In 2015, I made a decision to give my body the love it needed so I had some testing done and learned that I was entirely sensitive to Dairy, as in “DO NOT EAT”. Years of discomfort but not quite lactose intolerance eventually forced me to go the non-traditional route and finally I started eliminating dairy from my diet. I made a new friend by using Pinterest to create my favorite foods and that is where I found a recipe for Almond “Ricotta”
TIP: If you’re becoming vegan, dairy free, trying a new lifestyle,
Pinterest is your friend.
Now 2017 I faced depression and left my career, I found happiness driving as an UBER partner, money was always tight, so I decided to make my favorites: Lasagna and Macaroni Pie. I started selling them too during the holidays with the intention of selling $10k worth (never happened, but it's great to dream # HustlersHoliday), since Scarborough had very few Vegan Options. Then around Christmas My Dad who was in landscaping at the time asked if I could package the cheese I made for Lasagna.
TIP: Focus on making your favorite foods first if you’re trying a new diet or lifestyle, it makes the FOMO (fear of missing out) go away.
After seeing the potential and loving all aspects of packaging these cute little jars with my creation, I decided to try new flavours eventually, coming up with the Scotch Bonnet Pepper Flavour. This was when my dad said to me, “Do you know you can sell this?” Then BOOM! February 28th 2018, I did my first market and the rest is history! I sell Almond Cheese ha!
TIP: It is okay to start a business by simply making what you need available to others. It’s how most businesses start out and gives purpose to pushing through the hard times.
After the first year of markets throughout 2018, I started receiving help from my partner Sheldon. Then in September we introduced test flavours at Veg Fest Toronto which lead us to launch 3 more flavours: What’s the Dill? OG Basil and Jammin Jerk at the end of 2018. By 2019 we introduced these flavours across all markets and they were a hit. We listened to the feedback from our customers and friends and continued to improve where we could which lead to us making a shift to more sustainable production and shipping as we launched our online store November 2019.
TIP: Your customers are your community, listen and respect them and they will help you grow professionally and personally. Always give thanks for the love they show!
So here we are finally out of the pandemic, I have a beautiful daughter with my fiance Sheldon and Eastend Vegan is back! We're taking our time with starting up and committed to giving you the best Dairy Free products ever! We’re introducing to you Nut-Quite Cheeze and soon Patty Crust Crackers.
Thank you for your patience and growing with us we love yall!
THANK YOU FOR BEING A PART OF THE JOURNEY
- Thank you to Andrea and David at ACCEL, the start-up accelerator at Centennial College, who introduced us to supports that we continue to utilize
- Thank you to Professor Padmaja Shastri and her students over the years who helped us understand our products better.
- Thank you to Melanie Holmes and the Design Jam Team and more importantly the graduates Sakina, Clara and Humaira, who helped our company become more sustainable.
- Thank you to AfroChic for opening up opportunities for Black Entrepreneurs like myself to access healthy competition and funding.
- Thank you Rosalin Krieger who continues to give me a platform to speak my truth.
- Thank you to the market managers particularly Chantel, Michelle, Billy Jo and Jennifer for treating my company as if it were your own.
- Thank you to Wendy for giving us a space to create and grow our company.
- Thank you to our family and friends because the love you send us replicates itself in our products!