Ep. 108: Challenges and Insights of Vegan Entrepreneurship in Vancouver with Benjamin Hagerty



Get ready to be inspired by Benjamin Hagerty, co-founder of It’s Bree and Ben, as he takes us on a journey through his experiences as a vegan traveler and researcher. Benjamin and his wife, Brianne Nemiroff, embarked on a remarkable two-year-long trip across Canada and the U.S., uncovering and showcasing vegan businesses in their travel guides.

Driven by the desire to highlight the stories of vegan entrepreneurs and their contributions to society, Benjamin entered grad school and embarked on a research project exploring the operationalization of the vegan philosophy in businesses. His findings, published in the academic blog series, “Ben’s Vegan Vancouver,” offer unique perspectives on business, inclusivity, and various other topics not typically found in mainstream literature.

During the episode, Benjamin discusses the challenges faced by vegan entrepreneurs in Vancouver. Despite the city’s reputation for being vegan-friendly, he reveals how businesses often encounter discrimination, leading some to hide their certifications, even after going through rigorous processes like PETA certification. These insights expose the struggle that vegan communities face to gain acceptance in mainstream culture, despite the growing popularity of veganism.

Join us as we explore the intriguing intersection between veganism, entrepreneurship, and societal norms, and how certifications become vital indicators of safety and inclusivity for consumers.

Don’t miss this enlightening conversation that will broaden your perspective on vegan entrepreneurship and the transformative power of the vegan philosophy in the business world.

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The best lesson I’ve learned is, if you encounter any difficulty, don’t hate yourself, take a breath, and then see, ‘What is it that I really need to learn? What is it that I’m expecting of myself?’ Is it practical, and if it is, and if it fits with your mission, look for resources, and for people who can help you get there. And if you are just honest and kind to yourself, then awesome. The kindness will gravitate others there to want to help you in your mission.

– Benjamin Hagerty

Show notes:

[02:01]  How ‘It’s Bree and Ben’ was created: from becoming vegans, through the transcontinental journey to website for shopping, travelling and learning kindly.

[07:16] First eight months of travelling: establishing routine and working full time on the road.

[10:06] Working and travelling: be kind to yourself, be honest and check with your body and travel partners.

[11:35] Difference in planning your travelling vs. day to day itineraries on the road: find your strengths.

[13:03] Diversity within veganism geographically and culturally.

[14:07] The research project on veganism: how vegan entrepreneurs in Vancouver, BC, experienced and operationalized the vegan philosophy.

[19:58] The four main themes for vegan entrepreneurs: health, environment for greater inclusivity and business spaces, mistrust for veganism, and costs of vegan entrepreneurship.

[23:06] Many cities have sustainable actionable projects and goals in mind, but they should think about getting entrepreneurs to reach those goals.

[26:48]  We define success in a very limited way that prizes exploitation: how to define success as a cultural policy that safeguard what is precious to us.

[29:26] Examples of businesses with empathy as the first idea in mind: combining compassion and bottom line to impact your community with your business.

[35:52] Success doesn’t begin with being mean to yourself and others:

[37:29] Stephanie believes that people sometimes set expectations that don’t serve us: being on the grind is not helpful.

About Our Weekly Pivot Episodes

We live in fast-paced times, and in an ever-changing marketplace business owners must be able to adapt readily. The Pivot podcast, hosted by Stephanie Redcross West, features interviews with successful vegan business owners, keeping you up-to-date on topical issues & how the pros are handling them.

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