Most people dream of integrating their passion with their profession. Few people have achieved this to the level that Benjamin (Ben) Hagerty and his wife have.
Ben is a passionate traveler and co-manager of the travel blog, It’s Bree and Ben, alongside his wife, Brianne Nemiroff.
Ben’s fascinating journey has led him to explore sustainable tourism and vegan business philosophy, and we’ll be diving deep into his experiences, adventures, and valuable insights.
During the interview with Ben, we uncovered fascinating insights from extensive research Ben conducted. The interview for the Vegan Visibility Podcast took place while Ben was in North Vancouver, BC, which rests on the ancestral homeland of the Musqueam (xwməθkwəy̓əm), Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw), and Tsleil-Waututh (səlilwətaɬ) communities.
The Beginnings of a Vegan Lifestyle
Benjamin shares his story of growing up in the San Francisco Bay area, where he developed a penchant for flavors and dishes associated with a vegan diet. Although it took some time before he fully embraced the lifestyle, in 2015, his wife Bree and he decided to give it a try for a week. To their surprise, they felt great after abstaining from meat, prompting them to transition gradually into a vegan lifestyle.
The Road Trip Adventure
In 2017, after their marriage, Benjamin and Bree embarked on an extraordinary road trip across the U.S. and Canada. They loaded up their Prius and set out on a year-long journey, exploring various destinations while documenting vegan-friendly places for their website, www.ItsBreeandBen.com
Benjamin continued working remotely as a travel consultant during the trip, making their journey a unique combination of travel and work.
Discovering Vegan-Friendly Areas
During their extensive journey, Ben and Bree discovered some surprising vegan-friendly areas in unexpected places. While the West Coast and New England are known for their vegan businesses, they were intrigued by vibrant vegan communities in areas like St. Louis and Kansas City, where they experienced innovative and creative approaches to veganism.
Creating It’s Bree and Ben
Inspired by their travel experiences, Ben and Bree decided to establish their website, www.ItsBreeandBen.com . The website serves as a treasure trove of travel guides and essays about vegan and plant-based travel. They aim to provide not only information on vegan-friendly restaurants and venues but also insights into mindful and sustainable travel practices that align with vegan philosophy.
Research Reveals Four Areas of Concern
With a passion for sustainable tourism and vegan business philosophy, Ben delved deeper into the subject during his grad school project. Ben’s research has brought to light four key areas of concern that shape the experiences of individuals and businesses in this burgeoning niche.
From the motivations driving entrepreneurs to venture into vegan businesses to the hurdles they face in a society still grappling with preconceived notions, each aspect offers a captivating glimpse into the world of compassionate and mindful entrepreneurship.
The Impetus: Health and Well-being
At the core of many vegan entrepreneurs’ journey lies the pursuit of health and well-being. Contrary to the misconception that veganism is solely driven by ethical reasons, Ben’s research uncovers that a significant number of entrepreneurs ventured into vegan businesses due to personal health experiences.
From food delivery services to vegan cheese manufacturers, entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to offer healthy alternatives that catered to various dietary needs. Through these businesses, they sought to provide delicious and health-conscious options, challenging the notion that veganism is restrictive or tasteless.
The Framework of Inclusivity
Another compelling aspect of vegan entrepreneurship is the commitment to inclusivity. Vegan businesses often go beyond merely promoting plant-based diets and strive to create welcoming spaces for diverse palates and preferences.
From sourcing ingredients from chefs with different cultural backgrounds to providing gluten-free and allergen-friendly options, vegan entrepreneurs aim to offer something for everyone. Their businesses become a testament to the idea that veganism is not about exclusion but an invitation to embrace compassionate choices.
Veganphobia and Discrimination
Despite the growing popularity of veganism, vegan entrepreneurs face challenges unique to their niche. Vegan phobia, as identified by Ben’s research, refers to the discrimination and negative stereotypes associated with vegans and vegan businesses.
From criticism about potential loss of revenue to outright aggression, entrepreneurs must navigate these hurdles while staying true to their values.
Building a strong community of like-minded supporters and customers becomes crucial in facing such challenges head-on.
The Cost of Doing Vegan Business
As with any entrepreneurship, the cost of doing business poses a significant concern for vegan entrepreneurs.
Rising rents and the increasing cost of goods impact their profit margins and can become barriers to entry for new ventures. Despite the growing interest in vegan products and services, the economic forces in our society can hinder the growth and sustainability of vegan businesses.
Supporting vegan entrepreneurs through conscious consumer choices can help mitigate these challenges and contribute to the growth of compassionate businesses.
Honoring the Vegan Lifestyle
For Ben and Bree, being vegan is not just about the food but a way of life that encompasses compassion, environmental consciousness, and empathy. Veganism provides a framework to explore and experiment with various aspects of life, from trying out new recipes to approaching shopping and consumption in a kinder way.
Final Thoughts from Ben
The journey of vegan entrepreneurs is a fascinating exploration of health, inclusivity, perseverance, and economic challenges.
As a community, we can play a vital role in supporting these entrepreneurs and helping them flourish. Whether you’re an aspiring vegan entrepreneur or a conscious consumer, remember that every choice you make has the potential to create a positive impact on the world.
Ben Hagerty’s journey exemplifies the profound connection between sustainable tourism, veganism, and mindful travel. Through It’s Bree and Ben, he shares valuable insights into exploring the world through a compassionate lens while appreciating the abundance of experiences and opportunities that a vegan lifestyle brings.
About Ben Hagerty
Ben Hagerty is a seasoned travel consultant and co-manager of the travel blog, It’s Bree and Ben (https://itsbreeandben.com/about), where he collaborates with his wife, Brianne Nemiroff. With a strong passion for sustainable tourism and vegan business philosophy, Ben’s research focuses on exploring the opportunities and barriers that these principles bring to the travel industry.
Ben’s journey in the travel industry began in 2012 when he started working as a travel consultant for reputable agencies like American Express, Cadence Travel, and BCD Travel. However, it was in 2017 when his passion for travel and sustainability converged, leading him and his wife on an adventure across the U.S. and Canada to create captivating content for It’s Bree and Ben.
Over the years, Ben’s explorations have taken him to 30 states, 40 cities, seven provinces, and two countries, covering more than 25,000 miles. Their experiences have allowed them to intimately connect with different cultures and food practices, particularly in Canada and the U.S.
This wealth of experiences is currently being channeled into a book co-authored with his wife, delving into the political climate from their unique perspective while also exploring the diverse food cultures they encountered during their travels.
With a vision to share their adventures and insights on sustainable tourism, Ben is actively seeking a literary agent to help bring their book to a wider audience. Through their writing, Ben and Brianne hope to inspire others to explore the world mindfully and encourage the travel industry to embrace more sustainable and vegan-friendly practices.
Learn more and find Ben online at…http://itsbreeandben.com
Research Project mentioned in the interview https://itsbreeandben.com/bens-vegan-vancouver/
More about Kathleen Gage
Kathleen Gage is the founder and CEO of Vegan Visibility, a marketing and visibility consulting company dedicated to healthy living, compassion for the animals and kindness to the planet. As an ethical vegan, Kathleen is committed to doing all possible to shine the spotlight on those who align with the vegan mission and message.
Kathleen is the co-founder of Vegan Visibility Productions, a production company working with vegan and plant-based identified companies.
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