Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jodi Paige, Chief Cheese Officer of Virgin Cheese, located in Clarkdale, AZ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Virgin Cheese produces vegan, artisanal cheeses of the highest order made from pure plant power; traditionally cultured, organic cashew cream-based cheeses worthy of fine wine, manufactured in historic Clarkdale, between Jerome and Sedona, Arizona. 60-70% of the world population is lactose intolerant, so our clientele covers a wide spectrum of plant-based consumers, making the connection between their health and what they eat, vegans, vegetarians, keto, curious, and lactose intolerant.
Tell us about yourself
The journey of bringing VIRGIN CHEESE to the marketplace is as extraordinary as the cheese itself. A new love affair with plant-based eating, growing her own organic produce in the Mojave desert, coupled with a Las Vegan community on fire for compassionate and creative cuisine, all came together in March of 2014, when Las Vegas launched its first animal sanctuary with a grand opening private dinner for 150 health-conscious consumers. Guests were greeted with a vegan cheese appetizer table with eight varieties of organic, nut milk-based cheeses. Guests came through the line 3-4 times, and the cheeses hardly stayed on display very long. The Wine & Virgin Cheese basket Jodi assembled with big wedges of Lemon Dill, Shallot Truffle, Bleu, and a Cheddar Nut Ball - went at a silent auction for $400.00. Even more surreal, moving through the crowd to check on multiple auction items she had donated, Jodi was enveloped with one-word whispers of "cheese," "cheese," and "cheese" as she made her way from the booth to the auction area. The evening came to a close with the event's coordinators and crew finally getting their first Virgin Cheese experience, and the first Wine & Vegan Cheese Pop Up Bar was conceived. Virgin Cheese now ships to New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Sedona, Austin, and Wisconsin for worldwide shipping via Vegan Essentials and GTFO It's Vegan.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
National brand recognition is built entirely from word-of-mouth consumers.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Juggling the balance between work life and home life.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Not all business plans need to be on paper; trusting your gut, knowing your audience and the market share, and manifesting dreams don't always come with a blueprint.
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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