vegan junkies
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Vegan founded

Plant-based start-ups you need on your radar

This month's founder:

Sophie Livsey

Vegan Junkies Manchester

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My vegan story
I suppose I was increasingly concerned about the environment, and about animal welfare. But the trigger for becoming vegan was watching the documentary Cowspiracy in 2016 and then deciding to kick-start 2017 as a plant-eater as part of Veganuary.

I have always loved cooking and really enjoyed the challenge of recreating my favourite dishes in a meat-free way, so it felt very natural - I really enjoyed it. I met my partner Dave later that year and he was already dairy-free, and on his own path to stopping eating meat after making some promo films with the Veganuary team.

Early inspiration
I desperately wanted a change from being a primary school teacher but didn't know what to do. When Dave pushed me on what my dream job would be, I'd imagine owning a cool Vintage Food Truck and rolling into Glastonbury. So, we just started googling how to make that happen, and before I knew it, I was quitting my teaching job and catering weddings and festivals.

Tips for other start-ups
I only have my own experience to draw from really, but for a vegan food business, my first tip would be to do as much independent research as possible and definitely get in touch with NCASS - they were amazingly helpful, not just for setting up, but they were great support during our first year. My only other piece of advice would be to just go for it! If you have enough passion and motivation there's no reason that you can't succeed.

The best thing about being vegan
Ooooh, that's a tough question. There are loads of obvious reasons, but one of my favourite things about being vegan is the excitement when visiting a fully plant-based restaurant.

We get so used to looking at the vegan options in normal restaurants, that is really exciting when everything on the menu is vegan! And the buzz of stumbling across a plant-based restaurant when on holiday! I love that, too.

The best thing about being vegan
Ooooh, that's a tough question. There are loads of obvious reasons, but one of my favourite things about being vegan is the excitement when visiting a fully plant-based restaurant.

We get so used to looking at the vegan options in normal restaurants, that is really exciting when everything on the menu is vegan! And the buzz of stumbling across a plant-based restaurant when on holiday! I love that, too.

You're stranded on an island. What one vegan product/treat would you want with you?
Can I take Judy? My lovely Border Terrier doggy? If not, maybe my vegan deodorant, which I bought from Wild. I love it.

Fun fact
Dave and I were married on September 29th, 2019, and, technically speaking, our honeymoon was catering the Cheltenham Literature Festival for 10 days from October 1st to October 11th. Romantic, huh? Fortunately, the real honeymoon in Southeast Asia more than made up for it.

What's next
I love catering weddings, so we're pushing more and more in that direction, but after a terrible couple of years for the hospitality industry, we're just really excited about Vegan Junkies being back at some festivals in summer 2022. And the future beyond that? Vegan Junkies ready meals in supermarkets? A fleet of vintage trucks? Watch this space.

For more from Vegan Junkies, visit veganjunkies.co.uk

VeganLife

The lifestyle magazine written by vegans for vegans.