- Veganism goes beyond dietary choices. Vegans avoid all animal-based products and items tested on animals.
- Inspiring vegan business ideas include online donut shops, recyclable multipurpose lipstick and imitation seafood.
- To develop a vegan business, you should find a vegan niche, pitch your idea to experts, test-launch your idea, and seek funding to measure its viability.
- This article is for vegan shoppers and entrepreneurs looking to launch their own vegan businesses.
Vegan businesses have exploded in prevalence and popularity, with the vegan market now worth roughly $16 billion, according to Statista. So whether you want to buy excellent vegan products or you’re an entrepreneur seeking viable vegan business ideas, options abound.
We’ll highlight 13 vegan-friendly businesses that will inspire you and explain how to start a business centered on veganism.
13 inspiring vegan businesses
The 13 businesses we’re highlighting cater to vegans, as well as anyone interested in environmental causes and animal rights. They are excellent options to buy from and could be solid launching pads for your own vegan business ideas.
Move over, Dunkin’. Mighty-O Donuts knows how to do donuts well (and make them vegan too). What’s the company’s reasoning for serving only vegan donuts? The organization’s website states, “We do not need any extra ingredients [like eggs and dairy] to make a delicious donut everyone can enjoy.”
Mighty-O Donuts also excludes artificial colors, dyes, additives, and preservatives in its donuts and toppings, so you know exactly what you’re eating when you take a bite. If you visit the company’s shops in Seattle, you’ll see that it also supports the local art community by offering its wall space for monthly exhibitions.
If you’re not already vegan or considering going vegan, you may not realize that living a vegan lifestyle means giving up seafood. Sophie’s Kitchen offers alternatives for those who love to eat fish and shellfish but can’t because of their vegan lifestyle, allergies, or individual choices or preferences.
Sophie’s Kitchen sells vegan and plant-based crab cakes, breaded shrimp, smoked salmon, tuna and more. The company is verified by the Non-GMO Project and uses ingredients like seaweed, textured vegetable protein and konjac (elephant yam) to make sustainable alternatives to your favorite fishy foods.
You can find Sophie’s Kitchen products at some local food stores, or you can order the products online either as an individual or retailer.
FYI: When you make sustainability a core part of your business model, sustainable practices inform your decisions and encourage lasting, meaningful change.
Think breakfast can never be the same when you’re vegan? Think again. Thanks to The Vegg, you don’t have to live without eggs – well, sort of. The Vegg makes several vegan egg substitutes so that vegans can still enjoy omelets, breakfast sandwiches and baked goods.
The Vegg sells a scrambled egg mix made from soy protein and nutritional yeast (among other ingredients) as well as a vegan egg yolk substitute, an egg replacer for baking, and a special French toast mix. All its products boast an authentic egg flavor; you can buy them online via the company’s website. The Vegg also sells a cookbook to make using its products even easier.
Vegans can’t eat cheese, since it’s made from animal milk. However, this doesn’t mean you have to go without cheese forever. While you can purchase cheese substitutes from big brands like Daiya and Tofutti at your local grocery store, artisanal vegan cheeses are hard to find.
Dr-Cow makes cheeses from tree nuts, such as organic cream cashew cheese, as well as sprouted nut butters. The company also makes granola products. Purchase its products online or at the company’s retail location in Brooklyn.
Tip: To build an effective website that makes it easy for customers to buy your products, you need to optimize it for mobile usage, as many consumers shop on their mobile devices.
Many fashionable shoes and accessories are made from animal products like leather and suede. While some stores sell alternatives, it’s challenging to find unique and trendy pieces that are vegan and animal-friendly.
Olsenhaus, based in New York, is dedicated to creating beautiful shoes, bags, and wallets that are 100% vegan while educating people about the leather industry. According to the company’s website, its mission is “to merge passions for design, fashion, function, and being a voice for animals, the environment, transparent business practices and unwavering values in ethical and social responsibilities.”
You can purchase Olsenhaus vegan shoes from Amazon and other online retailers.
For beauty and skincare enthusiasts, Lush is a dream company. It sells a wide variety of products: soaps, shaving gels, makeup, face cleansers, lip scrubs, shampoo bars, perfumes and bath bombs. Lush products are made with natural ingredients like fruits, vegetables, flowers and oils.
Everything at Lush is 100% vegetarian, but not every product is vegan. About 20% of its products include lanolin, eggs, milk and honey. According to the company’s website, the other 80% are strictly vegan, and all its vegan products are clearly marked.
Lush is also dedicated to fighting animal testing, and all its products are fresh and handmade. All Lush packages (which are recyclable) feature a sticker that shows you who made the product, on what date, and by when it should be used.
Did you know?: Lush’s recyclable packaging is part of a broader trend toward sustainable products and packaging. Buyers often consider a company’s environmental footprint before purchasing.
Coco & Bubbles
You may not realize this, but most candles aren’t vegan. Many candles contain stearic acid (usually made from animal fat), and luxury candles are often made from beeswax. However, animal-friendly soy candles are an excellent vegan option.
Soy candles aren’t hard to find, but if you want a wide variety of scents and candle types to choose from, try buying from the popular internet shop Coco & Bubbles. The shop offers smaller tin candles and larger glass tumbler candles with scents such as basil and herb or banana nut bread.
The candles are eco-friendly and handmade from 100% soy wax with natural cotton wicks. Their glass tumblers can even be cleaned out and reused as drinking glasses.
So you have plenty of vegan foods to choose from and tons of sustainable cosmetics and fashion options, but what about products for cleaning your home? Planet is dedicated to creating sustainable cleaning products like dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent and all-purpose spray cleaners. All of Planet’s products have a minimal environmental impact and complement a vegan lifestyle.
Planet has an interesting background story. The company was founded by Stefan Jacob, a commercial fisherman who was “gravely concerned about the ever-increasing pollution of our water and soil,” according to Planet’s website.
You can purchase Planet products from in-person and online stores, including Amazon.
Tip: If you’re considering opening a retail store, choose a prime retail space that will provide a steady customer flow.
No Cow is a vegan protein bar and protein powder brand known for its gluten-free, kosher, soy-free products. Its protein powder jars are also recyclable and made solely from aluminum (no plastics).
No Cow’s protein bar wrappers include color variations that reflect the flavor without deviating from No Cow’s usual branding. The company is an excellent example of sticking to a core set of vegan values while prioritizing innovation in its field. [Related content: Why Is Innovation Important?]
The Worthington Collection
The Worthington Collection makes vegan candles that eliminate odors. The company prioritizes safe, nontoxic and vegan ingredients in all its candles. Rather than the animal fat and beeswax common found in candles, the company uses apricot and coconut for its candle wax.
The Worthington Collection groups its candles into five categories: fresh, floral, sweet, woody and clean. You can filter by category to find vegan candles with scents you’re likely to enjoy.
While other skincare brands might use toxic, non-vegan products, OSEA Malibu harnesses the power of seaweed. Its vegan cleansers, serums and body care products reflect the company’s four core wellness elements: ocean, sun, earth and atmosphere.
The brand’s backstory is that the founder’s grandmother healed a serious leg injury by swimming in cold water. The company harnesses that ocean power in its vegan products.
Axiology sells vegan and cruelty-free makeup. The brand’s mission is to produce fully vegan makeup that doesn’t dry out quickly, as some other vegan makeup brands do.
Axiology also offers its customers an easy way to recycle its used makeup tubes by mail, among other innovations. For example, its signature product is “balmies,” which can be used as eye, lip or cheek makeup.
Handbag company Brinn Bags only uses plant-based leather alongside organic and recycled materials. Its ethos is that the process of making its handbags should be as beautiful as the handbags themselves. The company also ensures that the people making its products work in safe conditions. It sells backpacks and clothes in addition to its signature handbags.
Did you know?: The four types of corporate social responsibility your business can practice are environmental efforts, philanthropy, ethical labor practices and volunteerism.
How to develop a great vegan business idea
If you’re interested in starting your own vegan business, here are some pointers to help you develop an excellent business idea:
- Identify a vegan niche. What do the vegan brands you love miss with their offerings? Fill that gap with your idea. Alternatively, try identifying a type of animal-based product that hasn’t yet been made vegan and see if you can change that.
- Pitch your idea to an expert. Reach out to thought leaders in your corner of the vegan world to introduce yourself and ask if you can share your business idea. Keep things brief and relatively surface-level. As long as you don’t hear back that you have a bad business idea, keep moving forward.
- Test your idea. Before fully committing to your new vegan business, test your business idea with a trial run. Build your company-to-be a website and take out some test social media ads. If the reception to this mini-launch works out, you’re probably on to something.
- See if investors agree. Try pitching your ideas to angel investors and venture capitalists. If they’re eager to fund you, you’ve probably come up with a great vegan business idea. Likewise, if you start a crowdfunding campaign and it takes off, you’ve undoubtedly come up with a viable vegan venture. Once your funding is in place, business success could be right around the corner.
What is veganism?
Being vegan means much more than eating a meat-free and dairy-free diet. Veganism is a lifestyle committed to eschewing all animal products. Strict vegans don’t wear materials like leather and suede or use any products that have harmed or been tested on animals during the production process. It’s not always easy to find products you love that fit the vegan lifestyle, which is why these 13 businesses have found success in their niche – and you could too.
Brittney Morgan contributed to the writing and research in this article.