Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Interview with Stephanie Redcross of Vegan Mainstream!

Colorado Springs is the next stop for Stephanie Redcross and Vegan Mainstream for their Vegan Professional Boot Camp! I am so excited that Stephanie is bringing her magic to Colorado and giving the opportunity for vegan and vegan friendly business folk to learn so much about business, marketing and many other items that can help in being successful.

I had the awesome opportunity to speak with Stephanie and ask her a few questions. Before I get to that, please check out her site with all of the information you need about the upcoming boot camp in Colorado Springs on May31st: http://veganprofessionalbootcamps.com/project/colorado-springs-co/

This boot camp is listed as an action-packed learning symposium for existing and aspiring vegan professionals! I love that. Looking over the list of presenters I see names of people I know will be able to give attendees so much information and insight on so many levels.

Lastly, before we get to the interview, I have been in the position in my life where I really wanted to attend something that would support my goals and found myself not being able to afford it. If you are a blog reader of ours, find yourself really wanting to go to this boot camp knowing that this could benefit you and those you help in the future but it's not in your budget right now, and agree with our principles of making the world a better place for all living beings and being a voice for all of the voiceless, then send me a private email to vegandude@msn.com I will pick one scholarship of those that connect with me.

Now to my conversation with Stephanie! Stephanie is the managing director of Vegan Mainstream. Vegan Mainstream provides marketing solutions to vegan and vegetarian businesses, as well as to those interested in incorporating more mindful practices and products into their brand. I haven't met her in person but I grinned the entire time speaking with her. Her kindness overflows and her knowledge of marketing and business came across to me immediately.

Where do you see the biggest challenges in regards to vegan/vegan friendly businesses and their use of social media?
Two fold: one is reaching deep into the vegan community but also being open enough to pull in folks who are in a transition stage. We feel comfortable talking with vegans, but not so much those who are not there yet. How do I maintain my ethics and at same time create community/space that feels welcoming.

What was the most surprising thing you learned from an attendee at one of your boot camps?
From Dill Ward in Portland, OR : We forget to invest in ourselves as an asset in our business. We see ourselves as the free employee. See yourself as something valuable: pay, training, well being.

I have read all about your boot camps and think they would be wonderful for the non-vegan business who wants to do business with more vegans. What is one suggestion you would make to such a person?
Spend some time in the community. Go to meet ups. Go to your local veg fest. Understand the language and priorities. Don’t go by what you think the need is or by a stereotype.

Do you believe vegan businesses can wear their activism on their sleeve?
No. They have to be very careful. I believe there should be a separation between your business and your personal activism; you want your business to be on its own. If it’s separate, you can make a clear decision about donating or something like that. You don’t want to make decisions that are more for a non-profit when you are a for profit business. Make a very successful business then you can make all sorts of decisions to support your activism. Freedom of time gives you the chance to do more.

In all of your travels, what city surprised you the most with vegan food options or the best vegan food you have had?
DC was surprising to me. I grew up in Philly so have been many times as a child. What impressed me the most last year was so many vegan/veg options at places that were not classified as veg or vegan. Healthy stores had vegan options unlike other cities. Lots of options on menus.  Every place we were we were able to find vegan options. Multiple options. Flavorful dishes and dishes you would get really excited about.

For your Professional Vegan Boot camps, are they focused on the same learning topics or to you change them based on the geographical location?
We change them and always have local speakers. This helps us to have different topics and we can talk about local support.

Who tops the list of people that inspire you and why?
Seth Godin. Love his stuff. I love it because he’s not a typical author/marketing geek. He has charted out his own path in life and he is not a typical guy. I am very trail blazing, if you can believe it you can do it. I like how he cares about people. I like people who care about people, customers they serve in their business.  And he’s funny. He has a “get it done” attitude.

Thanks for reading! 


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