Research shows that the plant-based retail market is exploding in the United States: It’s worth around $5 billion, having grown 29 percent in just the last two years. Consumer demand for vegan-friendly items is projected to continue to grow, and here in Indiana, these local women, whether from their products, their blogs or their advocacy, have all helped to make Indy’s vegan scene more vibrant and exciting.
QUIANA QUARLES, FOUNDER OF BLACK VEGAN FEST INDY AND OWNER OF ANOTHER VEGAN JOURNEY, LLC
“I created Black Vegan Fest Indy and started Another Vegan Journey to highlight Black vegan chefs and to dismantle the cultural stigma of veganism. The idea of the festival is a fun way to expose this healthy lifestyle to underserved communities of Indianapolis, as well as to educate people on its benefits. This year would have been the debut of the event in Indianapolis and it would have been held at Frederick Douglass Park, but it has been postponed until next year, 2021. However, due to COVID-19, this year’s event has been transformed into a digital experience that will be just as engaging and informative!
“In addition, through Another Vegan Journey my team and I launched a month-long initiative called the ‘Adopt a Family Program’ during the start of COVID to deliver vegan meals and essentials to elders and families in need, and we hope we will be able to expand on this idea.”
AKSHAYA BHAT, OWNER OF TRAILHEAD NATURALS
“Trailhead Naturals is a local Indiana company making 100 percent vegan, gluten free, naturally sweetened and soy free products. Most of our products are grain-free and most ingredients that we source are organic and non-GMO. We handcraft all of our items—like our muffins, chia crackers, granola and even ice cream—in micro-batches and blend in superfoods and herbs, making every bite indulgent and nourishing.
“Trailhead Naturals came into conception to create foods that are not only nourishing and tasty, but also integrating science that focuses on bringing balance and simplicity in lifestyle. Our products are infused with superfoods and ayurvedic herbs, which lends to the unique flavor profile and melt-in-the-mouth texture. We take no shortcuts in providing the best quality food, and our products are available at most local retail food stores and major farmers’ markets.”
AMANDA RENINGER, OWNER OF SEA SALT & CINNAMON
“Sea Salt & Cinnamon is a vegan food business based in Muncie. We have partners all over the state of Indiana and work hard to offer delicious, cruelty-free options in a way that is accessible to everyone. Our mission is to invite others into compassion through their food choices. We figure the best way to do that is to hand them a cupcake!”
SHANEQUA BOYD, BLOGGER, FOOD PHOTOGRAPHER AND OWNER OF PRETTY BROWN VEGAN
“My initial goal in launching Pretty Brown Vegan was to have a space to share the recipes I created during my transition to plant-based eating. I made the decision to cut animal products out of my diet a few years ago, but I didn’t want to cut out all of the flavors I grew up eating at the same time. Today, Pretty Brown Vegan has evolved into a space for plant-based comfort foods; I share my creations through blog posts, YouTube videos, and occasional pop-ups in the Indianapolis area.”
TORI CHAPMAN, CHEF AND OWNER OF VEGAN EATS AND TREATS
“The business started in 2017 as a food blog sharing my made-from-scratch, plant-based recipes. Today, Vegan Eats and Treats has developed into a food stand where we pop up at local events and celebrations with our out-of-this-world vegan food! Inspired by my late grandmother Doris Chapman and my mother, all of our food is made from scratch—but most importantly, made with love.”
MARCI TIPTON, OWNER OF FREYA’S CHARIOT
“I’ve been vegan for about seven years and have enjoyed making my own vegan bath and body products for almost as long. As I shared my handmade products with friends, family and coworkers, I was always encouraged to sell them. I had dismissed the idea—these were things I made in my kitchen while singing. Nobody would ever pay for them. Then, one day after donating my products to a fundraiser to sell for an organization, I realized that people were willing to pay for my products! I decided to combine my love for animals with my passion for making vegan bath and body products. I don’t have my business for personal profit; I donate 100 percent of my proceeds from Freya’s Chariot LLC to local animal rescues. Everyone wins, especially the animals!”
AIMBRIEL LASLEY, MA, IBCLC, BLOGGER AND OWNER OF BLACK MAMA VEGAN
“Black Mama Vegan grew from a need to be more conscious about my family’s legacy of health. I had some underlying issues and wanted to get to the bottom of those in the most holistic way possible. Black Mama Vegan strives to show other Black families that it is possible to have a plant-based diet/vegan lifestyle through social media interaction, educational videos, workshops, my own wellness blend drink, and more!”
OPE OJO, CEO OF ORIRE ORGANICS
“ORIRE Organics originated from my desire for my newborn baby to use chemical-free products for her skin and hair. I learned about all the toxic ingredients in beauty and body products, including baby products, and I knew something had to change. The fact that the skin is the biggest organ in the body and everything we put on it gets absorbed, I knew that ‘natural and organic’ was the only way to go.
“While on this journey, I also learned that a lot of products were either tested on animals or even derived from animals, and this was a big no-no for me. So, I decided to make ORIRE products vegan, meaning we do not use any animal products in our line. All our products are made from ingredients that are plant-based! While I was able to make products for my family, I decided to extend this love and care to everyone—and ORIRE Organics was founded. ORIRE Organics offers natural, organic, vegan, and preservative and toxin-free products, all handmade to meet your unique skin and hair needs. We source for the best butters and oils to use in our products: 100 percent of our oils and butters are cold-pressed and unrefined, meaning you are getting 100 percent of the benefits they have to offer.”
RACHEL KLEIN, FOUNDER OF REVIVAL FOOD CO.
“Revival Food Co. was founded in 2014, after reviving my passion for a holistic, clean, plant-based lifestyle. I’m a mom to three amazing kids and they inspire me every day to show that being a present, full-time mom and a successful entrepreneur are not mutually exclusive. I had a hard time finding products at the grocery store that were both truly healthy and tasty, so like any good entrepreneur, I set out to make my own. I made the original recipe for my almond butter out of my home kitchen—the ‘Classic,’ which we still sell today—and gave it out to guests at my wedding as favors. I didn’t expect my fun home project to turn into a business, but I’m so grateful it did!”
JESS WALTON, OWNER OF BODY ECLECTIC SKIN CARE
“I’ve been drawn to the wonders of the plant world since I was a child; it seemed only natural that, one day, I would combine my search for mythical meaning with my curiosity for the healing powers of herbs into one lifelong, unified passion: My line of vegan, herbal, artisan body care. It’s been 35 years of wondrous discoveries, lasting connections, and personal growth—and, weaving through it all, the radiant awareness of an all-embracing Spirit Essence that flows within and surrounds us all. What a fantastic journey so far!”
NICOLE KEARNEY, OWNER OF SIP & SHARE WINES
“Sip & Share Wines is a boutique winery passionate about creating ‘commUnity’ with wine for wine lovers overlooked and underrepresented by the wine industry. Our diversity of artisanal vegan wines are approachable to all palates, and fun to sip and share. With a family and many friends who are vegan and seeing how much of the country is moving towards being healthy, creating vegan wines was an easy choice. Sip & Share Wines believes everyone should have the choice to drink affordable, animal by-products free, delicious wine.”
LISA ABNER, OWNER AND ARTISAN OF CENTRITERRA NATURAL BATH & BODY PRODUCTS
“I started my company in 2013 as a means to become a work-at-home parent when my daughter was born. I’ve had sensitive and eczema-prone skin for as long as I can remember, and had major skin breakouts to almost every commercial product I tried. I wanted to formulate high-quality skin care products that were affordable, sustainable, 100 percent natural, and were just as good for the planet as they were for the skin. I have long had a passion for environmental stewardship and advocacy, and organically grow many of the herbs that make their way into my product formulations. I choose packaging that can be composted or recycled, and source my raw materials from companies that place high priority on environmental sustainability and stewardship, and support the rights of their workers.
“After I launched CentriTerra Natural Bath & Body Products, I saw an unmet need in my customers—they wanted skin care products that were entirely plant-based, and there were few local, affordable, and quality options for them. In response, I reformulated my products to be free of animal products, and now I am happy to offer a line of vegan skin care.”
Stephanie Groves is an Indy-based freelance writer who gets psyched whenever she learns about a local, woman-owned business.