The Vegan Butcher: Our story

How the Vegan Butcher got started

2 kilos of idealism, 1 liter of passion, 2 tablespoons of planning and a good pinch of craziness: if we had to write down the original Vegan Butcher’s recipe, this would possibly be it. One of the things we most love when purchasing from a local company is discovering the people behind it.Their backgrounds, ideals, motivation… those elements, perhaps insignificant to many, always end up being reflected in the product or service they offer. When we like and decide to purchase something, we often do not realise why we make that choice. Sure, the quality plays a huge part (and it is probably the first thing that came to the top of your mind) but, unconsciously, we are also drawn to what that product represents and stands for.It is not a funny coincidence that our logo portrays 2 faces: They are the faces of our founders, Benoit and Federica. Those faces are there not for egocentrism – quite the opposite in fact – but to remind US, The Vegan Butcher, where and why we started and YOU, our customer, that real people are taking care of each one of the product ending up on your table. No machines, no big soul-less multinational: People. So, if we intrigued you enough to read this blog up to this point, you might have guessed it already.
Jeremy Elias

The Vegan Butcher’s Story, in bullet points!

  • 2017. A lucky year for the destiny of the future first Vegan Butcher of Belgium: Federica and Benoit meet and quickly start day dreaming about a possible career together. But that future seems still very, very far.
  • 2018 brings on quite a few changes: Federica’s relentless personality is unfulfilled in her current job, while Benoit feels the time has come for a drastic change of direction to his then current animal-activism role.
  • January 2019: Postponing dreams: no more! Time to get serious and put down on paper the project they had discussed for over a year.
Two ethical vegans, yet former ‘meat-lovers’, the couple finds the Belgian scene extremely lacking on qualitative offer of plant-based meats. The purpose of their project is, in their minds, very clear: “To change an idea you better first change the related behaviour”.
  • And so comes April 2019: The “big” launch.
The months that follow, until the unfortunately well-known pandemic in 2020, are a mix of excitement, confusion, doubt, panic, enthusiasm and – above all – testing, testing, testing. Sleepless nights are the norm, coffee becomes a loyal best friend, social life is put aside (no time nor money for it) but, overall, the energy and hopes are high! Aaaaah, nice to be young!
  • 2020: Covid19 hits and the Vegan Butcher, which is finally starting to get a shape of its own (mainly via the presence at markets and fairs around Belgium) has to evolve into something yet again different!
workers replacing banner on the vegan butcher atelier
Changing the banner from the old 'rotisserie' to the new Vegan Butcher.

But the couple does not give up: They are still at the very bottom, so what’s there to lose? A whole new webshop, an economic recession and a few extra staff members later, the struggles are still there and everyday comes with new challenges. But The Vegan Butcher is still standing, transformed and evolved, yet still the same at its very core!

Takeaway for The Vegan Butcher’s story:

Bottomline: Offline, online, as a 2 or a 10 people team, many things have fortunately changed but our values haven’t. And in all of that, breaking news: We might have also become quite experts in seitan-making! 😉
We did mistakes, plenty of them. We, more often than not, had high exceptions on things which eventually reveal themselves to be a ‘fail’, we sometimes took engagements we were barely able to fulfilled (sleeping an average of 4 hours in 2 days). But in all the mistakes and failure, we always acted with integrity, strongly believing in the Vegan Butcher and grasping to the few successes as a further motivation to keep going.

Our driving forces? They are also our worst source of stress 🙂 Waking up everyday to new challenges, the good and the ugly ones: getting that new skeptical client to order, improving not-so-efficient systems, following up on customers’ emails, creating an energetic, positive atmosphere were all people feel part of something and do not come in awaiting the pay-check at the end of the month, a future where animal sufferance is spared, or at least diminished… But let’s face it, our main driving force is our customers.

We are very grateful to all of you who – during the years – have allowed our dreams to move forward! Who knows, perhaps you had already got some glimpses of who we are, and it’s not all about the products…

Thanks for reading, and to the next one!

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