“I felt working in an organisation where most companies have a traditional hierarchy I couldn't reach my full potential and by creating my own company I was able to have more impact.”
How could we do a series of entrepreneur interviews on the run up to the Plant Based Business Bootcamp without including the Vevolution founders themselves?!
If you want to find out more about the kick-ass power couple that are responsible for putting on events like She Loves Plants, Vevolution Festival, and many more, keep on reading!
Have you always had the drive to work for yourselves? Was Vevolution your first time starting up a business?
Judy: My original career path and drive was very different to what it is today. I think I always had the entrepreneurial drive as it is in my family - my mum used to run her own business, my sister runs her own business and so does my aunty and uncle - but when I was younger I didn't know this could be an option for me. It was only until when I was working at the Roundhouse that I got into events and my passion for curating and creating experiences was born. I then created my own events company where I put on events in the music, tech and sensory dating industry. Reflecting now I think my time working in an organisation allowed me the experience of working with a big team and enabled me to learn skills that has helped me hugely when I left to create my own company and which since has definitely helped with the creation of Vevolution. However I felt working in an organisation where most companies have a traditional hierarchy I couldn't reach my full potential and by creating my own company I was able to have more impact.
Damien: Vevolution is my second business. My first business was a digital marketing agency that specialised in working with not for profits and ethical consumer brands. During this time I got to work on some really cool campaigns like the Guardian's Keep It The Ground fossil fuel divestment campaign and Lush Cosmetics, Stop Animal Testing campaign. I was always quite entrepreneurial as a teenager, I had various side hustles including bulk buying chewing gum and selling it at school and creating mix cd's which I would sell at school. The desire to create businesses came from a realisation that I wanted to affect change in society and being part of these big organisations makes it very hard to have any day to day impact.
When entrepreneurship proves to be its most challenging, what keeps you motivated to carry on with Vevolution?
Judy: Funny you should ask this question as I don't think people talk about the struggle with the highs and lows enough. Running your own company is definitely a rollercoaster of emotions which can literally see you feeling on a complete high and feeling like this is the best thing ever done to in the same breath plummeting back down to earth questioning everything about what you are doing and yourself. The thing that definitely keeps us going is believing in what we are doing and reflecting on what we have achieved since the beginning. It is really important to have true love and belief in what you doing as otherwise it will be hard to be motivated to continue when you hit those low points.
Damien: The knowledge that we have helped thousands of people from all around the world connect, build friendships, businesses and helped people learn more about the movements positively impacting the world. Our mission is to transform the way people eat and how we as a global community live on this planet
“Everything you see around us was built by someone just like you.”
What is the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?
Judy: Over the years so many talented people have given me incredible advice and I have come across so many inspiring pieces of advice in books, podcasts etc but the one person I always go to for advice (other than Damien) is my mum. When times are tough and I am on that entrepreneurial rollercoaster ride my mum always says stay positive as she knows that business is hard and if you believe in what you are doing strongly enough and you have a solid business plan you can't go far wrong.
Damien: To believe that anything is possible, everything you see around us was built by someone just like you.
How do you both personally achieve a good work-life balance?
Judy: This is a constant battle - as an entrepreneur it is so easy to put self-care at the bottom of your priority list and as a couple that run a business together the line between work and life becomes very blurred. The key for us to achieve a healthy work-life balance is communication and scheduling in date nights!
Damien: This is a constant struggle but something which is front and centre of our minds. Being mindful of this means that we always manage to pull ourselves into balance over the course of the year. The nature of running large scale events means that sometimes you have to work until midnight and weekends especially before a big show like Vevolution Festival.
What is your top book recommendation for entrepreneurs?
Judy: I am all about reading empowering books from successful female entrepreneurs. Below are a list of ones I have read or are on my bookshelf to read. I loved some more than others but I found them all useful as a female entrepreneur and co-founder as while things are changing for women in business there still needs a lot of work to be done and it is important to glean as much experience from other female entrepreneurs as possible so when you are faced with challenges you don't feel so alone:
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Nell Scovell and Sheryl Sandberg
Work Like a Woman: A Manifesto For Change by Mary Portas
#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
Damien: I really love the Icarus Deception by Seth Godin, another great one is Key Person Of Influence by Daniel Priestly who is speaking at our Plant Based Business Bootcamp this Saturday.
“Supporting independent businesses is something we are very passionate about.”
Only a few days until the bootcamp, woohoo! How did the Plant Based Business Bootcamp first come about? What made you want to start it up?
Judy: Over time Vevolution has attracted entrepreneurs and creatives who after attending our events have felt inspired and motivated to be part of the positive change. We were getting so many questions about connecting people together and business advice that we felt that it would be brilliant to have a day dedicated to pure business advice. Still inspiring but focused on real information and insight that can help these plant-based businesses grow and thrive. With veganism going mainstream competition is fierce with big corporates launching their own vegan ranges - while this is super positive and making it accessible for people to access vegan products we want to help small businesses survive and thrive. Supporting independent businesses is something we are very passionate about.
Damien: Judy and I saw an amazing community of entrepreneurs attending Vevolution events and wanted to create a in-depth training and development day enable entrepreneurs to get the skills, connections and insights to succeed. When you are an entrepreneur it is too easy to only work "in", the business, this event gives entrepreneurs a chance to step back and reflect on the bigger picture.
And finally, what is the end goal for Vevolution? What are you hoping for it to become in the future?
Judy: Our goal has always been to inspire the plant powered generation and encourage people to be part of the positive change. This is definitely still the main goal but our focus is shifting to where we can be most effective with this goal. We have big plans which we will announce soon but our focus is going to be more on plant-based business support and developing a framework where we can work with startups more closely on a regular basis. All will be revealed soon!
Damien: Vevolution like any startup is evolving, we want it to continue to be at the forefront of thought leadership in the plant-based and positive change world. We are also expanding the way in which we support plant-based businesses and will be making investments in startups at Pitch + Plant, we hope to be able to support more entrepreneurs on their journey in the future.
THE 2019 PLANT BASED BUSINESS BOOTCAMP IS THIS WEEKEND
This event is the creation of Vevolution founders, Damien Clarkson + Judy Nadel. The two of them started the bootcamp in 2018, and it’s something they wish had existed when they started their journey as vegan entrepreneurs.
We want to welcome entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs, from all walks of life, to check out our event. Helping ethical businesses thrive is what is at the heart of Vevolution, and we want to make sure that all plant-powered businesses have their opportunity to grow.
Tickets are running low!