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Cultivating a Vegan Revolution with Vegans, Baby

Written by:

Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.

Cultivating a Vegan Revolution with Vegans, Baby

In this interview, we delve into the visionary journey of Diana Edelman, the trailblazing founder of Vegans, Baby. Edelman’s innovative spirit has not only transformed the landscape of vegan dining but also carved a unique niche in the culinary world. Her commitment to promoting plant-based living has led to the creation of Vegan Dining Month, a nationwide event celebrated every January. Join us as we explore the path that led Diana Edelman to become an inspirational figure in the vegan movement.

Bio: Diana Edelman, the founder of Vegans, Baby, is dedicated to building awareness for vegan dining and living, which includes producing Vegan Dining Month, a multi-city month-long event held every January in which participating restaurants across the US showcase plant-based menu items. Since launching Vegan’s Baby, Diana Edelman has been recognized as a visionary and groundbreaker in vegan awareness, including collaborations with the James Beard Foundation and curating two plant-based, chef-driven dinners at the world-famous James Beard House.  Edelman is also the exclusive vegan tour partner with Alluring Africa and host of “The Good Fork,” airing on the COX TV Channel in Las Vegas.

Vegans, Baby

Vision and Inspiration

SBS – What inspired you to start Vegans, Baby, and how did your personal values shape the vision of your business?

Diana – I was inspired to start Vegans, Baby, because worrying about where I would dine out was one of the biggest things holding me up on my vegan journey. I was relocating back from time abroad to my old home of Las Vegas and saw that nothing existed regarding websites to help people find vegan food there, so I decided to document where I was going and share it.

Over the years, as Vegans, Baby has grown, my vision of using positive activism and community building has guided every business decision I’ve made, from acclaimed walking food tours in Las Vegas to award-winning international tours and partnerships with the likes of the James Beard Foundation.

Diana Edelman

Challenges and Solutions

SBS – As a pioneer in promoting vegan dining and living, what were some of the biggest challenges you faced in the beginning, and how did you overcome them?

Diana – The biggest challenge I faced was getting restaurants that didn’t have vegan options on board to see that if they added them to the menu, people would come and support them. At the time (2016), not many restaurants were vegan-friendly, but one by one, I met with owners and slowly started to share with them how their business could grow and how they could be more culinarily inclusive.

Towards the end of 2019, I was working with restaurants across Las Vegas to grow their vegan offerings. There was also the challenge of getting the word out about my work and showing people that veganism isn’t a cult but people who are doing what they can to make the world a kinder and more compassionate place for all beings.

I know people get intimidated by the label “vegan,” so I set out to make it less abrasive and more inclusive. I’ve met so many people who weren’t vegan when they started following me but have moved into that world simply because they felt comfortable doing so with me.

Collaborations and Partnerships

SBS – Can you share insights into how you forged successful collaborations, such as with the James Beard Foundation and Alluring Africa?

Diana – Collaborations come when you least expect them! I was in my third Vegan Dining Month, and the director of events for JBF heard about the work I was doing in Las Vegas and reached out to me to curate a plant-based dinner at the world-famous James Beard House in NYC. It was such an amazing collaboration that we did another one before the pandemic. Unfortunately, we had to scrap plans to do more because of 2020.

With Alluring Africa, it was about connections. Before my life as a vegan expert and writer, I was a travel blogger for more than a decade and have relationships with some amazing people still in that world. Towards the middle of 2021, I connected with a friend of mine, Jessica Parker, who was doing the PR for Alluring Africa. I had done tours on my own before, but we chatted about partnering to create a luxury tour under the Alluring Africa umbrella curated and hosted by me and organized by them.

It was the perfect partnership because their values — such as sustainability, supporting local businesses, and more – were aligned with mine, and the rest is history. A lot of my relationships have come from networking and getting out and talking to businesses, brands, restaurant owners, and chefs.

Business Model and Revenue Streams

SBS – How does Vegans, Baby sustain itself financially? Could you elaborate on your business model and various revenue streams?

Diana – Our online platform is information, and there is no charge for users. However, we offer services across social media management, content creation, menu consultations, marketing, and branding to sustain the business. We also support the business through our tours, guidebook, brand collaborations, and various partnerships.

Marketing and Audience Engagement

SBS – What marketing strategies have proven most effective in building awareness and engaging your audience, especially during Vegan Dining Month?

Diana – The most effective strategies for Vegan Dining Month have been social media and public relations. Social media has always been the most important for me, followed by my newsletter and website, which has fantastic organic SEO.

Innovation and Adaptation

SBS – In what ways has Vegans, Baby had to innovate or adapt, particularly in response to changing market trends or consumer behaviors?

Diana – Our goal is to reach as many people as possible so they can learn more about being vegan. As a result, we expanded to NYC with the launch of a vegan foodie weekend. That was so successful that I relocated here, looking to duplicate what we did in Las Vegas. And now, with Vegan Dining Month in its seventh year, we have even more cities, with Eugene, Portland, and Seattle joining NYC and Las Vegas for our biggest event ever!

Community Impact

SBS – How do you measure the impact of your initiatives on the vegan community and the broader public’s perception of veganism?

Diana – In a couple of ways.

First, we have discovered the power of word-of-mouth on Vegan Dining Month because more people are making reservations in the last two weeks of the month than at the beginning! This means customers are returning to enjoy more vegan cuisine, and they are bringing new people with them!

Second, we are so proud to be including a charity donation program in every city, which means everyone coming to participating restaurants is eating for a cause! This is a great way to build awareness for veganism while giving back!

Scaling and Growth

SBS – What strategies have you employed to scale Vegans, Baby, and what advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to expand their ventures?

Diana – We have expanded by increasing our Vegans, Baby partnerships & collaborations on vegan initiatives throughout the year. This would include adding more cities so more restaurants can join us for Vegan Dining Month. Additionally, in each city, a local charity will benefit by receiving a donation.

We have also scaled through our tours and TV programs, which include a new show concept we are working on! My best advice for other entrepreneurs is to surround yourself with like-minded people and believe in yourself!

Leadership and Team Building

SBS – How have you built and managed your team, and what leadership qualities do you think are essential for a successful entrepreneur?

Diana – As we are a resource for vegan dining that is continually updated, our team is a big one! We partner with chefs, restaurateurs, cuisine visionaries, and nonprofits to build awareness and create events.

A strong believer in the power of collaboration, Vegans, Baby works regularly with professionals across the hospitality and marketing industries, making sure we maximize ways to promote the vegan message. Leading with purpose means not just communicating what you know but also recognizing what you don’t know and surrounding yourself with others who do!

Challenges of Vegan Market

SBS – What unique challenges do you think entrepreneurs face in the vegan market compared to more traditional markets?

Diana – We need to bust the big myth that vegan eating is boring and bland. It isn’t. Vegan cuisine is flavorful and full of textures and great taste! The more we make it available on restaurant menus, the more people will discover this for themselves!

Future Plans

SBS – What are your future plans for Vegans, Baby, and how do you envision its growth in the next five years?

Diana – In January 2024, Vegan Dining Month will be in five cities across the nation, the most we have ever been in! Our plan is to double or triple the number of cities for 2025 and beyond! We will be expanding our vegan tours to our countries by partnering with local vegans to assist in hosting. And there is a new TV show coming soon. Stay tuned!

Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

SBS – Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those looking to enter the vegan or sustainability-focused market?

Diana – Find your niche. Know what makes you “you” and what makes you different, and always focus on your “why.”


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Cultivating a Vegan Revolution with Vegans, Baby