7 Female Founders of Vegan Companies Changing the World and Our Attitudes
In honor of International Women's Day (which was Sunday, March 8th) and Women's History Month, all of March, we at The Beet are celebrating 7 amazing women who are making a difference for human health, the health of the planet, and animal welfare as founders of vegan companies. As far as we're concerned, every day is a chance to show respect and appreciation for the amazing things women do, but this piece is a toast to the women who are moving the needle toward making it easier than ever to live a plant-based lifestyle and love it.
We applaud anyone who follows their passion to launch a business and grow that venture into major economic successes. These women inspire us to follow our passions, the way they were guided by their own inner compasses, so we hope that you read these mini-profiles and think: What can I do or want to do to make a difference, and do good while doing well?
We are giving a donation in honor of these entrepreneurs to the Environmental Defense Fund, or EDF.org, because we are so inspired by what they have accomplished and want to support their goals. (Hopefully covering them on The Beet also supports their efforts.) Meanwhile, join us in applauding and boosting each other as working women, because we believe that the combination of hard work and passion pays off!
1. Chloe Coscarelli, Founder of The Vegan Cafe.
The founder of By Chloe is now creating sweet treats at her new venture, The Vegan Cafe, which has its first outpost in Miami, in St. Roch Market. Chloe has returned to her first passion for creating delicious baked goods that are completely plant-based. While she and the company she founded don't talk about the terms of her departure, one can not help but surmise that she has the purest of purpose, to offer delicious vegan treats and that her new Vegan Cafe is a reflection of those values.
Meet Chef Chloe:
Chloe Coscarelli is an award-winning chef and best-selling cookbook author. You may recognize Chloe from the show "Cupcake Wars," which aired on Food Network as a "talent search" reality-competition series pitting bakers against one another. Coscarelli was the first vegan chef to win a culinary competition.
What is The Vegan Cafe Known For?
The Vegan Cafe has a reputation for being the most delicious baked goods that are vegan. It's famous for her vegan rainbow sprinkle cake, as well as the sea salt chocolate chip cookies, and other creative desserts. Aside from her award-winning treats, the menu also offers breakfast, lunch, and on the go vegan snacks. The best-sellers are her truffle avocado toast, loaded vegan nachos, and her range of healthy salads.
2. Miyoko Schinner, Founder and CEO of Miyoko's Creamery
Founded by Miyoko Schinner in 2014, Miyoko's Kitchen already raised $6 million to fund and expand on her vision for high-end vegan cheese. Schinner herself was inspired living in Tokyo in the 1980s when French gourmet cheeses became a huge trend in Japan, where she grew up. As a cheese-a-holic, Schinner found herself conflicted by her compassion for animals and her culinary tastes. She eventually figured out how to serve both, creating gourmet-style wheels of garlic herb cheese, chive cheese, and other creamy spreadable nut cheeses out of cashew cream. She just launched a "grilled cheese" cheddar that makes the most realistic melting cheese for making the classic American sandwich. She calls her company "Tomorrow's Creamery."
Miyoko's caught the attention of Ellen Degeneres and other high-end investors with her European style and dairy-free offerings, like artisan cheese boards, butter and more. All the cheeses are made with real foods like nuts, legumes, and nutritious plant-based ingredients. They mix modern and innovative products to elevate the plant-based dairy standards to match any made from real cream and have successfully created award-winning cheeses, that we would happily serve as hors d'oeuvres to non-vegans with a nice bottle of Merlot.
Meet the Founder:
Miyoko Schinner is an award-winning vegan chef and the creator behind the popular dairy-free creamery. She grew up in Tokoyo and found herself indulging in french foods, specifically flavorful and gourmet cheeses. Schinner considers herself a "cheese-a-holic" and found herself in a conflict for giving up her favorite food and coping with her compassion for animals. She went completely vegan to test her creative side, feel healthier, help animals, and create sophisticated plant-based dairy products, and an industry was born.
Where can you buy these products?
You can purchase any of the dairy-free products like cheese, butter, and spreads on the Miykono's website here or check your popular grocery store, since they sell at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Target, Fairway, and Morton Williams. You will find their products in the dairy-free section or mixed among the gourmet cheeses (we wonder how many people buy it not even knowing these are made from nuts!).
3. Rachel Drori, Founder of Daily Harvest
Rachel Drori was a busy marketing executive and mom, whose pain point was that she had no time to shop for healthy fruits and veggies, chop them up and prep all the ingredients required to make a nutrient-rich smoothie every morning. So Drori decided to launch her company, Daily Harvest, to bring women like her easy-to-make smoothies, and now bowls, lattes, and bites, all vegan and all ready to eat in a matter of minutes.
Each serving or cup rings in at around $7 per meal, so in the pantheon of expanding meal delivery services that have launched since Daily Harvest appear in 2015, this is a reasonable, delicious and nutritious option to keep on hand and pull out of the freezer as needed.
Prior to Daily Harvest, Drori worked at marketing roles at The Four Season,s American Express and Jetsetter, jobs that gave her the skills to help her brand, sell and grow Daily Harvest before other companies launched to l try to copy her model. With nearly half a million Instagram followers and a growing. She has now raised $43 million in a Series B round of financing and the website is so compelling that as we write this we wanted to order out next delivery of smoothies, bowls, lattes and bites. Superfoods, here we come.
4. Alexis Fox, Founder of Lighter Nutrition
Lighter is a personalized plant-based meal plan, programed by certified nutritionists, athletes, and experts and customized based on your food preferences and eating habits. You may have seen it and not realized it since the meal plan powers Beyonce's 22-Day Plan and Whole Foods and others. We love it for its recipes, smart nutrition advice and easy to use interface.
Meet Alexis Fox
Fox worked as the Massachusetts state director for the Humane Society for 5 years before she started Lighter. This Boston based company received a lift when Fox flew to London in search of financial backing and raised nearly $400,000 to launch her social meal plan software. Soon after, Lighter took off when Fox revised the meal plan and integrated a network of markets, so you can shop for what you need to make each of the recipes. She explains that her platform "combines features of social media, online market places, and software as a service system."
Is Lighter a food delivery service?
No. Lighter works with over 200+ grocery stores and retail aggregators, including Amazon, Instacart, and Peapod, so you can buy ingredients online to get everything you need delivered to your door to eat a healthy plant-based diet.
Here's what the founder says about her company:
In an interview with Forbes, Fox compares Lighter to "the Pandora of food," since the data collected is used to generate nutritionist-created recipes and meal plans based on consumers' top picks. "When people are deciding they want to eat less meat, they’re often overwhelmed, they feel lost," she adds. Fox was ahead of her time since Lighter has been helping consumers solve these problems since 2015.
5. Amy Quichizand and Mariah Bermeo, Founders of Veggie Mijas
Veggie Mijas is an inclusive community for anyone who wants to get more educated and participate in a plant-based lifestyle with others that have “marginalized identities.”
"We highlight the importance of having a plant-based lifestyle while also intersecting race, gender identity, class, and sexuality; being brown, Latinx, non-binary, women, queer, genderqueer, coming from a working-class background and having other marginalized identities. We are very passionate about spreading awareness of the lack of resources we have to healthier options in the hood, animal liberation, environmental justice."
What's Veggie Mijas' purpose?
To help and learn from others within the community with no social boundaries, and bring people together from a working-class background, intersecting race, gender identities, and social classes. Meaning, “women of color, nonbinary folks of color, femmes of the color collective, queer, and queerness.”
Amy and Mariah describe their mission behind Veggie Mijas this way: “We are very passionate about spreading awareness of the lack of resources we have to healthier options in the hood, animal liberation, environmental justice. This is a platform where womxn/folks have shared their families recipes, their own recipes, and have talked about why being vegan has connected them to their ancestral roots.”
Veggie Mijas puts on events such as potluck dinners, vegan panels, yoga sessions and more where people can share their experiences of plant-based living, teach each other favorite family recipes, find out what’s happening in their city, and most importantly, connect with others.
How to get involved?
The company has a creative application to share your interest and find a fit within their community. Some ways you can be involved include:
1. Film what you eat throughout the day on YouTube and share it in the Veggie Mijas feed.
2. Share your favorite plant-based dish with a picture or video in their segment called Cocinado Con.
3. Write poetry to inspire others; these poems can be about food justice or anything that’s personal to you.
For other ways to get involved, click here.
6. Marion Hanania: Founder of Good Guys Don’t Wear Leather
A fashion veteran and committed vegan, Marion Hanania left her high profile fashion job to found the retail company Good Guys Don't Wear Leather, a 100% vegan and ethical shoe company that was the first vegan shoe company to launch in Paris.
Meet Marion Hanania:
After working as a shoe designer for high-fashion brands Isabel Marant and Duperre in Paris, Hanania decided to align her work with her ethics and left the top-drawer fashion world to launch her own brand. The inspiration behind GGDWL is based on her everyday style and remains true to her ethics. The company says it is cruelty-free, sustainable, and respecting good working conditions for everyone.
She launched the first vegan shoe company from France in 2011 with a wide range of styles for men and women and shoes for every season. They have vegan suede heels, platforms, sneakers, sandals, and vegan leather boots.
Want to buy a pair?
7. Jenny Engel and Heather Bell: Founders of Spork Foods
Spork Foods is a vegan culinary school in West Hollywood, CA. People sign up to learn how to make plant-based recipes from various vegan chefs and understand the importance of eating a plant-based diet.
Meet Jenny and Heather:
Jenny Engel and Heather Bell are sisters who founded their company over a decade ago to share their love for vegan cooking and help others make healthier decisions. It's been their passion for a long time and they've worked with clients to offer cooking classes to companies like BMW, Cartier, BuzzFeed, Youtube and more.
Want to get involved?
If you’re in the LA area, you can book a class at their West Hollywood loft. Make sure to plan ahead of time since the classes fill up quickly. Their Greek cooking, Mexican Cooking, and Sushi classes are all currently sold out but you can add your name to the waitlist for a chance to get in if someone drops out.
Know an inspiring woman who is helping change the world through a vegan or plant-based lifestyle? Tag her on The Beet Instagram and we will definitely look into her great work.
8. Pinky Cole: CEO of Slutty Vegan and Founder of Pinky Gives Back
Aisha "Pinky" Cole takes plant-based fast-casual dining by storm at her popular vegan burger joint, Slutty Vegan, with several locations in Atlanta. At her restaurant, you can enjoy the "sluttiest" meatless burger you've ever tasted with incredible toppings like vegan bacon, cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomatoes, and her signature secret sauce. There's no surprise that celebrities from all over like Snoop Dogg and Usher love Pinky's soul food spunk, including our Creative Advisor, Jermaine Dupri, who lives not too far from the fast-food chain. The entrepreneur remains on the move during the pandemic, even though her restaurant was only open for takeout for the past 6 months. "We are about to branch out outside of Atlanta and have Slutty Vegans everywhere," said Cole in an interview with CNN.
But, Cole's hustle doesn't stop there. She founded a nonprofit organization called Pinky Gives Back, which helps "generations of color to win in life, financially, and in the pursuit of their entrepreneurial dreams." Tune in to the conversation with Cole about business strategy on her Instagram, and learn from her success as a Black-owned woman-founded entrepreneur with a strong passion for helping others.