I'm not really sure if this should go here or somewhere else on the forum. I'm curious for other's thoughts/experience. For a long time my partner and I have had a dream of owning a business of our own, particularly a vegan cafe and bookstore. For many years we considered it a nice thought and brushed it aside, but more and more we're reallizing, this is what we actually want to do, and sooner rather than later. The problem is, neither one of us has a whole lot of retail or food industry experience (I worked in fast food in highschool and she delivered pizzas at the same time and that's it).
This would be a massive career change for us, and with a family to support I don't feel like I can quit my decent paying job with good benefits without having something semi-solid to land on. However, I can potentially go part time, so I've been looking into testing the waters in working food service part time, but would really like to work somewhere were I feel like my morals are reflected, i.e. a vegan business. There are only a handful in commuting distance from where I live and none of them are hiring people without experience in the industry. I totally get that, but I feel like it leaves me with two choices, either don't get experience, or get experience in a place that is omnivorous and compromise my values.
A few other notes - we don't want to stay in the area, and the place we're thinking about setting up shop several states away has no vegan establishments (a few places have one or two good vegan options on the menu, but for the most part it's a touristy town that hasn't caught on that lots of people that visit are vegan), so I'm not trying to learn something from a place local to me currently to directly compete with them when I leave.
I know Isa has Modern Love and is opening a second location and if by some freak chance she has a moment to breath and wants to respond that would be awesome, but does anyone else here run a brick and mortar vegan business? How did you get going on it? Did you jump in with lots of experience, or little to none? Were you one of the many amazing cookbook writers first?
One thought we've had is to reach out to fellow vegans and commision baked goods etc so that we could focus more on running the store, vice trying to do it all. Has anyone experienced that process from either the sales or supply side of things?
My mind is a mess right now, so I'm sure I'll have tons more questions, but I would love to see the conversation that comes from people in the industry discussing their experience, pitfalls, the rewards of doing this, and whatever else comes to mind.
Technically, we're all half-centaur - Nick Offerman