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HOT TOPIC Should I Start a Vegan Business If I Don't Believe In It?

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YoungPadawan

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So after my last business flop, I am looking at potential business ideas/needs and one industry that I think has a lot of potential opportunities is the Vegan market.

The thing is... I'm not Vegan, and I don't plan on becoming Vegan. (I love steak and hamburgers too much)

The fact remains: the Vegan industry is a highly passionate group of people that are religious about their viewpoints and are willing to pay more to get what they want. Plus, there are a lot of product opportunities in this niche.

I personally grew up on a small pig farm and raised chickens for meat. What I'm afraid of, if I do decide to enter the Vegan industry, is I won't pass "the sniff test" and something like this will end up happening:

https://nypost.com/2018/05/28/butchers-are-living-in-fear-of-marauding-vegans/

So... do you think I should just avoid this industry? I KNOW there is demand for specific food products, and if I made super high quality products, do you think I would have to lie about my background to avoid being crucified by Vegan extremists?
 

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The EL Maven

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You don't have to be a user of your product, and in fact, it might be better if you weren't. However, I personally think that if you believe what you sell is complete BS, you'll have a tough go at it. Imagine feeling icky about yourself after every sale... that sort of psychological approach will insure failure.

What I think you CAN do is really identify with your customer, and really appreciate how you're the same and how you share mutual goals and how your business does exactly that. Focus on the customer and you'll do fine.
 

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So after my last business flop, I am looking at potential business ideas/needs and one industry that I think has a lot of potential opportunities is the Vegan market.

The thing is... I'm not Vegan, and I don't plan on becoming Vegan. (I love steak and hamburgers too much)

The fact remains: the Vegan industry is a highly passionate group of people that are religious about their viewpoints and are willing to pay more to get what they want. Plus, there are a lot of product opportunities in this niche.

I personally grew up on a small pig farm and raised chickens for meat. What I'm afraid of, if I do decide to enter the Vegan industry, is I won't pass "the sniff test" and something like this will end up happening:

https://nypost.com/2018/05/28/butchers-are-living-in-fear-of-marauding-vegans/

So... do you think I should just avoid this industry? I KNOW there is demand for specific food products, and if I made super high quality products, do you think I would have to lie about my background to avoid being crucified by Vegan extremists?
I built a business around a product I likely would personally never need. However, it filled the need in SCALE for people who wanted it.
 

Kid

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I read recently about niche website that was created solely for cash.

Guys who operate it made it popular and good resource for this part of market. They weren't passionate about it nor they ware hardcore users.

So if you could provide good content to Vegans they might visit your site. Just don't tell them that you are meat eater.
 

Fastlane Liam

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This is mentioned in Unscripted and specifically says you do not need to be your target customer,
By the way whos the CEO for IBM?
Logitech? Casio? Benq? BIC?
I bet you have no idea,
Me neither,
Yet Im using and looking at their products right now,
People don't care if it provides them value. Im almost certain of it.
 

AlessioLC

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I would say that you have to believe in the product / service but you don't have to be a user or be part of the movement.

Just fill a need or solve problem and you'll be good.
 

kelvinfernandezm

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You don't have to be vegan to have a vegan company. But I hope you're not the face of your company because that will be disastrous once vegans find out that you're not vegan.

I said this somewhere else but been vegan is a way of life. I plan to be vegan eventually because I care about animals and I think their suffering affects us all. Right now I'm doing my best at been vegeterian. if I ever found out the people behind the vegan company which foods I enjoy were actually meat eaters I would stop buying from them immediately. Why? Because it's a company with no soul, no ideals and no cause.

Also once you stop eating meat your taste for foods change. So how would you rate the taste of the product you make if you're not even vegan?
 
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YoungPadawan

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This is mentioned in Unscripted and specifically says you do not need to be your target customer,
By the way whos the CEO for IBM?
Logitech? Casio? Benq? BIC?
I bet you have no idea,
Me neither,
Yet Im using and looking at their products right now,
People don't care if it provides them value. Im almost certain of it.
The difference is, these companies manufacture products that aren't really controversial, and everyone doesn't really consider (or really care that much) about how it's made or where it comes from.

Whereas, the Vegan crowd seems pretty fanatical about where the food comes from and who provides their food. They've probably watched documentaries like "Food Inc." and think that the entire agriculture industry is made up of only soulless megafarms that churn out animals and do horrendous things to make a profit.

That's not the reality.

The reality is, the vast majority of farms are small operations with farmers that are content with their lot in life, and have had their farms passed down from generation to generation and they love what they do.

The animals are treated humanely throughout their entire lives. It's crazy the lengths I've seen ranchers go when the cows are calving during the middle of winter.

No joke, I saw a Facebook post on my feed this winter with a rancher I know that let a newborn calf into their home so that it could stabilize and get it's bearings. In fact, here it is: upload_2018-5-29_17-32-23.png


Most of these food fanatics have probably never even seen a gravel road, or have willingly went to a small agricultural community to find the truth for themselves.

It makes me sad. It really does. They have no idea the lengths that farmers go through to make sure the animals are taken care of.

Working for Dish Network, I've gone into many homes of people that raise cattle and sheep that have "Cattle Cams" in their barns and have a monitor (with audio) in their homes so they can make sure everything is going alright in the barns.
You don't have to be vegan to have a vegan company. But I hope you're not the face of your company because that will be disastrous once vegans find out that you're not vegan.

I said this somewhere else but been vegan is a way of life. I plan to be vegan eventually because I care about animals and I think their suffering affects us all. Right now I'm doing my best at been vegeterian. if I ever found out the people behind the vegan company which foods I enjoy were actually meat eaters I would stop buying from them immediately. Why? Because it's a company with no soul, no ideals and no cause.

Also once you stop eating meat your taste for foods change. So how would you rate the taste of the product you make if you're not even vegan?
Yep, this is exactly what I'm afraid of. I don't know if I could blend in. I suppose I could have an Instagram influencer be my puppet for the company so I could peddle my wares.

That's the dilemma that I'm trying to figure out. I don't know if I could live the lie (or if my potential customers would go off the deep end with me living this lie).
 

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kelvinfernandezm

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The difference is, these companies manufacture products that aren't really controversial, and everyone doesn't really consider (or really care that much) about how it's made or where it comes from.

Whereas, the Vegan crowd seems pretty fanatical about where the food comes from and who provides their food. They've probably watched documentaries like "Food Inc." and think that the entire agriculture industry is made up of only soulless megafarms that churn out animals and do horrendous things to make a profit.

That's not the reality.

The reality is, the vast majority of farms are small operations with farmers that are content with their lot in life, and have had their farms passed down from generation to generation and they love what they do.

The animals are treated humanely throughout their entire lives. It's crazy the lengths I've seen ranchers go when the cows are calving during the middle of winter.

No joke, I saw a Facebook post on my feed this winter with a rancher I know that let a newborn calf into their home so that it could stabilize and get it's bearings. In fact, here it is:View attachment 19630


Most of these food fanatics have probably never even seen a gravel road, or have willingly went to a small agricultural community to find the truth for themselves.

It makes me sad. It really does. They have no idea the lengths that farmers go through to make sure the animals are taken care of.

Working for Dish Network, I've gone into many homes of people that raise cattle and sheep that have "Cattle Cams" in their barns and have a monitor (with audio) in their homes so they can make sure everything is going alright in the barns.


Yep, this is exactly what I'm afraid of. I don't know if I could blend in. I suppose I could have an Instagram influencer be my puppet for the company so I could peddle my wares.

That's the dilemma that I'm trying to figure out. I don't know if I could live the lie (or if my potential customers would go off the deep end with me living this lie).
I actually lived with my parents for 5 years at their farm. One of my neighbors raised cattle. I know how good the farmers treat their cattle and all. They are right there with the animals even during the night making sure nothing happens to them. This one time a cow was giving birth and we could hear the coyotes circling around the property. The next day we found out that our neighbor had not slept all night keeping watch. But at the end of the day killing an animal is still violence against them. It took my parents 5 years to kill one of their sheep's for a bar-b-q. Even then I could tell that they were not happy about it because they had grown that particular sheep since it was a kid. They never got around to killing another one again.

This is one of those markets where you just can't fake it or buy somebody off for profit. Even if you hire someone to be your marketing puppet eventually he might speak out. Vegans scrutinize the companies they purchase from extensively. And don't forget peta's personnel are F*cking crazy and they have money backing up their craziness so they won't think twice about stalking you to know if you are legit or not.

If you really want to do this you might as well at least try been vegetarian.
 
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Vigilante

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The difference is, these companies manufacture products that aren't really controversial, and everyone doesn't really consider (or really care that much) about how it's made or where it comes from.

Whereas, the Vegan crowd seems pretty fanatical about where the food comes from and who provides their food. They've probably watched documentaries like "Food Inc." and think that the entire agriculture industry is made up of only soulless megafarms that churn out animals and do horrendous things to make a profit.

That's not the reality.

The reality is, the vast majority of farms are small operations with farmers that are content with their lot in life, and have had their farms passed down from generation to generation and they love what they do.

The animals are treated humanely throughout their entire lives. It's crazy the lengths I've seen ranchers go when the cows are calving during the middle of winter.

No joke, I saw a Facebook post on my feed this winter with a rancher I know that let a newborn calf into their home so that it could stabilize and get it's bearings. In fact, here it is:View attachment 19630


Most of these food fanatics have probably never even seen a gravel road, or have willingly went to a small agricultural community to find the truth for themselves.

It makes me sad. It really does. They have no idea the lengths that farmers go through to make sure the animals are taken care of.

Working for Dish Network, I've gone into many homes of people that raise cattle and sheep that have "Cattle Cams" in their barns and have a monitor (with audio) in their homes so they can make sure everything is going alright in the barns.


Yep, this is exactly what I'm afraid of. I don't know if I could blend in. I suppose I could have an Instagram influencer be my puppet for the company so I could peddle my wares.

That's the dilemma that I'm trying to figure out. I don't know if I could live the lie (or if my potential customers would go off the deep end with me living this lie).
Sounds like you've decided already. So... Next?
 
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YoungPadawan

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Sounds like you've decided already. So... Next?
Ugh... Yeah, I suppose so. The search continues...
 

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StompingAcorns

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if I ever found out the people behind the vegan company which foods I enjoy were actually meat eaters I would stop buying from them immediately.
So does that mean everyone in the factory that makes the food must be vegan? How about everyone who works at every supplier of goods to that factory?

@YoungPadawan , I think there's a difference in running a vegan oriented company while simultaneously owning stock in or running a meat processing company or cattle ranch etc. AND running a vegan oriented company while not being vegan yourself. I agree, don't be the face of it. And don't lie about it, don't try to live a lie. Show honest respect for vegans and interest in their concerns, which I know you'd do anyway.

I was so intrigued by this discussion that I did some light research:
17 Vegan Brands Owned By Non-Vegan Companies

Who Owns the Vegan Food Brands - The Complete List | Kindly Geek
(and voila, what I said:
  • Brands that are completely vegan - brands providing vegan food where the owners, business, or investors are not involved with other animal-product businesses.
  • Vegan brands with limited animal impact- vegan brands that are only minimally involved with animal products, or are owned by investors or other businesses that we do not think are involved with animal products.
  • Vegan and vegetarian brands that are not owned by vegan owners or investors - vegan or vegetarian businesses where the business owners or investors are involved with other businesses or brands that do use animal-products, including meat, dairy, and others.)
Vegans warned about choosing products linked to companies that also trade on 'animal exploitation'
(And again:
“We're sure that many vegans will be horrified that they are unwittingly supporting the milk and dairy industries.")​

Here's Why You Should Turn Your Business Vegan In 2018

Interestingly, you show great compassion, respect, and admiration for small ranchers - I can't help but wonder if there are some product ideas there. I learned some interesting things just in the few posts you made, above.

Personally, I think you can respect both and most people will respect that. But I don't think you can own both.
 

kelvinfernandezm

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So does that mean everyone in the factory that makes the food must be vegan? How about everyone who works at every supplier of goods to that factory?
No, not everyone in the line of production from the factory to the store shelf must be vegan. But the people on top of the pyramid should be. Vegan is on the rise and all this companies that have control of the market just because they had the money to produce vegan products will go out of business in the years to come if they don't catch up with the times.

This is not the 90's or even 2005 where information was slow and hard to verify. Vegans did not have the resources to verify that the owners of the vegan products were vegans themselves. But now we do with social media. We can know who the owners are and what they stand for. The companies that have the same ideals as their customers will dominate the market from now on.

This trend doesn't just apply to veganism either. You can see it in most products now a days. The people that have a passion for the products they create will dominate the market. All you have to do is go on kickstarter.com or massdrop.com and see how the products created by the people who have a passion for them sell out in record numbers.
 

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I can see not using your own product but what would be hard is if you don't believe in the product for others. I'm not Vegan either but if I believed in what I was selling and it just happened to be Vegan then I could sell the hell out of it even if I was not Vegan.
 

amp0193

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I built a business around a product I likely would personally never need. However, it filled the need in SCALE for people who wanted it.
But you didn't have a philosophical difference with the people that did want your products. You just didn't fit the target user.

That's different than this.

Take it from a guy who sold products I hated and thought were stupid and thought people were crazy for buying... find something else to do. There are thousands of markets with big opportunities. Why not pick one that more aligns with you?

You will not pass the sniff test, and if you do, you're tying to speak a different language from what your customers are speaking.
 

biophase

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I vote, don't do it. You won't be able to connect with your customers on that level. I've seen other dog leash companies come out with stuff that makes no sense to me and other dog owners. It's like, who would ever use that. On the opposite end, I've invented a few products (provisional patented so far) and people who use them absolutely love them. They were invented out of need when walking my foster dogs.
 

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That's the dilemma that I'm trying to figure out. I don't know if I could live the lie (or if my potential customers would go off the deep end with me living this lie).
Who cares if you're not vegan? Most of your customers won't know, unless you're having fantasies of fumbling your words in the middle of an interview with Oprah and being exposed. All you need is a passion for solving problems, everything else will figure itself out along the way. Why are you trying to keep your great idea away from vegans?

What if your company would have really made a difference for the vegan community, but because of overthinking, now here's another idea out of a ton of ideas you probably have that you'll toss aside because you were given an excuse and an easy way out. Stop looking for excuses to not get started, there's no perfect idea, and to answer the thread title, yes you should start a business you don't believe in if you believe it'll make a difference and there's a need for it.

Should I release my cancer cure if I don't have cancer? I have an idea that would stop nicotine addiction, but I don't have a nicotine addiction, so should I drop it? Should I create my business that cuts people's commute time in half if I work from home and can't relate at all? Yes, yes, and yes!

These examples are a little over the top of course, but the point of starting a business is to provide value and help people, so if you truly believe you have an idea that will help a specific audience, you should rephrase your question as "Should I still help people if I don't need the help I'm providing myself?" and proceed from there.
 

AlessioLC

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Dude take this example that i literally saw 5 minutes ago :

in Singapour or in other part of the world, people are starting Vertical Farms for vegetables because we're to much on the planet and the ground can't grow as much salads as we would need. (Salads or any other vegetables).

These Vertical Farms produce more and faster than ground farms, there's no pesticides / OGM / chemicals because it's all with UV Lights, treated air, treated water, the salad comes in the packaging fully ready to be eat, no washing needed.

The point is, it solves a need and a problem ! I could do the same even if i don't eat salads, who cares, you're helping people to eat better food, fully safe of chemicals and bacteries.

I understand Veganism is a lifestyle, so people would be attached to the ethics of the brand and the person at the head of the company, but mate you could just say that you support the movement by saying it's because of one of my family members, a friend, or you searching for vegan foods for your transition..find something but don't drop an idea with high potential.

Create a story if you don't have one ;)
 

jon.M

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Let's say you're a vegan. You just entered the grocery store and now you see a brand new product on the shelves. Lonnie's Fake Beef™

Lonnie's Fake Beef™ is one of a kind. It's the result of over 13 years of research by food scientists. It's not meat. But it's just like meat. Except it tastes even better.

You saw some users in a Facebook vegan group recommend it, claiming that it would "blow your taste buds all the way to Mars". One of your vegan friends Instagrammed a picture of them eating a juicy Lonnie's Fake Beef™ burger during a barbecue. And truth to be told, the mere sight of that burger made you crave it yourself.

When you're holding that package of Lonnie's Fake Beef™ in your hands, examining the labeling and just making sure it's 100% vegan... would you flip out your phone and spend time researching the company and who owns it? Would you stand there in the middle of an aisle, stalking the company owner on social media to make sure he's 100% vegan as well?
 

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You have to believe in the product at a minimum. Liking the customer is something that helps a lot as well.

In your case, you don't seem to like the customer. That makes it psychologically difficult to provide value for them.
 

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Lancelot

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One thing I would say is that I am not Vegan, love steak, etc etc... but have way to many food allergy/intolerances. So not only does it provide a venue for the fanatics that are in it for belief reasons, it also holds a market for people who cannot eat certain foods. If I am looking for alternative type products I go to that little sad area in whole foods where the vegan products are.

One other thought... If you can make a good cheese alternative, I'm pretty sure you will knock it out of the park.

Best of luck young padawan. May the force be with you!
 

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I don’t have the medical condition that my products are applicable to.

And I’m open about it with all my customers.

But I tell them that I saw their doctors every day of my day job not giving this condition the empathy is deserves.

You can be passionate about your business and products without being passionate about using it yourself.

But, be very careful. Because in today’s day and age, especially the target customers of the vegan market, people can spot lack of authenticity very easily.
 

MJ DeMarco

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The thing is... I'm not Vegan, and I don't plan on becoming Vegan. (I love steak and hamburgers too much)
Normally I'm in the camp of you don't need to be a user of this product, but in this case, I believe you absolutely must be. Veganism is very tribal and many are vegan because of the animal implications.

You don't have to be vegan to have a vegan company. But I hope you're not the face of your company because that will be disastrous once vegans find out that you're not vegan.
I'm gonna confirm this. It will be the end of the company if it ever becomes known.
 

MJ DeMarco

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When you're holding that package of Lonnie's Fake Beef™ in your hands, examining the labeling and just making sure it's 100% vegan... would you flip out your phone and spend time researching the company and who owns it? Would you stand there in the middle of an aisle, stalking the company owner on social media to make sure he's 100% vegan as well?
That's fine and dandy until the truth comes out. Word would spread so fast that it would be a catastrophic business event to the point that anyone Vegan would know "Never buy Lonnie's Fake Beef" -- he's purely a capitalist and in it for the money, not for the meaning and purpose behind the movement. Vegans don't mind someone making a fortune if they're changing the world. But they will mind a full fledged hypocrite.

People trying to save the lives of animals aren't going to do business with someone who saves lives in pubic, but kills lives at the dinner table.

Ask @AndrewNC - he hangs out with vegans.
 

pwilliams84

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agree with the majority here. i don’t really think you have to be a personal user of a product, but you’d better believe in it.
this one is even tougher because like a few suggested we’re not talking about just a product, but a lifestyle. and this is sort of a “you’re either with us or against us” type lifestyle, right? at least with a product you can claim it’s use may not apply to you. but if the CEO of Reebok walks around in Nike that might be an issue.. and with this topic we’re talking cold blooded murder in their eyes.

that’s what creates the challenge for me in my own background. i’m a finance guy with experience on both the retail level as well as institutional equity trading space.

it’s all dogshit, except for maybe probability based option premium selling. at least there’s some math and statistics to back that up. but hey, lucky me, i’m not even allowed to do anything useful with that knowledge anyway.
literally the worst industry to ever get sucked into.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

GoGetter24

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It would help a lot to partner up with full-on vegan wacko who's deep in the whole sphere.

The problem you'll run into other wise is that you're not connected enough to their mindset to deliver on what they want. And due to the power-law, if you cater to them even 90%, you still won't really resonate with them.

You need a full vegan nutjob as a partner, who's happy to put his face on things, videos etc. You'd do the operations side, he'd be the marketing side. $$$.

Just be careful he isn't anti-capitalist or anti-money, or that if he voices those sentiments, he doesn't live them in real life with his own money.
 

AndrewNC

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Normally I'm in the camp of you don't need to be a user of this product, but in this case, I believe you absolutely must be. Veganism is very tribal and many are vegan because of the animal implications.

I'm gonna confirm this. It will be the end of the company if it ever becomes known.
With all of the long-term committed vegans I've come across, you're spot on with this statement.

"If you're not vegan and you're just starting a vegan business to profit, you will not have the support of the vegan community." is what they said to me in 2016.

If you try to be the face of the company, forget about it.

If you're name isn't even shown behind a brand that sells vegan leather belts (or something) on Amazon, you'll build the business in hiding. You could make some money from it, but there are countless opportunities out there in many markets, so why enter one where you know you'll have this resistance?

Other things that come to mind are to stay away from 'vegan for the animals' theme of the company. For companies that don't have vegan as their selling point, but are vegan-friendly, I don't personally see as much resistance as if you advertise as a vegan company.

We are a vegan chocolate company vs. We are a chocolate company and BTW, we our food is vegan.

Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 9.22.14 AM.png
@Claude Roy would be great to chime in on this topic too.
 

MetalGear

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So after my last business flop, I am looking at potential business ideas/needs and one industry that I think has a lot of potential opportunities is the Vegan market.

The thing is... I'm not Vegan, and I don't plan on becoming Vegan. (I love steak and hamburgers too much)

The fact remains: the Vegan industry is a highly passionate group of people that are religious about their viewpoints and are willing to pay more to get what they want. Plus, there are a lot of product opportunities in this niche.

I personally grew up on a small pig farm and raised chickens for meat. What I'm afraid of, if I do decide to enter the Vegan industry, is I won't pass "the sniff test" and something like this will end up happening:

https://nypost.com/2018/05/28/butchers-are-living-in-fear-of-marauding-vegans/

So... do you think I should just avoid this industry? I KNOW there is demand for specific food products, and if I made super high quality products, do you think I would have to lie about my background to avoid being crucified by Vegan extremists?
What if you go Vegan for half a week? 3 out of 7 days?

I used to debate about this with Vegan friends and the moderates were actually happy with that kind of commitment from someone totally new to the lifestyle.

MG

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