Q+A w/ Co-founder, Judy Nadel
HAPPY 2019, AND HAPPY VEGANUARY!
At by CHLOE., we’re here to feed you 100% vegan and 100% delicious fare year-round. This month, we’re churning our plant-powered engines a little faster and have exciting news! All January long, by CHLOE. is supporting your plant-based Veganuary pledge with delicious specials, inspiring events and collaborations to keep you motivated. From our “Full Brekkie” breakfast special in collaboration w/ Zanna Van Dijk, free Mac Mondays, and a plethora of plant-based talks, including appearances from Zanna van Dijk and Stephanie Elswood! We’re here to nourish your body, brain and show you how great the plant-life can be!
To help us do it BIG this year, we’ve partnered with plant-powered events and multimedia content company, Vevolution. Together, we’re delivering Topic Talks For Veganuary, a series of free-to-attend intimate events featuring some of the UK’s most inspiring plant-powered leaders. We’re talking plant-based fashion, economics, environment and more. These exclusive events will take place weekly at our Tower Bridge location, with only 40 tickets available for each. Check out the schedule and get your ticket, here! PS. If this line-up wasn’t inspiration enough, our menu will be 20% off to attendees during the event.
by CHLOE.: Hi Judy! Thanks so much for chatting with us. Please introduce yourself.
Judy Nadel: Hi by CHLOE. team thank you so much for having me! My name is Judy and I am the co-founder of plant powered events + multimedia content startup, Vevolution.
bC.: Talk to us about your plant-based journey. What inspired you to adopt a vegan lifestyle?
JN: Getting to a plant-based lifestyle has definitely been a journey for me. I had been vegetarian for around 6 years in my late teens to mid-20’s, but did not identify with being vegetarian and as a result did not surround myself with a vegetarian community. When I just turned 30 I met my Co-Founder Damien who is also my partner in love (we are getting married next year!). He told me about Veganuary and I had a very typical response – but what about my love for cheese! I tried Veganuary out never with the intention of going vegan but during the month I read and watched some life-changing things that made me slowly understand more about where my food was coming from and essentially connect the dots. After the month was up, I decided to carry on the vegan lifestyle but it wasn’t until 8 months later that I called myself vegan. I wanted to take my time to discover articles, watch documentaries, meet like-minded people. What I realized is how being part of a community of like-minded people can be so powerful and what I think I was missing when I was vegetarian.
bC.: Tell us your path to founding Vevolution. How did you get started, and what were you doing before?
JN: I have been doing events for the past 10 years but mainly within the arts, music and tech industry. I have always loved creating and hosting events; for me it is a way of celebrating the amazing talent and ideas in our communities. There is always something magical getting a group of like-minded people under one roof. In a time where people are spending more time online – human interaction and connection is needed more than ever and I think events have a massive part to play in this. In the past I worked at the incredible arts venue, The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm which actually led me on my events journey. I did a project as part of their youth program which allowed me the change to program a three day music, performance and visual art, and cabaret festival alongside other aspiring event managers, producers, curators. From there I created a music and visual art collective called EKO with my two friends from this course and we hosted loads of amazing live music shows. From there I brought over The Pheromone Parties, a sensory dating night to London. I also dipped my toes in the tech event world and managed a few hackathons. This all eventually led me to creating plant powered events!
Damien was organizing a one off event called Vegan Futures in 2015 as he knew some incredible people that really smashed the stereotype of a vegan. It is amazing to have witnessed the change in attitude towards veganism just over a few years. Even the vegan community in London was very different only a few years ago. I was brought on last minute to help produce and deliver the event and it was a complete success. We realized there was real scope to do more with this event which is why we then created Vevolution in 2016. At the time we felt that there was a need to create an event that really showcased the incredible people who were part of the plant-powered movement and who were trying to make the world a better place; we wanted to make education and inspiration the forefront of the event with only having a handful of exclusive stalls. We flipped how plant-based event had previously been done.
Coming from an events background, I really wanted to bridge the gap with vegan events and highly professional and well produced creative events. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to attract non-vegan and plant curious people to our events so a big aim for us was to make our events super inclusive. We knew in order to do this we had to get into mainstream press so people who weren’t in our community could hear about what we were doing, but for this to happen we really had to be super on point with our branding and how we marketed and spoke about we were doing. We had to make it appealing so mainstream press would want to take about us.
bC.: In November, Vevolution hosted a festival for the third year in a row. What was the highlight of the festival, and why do you think it is so important to have these types of conversations in person, in addition to online?
JN: We have been on cloud 9 since our festival. It has been an event goal for me to organize an event at the BFI but to be able to organize my own event where I am so passionate about it was unbelievable. Whenever we pick a venue for our event it is really important to us to find somewhere creative, that has a professional setup for the talks and it a completely new venue for the vegan community. We also want to pick venues that are iconic and prestigious so that we are part of the movement showing the world that veganism is only to get bigger and is here to stay!
With our festival in November it was our biggest event yet with 800 people in attendance. I can’t pick one highlight as there were so many but on a personal level it was really amazing to see all our months of hard work come together and for the event to unfold and just happen in front of our eyes. It is a really amazing experience.
Like I said earlier, I think getting like-minded people under one roof is extremely powerful; the connections, conversation and ideas that happen from meeting people in person in my opinion will always be needed as well as having online communities. We think both offline and online are important which is why we not only hold our events but we also record the audio and film the talks from our events which we make freely available online as it would be such a shame for the inspiring ideas and discussions that happened at the events to be lost once the event is over.
A big aim for 2019 is to grow our multimedia content and to create more online experience and hubs. We created our first online community after our Plant-Based Business Bootcamp which is aimed at plant-based entrepreneurs and business owners. Although I am huge advocate of real life experiences and events, it is also super important for us to ensure we are connecting people online from all around the world.
bC.: What advice would you give to a business that is trying to break into the plant-based space?
JN: I have had the pleasure of meeting tons of amazing plant-based businesses. Now really is the time to set up a plant-based business. I have a few bits of advice:
1. Find A Business Partner: Most plant-plant based businesses I have met is being run with two co-founders. I really think this makes a huge difference in terms of decision making, skill set, business strategy and vision. Damien and I have very different skill sets so it works really well with splitting our roles and workload.
2. You Can’t Do Everything….And That’s Ok!: Before starting Vevolution I had setup my own events company but really struggled as was trying to do everything myself. Obviously when you start your own business it is natural that you will have to do everything yourself but there gets to a point where you will need to start delegating and outsourcing work. It can be extremely difficult when you have created your own business (which can feel like your own baby) to then trust someone to come in and essentially take a bit of your baby away! When we started, me and Damien tried to do everything with Vevolution, then we tried to identify what our weaknesses were, and then found badass people who were way better than us at that particular task and got them to do it. Not only does it save your mental health and stress levels, it is a great thing to get a talented person with an objective viewpoint, to take the task in a different direction.
3. Work/Life Balance: I need to take my own advice (both Damien and I are bad at this), but it really is important to try not to be switched on all the time. Our good friend Loui Blake gave a great bit of advice at our Vevolution Topics Entrepreneurs event; he said it is super important to look after yourself because if you aren’t there, your business won’t be either. Try to have a structured work day and structured time-off. We try to not work on evenings and weekends. Obviously when you are running your own business there is a grey area and the boundaries get blurred but unless it is really urgent, or you have a big deadline be strict with yourself. Also schedule exercise, fun activities and time with your friends and family in your calendar.
4. Connect With Other Startups + Ask For Help: This is really important, especially in the early days. As an entrepreneur or business owner you will go through so many highs and lows – both me and Damien still go through this nearly two years on. You will think your idea is amazing and that you are going to rule the world and then in the same breath you will freak out and think why the hell have you left your financially-secure job and routine. Just remember that thought process is normal! Make sure you connect with other startups because while you might be doing different businesses, you will have gone through similar problems and their advice might save you an afternoon of googling and stressing! Join the Vevolution’s Plant-Based Business Hub where you can meet other plant-based businesses and ask their advice if you ever need it.
5. Don’t Leave Your Job Just Yet: Starting your business or idea will be a passion-project that you need to nurture and explore, before putting too much pressure on it to turn it into a money-making company that can support you. Although you may be more than ready to leave your job, try to stick with it for as long as you can. When you start relying on your passion-project to pay the bills it will quickly turn into a different entity. Once you have got your new business off the ground you can always speak to your company about reducing your hours or going part-time. We had over a year of doing other projects to keep us going until we could fully focus on just doing Vevolution.
6. Collaboration Not Competition: Unlike any other job I’ve had, there is something really special about the plant-based business community. Everyone has a shared underlying passion and purpose, which creates a real openness which I don’t think you will always get in other industries. There is a natural human reaction to view another business that has a similar product or idea as you as competition, but just remember why you are both doing this business. Reach out to people who are doing similar things and collaborate with them. Wonderful new ideas and experiences can happen from partnerships and collaborations. This is one of my favorite quotes which I think really relates to someone with a business idea: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”- Anaïs Nin.
bC.: What are your goals for Vevolution? Where do you see your brand in the next five years?
JN: Over the next 5 years we want Vevolution to become the world’s leading international plant-powered inspiration community. In 2019 we will start to scale-up with a small team, so expect new events and an expansion of our online content offerings. We are also exploring holding out first Vevolution events outside the UK in 2019. Ultimately Vevolution is about empowering people to go out and change the world. If we are still doing that in 5 years time we will be really happy.
bC.: What encouraging words or advice to you have for people starting the Veganuary challenge?
JN: Like I said I did Veganuary in January 2015. That is how I started my vegan journey. My main piece of advice is to have fun with it! You will find so many new recipes, foods, restaurants and friends. Think of Veganuary as a month for exploring. Be sure to sign up to Veganuary as they will email you loads of recipes, partnerships they have with mainstream restaurants so you can eat our with your non-vegan family and friends, documentaries to watch etc. Also join the Veganuary Facebook group. There are tons of people on there also doing Veganuary so you can share your new vegan loves, recipe disasters and connect with other people. If anyone is reading this and needs certain advice please feel free to get in touch with me.
bC.: We are so excited to team up with you for Veganuary! Tell our readers what they can expect from the by CHLOE. X Vevolution partnership.
JN: We are beyond excited about partnering with by CHLOE. We absolutely love by CHLOE. and can’t wait for our line up of events. We have three In Conversation + Panels that are super exclusive with only 40 free tickets being made available. We will discuss topics on food innovation, business in food and fashion + beauty so there will be something for everyone. It will end with a big party to celebrate the end of Veganuary! We are releasing the free tickets when Veganuary starts on 1st January 2019.
Favorite place you’ve ever visited? Oh wow there are so many it is so hard to pick. I absolutely love Paris and always feel like it’s so magical when I go there. It is also easy to get to, so its great when you are running your own business and can’t take much time off.
Juice or Smoothie? Juice.
3 things you can’t live without? Olives, creativity and books.
Favorite app? Clue.
Favorite food? Mexican.
What makes you laugh? Things that probably aren’t that funny to other people!
How do you de-stress? Yoga and meditation.
Where were you born? London.