As the number of vegans rocket, so does the market for vegan products.
Today I interview Katie, the vegan baker behind of the new online vegan stores and lover of all things sweet. Check her out at www.katiesvegandelights.com
What inspired you to start a vegan business? What did you do before?
I used to love baked items such as cake, cookies and chocolate. When I first went vegan there was nothing available in local shops (to my knowledge) so I made it my mission to veganise every traditional baked item I enjoyed. It took about 2 years to get good recipes perfected. I used to work in a non-vegan local cafe, started working part time in the post office and created my vegan business. I started just by advertising on Facebook, but after a few months of lots of big orders and getting over 600 likes on my Facebook page I decided to create a website.
How easy have you found it to get started?
As someone who isn’t great with technology it wasn’t easy! It took about a week to get up and working using fasthosts web domain and hosting site, I used a website template to help me get started.
Tell us about your different products
I sell cupcakes, banana and chocolate chip cupcakes with chocolate on top, lemon and raspberry muffins (currently not on my website because I need to get a good picture). I sell slices of my banana, mixed spice and nut loaf (also currently not on website as lack of pictures) I sell cookies, banana and chocolate chip cookies, gingerbread biscuits, choc blocks and shortbread fingers. I sell chocolates, milk, white and dark with different fillings such as honeycomb, fruit and nut, strawberry pieces, raspberry crunch.
Do you have a sweet tooth yourself?
Yes, I do have a very sweet tooth, I always have done, I grew up in the kitchen. I started baking from the age of five.
Veganism is growing in the UK, do you think that businesses like yours that showcase vegan treats help break down barriers and move people away from the “vegan food is boring” stereotype?
Yes, I 100 per cent think that businesses like mine help break the stupid stereotype about vegan food being boring. When people say that I make sure to refuse them a cupcake! I aimed to make my products as similar to dairy products.
What is your own favourite product?
My own favourite product is my choc blocks. It’s a biscuit base with a creamy, rich milk chocolate topping, I then cut them into blocks (hence the name). They are also raw.
Do you just sell online, or do you visit farmers’ markets and vegan fairs? Do you intend to open a physical shop in the future?
At the moment I only sell online but I do plan to start doing vegan festivals and local markets, including some of the busy boot fairs around here. When busy periods come like Halloween, Christmas and other occasions I will be donating £1 from every over to the vegan run retreat animal rescue in High Halden, Ashford. I intent to open a shop in a few years, a bakery, a chocolateir and a vegan tea rooms. Fully vegan of course.
Tell us about your own journey into veganism.
My own journey to veganism? I went veggie while I was still at school about six or seven years ago. I started a petition trying to stop the badger cull from coming to my local area, so I added lots of animal rights activists and vegans to ask them to sign it. I started seeing their posts and videos they were sharing. I went vegan overnight. I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t bring myself to cause such pain and sufferings to beings I claimed to love. My family weren’t supportive at first so my Facebook friends because my family and helped me through the very quick transition. I have now been vegan for nearly three years. I will never go back.
What’s next for Katie’s vegan delights?
What’s next for Katie’s vegan delights? Right now I’ll be remaining as just online, however, I will be learning to drive, getting a vehicle and using it to make deliveries and even hopefully cater for more venues (birthdays, weddings).