractors so that balance between finding which people to bring in house so that you have efficiencies on individual work and which people to keep out so that you don’t have to carry a payroll as a very hard very hard balance to strike and it’s something that we’ve been learning as we’ve been going early on in my business we had a large internal team that was earlier stage in their careers and focused on a lot of executional marketing so we did social media in house we had a staff of 15 or 20 people who are going into stores and things samplings or events and that was a challenge because in order to comply with the law we’ve had a huge payroll tax and a lot of benefits we had to carry and we had to deal with managing a large team and all the complications that come with that but because the work wasn’t very highly valued our margins were extremely thin as an example I believe very strongly in honoring the people I work with so I was paying my teen twenty dollars an hour most of them were part-timers who were students or cater waiters or actors in their other career and I was paying them twenty dollars an hour which was significantly more than they were making elsewhere but it’s because I believe in doing that and our margins were so small that we were only charging about twenty five or twenty seven dollars an hour which after payroll taxes and benefit meted out to almost nothing so so where were you where are you at now in terms of the number of employees that you have internally versus let’s say contractors on the outside and then to follow up on that I know that earlier in your career before this company you were a broker in this particular area and you had mentioned about the agency model so maybe talk to us a little bit about you know how you’ve evolved over these last several years and where you’re going into the future where do you see the business and the niche yeah so as we changed our model to focus more on strategic work where we could provide greater value to our clients and create greater greater margins for ourselves at the same time we have we have through attrition allowed the team to dwindle down we moved away from doing all the execution work and focus entirely on the strategic work and now my company internally is Marion and I and the two of us bring a lot of experience and are able to provide a lot of high-level value to our clients at a significantly reduced payroll costs and it would have been if we had all those people we had previously and we’ve been doing that model for about three years now in terms of the evolution of our business and and it’s in and as your is she a co-founder or is she in terms of just your structure because we talked a little bit about partnerships and you know bringing in people that maybe complement our own strengths to to sort of help us in other areas so what does she bring and how is it structured versus maybe were your strengths life sure so Mary is an employee and she is involved like a partner and something someday that takes that that I consider extremely essential to the business she brings 25 years and experience managing us in the largest company so she started at General Foods which later became craft and she worked at Ocean Spray and Duracell in extremely senior positions managing bransworth literally billions of dollars and when I started this business I didn’t have the traditional background that many people in marketing and branding have and so in order to cut my teeth and proved that we had the chops to do this work bringing somebody with such brilliant and such experience was really helpful to establish ourselves and show people that we were serious about what we do so at any given time how many clients realistically given the fact that it’s just you and her on the inside and you rely on let’s say outside contractors or other people to help you realistically a business that’s obviously scaling up versus a you know a solo practitioner if you will how how many clients can you you know can you handle at one given time or in a year’s time at their own retainer sure so we tend to have between two and three significant retainer clients at a time and then three or so project basis works that are you know two three month projects and then a couple one-offs order things at a time and so can you give us an idea in terms of I know that you had talked to just generally about some of the numbers in terms of your hourly rate and but you know I’m a company I want to go into this niche which is obviously you know the vegan market and i’m looking to sort of bring my product to market get it in supermarkets etc what can i expect what are the expectations and someone like myself coming to you and saying gee I like for you to help me soup to nuts bring this to market what would I be expecting to to pay someone like yourself in doing that so I tell folks beyond just our cost I tell folks that have been looking to launch a food or supplement or cosmetic product into the natural channel so into health food stores in those kinds of places if you want to launch really effectively in one region and then scale from there I tell people that they should expect to spend a quarter million dollars if they want to launch like let’s say you wanted to tackle whole foods and the natural health food stores in the Greater New York National area for six months and the strategy i recommend to people is that you take that smaller number of stores you get into them and you focus entirely on driving sales as aggressively as possible in those areas so you can prove that with enough support the sales could multiply dramatically as you expand into other stores and then you go raise capital if you need to you don’t want to so but yeah one of the questions that I had for you personally was you know how you actually came up with the idea which we talked about and then how you actually tested your own idea in terms of what you were doing but how do you how do you make that leap of goodwill or good faith to say to a potential customer coming to you you know spend X number of dollars I mean you know before you know fully launching to you know to break into the business I mean a quarter of a million dollars you know how do you help them sort of test the idea first so that’s the great thing about doing a proof of concept but we’re also doing a lot of research on the marketplace and on the competitive set of products they’re in so somebody comes to me and says I want to launch for granola I might tell them that the very challenging business to be in because it’s such a saturated market and I’ll probably encourage them to consider other options if somebody says to me they want to create the first you know I had somebody come to me and want to create the first probiotic protein powder a long time ago before it was so popular now I thought that was a brilliant idea and those kinds of things are so innovative and so in demand there might be a greater opportunity so one of the first things we do with the company is analyzed the marketplace to understand how big the demand is and how big the opportunity is and also assess what the competitive environment looks like and what the best ways to reach consumers were be maybe they would sell through stores may be online maybe to other businesses and understanding those opportunities and what lies ahead so they can plan accordingly is essential decided to decide if the business is viable and worth pursuing and so we work with them to make that determination first yeah you know the the flip side of success is struggles and sometimes failures and we sort of you know have to restart back up again so can you tell us a little bit about some of your own struggles in learning the business back in 2012 and how that’s kind of changed over time absolutely I’m very transparent about these things because I love working with early-stage entrepreneurs to explore and figure out how they can fail quickly and often until they don’t anymore so I started as a broker actually because in order to prove myself in this business I needed to do something that people were willing to hire me for and brokering is commission-based sales work and so because you only get paid on your success people were more than happy to hire me for that as opposed to hiring me for works that they would have been paying upfront without knowing the results and in the natural food industry the typical broker gets about ten to fifteen percent of the products that products they sell to a store so as an example I’m selling a product that I’m selling for three dollars that will retail for six roughly and it’s a case of six units and i sell one case a week to a store then it’s an then it’s a $18 paste that i’m selling and i’m making ten to fifteen percent of that but it might take me an hour to to chase down the manager of that store on the phone or in person and get in the reorder so i might be making a dollar eighty or two or three bucks for an hour to of work that was a very difficult business model and the reason that brokers are only successful if they have dozens and dozens of lines with some that are carrying the vast majority of their revenue the biggest sellers because I was early I worked with very small brands in very small stores my clients were thrilled because we were getting them into so many stores that nobody else was paying attention to and because for them the sales were very good but on my end I was a disaster and I could have chosen to pursue expanding that business and continuing to bring on more and more clients but I decided that for starters I actually find that broker model really troubling because I don’t like the fact that one can’t pay attention to the earlier businesses I’m in this business for innovation and to launch the next thing that will change the world and I do that if I have to focus only on the established brands that are already making me a lot of money so it was your goal not necessarily to to grow exponentially because again everybody has different goals with their business I mean realistically between you and and your employee and and the number of people that you could just realistically handle at any given one time you’re not going to be able to sort of scale up and be able to handle hundreds of clients so that might not be your goal but maybe somebody’s is and so what do you tell them in terms of you know where they could take their own business so we are scaling a lot actually and we will be doubling our team size within the next few months we’ve already made some offers and we expect to bring on two to three more people by the end of 2017 and then to continue to grow from there we’re actually at a pivot point this is something that might be interesting for your listeners to think about it we’re at a pivot point where we are meeting more people to handle the work but we are also close to generate enough revenue where we can comfortably say that we can bring those people on so it’s an interesting time where we have to do as much as we can to bring in the revenue and soon we’ll be at the point where we can bring in people and because Mary and I are extremely senior in our experience it’ll be very helpful to bring in people who can assist with some of the more administrative tasks that can free us up to bring our high value high revenue work to clients every so is this more a hybrid is it an agency then are you evolving into something else that that you know talk to us a little bit about the different business models chores so we are certainly an agency but we are also working horizontally in other industries so we have steaks in and partnerships with retail establishments distribution companies manufacturing facilities and other things and especially investment funds where our goal is that we can take a fantastic plant based product that we think can change the world invest in it brand market launch it sell it distributed etc so we are horizontally integrating ourselves so that we can do that and make a huge difference for our clients yeah so tell me that the best business advice you’ve ever received oh man it’s a great question I think the best business advice I ever received was to know when some things not work you can be willing to pivot I changed my business model several times from when I was a broker to doing executional marketing doing strategic marketing that certainly been the most effective and the most rewarding both in terms of impact and in terms of revenue but knowing when it was time to stop and say okay it’s okay you learned a lot from this you generated a lot of goodwill and maybe some fantastic relationships with clients now it’s time to know what makes sense for your business and that’s been most important for me has been knowing when it’s time to change the model are our startups are obviously bootstrapping early on and so they have this terrific idea there obviously have limited resources so they’re going to they’re going to be very creative and resourceful in terms of testing their their um their product and they come to you do you ever buy in to their idea so in other words in terms of cost structure in terms of how they actually pay you where you know you’re kind of there’s some skin in the game for you in terms of their own success or is it a pure agency as opposed to them treating you almost like a broker model where they’re paying you for the success of their own product in getting into the stores and then obviously ultimate revenue so because we don’t do sales we’re not working on commissions however there are times on a case-by-case basis where we’ll work with companies on an equity basis or on a cash equity split or something where we’ll look at respecting the fact that they have few revenues or maybe on the other hand they don’t want to give up any equity we’re very open to those discussions we have to make some determinations based on our own cash flow of course but we’re also establishing ourselves and building for a long growth and value so there are certainly times where we’re interested in looking to do that and we can be very flexible and creative and how we can partner with people based on their circumstances talk to us a little bit about for those who are not really very familiar with vegan I mean obviously some people eat steak they love chicken and eggs and all of that talk to us a little bit about incorporating the vegan diet into our own everyday lives for those who haven’t begun to do that and and maybe want to start to try whether it be for health reasons because of their approach to animals but just talk to the the everyday person who can sort of incorporate vegan into their lives sure so I’m very happy to have been eating this way the last 15 years have been vegetarian for nearly 20 years I made the decision to originally change my diet for reasons of concern for animals but I’m extremely passionate about the incredible impact we can also have on the environment and on our own human health I think the thing that was most inspiring to me about it was that I was looking to make a difference and I cared about a lot of issues from women’s health and rights and peace and you know in international affairs and all kinds of things but what inspired me and empowered me about this work is that by making a single choice oneself even if it’s just for one day if I choose not to eat a hamburger and to eat a veggie burger for lunch today I’m saving an animal’s life I’m reducing my cholesterol and my risk of cancer diabetes and heart disease and I’m reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the world significantly and every single time I make that choice with my fork and my dollar in the supermarket I can have a tremendous impact without needing to convince the president not to go to war in Iraq or to you know try to get all men to not abused women like there are certain things that we can’t do exclusively on our own but this is one where we are so empowered and it’s so fun they’re amazing foods out there you can explore all the new options and that’s why I love it so much but how do you how do you though the true message to give each person that you’re coming across because some people are doing it for health reasons other people aren’t doing it because of some of these other things and so how do you how do you sort of you know finesse it that you don’t turn other people off that you know are not into it because of you know political reasons or because of Cruelty to Animals even if they do love animals how do you how do you sell it even though you’re not a sales organization per se sort so like I said I did come from the education and advocacy worlds but the biggest reason I’m doing what I’m doing now is because I realized that the products that we represent speak for themselves they’re delicious they’re beautiful they’re affordable they’re healthy and they’re easy to find and that’s what excites me is that I can say to somebody you don’t have to change your identity you don’t have to decide that you’re never going to eat something again here’s a delicious awesome product put in your mouth try it out what do you think wouldn’t it be great to have this for dinner on Thursday maybe you’ll have it for dinner once a week that’s the conversation where we can meet people where they’re at not make them feel judged and let them know that we are supporting them with awesome options to make choices in a very low stress way that can be good for them in the world and there’s no pressure or expectations around it yeah and I think that when you want to try to sort of bring this to the masses and obviously make it catch on more I think that that’s a you know a populist way of doing it so in terms of the marketing research in this particular space how big is the market and you know people are always worried about coming up with good ideas in this particular space so to talk to us a little bit about you know the opportunities for others whether it be your own business or other people listening in terms of coming up with an idea in this particular vegan niche absolutely so the space is booming and you asked about the numbers the biggest reasoning is booming it’s not because of people who are going exclusively vegetarian or vegan that number is growing but the biggest growth is in people who are looking to incorporate this into their lives in a small way which is tastic so in in 2013 mintel which is a large market research organization did a very large study and they found that between one and two percent of the population is vegan meaning eating no animal products of any kind between five and seven percent of the population is vegetarian so no meat fish or poultry and then 16.7 percent of the population almost wanted over one and six people in the country are eating vegetarian for more than half their meals they’re what we call flexitarian and that’s where the real economic opportunity is and it’s also where the real impact is if I’m selling a veggie burger to a vegan I’m not making much of a difference but if I’m selling one to somebody who eats me I’m changing the world so in addition to that extremely large number over forty percent of Americans in that study said that they were aiming to reduce their meat dairy and egg intake significantly over the next year so the opportunity is huge we find that in the marketplace every day that a man for these products is skyrocketing just to give you an idea in the last few years we’ve had clients who have been invested in by leaking the wealthiest man in Asia by Jerry Yang by Bill Gates by the folks from Twitter who started the obvious corporation obvious ventures some of the richest and most strategic investors in the world are recognizing that this is the time to get into this space because we just don’t have the stability and the resources to continue farming animals the way we have and producing healthy plant-based proteins to feed the masses is really the only way we can go forward that’s why they’re betting big on minutes and you’re seeing it in the big meat companies to Tyson has invested in a vegan meat company they have started a several hundred million dollar funds to continue that growth and the CEO himself has said we’re not hedging this is the future and we’re getting in front of it so when we see leaders like the head of Tyson saying that they need to pivot away from me and towards plant proteins there’s no question that this space is exploding so I kind of look at us as a food business strategist so whether someone’s interested in vegan or some other aspect of the food chain what do you tell them in terms of resources things that they can sort of leverage and use just to get started every day to begin yeah I think that it’s extremely important that we recognize there are so many different ways to go to market and when I mentioned that quarter million dollar figure that’s an insane amount of money but thats related to how people go to market if they are going to try to compete with the biggest brands in the world on the shelves of supermarkets where there are 60,000 different products in the same store and there are so many different ways to sell to consumers so you can have a restaurant you can sell at stores you can sell online you can sell it farmers markets each of these models has different costs and different opportunities for revenue and what I’d say is the more but the more closely you interact with the consumer and the more directly you interact with them such as Sally at a farmers market or something of that nature the higher your profit will be but the less scalable the business is so if you would like to have a really big impact on a few people which is certainly admirable and you can do that through a restaurant or through catering or through farmers markets you can have even do that and you can make a very healthy margin and you can have a very sustainable happy business if you want to be the next coca-cola of healthy food then you’re going to have to invest and go and make sure that you are selling through additional channels such as the retail stores so that you can need to reach a much broader audience but the reason you’re going to need so much money to there’s so many middlemen you have to get onto the shelves you have to get distributed there you have to get sold into the store etc to not just convincing the consumer you’re convincing all the trade partners to so I think the biggest thing to realize is that there are many ways to make an impact and one should decide what their goal is if they want to be the next coca-cola or if they just want to have that personal connection where they can change a few people’s lives yeah you know very good when when looking at resources though in terms of you know testing their own idea before obviously you know going into the market going to a farmers market or doing those one-on-one type of things is really an effective way to test their idea when you agree absolutely and there are a lot of resources for people to do these things on a small scale whether it’s testing by selling and locally they’re sharing with friends and family there are also in all major cities in the country now food incubator kitchens we’re rather than producing your brownies at home and China Selden illegally because of health code violations you can rent either for a few hours for a day for a month a small shared kitchen where you can produce your product legally and with the expertise and efficiencies of the teams there so that you can produce it and get it out there that’s that you have a few ideas of in terms of you know are there commercial like almost franchisees where you know they allow people to come in and do this for a C and a flat fee per month yes so in new york city where I live there are several you can go to Brooklyn foodworks the organic foods incubator the entrepreneurs face and a kitchen hot bread kitchen there are a number of them in LA there’s local food lab they’re really everywhere and there are fantastic places because not only do you have the kitchen space at a low cost rent you forget it’s it’s bigger that’s not constant you also have workshops and educational sessions they’re putting on and they can teach you from their own experiences and your network like a co-working space where you can speak to other entrepreneurs who are facing the same challenges so it’s a really great opportunity to get involved and get to know what it’s like to start such a business that’s great and we’ll have links to all of those reason where’s David just mentioned our fastpitch Mitchell Chad Road calm / books for books audiobooks guest recommendations and the books that I read to start off each day sponsors are fastpitch my book club recommendations I get Mitchell Chad Road calm / book to see more of my recommendation and recommendations of our guests just go to Mitchell Chad Road calm / books it’s your number one resource for book reviews and recommendations so we we read a lot of books that motivate us that inspires can yet can you recommend a book for everybody in the audience made to stick and the e-myth day as far as productivity is there an app that helps you in business family or life that you can recommend insightly our wrap-up round Mitchell Chad row.com / photos for all your graphic design needs in our wrap-up we want have our audience take away three things that you feel are the most important ideas that you can provide to them one first research everything about the industry you want to go into when I started my business I did 115 informational interviews in one year to meet everybody throughout the food business and map out my path to success too as I mentioned before be ready to fail take it take the bull by the horns and pivot when needed and three really know your margins because you’re always going to have expenses you don’t expect and be ready to have to account for those and to have to change your rates as you find that out and how’s everybody going to stay in contact with you David so i can be reached at david at plant based solutions com and our website plant based solutions com we’re on twitter facebook and linkedin and we look forward to hearing from everybody is there anything imparting that you’d like to let the audience know that you think that we haven’t talked about today yeah the amazing thing about the opportunities today in the world is that young people and people in general are looking to make impact and for so long we assumes that going into the career space one could either make impact or make money there’s a new movement called effective altruism i’m a proud practitioner and i really believe that there are creative ways and non-traditional ways to make both impact and money and sometimes they’re even more effective than going to do the traditional charity work with the same cups so i encourage people who want to make a difference and be successful in their careers to go to websites like the center for effective altruism or 80,000 hours and about how they can combine their passions with their needs to survive David awesome thank you so much for everything thoroughly enjoyed it and I know the audience will as well and we’re really looking forward to hearing more about your success in the future you’ll come back and you’ll let us know wonderful thank you so much for having me hey take care now bye bye & until next time

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Creating Vegan Businesses With Purpose | Loui Blake

Hello firstly disclaimer I didn’t consciously coordinate my outfit with the slides so yeah so am essentially what I’m going to talk about is to provide a little bit of background for context and to try and offer some actionable advice if you like for the last 12 years of having my own business many many downs and a few ups to talk about I believe that if tomorrow the demand for animal products goes away companies will stop using animals in those products I also believe that big business in capitalism isn’t necessarily bad it’s just unconscious and as a result we need more entrepreneurs in this space but as entrepreneurs we have an obligation to be transparent and drink to paint a true picture of what actually the way actually takes to allow people to make an informed decision as to whether it’s a lifestyle they want to lead and I also believe the next slide should give them where everyone a little bit of a laugh that was me age 16 and at 16 I I wasn’t very good at school and I didn’t really like being told what to do how that would then play out in terms of working life years I realized very early on that I didn’t want to work for anyone else and that would render me basically unemployable what also happened at that time was pretty much a life-changing event in that I’d started coaching football because I was so passionate about football but I was also aware that I wasn’t good enough to play professionally but one of my friends I grew up with was killed in an incident and I was standing next to him and it kind of put this just flipped everything I thought I knew and it brought this real realization that life is so short and that I didn’t wanna wake up every day and do something that was meaningless so that I didn’t care about so as a result of that I threw myself into football and that summer I worked every single day a football camp getting there early setting the goals up tying kids laces picking pounds up anything they would let me do completely unpaid and in the evenings I go and watch the more experience coaches coach for a year I didn’t I did I left all the stuff that I should have been doing running around causing trouble and I really just focused on learning how to be a coach at the same time at 16 I set up my first little business which was coaching kids football privately and I used the money to fund my qualifications and over the next two years I passed the as many courses I could get on and I became the youngest person in the country to pass away for coaching license at 18 I don’t know how much you guys know about football but there’s not many full-time what jobs in football and you can’t really make any money out of it or so I was told so I looked to America and there’s so much money in football there that I took a job in New York and I went off by myself at 18 and in the state’s obviously the drinking age is 21 and I didn’t know anybody so I literally spent a year coaching football in the daytime see my mates on Facebook back here being out and being drunk and in the evenings are going watch the more experienced coaches after year of that I went to Mexico and Mexico City was Dennis that is a very dangerous place so I couldn’t even go out there really and I instead coached football during the day worked on it at night and I started looking really into personal development and I read a book called the master key system which effectively talks about how you can visualize an end product and reverse-engineer it in your mind and if you go back to it every day you can manifest it in your life and what I thought I wanted to do at that point was to move back to Norwich where I was from and open a kid’s football academy and every I didn’t have any money I didn’t have any savings I didn’t my family didn’t particularly have the money to support it but every day I would wake up and I would visualize this Football Academy got to got to 20 and decided to move back and just try and make it happen I’m having two months I’d managed to set one up on a subscription-based model that I’d learn but what I didn’t realize was that cash flow is so important and it was running out of money very quickly and I couldn’t afford to pay myself so M I started I found there was a nightclub in Norwich that after seeing all the nightlife in New York and in London everywhere no one was doing that kind of nightlife in Norwich but was a lot of young people that were bored so I would negotiate with a club give me their quietest night let me take the door money and they could take the bar money I developed this brand that I thought was aspirational that looked called him to tie people in and the first week 800 people turn up and pay five pounds for I’m on to something here so that allowed me to support the grow for the football academy it also led into doing events in other cities and I was able to grow that events business to the point where I was able to buy a nightclub when I got so I got to 21 nearly 22 had a nightclub an events company in a football academy but the problem was that I built it on such shaky foundations and it was all what started being about purpose and helping kids learn football and putting the events on the people that were bored became all about money and rather than reinvestment and my businesses I put a Rolex I’ve got a Mercedes I bought the most expensive apartment I could find and it became very material focused and I guess I’ve got a little bit lost like the big companies I mentioned where I started valuing profit over purpose and that’s what I believe is happening at the moment so what want to talk about today is what the model that I developed for myself to revert back to if ever I caught myself doing that again and I did and I’ll come on to it in a moment so and then good analogy to think about in terms of purpose and profit is red blood cells so your body has to produce red blood cells to survive but you don’t exist just to produce red blood cells and that’s like a business you have to produce profit to survive and spread your message but that’s not the only reason you exist and if that’s the case it won’t last very long so how so how do you set that up so what happens after that is when I said about bad foundations my business partner and I had different ambitions I wanted to go to London and grow and events company there at the same time because I was trying to run free businesses at once who have no knowledge and how to do so the Football Academy partner and pulled that business from under me and the lease on the nightclub ran out and all of a sudden from having all this success or what I thought was success at the time I was back to square one so I moved to London start a new events company got a new business partner ended up buying another nightclub got to the point where we had events in 10 cities all over the country and again bad foundations back to square one I’ll talk about what happened after that in a moment but I basically developed this model that would allow me at any point to come back to and get myself sorted again and get back on that on on the right path so three parts I want to talk about entrepreneurship business and how that’s applicable to a vegan vegan environment so entrepreneur and it’s one of those terms now as getting is getting thrown around and it’s almost glamorized but in those early days of tines kid shoelaces and sweeping sick off the club floor etc it wasn’t very glamorous to me I believe there’s three things you need to consider if you’d like to be an entrepreneur it’s not this trust me it doesn’t make you happy first is what you’d passionate about will you really care about because ultimately like I realized at a young age you need to have something you want to wake up to every day I feel excited about going to it can be a passion within a passion so it could be you could be really passionate about veganism but you could also love food for example as we heard grace say earlier so writing down what you need uniquely passionate about what you uniquely skill that so if you’re not sure ask the five people closest to you what did they think you’re good at and it really helps to put this into words and actually write a list so what are my skill dating skills can change and develop over time the skills I have now a difference in the skills I had when I was younger but they can compound over time in that I was talking in front of groups of parents at 20 introducing football academies so I feel a little bit more comfortable doing it now so it’s amazing how those skills can come back around and then what are my assets and you may say I don’t have any well we all have time as a 16 year old I had loads of time so I was happy to go in tie shoelaces and pick up combs to learn the craft when you have a list of each of these things you can look at what occurs at the it but what occurs at the intersection and you’ll be surprised what you find and Hammett you can create businesses roll and jobs around the intersection of those things it may be like Scott said alongside a job you may be really passionate about vegan food a fantastic writer with access to a laptop internet sometime in the evenings you start a food blog reviewing reviewing huge food on the side for example little tip is to work harder on yourself in any business something that I wasn’t really conscious of at the time but what I find now really helps me is the first hour of every day is personal development it’s meditation stretching reading making lists you have to work hard on yourself the business may disappear but you are still there you are the driving force behind it one thing I’ll say well this is the work you’re doing yourself compounds over time so if you invest time of yourself from young age you reap the benefits of that throughout your life rather than waiting so you have some time your later or you’re finished particular projects or whatever so really think about working hard on yourself business I’ve got a kind of a simple definition of a business because I think people really over complicate it and the definition is business is creative solutions to problems in a way that’s win-win that’s a profit and I’m gonna explain each little part of that for those of the thinking of starting a business firstly though there is no rules there are absolutely no rules my current business didn’t exist ten years ago therefore the the employment model of of what I should do or as told I should do for my business a nine-to-five on set wages runnin sense advised doesn’t work in a social media agency what happens when we need to reply to an inbox message at 10 p.m. and the person finished work at 5 is that person motivated by being paid the same as somebody else in the team who does double the work so to get the rules if you look at the companies they’re innovating and bringing about change at the moment they don’t have any experience in that industry don’t get me wrong there are there are air ways of doing things that have proven to be work but don’t be scared if you don’t know the industry uber didn’t know anything about taxis Airbnb didn’t know anything about hotels so don’t worry if you don’t particularly know the industry so the three points so creative solution is a problem when it’s a problem when you think problems I advise you to think about it in three stages who mr. market segment that has the problem secondly how is that is the problem already being solved and identify how it’s being solved is it a problem that many people have and will it still be a problem in three years time now in veganism we’re fortunate we have so many problems so you’ve got loads to pick from here secondly what is your point of difference what’s your differentiating value proposition what’s your USP what makes your products stand out so think about how you can maybe deliver it in a unique way how you can come up with a brand that is uniquely positioned and then what is the product you’d be amazed how many people are so purposeful in their business and they really solving a problem they’ve got a really great point of difference that products crap so spend time thinking about what the product is and test it produce small volumes work with one person do it for free so many people want to start a business and start earning money from day one they didn’t do that graph they didn’t put in the time doing it for free if you want to you want to be a want to be a PR agent um experience it come and do it for someone put the time in it’s not as simple as starting a business creating a business putting it out there making money quitting your job life’s brilliant it doesn’t work like that so when I say win-win what do I mean traditional model for business is that you look after certain groups first in the 80s we have this this layoff thing where we’d essentially try and balance the books by prioritizing shareholder value and prioritizing me to the shareholders over the people that actually work in the business I was taught in the first nightclub I had that we should pay suppliers right at the last minute and that would help our cash flow but then if the supply is getting paid late when I need the delivery on a Saturday they’re not going to help me out so what I suggest is you look at these these free sectors and you can you bring them all together under one central purpose okay so what that means is then this is from the get-go if your priority is profit you will categorize who’s and valuable than itch you would do things that on a gun in line with your values when the when the sensor focus is purpose and everyone’s bought into the same purpose if your suppliers working with you because they believe what you believe they will go out of their way to support you if your shareholders really believe what you believe when you were supposed to make but make X amount of money on six months in but you haven’t you revert back to the purpose and they’re more prepared to help you because they believe what you’re trying to do we retired in emotionally if you work with the community in the environment the community become advocates of your product the local environment if you have been conscious of how the impacts of your business affects the local environment people see this and they will respond so it’s about using using the purpose to drive the business have everyone brought into a central purpose as opposed to purely existing for money last bit is profit and this is one thing that I always struggle with the start we because I was terrible at planning anything free things to consider a profit if you have investors communication is key do not try and hide things from them they’re there to help you and support you have you got a support network is that people that you have can have as mentors or is there it’s a thing two things you can turn to to give you information that can help you and planning can you come up with a best case solution something and then a lowest a low outcome are you prepared for that do you have it and do you have adequate cash flow do you have backup suppliers do you have that you have plans in place if things go wrong so really planning your business out properly and getting it done before you go to market or do anything this is so so true so this has been for me many times in my life is sitting in Mexico trying to draw up a business plan and I didn’t study business I got I think I got you you and economics at school and then trying to see that I would have the one of the largest football academies in the East of England with 250 players signed with but undoable thinking I’d own a nightclub when I was 22 was beyond me talking the demon in 2d when I first met them and I said where’d you want to go with this and I think I threw out going to America and Damien was like what and then over time believed in it and now it’s happened so think about doing the undoable because a lot of people aim average if I can just get to that I’ll be happy I just get so that I’d be happy nobody’s hitting for this so if you hit him for that you actually have more of a chance in my opinion and then veganism and how does it apply to veganism so I would suggest you that there’s essentially vegan businesses want to create a utopia when I put in Adobe a stock image search this is the image came not for utopia so that’s why that’s there but essentially the purpose that we have for our business that underlying purposes that we want to create a vegan world to want to create a world where people aren’t using animals as commodities where people are being conscious of the impacts their choices have on the environment on other people and on their health so with that underlying purpose I would suggest you there’s three main problems that we need to solve the first is quality or taste so when you thinking about launching a product are you solving the quality or the taste problem how are you doing it again referring back to the first the first two the first two elements of the talk are you solving the convenience element so the convenience element maybe when you’re in your lunch when someone’s on the lunch break and they nip into the local boots and there’s one falafel sandwich left and it’s all soggy but there’s 20 meat options I would suggested there’s an equal amount of vegan options most people would choose the vegan option because it just looks better and cost the problem we have at the moment is vegan companies without investment that startups cannot produce the quantity to allow the unit costs that come down to pass that discount on to the consumer and therefore vegan products are essentially more expensive than their counterparts that use animal products so how can you address the cost issue is there a way that you can to convey that you can launch products into an existing market that allows you to compete the products that the forces are them products to be driven down in cost and the competition basis and what what this all ties into is awareness so the more products that enter the market the more awareness there is you go into a supermarket and there’s a whole lyall for the vegan food people will take notice it’s putting it in front of people you guys probably not mean the way I made my parents go via my brother’s go vegan was I was literally putting food on the table every day but I try to s try this try this it’s awareness the more you expose or something the more you start to take notice so we need to if solving any of these issues we’re all contributing to the awareness of veganism and that’s one of the most important things if your business fails if it flops doesn’t matter the processes you work on yourself and becoming the driving force that can then start something else I think over that time sorry the last bits final initiative in the niche so veganism is no longer a niche it’s no longer good enough to start a vegan brands put some green on it and say we now sell vegan products come and buy it think about the niche that you’re addressing within that the world is so big and we’re all online and there’s so many people but there’s gonna be someone that’s interested in what you are interested in and what you’re really passionate about so don’t be scared of the niche being too small and it comes down to I mean this is probably 12 years in this is yeah this is 12 years in for me and my concept of success for the first eleven was how much money can I make and the problem of that is money is infinite when is a bi-product money is a you know a byproduct of success but what how do you define success for you if everyone it’s different a successful entrepreneur we see in magazines is someone with private jets and watches but what if that person wakes up every day and hates their life hates what we’re doing doesn’t contribute anything is that person successful what about the person that runs a small business that gives access to amazing foods and lots of people and they’ve helped people lead a healthier lifestyle diet but maybe doesn’t make that much money I’d argue that they’re more successful so my measure of success now is waking up every day and being inspired being passionate and really loving what I’m doing even though the money’s less and trust me as a by-product the money will come because even you’re passionate about what you’re doing you want to spread it to more people and you’ll find a way to make that happen what I would say as well is there there’s kind of an ego around and I had a massive ego around it when I when I would have businesses before and it was all about I want to look like I’m successful or I was motivated by the wrong things what veganism showed me was I need to be more conscious of how my actions every day are having an impact on other people and on the world around me and rather than just appeasing myself on my own once my own needs how can I create something that helps other people so where that’s kind of led to today after the second nightclub failing I found myself sleep on the floor an office in Brighton which is ironic because I think we had a quite an expensive car outside and expensive clothes but no money to buy a hotel I came back to doing what I knew and that was nightclubs start the recruitment company after meeting somebody in a bar and have an idea started working in social media basically got myself to burnout level where I was doing 16 hours a day getting really sick and they discovered veganism turned overnight energy levels went through the roof reverted back to my my little model and find him what I wanted to do and what came out of it was that I was all of the businesses are grown I’ve done off the back of social media that’s why new communications branding the assets that I had was access to lots of contacts that I’ve made over time and the ability to go out and meet people and etc and the new passion was veganism and helping change the perception of what veganism was so in that time I decided to set up a church that gradually started changing my social media agency to work with vegan brands and today I can say that we only work with vegan companies ethical companies I’ve left a hell of a lot of money on the table to to work with other companies but it’s about doing what you believe in and I believe that in time it will pay dividends we do work with companies that aren’t vegan to have vegan products because again I believe big business is a tool to leverage spring the message further a restaurant with 100 a restaurant claimed 100 restaurants is in a position where they can spread the message quicker than a start-up restaurant so I’m happy to work with them but ultimately end goal is to help vegan businesses so if you’re thinking about starting a business I would encourage you to look at those steps they’ve really helped me step up just get up and do it and if it fails it really doesn’t matter there’s no ego loss there’s there’s there’s no problem fail again fail again fail again I watch an interview once and this is what stayed in my mind and maybe it’s caused me to be a little too blase about failing but there was three entrepreneurs and they were all highly successful both in terms of revenue and what they were doing and when asked between them the average number of businesses they had before they were successful the answer was 18 I’m prepared to myself to get to that number and keep going because ultimately it’s what you do every day it’s being present throughout it and during the process it’s not a destination money’s not a destination it’s the process of waking up every day and loving what you do so where that leads me to now is I have a restaurant opening and then four weeks it’s free floors cafe restaurant and bar it’s fully vegan and that is me chucking everything I have into the pot and hoping praying and making it work so I encourage you to step up if you have an idea ask the help surround yourself with people that know what they’re doing and go for it if you want to connect with me that’s my information they’re also around and a thank you Damian and Judy for giving the opportunity because they actually dragged me kicking and screaming onto the stage of evolution a couple of years ago I was petrified of doing it and since then it’s opened a lot of doors for me in terms of speaking so I really appreciate it so thank you you you

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Vegans Louise and Frank – Vegan business owners band members & created World Vegan Day

Highways and high five all right but we’re here about the Cabaret which is the cowboy at calomel so how did you like get into creating a vegan cafe gallery event space anymore things add to that well it was all quite random really we always kind of had a dream about some kind of dream that we did reality and then it would have been about a year and a half ago maybe a bit longer I just saw a random sort of facebook post about this particular venue and that possibility of taking over and running into the restaurant like way because we it’s all our daughter very close to you and we knew this space so I just leave trying to believe what I just don’t see it on Facebook and we used to have a chat about it long and hard about it decided we should give it a go because we didn’t at least new order for my situation here to compete against other people happy one I what’s the best event are like program you put on I what’s the thing like you remembered and on our that’s so cool that’s made my day however i think when we’ve had really good bands so we know for us to hear is to burn a couple of times we’ve been heading up to that it would be round I think we did reach the two big on over irrigation and I felt that’s a good number you can still move around is not too jammed you can see the bound in comfort oh yeah a good band lots of people reserves hmm as we got into this staff interested in the arts in as well the selection of staff you lied so let me get something right one of my favorite Oh and she’s she’s great I think she just touch with our it already in to eat her and so she kind of me oh good and raise some money you know as well that was really popular event very committed we had Tom Robinson come and play here who’s who had some big hits in some teas and 80s but it continues to be a BBC Radio 6 DJ uncle and he’s really well known for having glad to be gay and he did a version of that song adopted at one point which is really funny things that because everyone was a bit hesitant about singing because it has yeah and he was like hold on it’s okay you don’t have to be getting to sing this song here everyone and then after that everyone sort of thank you and actually it was really young it’s quite moving actually I found it please you create the world vegan day so how did you come about creating that and what are the achievements you’ve had from it okay well well big day when I was president and we were in the lead up to the Society’s 50th thinking about how to celebrate this amazing occasionally and already have one more I’d already have one idea which is to create a fill and then I’m current exactly remember how the ideas that came into my mind Wow why don’t we created died and so that was much easier than making the film because that was really just a matter of announcing it but when I thought about it was really to commemorate when the society would start it started by very small number of people who have this crazy idea that you could live without essentially live without exploiting animals and at that time which is in 1944 sightings found people literally thought we would die bad enough that you vegetarian now we all know clearly different actually you’re healthier as a beacon who you know you’re gonna Diagne be much healthier but at that time I just thought I find it incredible that those people at the beginning had this idea separately around the country came together as community for the day each other decided to found the society an into doing the war Second World War he’s in line when food was being rationed food was already severely restricted at that time and I’m just so inspired by these people and I felt they deserved to be remembered each year in fact that those people founded the society all those years ago so when we founded well-being well being in day we decided it would be the first of novo the exact date okay about so it was started in 1994 it’s amazing now it’s all over the world people do all kinds of and it just still serves as an opportunity to take the idea how to other people or to simply celebrate it and it’s you know it’s Damon people I think just celebrate create conditions that but you mentioned the film that you created so what was a film about well it was created by four of us really running drugs in in real life you’d be like but that was the first major undertaking actress but that at that time we were ye we were pleased to have the presenter Benjamins great British poet represent and we made a 25-minute promotional film about veganism that was well received I’m still proud of that work which you can see on youtube and yeah the film I’m really proud of go on it’s called truth or dare so lots of people want to start being businesses so do you have any tips for them the starting their own well because it happened to us by accident I just say really I mean we’ve been doing this for just over a year now if you want to get into the restaurant business the best and the key is really to get a good team you enter into this type of business what you need to and to be my advice is to be very determined set your goal and go for it if you make a mistake don’t worry we all do with their mistakes I made loads of the state’s every day and I try to learn from the run be a better person be tolerant of people some people like myself see a vegan argument and change very quickly other people they take but everybody is a potential video so be tolerant of people business other side so ten years to finally get it of you like leaving for life so you have been in a bun so as the band called and what’s it like traveling and playing music and well I think there’s nothing beats being on stage playing your own music in my experience so those of the highlights of my life are being the moment when you’re on stage playing us or moving beats my experience the band ring is calling this frenzy which we lazy about putting music out where we do have a small record deal most about next year do you drop in veganism in your music I think somebody asked you this before about I would say to us but it’s actually I think it’s really difficult songs can below nice but so we have sort of we did earn some gone on our album which is a little violence which cool it’s actually an ex somebody used to play these total king two gave it up because he couldn’t relating children into so that song which is kind of related he was the first he was an actor he changed his mind basically and regretted doing is instead a very powerful thing which is why he used the sample and then I wrote the music around that fitted in with the concept of the album which was an examination of violence what I put over the top of Everest sometimes quite shocking statements from people for examples of moments when they’ve been involved in a violent situation or contributed to violence in this case Ronald McDonald contributed and then become a reformed character i would say stay away from its own writers i find it a bit cringing it’s you’ve got to be very clever to pull it off in a way but other I recognize other people like in small but I have to jump in here and remember that i did do I’ve done a couple of league in field DJ mixes which is a collection of tracks some of them by very well known pretty much i buy very big all students a lot more than I ever thought that was it took me ages reserved so some of there are some really good it’s a great one quiet I goons that figure I did find a lot really do examples might be Dina by the youtube com vegan okay so in my case I have got involved with my local animal rights group in Southampton and I was already vegetarian although I didn’t stay vegetarian for very long because I met some vegans who were in a another animal rights group that was down the road and I came across a vegan society leaflet read it and I just connected immediately with the leaflet the argument like leaflet just very simply made the case for veganism and just like if I recognized immediately thought by the vegan mmm maybe not sort of conscious quite consciously in that way but my totally connected little got it I suppose and then basically I decided with my boyfriend at that time I think maybe we were both living at home or something so we decided to book ourselves a holiday in Jersey go away from here before decided to be season so then we both look begin at that time I was the age of 18 and even really met anyone who was vegetarian but I traveled to Europe I wanted to sort of broaden my horizons on a coached Greece somebody gave me Buddhism well vegetarianism was discussed and when I came back to make moment its soda seed in my mind because I didn’t want to be I realized I wouldn’t want to do that myself for me as well I just wanted to opt out of all that and then about a week later I’ve to go veggie I was in a Holland America parents store in southport and the first edition of the new revamped vegan magazine had come out I happen to see that I open it up when I read the definition I thought actually that makes more sense to me sort of bored out of a live-and-let-live attitude adding one of involved please do you have any tips for people that want to go vegan well I think I really enjoyed it you know it’s presented as you’re giving up something that you’re gonna miss I never missed eating meat or cheese or dairy once I found suitable alternatives the whole world of food opened up for me better healthier I declare a conscience i’m just literally recommend the thing is it’s enjoyable you know you’re not denying yourself something whole different way of living now is the time to go vegan because it seems that it’s really exploded in school now has been in the media but in my experience I will say it is the set maybe not the best decision I’ve made in my life that’s certainly one of the imagine not being thing just say it really contributes to the right thing but it’s the nature of the food itself as well it has so many positive effects on body or mental health emotions and it’s just a more enjoyable really like honest it’s more than that so much go to be I think as I ever not yeah I mean for the future the planets as well aware that fifty percent of greenhouse gas is actually generated from animal agriculture everybody’s we want to save the planet sometimes a lot of let’s go to be 10 billion season in this century a lot of people a book to start eating a hell of a lot more food you can see the beginning of that happening now I think I know it’s more related the future with mass migration because and that’s already it’s all there it’s also a resource we do start making changes and taken on radical ideas like a vegan future the planet will be destroyed by who hmm and append them vation because too many aspects of the planet and it’s all good year round so thank you good you’ll end up XP be coming for a professional a very good start yeah

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The Forest Green Rovers Are The World’s Only Vegan Football Team (HBO)

Talk about British football culture an environmental conscientiousness probably isn’t the first trait that springs to mind but try telling that to Forest Green Rovers the aptly named Club has been based in a tiny English village for a hundred and twenty nine years for the last eight they’ve been owned by wind power tycoon Dale Vince who also owns a multi-million dollar green energy company eco tricity with his investment the Rovers have won a place in England’s professional leagues for the first time they’ve also become the greenest sports team in the world and they’re completely vegan every year we reckon about 20% of all of the electricity we use comes from our own solar panels and the rest we bring in from the grid using our own windmills and solar panels in other parts of the country so we’re on absent powered by green electricity and about 20% of it is made here on-site well I would occasionally call myself a hippie I would say more than anything else if you’re looking for a label I’m an environmentalist sometimes people call me a businessman Erdem like that I think they’re smartly insulting we’ve got a series of drains dug across the pitch and we collect the water that flows on it and we pump it up into a big tank up in the corner there and put it back on the pitch lasers like a you know motorcycle one of the things we’ve done is to take the club vegan and we are described often as the world’s first or any vegan Football Club and we did it for the environment reasons primarily but of course there are human health reasons and animal welfare issues behind to drive to veganism as well and and I personally support all of those first thing you did was stop the serving and red meat and that went down you could say like a lead balloon with some people it was it was a bit shocking bit controversial media called a red meat ban to our players we said look this is a performance issue serious athletes then he read me and they took that on board we’ve done really well last season and we’re on you can diet around the club so this year is all about staying in the league and we’re doing a face over when you first sign here you hear a lot of things about the club and how its run takes you a while to get used to X is completely different to any other football club but when you’re here you really take it on board and you really understand what he’s trying to do at the end of the day they’re trying to save the world two seasons ago now we just took the cows milk away you know and it was a little bit hard for a couple of people you know what are we gonna do you know but you know push comes to shove I say we’ll look to have a beer you know are you trying to steal my limelight have you put the timer on fantastic so what we got here katsu curry pickled vegetables and pickled ginger it’s not typical football food and actually there were there was some resistance and naturally it’s changed but sales have gone up people have realized actually they’re not being punished you don’t get punished good for you given food it’s actually a celebration of what we’ve got look at the size that fire out there you don’t need four is green hungry well I think the classic stereotype of a football fan in England is it’s going to be somebody that doesn’t eat healthy food perhaps isn’t the most progressive in their outlook I don’t think it’s actually holds to like most stereotypes and if you look at our fans talk to our fans you find it actually once they’re introduced to these ideas around the environment they’re very keen to pick them up and run with them which is what our fans have been doing oh it’s great because we’ve been coming up about three or four seasons now and all of a sudden people know us for the vegetarian cycling the club so it’s great for us club this more to be talked about around the world is brilliant football has given us a massive platform and dreamt of really to talk to people all around the world we’ve got fan clubs springing up in so many different countries of the world is quite incredible and these are people that aren’t necessarily football fans but they are people that are concerned by the environment and are adopting for our screen as a football club because what we stand for off the pitch [Applause] you you