In this episode I interview Jessica Bailey from The Cruelty Free Shop in Sydney, Australia, a speciality retail and online store carrying more than 1,500 vegan products, ranging from food and skincare to fashion, books and accessories.
Jessica started the business as an online store in 2001 after going vegan while still working full time as an IT project manager. Her aim was to provide a one-stop-shop where people could buy hard-to-find vegan foods without having to do the time-consuming label reading themselves.
In 2012 Jessica opened the first physical store in the inner-west suburb of Glebe in Sydney, followed two years later by a store in Melbourne. Just a couple of weeks ago, she opened a brand new store in Brisbane, Queensland and is currently scouting out premises for a branch in Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.
A passionate animal rights advocate, Jessica ran the Cruelty Free Festival for three years as a fundraiser for charity Animal Liberation NSW, which now draws crowds of around 5,000 people.
She’s the founder of Vegan Day Out, an annual weekend event bringing hundreds of people into the areas where The Cruelty Free Shop is located. This festival is a collaboration with neighboring businesses, allowing them to experience the demand for vegan food and other products by offering special deals and discounts.
In this interview Jessica discusses:
• The benefits – and challenges – of opening one or more physical stores
• The importance of knowing what your customers (not you) want and providing them with it
• Who to listen to for honest feedback on your products – and who to ignore
• Why she jumps for joy when ‘competitors’ open similar businesses
• A strategy she uses that can get you quickly out of overwhelm when running your business
• And much more
Visit The Cruelty Free Shop website
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Vegan Business Media is a multi-media, multi-author blog for aspiring and existing owners of vegan-run businesses, designed to equip them with the information, tools, inspiration and resources they need to start and grow their enterprises. It is hosted by award-winning journalist Katrina Fox.