vegan entrepreneur

Tickets Released For The 2019 Plant-Based Business Bootcamp

The Vevolution Plant-Based Business Bootcamp launches today, and is taking place at LUSH Studios in Soho, London on the 13th of July 2019.

IWD: Interview With . Gabriella + Molly, Founders Of Planted

In interview as part of our IWD series we speak to Planted one of the UK's leading creators of healthy plant-based food about their journey and goals for the future.

IWD: Interview With Kathy Divine, Author + Founder Of Plant-Powered Women Conference

In this interview as part of our IWD series we speak to Kathy Divine about her plant-powered women leadership conference and hopes for the future.

IWD: Interview With Leah + Daisy, Founders Of The Hardihood

In interview as part of our IWD series we speak to fashionista turned healthy food creator Leah from the Hardihood.

IWD: Interview With Katrina Fox, Journalist + Media Coach

Katrina Fox has long been on of the leading lights when it comes to championing vegan business. This interview explores her extrodinary career and hopes for the future.

IWD: Interview With Vane + Dani, Founder Of Vida Bakery

As part of our IWD series we speak to the founders of Vida Bakery, Dani + Vane. 

Vegan Dragon's Den Announced At Vevolution Festival

We are excited to announce the launch of Pitch + Plant, the UK’s first ever plant-based business investment challenge at Vevolution Festival. 

Exclusive Interview With Lewis Foster Founder Of Vegan Dating App Grazer

Grazer offers vegans and vegetarians a chance to find love

We've all been there. Scouring the latest internet dating app, looking for the faintest sign that our potential match might be vegetable inclined. Over the past decade online dating become the norm for our hyped connected generation.

Yet until now the online dating options for those seeking a non meat eating partner have been rather depressing place.

Today we sit down and talk to Lewis Foster, the Founder of Grazer, a new dating app for vegans and vegetarians.

What gave you the idea to create Grazer?

Well, fortunately my girlfriend and I went vegan together but I have quite a few single vegan friends that would moan about how hard it was to find a vegan partner. So I decided to look into what was out there for the single vegan and vegetarian community. I was surprisingly underwhelmed by the existing services and felt there was a gap in market.  

You have a background as a film-maker, how was this useful when it came to creating Grazer?

I actually studied Graphic Design but the majority of my professional career was in film, directing music videos. I think both helped me get better at creative problem solving and working in the artistic fields influenced my visual taste, hopefully this comes across in the Grazer. 

Do you personally have any funny dating stories?

My friends find it funny that I started a dating app because I have never been on an actual date. I have had my fair share of embarrassing romantic moments but I have been in a relationship for over 6 years and bypassed the dating game completely. Obviously now its my job to know about online dating, so I have downloaded every app possible. Whats great is I have a whole new topic of conversation to talk to my single friends about that I was previously completely alien to.

Do you have any dating tips for anyone reading this?

Considering I am no dating guru, I think would come at this from a purely pragmatic point of view. If your looking to find a partner or just to have fun, both correspond with meeting new people and expanding your circle. For vegans and vegetarians this can sometimes be difficult but if you can put yourself out there, your going to increase your chances of finding what you want. Hopefully Grazer will make this part of dating easier. 

Grazer officially launches when 5000 people in the UK sign up. What has the response been like to the app launching so far?

We have had a really incredible response. The vast majority of our progress has been through word of mouth, our members have been really willing to like, comment and share us. Thank you all!

Just to note we have had quite a few questions about why we need 5000 people. It can be really difficult to get dating apps going because it requires users from the get go. We estimated that 5000 users would be near our critical mass, meaning that users from different parts of the UK will be free to swipe from the beginning.

Have you had any celebrity vegans sign up?

Well, Pamela Anderson and Moby haven’t signed up yet but we have certainly had a few vegan bloggers and youtubers. Somehow the Australian youtuber Regan the Vegan is a member, which is cool because I watched quite a few of his videos recently and think he is great.

How is Grazer different from the vegan/veggie dating options that have been created previously?

I think some of the recent success of veganism has been in almost the rebranding of the word. No longer is the veganism only associated with being a ‘hippy’ or on the fringe, we are becoming more mainstream but importantly we are making the word cool. Our intention is to establish Grazer as a brand that reflects this shift and creates something the new generation of herbivores are proud of. I think this vision of brand identity and our consideration of how the app functions will differentiate us from the existing veggie dating options. 

Vevolution Co-Founder Judy Nadel and Lewis Foster in discussion at Vevolution Topics

Vevolution Co-Founder Judy Nadel and Lewis Foster in discussion at Vevolution Topics

How can people sign-up to discover their potential new vegan/veggie lover?

So people can sign up on our website Once you have requested an invite you can see how many people have already signed up and how many more we need before the app goes live. At the moment we are almost at 2100 members once we receive 5000 invites the app will launch. We are also going to be at Brighton VegFest on the 11th and 12th where we hope to boost our numbers and get us over the line, so if your going come and say hi! 



Exclusive Interview With What The Pitta Co-Founder Cem Yildiz

Pictured left to right: Loui Blake and Cem Yildiz at Vevolution Festival November 2016

Pictured left to right: Loui Blake and Cem Yildiz at Vevolution Festival November 2016

I first met Cem Yildiz Co-Founder of What The Pitta about 4 years ago through my old housemate and friend Joe. 

Back then Cem wasn't a proponent of the vegan diet. He was in-fact more inclined to talk about bulletproof coffee (coffee with butter in it) or the benefits of eating a paleo style diet.

Then about 18 months ago a few of us got together for a catch up and Cem was asking me a lot of questions about veganism. I could see his attitudes towards veganism starting to shift and now 18 months on Cem is a huge advocate of a shift towards veganism

We caught up on the eve of the vegan kebab business he co-founded What The Pitta opening their second site at Boxpark in Croydon.

Cem and Roj, What The Pitta

Ok, let's start with the big question. What was the key thing that made you go from lets say a pretty large consumer of animal products to the vegan advocate and entrepreneur you're today?

I had already been visiting The Feel Good Café, a vegan café down the road from where I live in Chingford and then one day the owner offered me a free ticket to go and see Dr Michael Greger in London talking about his latest book How Not To Die.

hen I saw the stats and science on the big screen I just couldn’t go back to eating meat knowing I could be doing serious harm to myself.

Both yourself and Roj who you run What The Pitta with are from a Turkish background. How did they react to you shifting towards vegan and setting up a vegan kebab shop?

The first thing my Dad said to me when I told him I was no longer eating meat was,“I know you’re into health stuff but this is a step too far!”.

As for the vegan kebab business, I didn’t even see it coming, it was a conversation on the beach in Turkey, which escalated, and now we have two premises!

You're a man of many talents and interests and definitely someone I would call a polymath or a multipotentialite. You currently also co-host a successful podcast, co-run What The Pitta, make films and you're a qualified personal trainer.

How do you effectively manage your time? And who do you look to for inspiration? 

We all have a finite amount of time and your life is built through your experience so you have to constantly challenge yourself by doing new and varied things. As for time management, when you enjoy something and you're working towards your vision of a good life you’ll find the time.

I don’t watch any TV and I don’t play any computer games, I try to use my time intentionally and I still get seven to eight hours sleep.

I also believe that it’s very risky nowadays to have one source of income, for most people their job is their lifeline. If they lose that they can’t pay their bills.

Having multiple streams of income built around your passions is a much safer idea so I always advise people to start a side gig alongside their full time job, whether that’s selling crafts on Etsy or going freelance with some of the skills you’re currently using in your day job.

"As for inspiration, I love reading and listening to podcasts and audio books, so James Altucher, Gary Vaynerchuck, Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn are just some of the people who inspire me".

You may have heard the quote “success leaves clues,” I think when you listen and read the books from inspiring and successful people everyday you begin to see patterns in behaviour and you can start applying them to your own life.

I love James Altucher’s idea of getting 1% better everyday in terms of education, health and relationships.

Powerful Nonsense a weekly podcast hosted by Cem

Powerful Nonsense a weekly podcast hosted by Cem

How have you found switching to a vegan diet in relation to your performance in the gym?

To be honest first of all I lost a load of weight, then I gained it back, then I managed to deadlift a personal best but I have not been hitting the gym as much as I’d like. I have probably been about four times in the last three months due to getting What The Pitta up and running and moving house but the funny thing is my muscles feel harder and I can always see my abs.

Once I’m settled into my new place and have my home gym setup I’m going to be hitting it hard, so I’ll have to get back to you on that one!

So how did the idea for What The Pitta come about?

What The Pitta Kebab

The idea for What The Pitta! came from Roj’s uncle who owns a similar business in Freiburg, Germany. We thought the vegan doner was a brilliant idea and the product was so tasty we knew it had potential with vegans and non-vegans alike here in the UK.

Do you find non vegans come and eat at What The Pitta? And if so what is their general reaction to the food?

Yeah, it’s very split. I think a lot of our customers fall in to the meat reducer category and I think that demographic is growing everyday. People are becoming more conscious of where their food is coming from and the harm it may be doing to them, environmentally and to the animals.

It’s always funny when we get either a vegan running back over just to confirm with us that it’s not meat or a meat eater tell us they had know idea it was vegan. Good food is good food and going meat free more often is the way forward for society.

What The Pitta is opening their first restaurant at Boxpark in Croydon this March. What can people expect from you guys at the new site?

Boxpark Croydon

We’re really excited to share some of our new dishes at BoxPark Croydon especially our Vegan Lahmacun – a type of Turkish pizza usually topped with mince meat. We’re going to serve ours on our signature freshly prepared bread base with a combination of tomato puree, herbs and our secret spiced soya mince.

Obviously our Vegan Doner will still be on the scene as well as a new lentil soup (Mercimek). I think we’re just going to keep experimenting with traditional Turkish dishes giving them a vegan twist.

Boxpark does really feel like a step up from our wooden shed in Shoreditch but we just going to keep growing and bring more vegan food options to hungry Londoners.

Do you have any advice for anyone reading this thinking of setting up a plant-based food business?

the lean startup

Test your concept as cheaply as possible. Read The Lean Startup by Eric Reiss. It’s so much easier nowadays to go online, find an email, get a food stall setup for a day and test your product. Social media is incredibly important for finding your customers too but if you’re a plant based business you’re already in good hands, vegans are one of the most supportive communities I’ve ever encountered and so you will always find people willing to point you in the right direction, lend a hand or offer their skills or services. Be bold, ask for help and embrace the community or you can always hit me up and I’d be happy to help.