There’s an ongoing conversation of whether you should work a traditional 9-5, or be an entrepreneur and start your own business. While there are way more options than these, this debate is rising daily amongst the nation’s workforce as we actively redefine what it means to “work,” — in the midst of COVID-19.
We tend to read the headlines of successful small business owners at their business peaks, but we rarely get to learn more about their journey towards full-time entrepreneurship, and the hardship that comes with it.
Today, we’re keeping it raw and real — as usual, here on Giselle Ave. as we examine how life’s obstacles can help you take new paths in life that lead to a more abundant, intentional, healthy, purpose-driven life.
Meet Chef Adyre, Founder & Owner of The Veggie
I had the pleasure of hosting an intimate conversation with Chef Adyre, Founder & Owner of The Veggie — Vegan Comfort Food Company based in Huntsville, AL with collectives in Nashville, TN, Birmingham, AL, and Atlanta, GA. Chef Adyre sat out on a mission to create familiar food that just so happens to be vegan, while taking the stigma away from being vegan. So far? So good! As a Huntsville-native myself, I’m always happy to share amazing stories taking place right in The Ville. Let’s dive into our conversation to see exactly what inspired the launch of her business.
Giselle: I’m so excited to learn more about this Vegan movement you’re chartering in my hometown of Huntsville! I love to see it.
Chef Adyre: Yes! Thanks for having me. We’ve been doing really well, even in the midst of COVID, and I’m just thankful.
Giselle: So tell me a little about yourself and your professional background.
Chef Adyre: I grew up in Alabama but I was born in Phoenix, AZ. I was raised in the Muscle Shoals area, and I’ve always been active and set big goals for myself.
I moved to Huntsville to attend the University of Alabama Huntsville, and I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering. I then moved to Virginia to attend George Washington University, where I earned my Masters Degree in Systems Engineering. I started my career and worked my way up over the past 10 years. In that time, I got multiple promotions, and was earning a comfortable, six-figure salary– but I wasn’t happy at all.
It took ten years and I worked my way up and I once I got to the top — I realized how much I disliked my job. – Chef Adyre, Founder & Owner of The VeggieTweet
Giselle: Girl, this is SO relatable! Please, tell me more.
Chef Adyre: Well, I’m the only child and my mother’s passing really helped me take a second look at life in general.
My mother got sick and I moved back to Alabama to care for her. You know many elders in the black community are stubborn, they figure I’ve been eating this way all my life, why change now? The doctor encouraged a plant-based diet, and I did the best I could, but it was tough. It was hard to find convenient, fresh plant-based food.
My mother passed away in April 2017, fairly young, in her late 60s. I figured, if I could find a way to help people eat better and live longer, especially to save someone else’s mother, I would do it.
Giselle: I know that was difficult, especially as the only child. How did your mother’s passing influence your life?
Chef Adyre: My identity was tested when my mom passed away. I realized I didn’t have time to waste to come here (my former job) and be miserable everyday.
I wasn’t enjoying my days so I had to have a self-check: Are you going to give in and just live this fake life or are you going to do something really radical to change your life and honor your mother in the process?! I decided to go for it!
Are you going to live this fake life, or are you going to do something radical to change your life? – Chef Adyre, Founder & Owner of The VeggieTweet
The Veggie Is Born
Giselle: The fake life part?! My sentiments exactly! So what all did it take to finally get started?
Chef Adyre: I’ve always been a self-proclaimed foodie, and I was very intentional about starting my business.
I started out selling vegan plates on my off days and on the weekends, and the plates were actually selling! I then decided to take this on full-time. I took a hard look at my financial situation, what can I get rid of? People often forget about the practical aspects of success. What can I do to streamline my life because I knew I’d have to sacrifice something to start my business.
I didn’t have a proven track record, but jumping out there was hard! There was a huge barrier to entry, but I cashed out my 401K and funded it myself. No investors, just my vision and my savings. Being an entrepreneur demands the best and most authentic parts of yourself. You have to be humble and you can’t come in and “fake it,” — I can’t fake good food!
Once you get out here, you realize who you are! – Chef Adyre, Founder & Owner of The VeggieTweet
Most important of all, if you want a viable business, you have to take your eyes OFF of other people. When you look around, you are trying to keep up with other people. So focus on your own thing!
Giselle: How long have you been vegan and how has it impacted your life?
Chef Adyre: I officially went vegan six years ago and I will never look back because of how good I feel!
Before going vegan, I struggled with health challenges, joint pain, acne, high cholesterol, etc. When I moved to a vegan diet I enjoyed feeling better.
Once I got a good bill of health from my doctor, I started to ween off of going to the doctor. I have a healthcare provider, but I go for regular check-ups. I was only sick 2 times in 6 years, since I’ve been vegan. Go to the doctor to get a good picture of your health, and they can help with supplements in case you may need it.
Giselle: Business sounds great, but let’s get personal. How do you make time for self-love and you?
Chef Adyre: I have to be selfish and ramp down to enjoy things I like. When you’re head of the business it does feel like sometimes I can’t take a day off. But we are human.
I am dating, and my boyfriend of two years is very supportive. He also has a nontraditional work schedule, and works full-time from home. When he says oh you’re working a lot, when do I see you? I am sure to make time. I always make my relationship my priority, while making space for me to unwind.
Be kind. You need rest and down time. Ask close friends to keep you accountable! – Chef Adyre, Founder & Owner of The VeggieTweet
Giselle: Yaaas! We deserve the love and the dream! I’m so over society thinking women have to pick one. We can do both!
Chef Adyre: So true.
Giselle: Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! I’m looking forward to watching you grow, and trying The Veggie for myself!
Chef Adyre: No problem, thanks for having me!
Did You Know?
Chef Adyre is an Aries and a newly-minted “Sneakerhead,” and her favorite pair of she owns is the Puma RSX Re-Invention, she just picked up a new colorway.
This was such an inspiring conversation! Whether you’re looking to go vegan, or set out on the path of entrepreneurship, stories like these serve as a guide to help you along your path. Now go forth, and be great… and don’t forget to eat your VEGGIES!