When I think back through my life, I have always been rather accustomed to making changes to my life. Change for me comes naturally. This is not the case for all people and many people can struggle with simple changes like the kind of paper that a printer uses. Eight months ago, my partner and I decided it was time for me to make a change. At that time, we were not sure what that would be. What it turned into was definitely something unexpected but at the same time uplifting. Being a woman working in business for 16 years and deciding to open an all vegan store and bistro, although to many seemed crazy, to me made perfect sense. Where was the closest one in Saskatchewan? There wasn’t one. Central Canada? Nope. If you wanted something like what I have started, you traveled to Toronto or Vancouver and I thought that was absurd! How are there this many people that are vegetarian and vegan without a place to shop? Without a place to grab some good ol’ vegan grub? That is of course where it started but where it has taken me is very different. The people that I have met along the way have changed not only my vision but my personality. I laugh more than I have in many years. When I smile, I do so because I am happy and not because someone told me I should. I start my day around 6 am and end it around 10 pm and that doesn’t bother me. I am constantly researching new ingredients, recipes, products and how I can incorporate them into my business. I am calling Directors of Sales and Marketing and asking them how I can help get their product into Canada. I am doing things, I never thought I would do!
All this comes of course at a price. Much of the things I used to do for fun are non-existent now. Financially the money definitely does not flow like it did. For the last 4 months of work, I have been paid $500. Although the financial strains are there, they do not deter me from finishing what I started. If I can give any advice to a new business owner, do not go into it halfheartedly because you will end up with a broken heart. You need to be all in. Willing to feel the pain and the struggle and look towards your goal regardless.
This being said, I have also learned that going into veganism at this current time in our society also requires a little bit of thick skin. For each of you thinking of transitioning, trust me when I tell you that it gets easier! You will be the butt of at least one joke. People will poke fun at some point. Then, something will change. You will hold strong and people will start to analyze the situation more. They will be inspired by you and try something new. Maybe it is only one day a week or maybe they will make a full life change. Let me reassure you that you will inspire someone. You will be surprised when it happens and you may even get tears of joy, but it will happen. Be strong, stand by your beliefs and goals. Never let peer pressure change your purpose.
Thank you all for being my strength as we journey into this new world where meat dishes are a rare delicacy and plant based is the norm!