Gabriella and Molly share a passion for home-made healthy and seasonal plant-based food. In this interview they share their story and their hopes for the future of Planted. We've loved their food since attending one of their first pop-up supper clubs in 2016 and we are excited to have them providing the food at the upcoming Vevolution Topics Entrepreneurs event.
To celebrate International Women's Week (yeah, we think it should be a week) and our upcoming Vevolution Topics: Entrepreneurs event on the 13th March we've created an IWD series where we've hand selected some inspiring entrepreneurial women to tell us their stories. This series is in collaboration with Badass Vegan Women.
How and why did you create Planted?
We met in Summer 2015 whilst we were both working at an ice cream shop in Brighton. We hit it off straight away with our connection to the West country as well as finding out we’d both lost our Mums at an early age. After working there for a few years we went vegan around the same time when we realised what dairy actually was! When we first went vegan we struggled with finding options that really excited us whilst eating out. We found that eating at friend’s houses became increasingly difficult. We were always the awkward guests having to ask for something to be made specially to suit our choices. Going out for a coffee and a piece of cake became less enjoyable with typically only one option suitable, if any! That’s when Planted was born. We wanted to create a place and a feeling of inclusivity whatever your food choices are, to show people that actually plants are pretty amazing. We’d both always wanted to have our own food business so very so we held our first pop up night soon after going vegan and never looked back.
How do you balance being friends and joint business owners?
We were just talking about this the other day, it’s really amazing how well we get on considering how much time we spend together. We put this down to us both having a strong work ethic and the same passion for all things food! Wierdly the first day I (Gabriella) met Molly I came home to my boyfriend and said 'I met this amazing girl today and I just know we will own a business together one day' - It happened sooner then we thought!
Do you find it is mainly vegan people you are catering to? If not why do you think that is?
Definitely not. When we first started Planted we wanted to create a space inclusive of everyone regardless of their dietary requirements. We both felt quite isolated when first going vegan and felt like we were missing out on social events because of what we ate. I guess that may be why non-vegans like us.
Would you ever consider creating a Planted product?
Yes we would love to. We have got a few ideas in the pipeline so watch this space!
What three things would you advise aspiring women entrepreneurs?
Stay ambitious. Be positive. Eat well.
Being entrepreneurs what are your top tips to ensuring you stay healthy + happy?
We feel very lucky to be both friends and business partners. If one of us is feeling a bit low or lacking in confidence the other one is always there for a much needed boost. We’re also constantly bouncing ideas of each other which we think is really important to staying sane in business. If you work alone we think it’s really important to talk people about your business. There are lots of business socials you can go to now.
What’s been the biggest obstacle in running and building your business?
No one really talks about the money, but it’s definitely cash flow. As a start-up trying to balance how much time you put into your business to make it grow alongside trying to pay your rent and bills is very tricky. At the beginning we were working 2-3 jobs each as well as working on Planted. We were very fortunate to get a little bit of investment (£5000) a year in to starting Planted. This completely transformed the business. It might not sound like that much, but it meant we could pay ourselves a proper wage for a few months whilst we waited for clients money to come through, which freed up our cash flow and in turn meant we could source more work.
Your food not only tastes amazing but it looks stunning. Even scrolling through your Instagram you can see that aesthetic is a big thing in what you do. Can you tell us why having a strong aesthetic is important to you?
Thanks! Gabriella has a degree in photography so that has always been an important factor in our business. It’s the age old saying - people eat with their eyes, but it’s so true. It also makes us very happy looking at pretty things.
How do you find inspiration?
We definitely get inspired by the seasons. The most exciting thing to us is creating a dish from one simple ingredient. One of our tastiest creations we have made is our mushroom carpaccio, which is super simple. As long as you’ve got delicious seasonal produce you can’t go wrong really. We work with a local organic veg supplier and love visiting the greenhouses and seeing all the beautiful produce.
When you look at the plant-based movement today, and especially vegan businesses, what are you most excited about?
How fast it is growing! Last weekend we were at a wedding fair and we could not believe how many vegans there were. We actually started to get a bit emotional. Even non-vegans were talking about having a fully vegan wedding because of the health benefits and it being more sustainable. Times a changing’.
Who are some of your favourite inspiring female entrepreneurs?
We are very fortunate that in Brighton we have lots of amazing women in business. It’s really inspiring seeing so many young women doing it for themselves! Our fav Brighton babes are Lyndsey of What You Sow, Sabina of Hi Cacti, Jade of Little Deer, Krisi of Bluebird Tea co, Emma Griffiths of The Social Club, Katie of Katie’s Nuttery to name a few.
What advice can you offer to someone who wants a career in your industry?
Go for it! But… be prepared to work very long hours. Don’t run before you can walk. There are lots of overheads with having your own place so do your research and crunch the numbers. You may find it’s better to start off small. Growing your business organically will give it longevity. Even though it might feel like your moving slowly it will give you time to learn including what you do and don't like about your business. Get spreadsheet savvy, know your profit margins.
What are your hopes for Planted in 2018 and the future?
We’ve just hired our first employee (proud moment!) and hope to employ more people by the end of the year. Our goal is to one day have our own café or restaurant and a cookbook would be dreamy.