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056 - 4 big announcements from Vegan Business Tribe!

Behind the scenes with the latest from Vegan Business Tribe.  As we look towards the end of the year, David shares four big announcements from Vegan Business Tribe, starting with the news of our new book Vegan Business Revolution: How to succeed with your vegan business.

David also brings you some behind the scenes updates from the tribe and answers the question: “how do you and Lisa fit it all in when there’s only two of you?!”  And finally, David is challenged by one of our members to tell his cheesiest Christmas joke…  content warning: bad jokes.  Really bad jokes.

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Episode transcript

[Recorded introduction from Pauliina Salmenhaara explaining what she loves about Vegan Business Tribe]

Hello and welcome to episode fifty-six of The Vegan Business Tribe Podcast with myself David Pannell, co-founder of Vegan Business Tribe.  And if you have a vegan business, or are thinking of starting one, then Vegan Business Tribe is here to support and inspire you not just to build a vegan business, but to build a SUCCESSFUL vegan business.
 
And just at the start there you heard from Vegan Business Tribe member Pauliina Salmenhaara who is based in Finland with her business Home of Wellness but also owns the vegan restaurant Living Food Lab in Barli, just talking about what she likes so much about being a part of Vegan Business Tribe – and thank you so much for sending that in because Pauliina has been with us for a very long time as a member and you can imagine all the trials and tribulations she’s been through owning a restaurant during the pandemic!  But she is just such an amazing and inspirational person to know.  And the reason I wanted to start with Pauliina’s words is because I want to have a bit of a different session with you today, because we have got SO MUCH GOING ON at Vegan Business Tribe right now as we approach the end of the year, that I wanted to give you an update on everything that is happening at the moment. And just while I decide where to start I’m actually going to hand over to a message from another Vegan Business Tribe member who has set us a very unique challenge via our Instagram page.  The cheesy challenge is on behalf of an amazing company making vegan cheese in the Scottish highlands called Left Coast Culture who currently have a crowdfunder on Indie Go Go.  And to help promote that, our member Joni from Prissy Queen Of Desserts sent me a very cheesy challenge…
 
[Recording of Joni from Prissy Queen Of Desserts challenging David for his best ‘cheesy’ Christmas joke]
 
Well, thank you for that challenge Joni and, believe it or not in my previous pre-vegan life I used to actually collect cheese jokes so you have definitely picked the right person there!  So what’s the cheesiest joke I know… ? Well, you’ll have to wait until the end of the podcast to find out!  Ha ha – I know, such a cheesy move to make you listen to the end but it will be worth it, trust me.
 
So, what’s been going on at Vegan Business Tribe that’s worth me devoting a whole episode to updating you – well we’re now in December and we’re looking forward towards 2022 and our strategy for next year, and one of the big things we are announcing is that in early 2022, we will be publishing our first book!  Now this is something that a lot of people have been asking us for ever since we launched Vegan Business Tribe, could we take all our advice, case studies and vegan sector knowledge and put it into one vegan business bible – so that’s exactly what we’re doing, and the book is going to be titled ‘Vegan Business Revolution – How to succeed with your vegan business’ and we’re aiming to publish it in spring 2022.  Now, we HAVE been in conversation with a publisher, but what we’ve learned is that publishers tend to work slower than we do and we’d probably be looking at about 10 months to get the book out, so even though we’d probably look to earn more money going down the publisher route we’re going to put the book out ourselves.  Fortunately, we’ve got a number of Vegan Business Tribe Members who have a lot of experience in publishing who are going to be helping us out and it means we’ve got a lot more control about how we distribute it, so if we want to do a deal on the book for Vegan Business Tribe member or give away some freebies with it then we can just do that.
 
And speaking of freebies, we are taking pre-registrations for the book – so if you go to the latest content section of the website, or just go to veganbusinesstribe.com/book you will find out more information about the book and a form that you can use to pre-register to make sure you get the latest updates and announcements for when the book launches.  And if you pre-register now, then when the book does come out you’ll also get some special pre-register freebies when you buy the book.  We haven’t 100% decided what those freebies will be, but it might be some merch like Vegan Business Tribe stickers so that you can show everyone that you are part of the vegan business revolution, or it might be even a free download of the audio version of the book if we manage to get that recorded in time, but it will be something cool that you don’t want to miss out on.  And also, you have a chance to get involved with the book!  We’ve already got the main structure and foundations of the book in place but there’s still time for you to have some input into what you would like to see in it – so if there’s something that you think really isn’t covered in the typical business books or something really unique to you or the vegan sector, then head over to the website (or just go to forward-slash book) and when you pre-register you will also find a space to give us your suggestion of what you’d really love to see in the book.
 
And 2022 is really going to be the year for Vegan Business Books.  Our good friend Sandra Nomoto who is a vegan content writer is also publishing her second book, which will be on marketing for vegan businesses (for which we’ve submitted a chapter) and we’re really excited to see that, and Kathleen Gage is also due to publish her book on Vegan Visibility, which again we’ve also written a chapter for so you’re really going to have to put some Kindle time aside next year for all those too.
 
So that’s the first BIG announcement, but there’s so much more going on including our SECOND big announcement that Vegan Business Tribe has been nominated for an award, and I’m now coming to you, our vegan tribe, to ask you to support us.  Because Vegfest have nominated us as part of their annual awards in the best vegan business support award – and JUST being nominated is amazing and a really good way to get our message out to more vegan businesses who haven’t found us yet.  This is actually the second time we’ve been nominated for this award, but when we were first nominated in 2020 we’d actually only just been going a few months but we still got about 100 votes which was really humbling because we’d not yet had the opportunity to prove ourselves so still getting 100 votes was pretty amazing.  But this year, with your help we think we might be able to make an even bigger impact!  Voting opens on the 1st December and it would really mean the world to myself and Lisa if you could lend us your vote, so if you go to the Vegfest website which is vegfest.co.uk and look for their 2021 awards section you will find out all the information you need there.  Now in previous years, it has been a two-step voting process where you would need to make your vote and then the website would send you an email that you had to confirm for your vote to count, and I suspect it will be the same this year so watch out for that.  Also, you don’t just have to vote in our Best Vegan Bussines support category, the Vegfest Awards really do showcase some amazing products and vegan businesses and give a lot of recognition to companies that are making a real change.  And I know that a few of our Vegan Business Tribe members are also nominated for awards, so while you are there take some time to go through all the categories and lend your support to your favourite vegan businesses and brands.  Voting closes on the 14th of December so it’s only a small window to get your votes in, and if you feel you’d like to support us then that would be absolutely amazing.
 
But that isn’t all our big announcements, because big announcement number three is that we’re especially excited because we’ve just been confirmed as speakers for the Isle of Arran Vegan Festival in July 2022.  Now, Lisa and I do a lot of speaking gigs and appearances and we’ve got quite a few booked in the diary for 2022 already.  But after two years of doing so many online events, which are good in many ways because it means that you can bring together people from around the world, but to then get the opportunity to be part of a vegan festival in somewhere like the Isle of Arran which is an island off the west coast of Scotland… with some fantastic mountain scenery… only accessible by ferry, is a bit of a dream event.  And it’s being organised by our Vegan Business Tribe members Jules and Carol Lee who run Stonewater House Vegan B&B on the island – and if you’re amazed to find that such a small Scottish island like Aaran has a vegan B&B, let me tell you they actually have two! One in the north and Stonewater B&B in the south in Lamlash.  So if you want to join us for what’s going to be an amazing vegan festival in an absolutely stunning island location, then save the date of the 23rd and 24th of July 2022 and we’ll be able to share more information shortly – hopefully, we’ll be able to get a few of our Vegan Business Tribe members there too for a bit of an after-party.
 
And I would add that we’re going to be speaking at a number of events next year, but if you are running a vegan festival or are looking for speakers on vegan business, or on the vegan market or why so many consumers are turning towards plant-based, then do reach out to us.  Even if its a digital event such as Vegan Interior Design Week which we’ve just been involved with, we see Vegan Business Tribe as our activism so we’re happy to get out there to support and represent the vegan sector!  We have the mission of helping as many vegan businesses as we can and the more vegan businesses we can take this message to – the more vegan businesses that we can help to scale-up and make a bigger impact, then the quicker we get to that vegan world that we’re all working towards.  We do usually need a bit of notice, because our diaries are usually booked up a couple of months in advance, but drop Lisa and I an email on hello@veganbusinesstribe.com and you never know… we might be at YOUR event next!
 
And just a quick update on that note that actually next week, on Monday 6th December Lisa will be appearing on a panel with Katrina Fox, Stephanie Redcross and Kathleen Gage as part of the VIVAs Network – which is Katrina’s Foxes Vegan Women’s Leadership Network.  And the panel will be talking about how to transition your business from a normal company to one that works with vegan companies.  Now, usually, and Katrina Fox and I have a running joke about this that they won’t let me join, but VIVAs is usually just for women.  This event however is open so that anyone can attend, yes even men, so if you want to know more head over to thevivasnetwork.com and take a look in the latest events to register for the panel discussion.
 
And I have one more BIG bit of news for you, I know, we have so much going on right now, but our other update is that last month for the first time, we hit over one thousand streams of this podcast in a month.  And I know that if you run a podcast you might think that’s not such a massive deal but to us, it’s a huge milestone. We are such a niche podcast, not only is veganism seen as a niche for podcasting but we’re a niche within that niche!  So hitting one thousand monthly streams has been somewhat humbling for us and just shows how many people are showing an interest in the vegan business marketplace.  And that’s just after a year, so thank you all for your support – and again a big part of that has been down to all of you who have been sharing the podcast and leaving reviews on iTunes, I even read some of them out a couple of episodes ago, so please keep that up because it’s making a real difference.  So if you are part of a vegan business group on Facebook or LinkedIn and you find this podcast useful, then I would love if you could share a link to the podcast, or just give us a thumbs up or a 5 star review if your podcast platform lets you do that, and hopefully we’ll be able to hit that two thousand streams a month milestone in half the time now that we’re gathering some momentum!  In fact, it was quite funny that someone actually shared this podcast in a private vegan WhatsApp group that I’m a member of, not realising that I was actually a part of it – so I let them know that the cheque was in the post!
 
So that’s the four big announcements I wanted to share: the new book that you can preregister for coming out hopefully in Spring 2022, the Vegfest Award for Best Vegan Business Support, the amazing Isle of Arran Vegan Festival that you’ll be able to see us speak at (if you can get to Scotland and then get a boat over to the island that is) and then the milestone with our podcast listeners.  
 
But a lot of members also send us messages to ask myself and Lisa how we’re getting on personally, which we’re always grateful for, but I think what you are actually secretly asking is how we manage to do so much with just two of us?!  Vegan Business Tribe has been a wild ride over this first year and a bit and remember that Lisa and I also do other work.  We still have our separate consultancy helping brands better understand the vegan marketplace, and I have to admit we’ve had some huge wins over the last year there too from being contacted by the Japanese Tourist Board about how they can become more friendly for vegans to getting to work with some great food manufacturers and highstreet brands.  But this year we’ve seen the difference we’ve been able to make working ‘within’ the system.  Now, we always work under very strict NDAs so I’m not allowed to even hint about some of the projects we’ve worked on, but when we’ve seen some of the highstreet brands making huge moves into plant-based or when a major fast-food chain have announced a new direction for their menu – and we know that we were in the room when that conversation was first had – that really shows the difference that can be made.  And at the same time, because we self-funded Vegan Business Tribe for its first year, Lisa also calls it our Robin Hood exercise!  We took money from the big non-vegan brands and put that money back into the vegan grass-roots movement through Vegan Business Tribe – hopefully helping the vegan companies scale up who are going to one day put these companies out of business unless they too join the Vegan Business Revolution!
 
Alongside that, Lisa still writes her business column in Vegan Food & Living Magazine each month which is the largest vegan magazine here in the UK, available in all the newsagents and supermarkets, and each month we’ve been able to interview a different Vegan Business Tribe member for the magazine.  Most recently including Ngwafu from Gwarfu Vegan who makes amazing Cameroon-inspired vegan food in Manchester, Keith Lesser from Vegan Accountants, Damien Schibberas from Short Stop Video Production – all businesses with really good stories and ethical missions behind them.  We also still work very closely with The Vegan Society as their UK agents, so if businesses want to apply for The Vegan Society’s Vegan Trademark we help them do that too and again, we’ve had a lot of wins with which companies we’ve been able to help bring over to the veg-side.  And on top of all that, if ti wasn’t enough, Lisa is also in the last six months of her English Literature and Creative Writing degree that she’s been studying part-time for many years – and I’m very proud to say that she’s hopefully on course for a first on that! 
 
So how do we manage to fit all that in, alongside running all our events and producing all our content on the website, not to mention putting out this podcast every week and now writing the new book?
 
Well, we try, as much as we can, to walk the walk not just talk the talk. We say a lot at Vegan Business Tribe that everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, and it’s about how you use them.  It’s also about creating the motivation to use them well and Lisa and I, we are on a mission.  As I said earlier, Vegan Busines Tribe is mine and Lisa’s activism.  We don’t see why our vegan businesses should be the ones with a label.  Why should we have to point out that our businesses don’t cause cruelty and suffering to animals, surely it should be the ones that DO that should come with a warning!  And the only way we can do that is if all of us with a vegan business commit to making better vegan businesses that make a real impact on the marketplace.  And Vegan Business Tribe is the space we’ve built to make that happen and we’re all-in.  And if you saw the emails and messages we’ve received from our members this last twelve months, about the difference that Vegan Business Tribe has made to them and their business, then you would see where our motivation comes from.
 
So, at the moment while we’re really pushing to move Vegan Business Tribe forwards I have my alarm set for 4.00am in the morning. Yup, there are two 4 o’clocks in the day!  I’m lucky to have a 24 hour gym nearby so I head straight there when I get out of bed for 45 minutes there while most people are still asleep.  Now, if you’ve met me you’ll know I’m no athlete and I love vegan cake a little too much, but I know that physical activity is important as much for good mental health as it is for physical health.  I’m then at my desk, ready to start my day at 6.00am.  Doing this means I have created a clear, uninterrupted three extra hours every morning to work on the things that I want to work on – all before the phone starts ringing and the WhatsApp messages from the family start coming in.  And in just one week that’s an extra 15 hours to write the book, to plan the new events, to do the work that will move Vegan Business Tribe forward.  I still also work a standard 9 to 5 but only until 5.00pm, and no later.  You cannot get up that early and still be at your desk in the evening, you’ll just burn out.  I finish 5 on the dot, and am in bed asleep by 9.00pm to start it all again the next morning.  Now, I don’t do this kind of routine all the time, but I do when I need to really make a difference in how I spend my time, because all I’m doing is exchanging that unproductive evening Netflix time to do something that’s really going to make a difference to my business.  And if you are struggling for time – well, I’ve done whole podcasts on the topic – but you can try this too.  And I know the Vegan Business Tribe members who have  tried this swapping late evenings for early mornings have also been amazed at how much extra productive and focussed time they have made in just a week.
 
And in other exciting news, Lisa has just bought an Instant Pot pressure cooker!  Now I know, I know, but this IS relevant because it has completely revolutionised our lives!  Talk about a way to eat healthily and create more time all in one!  I’d never heard of these before Lisa ordered one, so if you don’t know what they are just go Google them, but it means we can prep the ingredients for a healthy meal in the morning, throw them all into the Instant Pot, set a delayed timer and it just cooks itself and then keeps it warm until lunch time!  It’s even got an air fryer, which we’re yet to try out but I will report back once we’ve had a go at making Kale Chips in it.
 
Right, I need to bring this to a close because I can actually smell the stew that Lisa has cooking in the Instant Pot, but this has been a lot of fun to give you an update of everything that’s currently going on behind the scenes at Vegan Business Tribe, and I probably need to do an episode like this once every six months or so.  I’ve not even had time to mention all the wins that our members have been sharing with us in our Community Hub recently, which include one of our members getting a try out as the personal videographer for one of the biggest most exciting vegan influencers right now, one of the real superstars.  And the chance came about because of the support of other Vegan Business Tribe members making the opportunity happen.  And things like that are happening behind the scenes in the community all the time, you lot really are such an amazing bunch of supportive people.
 
And that’s it for this episode!  Oh, but hang on – I nearly forgot about the cheesy joke challenge from Joni at Prissy Queen of Desserts at the start of the episode, on behalf of Scottish vegan cheesemakers Left Coast Culture, who currently have a crowdfunder on Indie Go Go.  So, rather than just cheesy jokes I have actual ‘cheese jokes’ than I’m going to try and veganise.  And before I leave you with these, if you are not yet part of Vegan Busines Tribe yet then do come join us at veganbusinesstribe.com – not only will you get huge benefit from being part of our community if you join as a full member, no matter what stage your business is at, you’re also helping to support this podcast every week and helping us to keep championing the vegan business scene worldwide.  And then I also don’t have to give up doing what we’re doing and go get a job as a comedian instead…
 
So here goes, two of my favourite cheese jokes:  What vegan cheese would you use to camouflage a horse?  Mascarpone!
 
And the second one, which I think I’ll leave you on: What vegan cheese would you use to entice a bear out of its cave?  Camembert!
 

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