MEET THE OWNER OF VEGAN TREATS

28 Aug 2020 | Student Life

Since pitching at St Albans market back in 2018, this plant based catering company has become renowned for offering delicious vegan meals. They offer a variety of hot meals, including their bestselling mac ‘n’ cheese, as well as freshly baked doughnuts and pudding pots. In this Q&A we asked owner, Tara, what the driving force was behind her starting Vegan Treats and how she overcomes setbacks. Here’s what she had to say…

Tell us about your business?

Vegan Treats is a small catering business, based in St Albans, dedicated to changing the stigma around plant-based food. Our treats are indulgent, colourful and representative of a vegan lifestyle that does not involve missing out on the all the best things in life!

What was the driving force for you to start your business?

I started my business as a way to show people that vegan cakes needn’t resemble cardboard and that you can still enjoy things like buttercream without having to use dairy. I would flog my cakes to anyone I could and finally found myself at a pitch at St Albans charter market, whereby I trialled some hot meals too. The rest is history!

What are your business’ core values?/What are the key values that motivate you?

The core values of Vegan Treats are to treat each customer equally, no matter their walk of life. We have customers who are die-hard vegans, simply allergic or intolerant, or just enjoy wholesome, tasty grub! It’s important for us not to incessantly preach about the health benefits of veganism and rather let the food do the talking! We are extremely passionate about animal welfare and believe that veganism can be achieved on a long-term scale, if customers believe that the food is substantial and delicious. We cook with love everyday to achieve this goal.

How do you overcome setbacks?

As a small-business owner, I cannot afford to take “no” for an answer. I am good at problem-solving and thinking on my feet, as the ever changing streetfood culture demands this attitude. If you have complete faith in your product and your customer service is 10/10, you will thrive no matter what your setbacks!

If you had one piece of advice for students setting out their own business, what would it be?

Don’t let people bring you down. As a young entrepreneur, you will face a lot of discrimination, particularly if you’re female-owned. These skeptics must be met with impossible optimism, a work ethic like no other and a willingness to engage on a surface level, whilst not letting your inner fire be dampened. If it was super easy then everyone would do it. Be strong, be unique and don’t let your age get in the way of anything.

Are there any other brands within your sector that you are following at the moment?

There are SO many incredible vegan start-ups operating right now amidst the pandemic chaos. I’m a huge fan of “Renee’s Kitchen”, “Viet Vegan” and “Purezza” for their creativity with plant-based food and their engagement with mainstream audiences – amazing work!

What has your biggest achievement been so far?

Our biggest achievement thus far is probably catering for larger companies such as: Netflix, ASOS, Wayfair, Sweaty Betty and BBC Studios. It’s great to see our treats being enjoyed on such a large-scale and influential companies taking a step in the right direction with regards to more eco-friendly practices. Also, being presented with local awards is a huge blessing, especially as a niche business.

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