Just as fast as “Tofurkey” became part of the American lexicon, veganism as a stand-alone business model has become an exciting venture bridging the divide between those seeking a greater health consciousness and impassioned environmental politics. From the evolving science on gluten allergies to the renewed interest in raw foods, combined with new opportunities of a “green marketplace,” the concept of vegan business has moved from the outer fringe to a proper seat at the table.
Like the myriad start-up boot camps for the tech dreamers, Vegan Mainstream and Karine Brighten Events have teamed up to offer an option specifically for the vegan business player: Vegan Professional Marketing Bootcamp. Hosted in vegan-friendly cities such as Berkeley, Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, and Austin, the Vegan Professional Marketing Bootcamp events combine host-city profiled vegan speakers with practical classroom-based interactive discussion. Through the sharing of personal experience and knowledge of our finicky demographic, these boot camps are meant to provide key insight to running a successful venture.
Immediately smitten with the concept, I quickly signed on for the launch event in Berkeley, CA. An all-day event that played host to six speakers: Colleen Holland, co-founder of VegNews, Lani Muelrath, a plant-based fitness expert and author of Fit Quickies, Natala Constantine, online media director of The Engine 2 Diet, Ryan Pamplin, co-founder of Brand Ads, Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, aka The Veggie Queen, and Florian Radke, creative director of Brand Ads. I was impressed with the lineup and looked forward to their individual presentations, including the challenges of marketing and promoting a new brand to our vegan brethren without scaring off the not-so-inclined locals.
Each speaker presented for roughly forty minutes. The topics were refreshingly varied. Natala Constantine talked about building community and cohesiveness through social media outlets. Florian Radke focused on defining and maintaining one’s brand. Colleen Holland shared her true story of breaking through in print media. Ryan Pamplin offered his personal take with digital media and marketing. There were also passionate round table discussions with Jill Nussinow and Lani Muelrath, and the day concluded with a take-home assignment from Stephanie Redcross of Vegan Mainstream. It should also be mentioned that to incorporate civic interaction and exposure, food during the boot camp was provided from local vendors or restaurants, all in an effort to network and build lasting relationships in the community.
In all, a day’s worth of personal insight and poignant reflection that was both accessible and digestible for seasoned business owners or those about to make the leap. To learn about future Vegan Professional Marketing Bootcamp events across the country, visit www.veganprofessionalevents.com.
2013 Bootcamp Schedule
Washington, DC – April 27
Chicago, IL – June 8
New York, NY – August 24
Los Angeles, CA – October 12
Austin, TX – November 2