2019 has been what the Economist describes as the year of the vegan, with more than a quarter of Americans aged 25-34 saying they are either vegan or vegetarian. More and more people are now going for alternative choices that are free of animal byproducts, which means business is booming for vegan products retailers.
More than a quarter of Americans aged 25-34 saying they are either vegan or vegetarian. More and more people are now going for alternative choices that are free of animal byproducts, which means business is booming for vegan products retailers.
The numbers speak for themselves. Forbes reports that the sales of plant-based food in the US went up by 8.1% in 2019, with plant-based milk sales increasing 3.1%. Even outside the US, the global market for meat substitutes is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 8.4%, increasing to a revenue of $5.2 billion by the year 2020.
Beyond food, for many, veganism is a lifestyle. The majority of vegans avoid things that are produced through exploitation or cruelty to animals. This means reading up on how everyday products, such as soap, cosmetics, fabrics, and the like are made, and making sure that no animal has been harmed in the process.
Luckily, to put some ease into making that choice, plenty of women entrepreneurs saw the lack of vegan products in the market and started businesses of their own. Here are some notably powerful women who transformed their passion for the earth and for animals into thriving businesses.
Miyoko Schinner, Miyoko’s Kitchen
Miyoko Schinner found herself a vegetarian wanting to transition into veganism, but couldn’t because of her love for cheese and dairy. Finding non-dairy alternatives unsatisfactory, she made it a point to learn the art of vegan cheesemaking. As far back as the early 80s and 90s, Miyoko found herself a household name in vegan pantries in the US with her artisanal vegan cheese and dairy products. Since then, her company Miyoko’s has grown exponentially.
Miyoko’s attracted investments of over $12M from Obvious Ventures and JMK. They’re now looking to sell vegan cheeses in major supermarkets and food stores, with their new, faster-producing plant opening in Petaluma.
Melissa Butler, The Lip Bar
In 2015, Melissa Butler found herself rejected on Shark Tank, an ABC reality show where a panel of “Sharks” go through potential entrepreneurs and selecting the ones that are deserving of investment. Regardless, Melissa defeated the odds and pushed through with the Lip Bar, a non-toxic and vegan makeup line. The Lip Bar’s main selling point had been colorful vegan lipstick options. Since then, it has indeed garnered success, expanding into selling a full range of makeup items and being sold at local Target locations in the US.
Sadrah Schadel, No Evil Foods
Conceptualized with her business partner and husband Mike Woliansky and based on their passion for animal welfare, health, and the earth, Sadrah Schadel co-founded No Evil Foods, a company founded on selling plant-based alternative proteins. No Evil Foods only grew from thereon. Their revenue has doubled annually since it was founded in 2014, with last year’s gain coming in at 250%. No Evil Foods products are now carried by 3,000 stores all across America, including Walmart, Whole Foods, and Ingles Markets Inc.
Hannah Saunders, Toddle
After a decade’s worth of work in the Royal Air Force in the UK, Hannah Saunders ventured into launching her skincare line specifically for children. With her own child being sensitive to plenty of the products on the market, Hannah Saunders’s brand Toddle is a combination of her love for adventure and her children. Toddle is all-natural, fully-vegan, and gentle on children’s sensitive skin. Its products protect against the sun, the wind, and insect bites. This year, Toddle received a £200,000 equity investment after initial funding was raised via Kickstarter last year. Her business model ensures that she makes the safest products possible for kids, while ensuring her brand is ethical from production to her fully biodegradable packaging.
Melissa Berry, Missionary Chocolates
Naturopath doctor Melissa Berry, started drafting her recipe for chocolate truffles after rekindling her passion for baking in order to make dairy-free chocolates for her vegan mother. Since starting the foundations of her business in 2006 while she was still in medical school, she has since perfected her Missionary Chocolates’ signature recipe. At present, it’s become one of the most famous delicacies in the state of Portland. Missionary Chocolates is now carried by New Seasons Market, and, since February 2016, has tapped into distributing chocolates worldwide.
Aubry Walch, The Herbivorous Butcher
After learning about the effects of meat production on the environment, Aubry Walch and her brother Kale Walch started a vegan “butcher” business together. Their plan was to offer a variety of alternatives in an effort to reduce the consumption of meat products. After perfecting their recipe for vegan meat alternatives and selling them at farmers markets and breweries, Aubry and Kale finally opened the Herbivorous Butcher in 2016. A whopping 5,000 people attended their opening weekend. Many vegans across the world now visit Minnesota to check out the Herbivorous Butcher, which carries a wide variety of vegan foods, like vegan cheeses and deli staples like Italian sausage and chorizo.
Ginger Johnson and Liz Pickett, Ginger + Liz
You might have not considered nail polish as a product which needed a vegan alternative, but according to RaisingVegan.com, most nail polish brands you can buy in drugstores or supermarkets contain animal byproducts. Some nail polish brands also still continue to test on animals. In their search for affordable, nontoxic nail polish in a wide range of colors, Ginger Johnson and Liz Pickett started Ginger + Liz. With a wide range of colors from subtle nudes, light pastels, vibrant brights, and metallics, Ginger + Liz immediately kicked off as a more ethical, safer alternative to commercial nail polish.
Keli Smith, Kaike
Investing a capital of just $1000 for organic ingredients, packaging, and production, Keli Smith built her vegan skincare brand Kaike from practically scratch. Kaike’s products are not only organic and vegan, but multipurpose as well. Their bestselling product is their Frosting, a body butter that you can use as a face moisturizer, cleansing balm, or hair product for women of color embracing their natural curly hair. Apart from taking online orders through their website, Kaike is now carried by five to six wholesalers, plenty of which are natural beauty boutiques across the US.
Obia Ewah, Obia Naturals
After battling her way out of cancer, chemist Obia Ewah vowed to be more careful about the products she puts on her body. She started Obia Naturals in 2012, a company focused on producing natural haircare products. Obia Ewah recognizes that natural haircare largely depends on individual experiences and is mostly a trial-and-error journey, so her brand carries a wide variety of haircare products that target specific natural hair problems people of color may experience. Obia Naturals is fully organic and natural, free of any toxins or carcinogens, and is now available for shipping worldwide.
Sarah Welsh and Farah Kabir, Hanx
Gynecologist Sarah Welsh and investment banker Farah Kabir fused both of their fields together to create Hanx, a company that produces 100% natural, vegan, fair-trade condoms. Alarmed by the increase in STIs, Sarah Welsh and Farah Kabir made sure that Hanx condoms are not only safe for the environment, but are also discreetly packaged. This is in order for people to feel comfortable buying, carrying, and using them. Hanx is a fully sustainable enterprise, so their products are perfect for people who are conscious of what they put in their bodies and how products are manufactured. Since its launch in 2017, Hanx Condoms now ships to many areas in the UK, offering customers the option of having a monthly subscription that delivers on schedule straight to your door.
Looking for tips on how to make your business idea grow? Check out Daydreaming in Paradise’s 10 Reasons Why You Need Self-Awareness to Be Successful in Business.
Jane Adamson is a Canadian import who moved to the Philippines three years ago for a change of pace. After working in the corporate world for ten years, she decided one day to pack up her things and head halfway across the world for a taste of living somewhere brand new.
She lived and worked in Bangkok and Ipoh for a few months as an English teacher, before eventually washing up on the shores of the Philippines. While she has a variety of different interests, Jane’s first loves have always been food and fashion, and she’s looking forward to sharing her thoughts on these on Daydreaming in Paradise.