Vegan Business Tribe Spotlight: How Peasholm Park B&B created a unique vegan experience
Peasholm Park Vegan B&B offer visitors to Scarborough a completely vegan holiday experience. From supplying vegan-only fridges and engaging with visitors over one of the best vegan breakfasts you’ll ever be served, Helen and Karl have really understood the problems that vegan travellers and holidaymakers face and created an experience to remove all these.
We caught up with Helen Plant to talk about their experiences and what tips they have for anyone thinking of launching a vegan business.
When did you open Peasholm Park Vegan B&B?
We opened on the 15th of March 2019 – one week after we moved in!
What were you doing before this?
We were living in Dronfield, Derbyshire, raising our two fantastic children, Joe and Grace. Karl was working in engineering and I was a primary school teaching assistant. We’ve both had several jobs over the years, which have helped us acquire skills for our current adventure!
Karl had been a Redcoat many moons ago, he also ran his own karaoke/disco business for several years. 20 years ago he had a vegan shop in a farming community, called ‘Born Free’, and he’s project managed the building of houses – so he has plenty of social and organisational skills and also has the perfect skill set for implementing the renovation of the B&B during last Winter.
I have mainly worked in care work for the NHS as a support worker and therapy assistant, and later retrained as a higher level teaching assistant to fit around raising the children. So, caring for people of all ages and walks of life has always been a big part of my life.
What gave you the push from idea to actually making it happen?
We had been away for a night for our anniversary at a beautiful hotel in the outskirts of Derby. The next morning we went down for breakfast and stench of flesh cooking was unbearable, so we scuttled back home for a vegan breakfast! We had been talking for some time about opening either a vegan B&B or café, as we were already aware that some of the vegan cafés and eating places that we visited weren’t actually run by veggies or vegans. This made us question their motives, ethics and whether the kitchens were 100% cruelty free. We wanted to live a fully vegan lifestyle, incorporating our jobs into spreading peace and kindness.
This is a family business – what is it like working so closely together every day?
It’s been shocking! (she laughs) No, to be honest we have adapted very well. We have different skill sets but the same goal, and we enjoy what we are doing and achieving. We’ve been together 26 years now, so we know each other well enough to know when we need support or space! Joe has been fantastic with assisting with our social media and advertising and he and Grace have been massively helpful on the house keeping front. They’re both learning invaluable skills along the way too, as are we. We hope that maybe we will leave a footprint for someone else to take over in the future and continue running Peasholm Park Hotel as a vegan business.
How has this changed you as people?
It’s been empowering to make our own decisions and build something that we believe in so powerfully. We’ve also come to recognise how important it is to stay patient and kind in the confusion of the world we live in. We value our time with family & friends more than ever, as we don’t get to see them as much now that we have moved away.
Are there any new skills you’ve had to learn?
We’ve built upon past skills but there has been much to learn about running a B&B! Booking platforms, fire regulations, legal requirements, accounting systems – to name but a few. Cooking, cleaning, and socialising are not difficult skills, but making sure our guests have the best possible experience in a completely cruelty free environment is obviously the main goal, and there is much preparation that goes on behind the scenes to attain this. The skill for self-care is especially important when you are self-employed, so that you give yourself time to re-charge to remain of benefit to others.
How much has veganism and compassion played a role in the development of the business?
100%! Every single aspect – it runs through the very core of what we do. We wouldn’t be running a bed & breakfast if veganism and compassion wasn’t behind it – it is the driving force. We aim to remain compassionate towards people who haven’t been able to appreciate this way of life yet and still do harm; those who suffer the disconnection to what is on their plates to the suffering of the animals. We must have the understanding that it is a suffering mind that inflicts pain on another sentient being.
What’s been the highlight so far?
There have been many! We’ve met some incredible people, and the kindness of like-minded people has stood out the most. We’ve also had the opportunity to challenge (with kindness) the thinking of our non-vegan guests, incorporating gentle activism and showing them that we vegans enjoy a varied and nutrient laden diet, without causing harm to others.
The weekend of the vegan festival in Scarborough was especially wonderful, as the whole B&B was filled with the vegan vibe – such a fantastic energy!
Do you have non-vegans come to stay also? How has that been?
We’ve had many non-vegans stay and return! We inherited around 60 bookings when we took over Peasholm Park Hotel and we personally rang every single person and explained that we were re-launching as a vegan B&B. We sent details of our menu and gave people the opportunity to have their deposits refunded if they wished to cancel. We retained 55 of the 60 bookings. The rest of the guests came and many have returned since; they’ve enjoyed the variety of the food and have warmed to us as the new owners. We don’t shy away from the subject of veganism and animal cruelty; we are what we are, and Karl spends lots of time in the breakfast room educating even the most reluctant guests!
What are your top 5 tips for someone running a vegan business?
- Believe in what you are doing and always have good intentions at heart.
- Don’t give up – make the movement move!
- Network/support with other vegan businesses.
- Self-care – to be the best that you can be, and to be of benefit to others.
- Acceptance of the outcome – always with a peaceful mind.
Lisa Fox says:
Being passionate vegans themselves, Helen and Karl have understood the problems vegans often experience when going on holiday, from being served non-vegan cereals as the vegan breakfast option to not knowing where to go out for dinner locally.
By creating a vegan holiday experience which removes all these problems and replaces them with 100% vegan options and experiences, they have found success within the niche of vegan holidays.
Learn more about Peasholm Park at their website: www.peasholmpark.co.uk
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