VEGANISM IN A BOX:
THE MAGIC OF THE VEGAN KIND
“unless you are born vegan then it’s very likely that you have done some or all of the things we berate non vegans for, and I try to be as welcoming and open as I can"
The Vegan Kind are a company based in Glasgow who run a Vegan Lifestyle Subscription box. Their boxes are the most popular subscription boxes for vegans in the UK. We sat down with Co-founder and Managing Director, Karris McCulloch to chat about creating her very own vegan business empire.
1) Can you share with us a bit about your journey into veganism? How did you first learn about the movement and what kind of impact did it have on your life?
"I was vegetarian for many years prior to going vegan, and I always felt that by being vegetarian I was doing everything I could for the animals. My understanding of the egg and dairy industry was absolutely minimal and I fully believed that because an animal wasn’t having to die to produce milk and eggs (or so I thought) that it was absolutely fine to consume them.
The first time I ever came across something that shattered my llusions of that was a video on Facebook, I think it may have been by Mercy for Animals, about what happens to male baby chicks in the egg industry. I watched them being ground alive with tears streaming down my face. That absolutely blew my mind and was absolutely the trigger for me starting to look at my eating habits out with vegetarianism. It was a gradual process for me, but slowly I started to cut out all animal products from my diet, and over time started to look at the bigger picture of using animals as a whole.
For example, I was vegetarian and I didn’t wear leather, but I still used to visit zoos and aquariums. I was looking through some old pictures recently and I found one of myself next to a monkey in a cage and I now can’t believe that I ever looked at that and thought it was ok. I do remember always feeling sad looking at penguins in those miserable enclosures, but it never crossed my mind in any sort of serious way and we still used to visit them. I do always try to remember this when I am dealing with people who aren’t yet vegan - unless you are born vegan then it’s very likely that you have done some or all of the things we berate non vegans for, and I try to be as welcoming and open as I can, remembering that we all started somewhere.
Going vegan has changed me in so many ways - in actual fact it changed the whole course of my life. I used to work for a large financial institution implementing change and managing projects, in a very high pressure corporate environment. Now, I run two vegan companies, work in our entirely vegan office, my husband and my children are all vegan, and we spend almost all of our time working on promoting both the businesses, and veganism to the world. It could not have consumed me any more and I love it!"
2)You run a fantastic company - connecting vegans to amazing cruelty free companies and products! What inspired you to first start up your company ‘The Vegan Kind’?
"I was inspired to start up TheVeganKind after transitioning through the process myself, and having spent so long believing that I was doing all I could do by being vegetarian. I wanted to do two things - inspire people to go vegan, and make it easy for those who did by providing them vegan lifestyle boxes that would send a selection of exciting vegan products to their door every month. It was important to me that our boxes were not just food products, we’ve always included lifestyle items because for me, veganism isn’t just a diet, it’s a lifestyle and it incorporates so many different things, so we’ve featured things like cleaning products, candles, fridge magnets, washing powder and everything in between!
About a year after we launched TVK, we started our vegan beauty box, as beauty and make up have always been a passion of mine - to this day, along with our brand of coconut oil that we launched last year, CocoYou, it’s probably my favourite part of everything we do."
3)Do you have any helpful advice to anyone aspiring to run their own business one day?
"Surround yourself with people who believe in you, and support your dreams. I had the idea for the business, but if it wasn’t for my husband Scott, I don’t know where we would be now. He is one of the main driving forces behind the business, and behind me, and together we make a great team. You need to have people round about you who can support you and give you guidance.
There are plenty of local resources for starting your own business including business gateway and your local council so I’d highly recommend seeing if any grants or support is available to you locally. I’d also say you need to be prepared to work hard - it took many many months of long hours, working a full time job and running the business at night, before I was able to give up my day job. And in actual fact, the hard work continues because when you are your own boss, it’s very difficult to switch off - but the good thing is that all the long hours you put in as your own boss benefit YOU and not just another corporation!
Social media is your best friend. Honestly, I can’t imagine life without social media now, even though I am old enough to remember life before it. It’s your best tool for marketing your business and reaching an engaged audience, so don’t be afraid to launch in head first, even if you’ve no idea what snapchat or a filter is!"
4)You always recommend such a wide range of different vegan products in your boxes. How do you decide which companies to work with for each box?
"We are very fortunate that so many amazing companies who have heard of TheVeganKind contact us as they want to feature products in our boxes. You can usually find us in the office working our way through a mountain of samples and whittling each box down to just our absolute favourites (it’s a hard job, but someones got to do it!) We try to get a good mix in each box of healthy snacks, treats, and a lifestyle item - it’s great fun deciding what goes into it and we are always very proud of each of the boxes we create."
5) Can you share a little about your experience as a vegan parent? Have you come across any challenges when dealing with others? Can you share the positive experiences you’ve encountered being a vegan parent?
"So far my experience as a vegan parent has been hugely, overwhelmingly positive. We are very fortunate to have a loving, understanding and open minded family who have never once questioned our decision to raise our children vegan, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Casey had a fantastic nursery who were very willing to learn about veganism and who went out of their way to make sure she was included, by buying her vegan sweets and treats, and even making vegan cakes and biscuits in class. She has attended numerous kids parties as a vegan, which is one thing that people always ask about ‘but what will she do at a party??’ and it’s been absolutely fine. Most of the time, parents are super accomodating and have made her up vegan party bags and if they don’t I just switch out any non vegan items when I get home.
I am going to be doing a vegan parenting series over on our blog www.thevegan-kind.com/blog) which covers how to handle different vegan parenting scenarios like halloween, parties, school, holidays and more, so I’d encourage any vegan parents out there to check it out!
Tyler, who is only five months old, is currently thriving on a vegan diet and is not just hitting, but smashing all his developmental milestones and has plenty of rolls of chubby baby fat - everyone is always astonished when I tell them he is vegan - we’re proud as a family to be dispelling myths that vegans are weak, malnourished and unhealthy. With the rate that the popularity of veganism is accelerating, I have no doubt that by the time both kids are high school age (if not much sooner!), veganism will be as mainstream as vegetarianism is now, and I could not be more excited and optimistic about what the future holds."
For anyone looking to try out their service, you can use the code VEGAN for £5 off your first subscription box at www.thevegankind.com