The week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is all about making a review of our past year and setting new hopes, goals, and wishes for what’s to come!
Even if you are the type of person, who aims to live life in its fullness all year round, I still find that holidays are a great time to instill some fresh inspiration into our life, which will give us the drive and enthusiasm to stand even stronger in what we believe in over the New Year!
This is why I found this story the perfect New Year inspiration for all vegans, who feel strongly committed to this lifestyle!
Here’s how one person managed to have it all – run a profitable business while following his heart! Indeed, this is easier said than done when it comes to business affairs!
But for entrepreneur Bob Goldberg, the name of his vegan food company – Follow Your Heart – is a constant reminder that it’s possible to be profitable and stay true to your company’s idealistic, founding principles.
And that idealism has paid off.
When a then 25-year-old Mr Goldberg and three male friends started selling vegetarian food out of their Los Angeles cafe in 1970, it was to a hippie, counterculture crowd.
Now the company manufactures and distributes millions of jars of Vegenaise, its egg-free mayonnaise substitute, plus numerous vegan cheeses, and a host of other vegan and gluten-free products.
With the firm expected to turn over between $40m (£32m) and $50m (£40m) this financial year, clearly vegan food, and meat and dairy alternatives, are no longer counterculture.
That cafe in the Canoga Park suburb of Los Angeles was in the back of a grocery store, and catered to a crowd eager for sprout and avocado sandwiches, and maybe a wind chime and some incense.
Soon the four men took over the store as well, and followed their hearts by removing all the meat products. People told them they were crazy and that the business would never survive.
“Instead of crashing and burning immediately the store became very successful,”
says Mr Goldberg, who is now 71.
“I think what people hadn’t realized how comfortable it is for somebody who doesn’t want to be around those [meat] products to go to a store where they can eat anything.”
From the very beginning Mr Goldberg’s corporate mission was to be environmental, compassionate, vegetarian – and profitable.
His founding ideals also included “not spending half my life on an airplane”, so opening dozens of other shops was not going to be on the agenda.
So while the original cafe and store in Canoga Park is still there and thriving after 46 years, the main part of Follow Your Heart is its wholesale business, based in a manufacturing facility a few miles away.
Products are made here and distributed to retailers both across the US and worldwide.
Mr Goldberg says that the now mainstream interest in vegan products is like seeing his dream realized.
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