In our Interview Series, where we showcase vegan businesses and bloggers from around the world, we discover original ideas. Located in the UK, Teresa has one of those original business ideas.
Hi Teresa. Tell us a little something about your business.
We offer Seed Products for eco-friendly wedding favours and business promotions/events
How old is your business?
Where are you located?
We cater for couples about to get married – we create their wedding favours and invites. We also cater for businesses who are looking to be more eco-friendly in their promotions and events by supplying them with bespoke seed packets. We also supply charities, funeral directors, hospices, schools, kids parties, councils – anyone really!
How was your business affected by the quarantine period of the pandemic? What measures did you take to keep afloat? How is your business now that we are re-opening?
The pandemic has affected the business with the cancellation of weddings and business events. We tried to overcome that a little by creating a couple of general design seed packets that are applicable for any occasion, eg, teacher gifts, for people to put into letters to people they can’t see during lockdown. We also had businesses contact us for seed packets to send to individual staff members who weree furloughed or working from home.
In your country, how do you perceive the local vegan & eco-friendly market, in terms of business and how do you see the local consumer?
Kent has a growing vegan “market”. Many vegan cafes have sprung up and there has been a massive increase in restaurants and pubs locally offering vegan menus. Kent also has a number of popular vegan festivals each year, which just goes to show how popular vegan products are now, and not just food! one of the local animal rescues is a completely vegan venture, to the extent that people are requested not to bring in non-vegan food – but there is a fantastic vegan cafe on site!
Give us a little background about your country and how veganism is perceived. Is there a cultural clash? Does local media give space to the vegan lifestyle in news channels, lifestyle channels, magazines, etc?
Veganism is a growing way of life in the UK. It is now easy to go places and find a lot of vegan food caterers. There are a number of celebrities who are vegan and the press seem to talk about different aspects of it a lot more than they did even a couple of years ago. The demand for vegan products has meant that it is no longer difficult to be a vegn in the UK, unlike, say 10 years ago.
How do you manage to reach out to your clientele? Social media? Advertising? Other? How hard is it for you to market your business?
I use social media, Google ads and occasional blogs. I find social media very time-consuming so I am not very regular with it!
A little more background to the local vegan scene. Do major supermarkets, for example, in your country offer a good array of vegan products on their shelves?
Yes. Sainsburys and Tecos especially. Morrison have increased their vegan range – at one time it was pointless shopping there as a vegan if you wanted vegan susages etc. However, smaller local shops have very little choice.
I have been vegan for 36 years, vegetarian for two years before then. I became vegetarian when I spotted a poster in Canterbury that was of a monkey with electrodes in its head, from the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection. I vecame vegetarian overnight, not that I ate much meat. Although I did not eat much dairy, I decided to go the whole way and became a strict vegan.
What drove you to open a vegan business? And what difficulties, if any, did you come across to achieve your objective?
I didn’t open the business as a vegan business but because I love nature! I originally had a wildflower nursery and came across seed packet wedding favours by accident when the internet was very young!
They were an American thing initially, and I dipped my toes in the market and found that that side of the business was more popular than the nursery so eventually closed the nursery. The business is as eco-friendly as I can make it and as vegan as possible. Some things are not possible vegan-wise – eg, the ink used in printing is not veg-based and has been tested on animals. This makes me sad but the printer company cannot get the printer to work with veg inks so I have no alternative. I just hope one day that veg-ink printers will be available in a price-range that is feasible for small businesses such as mine. To be honest I don’t get how none of the big printer companies have not produced even desk-top inkjets yet with veg ink – I would say there is definitely a market out there for them!
I just want to get people growing wildflowers to help the butterflies, bees and other insects that rely on them. Our countryside in the UK is in a bad way with species of flora and fauna declining alarmingly. If someone gets a packet of wildflowers at a wedding and it gives them the interest to grow more wildflwoers, then that is a success for nature!
Do you have any final words you’d like to end this interview with?
It is not hard these days to have a sustainable, eco-friendly wedding or to promote your business in a way that is kind to nature. Seeds are perfect for this as you are giving something back to Mother Earth and helping other creatures we share our planet with.
Thank you, Teresa, for participating in our Interview Series. You can learn more at Wildflower Favours Ltd.