The concept is simple: the more vegan products in the marketplace, the more likely it is that people will try vegan goods! Vegan businesses are quickly taking root across the country. And, like every small business, these entrepreneurs face challenges. That’s where marketing firm Vegan Mainstream comes in! Founder Stephanie Redcross talked to us about her new Vegan Professional Bootcamp series, coming to Los Angeles on October 12!
Q: What is the Vegan Professional Bootcamp, and why did you develop it?
A: The Vegan Professional Bootcamps are designed to bring vegan professionals together for a day of learning, networking, and collaboration. Our goal is to provide local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs a venue to get solutions for current challenges and to garner inspiration for their future business goals.
For each bootcamp location, we select speakers from the community to feature local talent. Our goal is to not only to help local businesses, but also to help individual entrepreneurs such as chefs, authors, coaches, and service providers.
As the the world demands more vegan options, vegan businesses need support to expand and serve a growing audience. So, each bootcamp packs in hands-on training and easy-to-implement recommendations.
Q: In what other cities have you held Bootcamps, and where else will they take place?
A: We selected five cities for 2013 so multiple communities had access to the bootcamp content. We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive feedback and level of attendance at each event. We’ve hosted events in Berkeley, CA, Washington, DC, and New York, NY. After our sold-out event in New York in August, we look forward to hosting our next two events in Los Angeles, CA (Oct 12th) and Austin, TX (Nov 2). We plan to offer even more bootcamps in 2014.
Q: Who can benefit from the Bootcamp? Is it only for new entrepreneurs or established entrepreneurs as well?
A: Our bootcamp is developed for new and established entrepreneurs. Our speakers cover a wide range of topics; however, the sweet spot is working with small companies and individual businesses: “solopreneurs.” As we see more individuals transition from traditional full-time work to establishing their own businesses from scratch, we continue to add workshops to help individuals make a successful leap.
A: By far the audience favorite is our social media presentation. Additionally, we keep each bootcamp diverse by leveraging local talent to speak about topics such as public relations, legal requirements, and marketing to a non-vegan audience. Based on attendee feedback, we are adding a new session to the Los Angeles bootcamp based on the format of the infamous show Shark Tank. Attendees will be provided an opportunity to pitch their business to our speakers for feedback.
Q: The Bootcamp sounds like a good networking opportunity. How do attendees stay in touch after the event?
A: We offer attendees multiple ways to stay in touch after the event. We’ve created a LinkedIn group and Google Plus group for all attendees to join. This allows attendees across locations to network with each other. In addition, we host monthly group chats to see how attendees are progressing throughout the year.
Q: How do vegan businesses help animals, versus other kinds of outreach?
A: Vegan businesses help reduce the suffering of animals by increasing animal-free product accessibility, developing a continuous feed of consumer education, and providing local support for individuals considering or transitioning to veganism.
Selling a product or service requires a business owner to explain the benefits of the product or service. Therefore we are seeing more advertising, promotions, blogs, webinars, and product demos targeted to the wider public. This exposure is pushing veganism into mainstream culture and allowing the consumer to see the vegan lifestyle as a viable option.
As new products are launched, vegan choices are more readily available in local markets, making it easier for customers to choose vegan products with limited hassle. With vegan clothing, food, skin care, and household goods on the shelves at local stores, we can get everyday citizens to reach for vegan products and reduce animal suffering.
In addition, we’re seeing more individuals choose careers in vegan counseling. By creating an army of wellness coaches, we now have individuals in various communities that can provide support for those interested in the lifestyle change. Finally, many business owners are role models in their communities, and this provides a physical reminder that individuals who are compassionate for animals come from all walks of life, and might be your next-door neighbor.
See the schedule and speakers and register for the Vegan Professional Bootcamp in Los Angeles on October 12.