The best references are always from those with first-hand experience. They preach what they practice. And that’s what you get from Helen – a vegan mum, raising her babe in a plant-based, eco-friendly home, she’s also been running her blog sharing her experiences with other vegan parents for the last 2 years.
The Vegan Family Guide is introduced by Helen as “the website I wanted as a new vegan Mum“.
It features & recommends plastic free baby products to buy, childcare tips to try, kids activities to do, and places to go.
Helen also runs the Vegan Kids Channel right here at OhSo.Green, where she is introducing her first online course – Baby Led Pottying – for new vegan parents who want to try toilet training early.
Here’s a little more from Helen.
Who do you cater to? What kind of people, age-group are you seeing most interest from?
People of childbearing age… Pregnant vegans and vegan parents or guardians with babies or young children.
Although your business is mostly online, how was your business affected by the quarantine period of the pandemic? What measures did you take to keep afloat?
I had not planned to tell people about my website for a while yet. However, when the quarantine was muted in the UK, I saw people talking about their need for home learning resources and activities. I realised I could help with this, and so stepped up.
You’re based out of the UK. How do you perceive the local vegan & eco-friendly market, in terms of business and how do you see the local consumer?
It’s fantastic in the UK! Things have changed so much since I started out. Businesses are falling over themselves to try and appeal to vegans. Mainstream shops and cafes seem to feel the need to have a vegan product to prove they are on trend. I’ve made a map of child friendly vegan cafes, of which there are many.
Since we had our child we’ve lived in Islington and Hackney in London. This area is home to many liberal lefty snowflake hipster yuppy types. I had come to expect raw chocolate to be available on all local newsagent counters. We moved away and, while country life is pleasant, we missed having every available luxury on our doorstep. We currently live in a cohousing eco community with its own on site cooperative shop. As a cooperative member, I was able to request Ombars. So, the story has a happy ending…
From your perspective, how do you see local media giving space to a plant-based lifestyle?
Veganism is seen as current and so the media often seem to look for any reason to mention it, however relevant to the topic in hand. There has clearly been a positive change in tone, but bad articles are still publicity. I was recently on the local radio station who introduced me stating veganism is ‘no longer for hippies’; I’m not sure I was the best person to illustrate this point.
As a vegan mum, do you feel like your local supermarkets provide you with a good array of vegan products on their shelves?
Yes they keep bringing out new ones, however, these are not always healthy or eco friendly.
As for your business, what tools do you use to promote your vegan mum blog? Social media? Advertising? Other?
I put some posters up and made window stickers for places I included in my map of vegan family holidays. I think I did this too early on, however, before the website was ready. I joined vegan directories and vegan parent’s groups, Haro and JournoRequests PR mailing lists. I use social media, but don’t enjoy it.
OhSo appeals to me as an ethical alternative.
I occasionally answer people’s questions directly on vegan parent’s groups. It is only hard to market my business in that I restricted by time and budget.
I have a list of business resources here: www.livingwithwarmth.com/vegan-business-resources
Can you give us a little background about your personal journey as a vegan? How long have you been a vegan? Why did you choose to adopt veganism?
As a preschooler, I asked my mother what my sausage was. When told, I expressed disappointment. After thinking for a while, I suggested ‘couldn’t they just cut a bit off the animal’s bum’?
I became a vegetarian aged 10, influenced by two friends and an aunt. Giving up milk later helped me to recover from M.E/ C.F.S.
Aged 17, my student teacher took me to Animal Aid for homework research. I learnt about the egg industry and started becoming a vegan. I studied environmental and social justice, and added these to my list of reasons: www.livingwithwarmth.com/reasons-to-be-vegan
What drove you to open a vegan business? And what difficulties, if any, did you come across to achieve your objective?
When I was pregnant I had some questions about vegan babies which I had assumed would be easier to answer. After speaking to a friend, it crossed my mind for the first time that I might not be able to breastfeed. I thought I should have some vegan infant formula ready in case I had problems. This was quite complicated, and, as it turned out, I didn’t need it.
I read up on what other things I needed to buy. Once I had my baby I realised most things I bought were unnecessary and a waste of money. I also realised the nipple balm and nappy cream I bought weren’t vegan. I realised that there is a lot of contradictory advice, and wanted to help people wade through it.
I imagined blogging would be all about writing, and I would have finished the website by now. However, it turns out a lot of time is spent fixing broken formats and links and things, which isn’t as much fun as writing.
You can reach out to Helen via her account @livingwwarmth
More about Helen :
I list OhSo.Green with my other social channels on my website, so as it will grow in popularity. Running competitions is another type of promotion I am trying. I also joined blogger networks to connect with and learn from other bloggers. You are welcome to suggest a collaboration for the OhSo Vegan Kids Channel or Vegan Family Guide.