Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Stephanie Dreyer, Founder of Batch Cooking Club, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Batch Cooking Club is a weekly dinner prep membership that puts plant-based foods at the core of each meal while adding options for non-vegan family members. We help busy parents make meal time easier by providing weekly meal plans and recipes without time-consuming prep so that they can enjoy daily healthy, homemade meals with their family without having to think about it.
We believe feeding your family should be joyful, not stressful. We want to help you stress less so you can connect more because that's what dinner is really about — connecting with your loved ones over a delicious meal. As the only vegan in my family, the meals aren't just for vegan and vegetarian families but also families who might have a mix of vegans and omnivores like me. I start with a plant-based meal but also offer suggestions for non-plant eaters so that everyone can eat the same meal. My goal is to simplify dinner and eliminate the need to make multiple meals a night to please everyone.
I'm most proud of our unique approach to batch cooking. We don't just give you a menu of dinners for the week and a grocery list. We help you figure out where to best plug those into your weekly meal plan based on your schedule, and we give you a weekly meal prep system that transforms your daily dinner prep. Our done-for-you prep plans take you step by step with what to do to prepare 4-6 meal components for the week in less than 2 hours so you can have dinner on the table during the week in 30 minutes or less.
Tell us about yourself
My journey as an entrepreneur was never planned and started in 2010 (although I didn't know it at the time) when I went vegan overnight. I made the connection to mama cow while nursing my third child. I watched him feed and had this instant a-ha moment. I had been reading The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone at the time, and it all clicked. I had been vegetarian for five years between my first and second pregnancies, but my decision to go vegan was immediate and intense. I went vegan overnight and never looked back.
It was a lonely time for me during those first years as the only vegan in my family and friends circle, so I started a blog that turned into an online community. My goal was to share my vegan lifestyle and connect with others in the plant-based community. My blog grew into contributing posts and articles for other blogs and online publications, and eventually, I also published two children's books.
During this time, I was a working mom with young kids, and I was struggling...struggling to feed my family healthy, homemade meals while juggling ALL of the things. As I fought to figure it out, I gained expertise in feeding my family with one meal, despite our dietary differences. One of my biggest strategies for doing this was through my meal planning system and techniques.
I started to get asked to teach classes and share my tips. Those classes led me to create the system upon my meal prep membership, Batch Cooking Club is founded. I did all of the above as a passion, not as a business. It wasn't even a side gig or hustle. I was just doing my best to serve and help people while doing what I love — making delicious plant-based food for my friends and family. When I was unexpectedly let go from my full-time job, I decided to scale my in-person batch cooking classes into a digital membership.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Creating and launching Batch Cooking Club in January 2020 (right before COVID-19 struck) was one of the most challenging times for a business owner. Running the business continues to have challenges and opportunities that require daily dedication and commitment. It's never easy but always worth it when I hear from a member how I helped them make dinner for their family. Knowing that I help others not only live healthier and simplify their lives but also create an opportunity for them to connect with their family over food makes me feel accomplished every day.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
As a small business owner still in the infancy stages of the business, the hardest thing for me is doing it all myself. Resources are tight when you're just starting out, so it's always a challenge to know when to invest in the business and when to tighten the belt.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Be ready to pivot! Expect the unexpected and when it happens, be flexible to change direction and adapt as necessary to be successful.
- Have a solid platform before launching. I had a built-in audience when I launched that helped tremendously.
- Invest in marketing. As a trained marketer, I'm biased on this one, but you can have the greatest product or service in the world. However, if no one knows about it, no one will learn about it. If you don't have the knowledge or expertise to do the marketing that is needed, invest in people who can help you.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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