Quantcast

Meet The SHEeo: Chef Adyre Mason Of The Veggie - A Vegan Comfort Food Delivery Service

Meet The SHEeo

With the rise of more and more black women breaking away from traditional 9-5s to become their own bosses, the CEO is getting a revamp as the SHEeo. CEOs are forging their own paths, blazing their own trails, and turning their passion into a profit. In the Meet The SHEeo series, we talk to melanated mavens leveling up and glowing up, all while redefining what it means to be a boss.

During her twenties, Adyre Mason began suffering from extreme health issues including digestive distress, adult acne, joint pain, and high cholesterol. Over the course of two years, she transitioned to a vegan lifestyle and eliminated her ailments. But despite having more energy and a new business plan for a food service company, she struggled with the idea of leaving behind her dead-end job and taking the leap into entrepreneurship.

With the loss of her mother in 2017, she realized life was too short to be scared or comfortable. She cashed out her 401k and in 2018 launched The Veggie — a prepared meal delivery and catering company serving vegan comfort food. The Veggie regularly travels all throughout the southeast with its vegan fare to service individual clients, events, and festivals.

In this week's feature, meet Adyre Mason of The Veggie.

Courtesy of Adyre Mason

Title: Founder & CEO of The Veggie

Year Founded: 2018

Location: Huntsville, Alabama

# of Employees: 3

30-Second Pitch: The Veggie specializes in vegan comfort food served through fully prepared meal delivery, catering and personal chef services, and wholesale partnerships. Using Huntsville, Alabama as a launching pad, The Veggie regularly travels throughout the southeast with its vegan fare to service individual clients, events, and festivals. It is our goal to situate our products and our presence in spaces in need of variety wherever vegans are, and where they want to be!

The Details:

What inspired you to start your brand? 

In my twenties, I began suffering from issues like extreme digestive distress, adult acne, joint pain, and high cholesterol. I knew I had to do something different. I began transitioning to vegan over a two-year period, moving intentionally from meat eater to pescatarian to vegetarian and finally, vegan. Within a few short months, many of my problems were gone or vastly improved, and I had more energy and stamina than ever before. I am passionate about exposing people to vegan food in a familiar way that helps with trying and sticking to something new.

"I am passionate about exposing people to vegan food in a familiar way that helps with trying and sticking to something new."

What was your a-ha moment that brought your idea into reality? 

For years, I sat on my business plan and my passion for food while sitting behind a desk at a job I hated. Staying where I was seemed like the only option until my mom suffered from multiple strokes and was paralyzed in 2017. After losing her only four months later, I realized how short life was and that I didn't have time to be scared or comfortable. I cashed out my 401k to become my own investor and have used my grief as a catalyst for reinventing myself through my business in my mother's honor.

What obstacles did you have to overcome while launching and growing your brand?  How were you able to overcome them? 

My biggest obstacle has been working through my grief and depression. I started my business less than a year after my mom's passing and although my business has helped me get out of bed every morning and deliver, at times my grief has been a major roadblock. There have been many days I have literally worked and cried at the same time. Days where instead of being the push I needed, the business felt like an impediment to me getting the time I needed for me. I am learning that so much of life is about balance. I try to maximize every moment for myself when there's time, and I maximize every moment immersed in my craft when I'm working. Giving space for everything that makes me who I am and helps me become who I want to be - rest, work, self-care, planning, having fun, wherever it may be - is what I believe is key.

"There have been many days I have literally worked and cried at the same time. Days where instead of being the push I needed, the business felt like an impediment to me getting the time I needed for me. I am learning that so much of life is about balance."

What was the defining moment in your entrepreneurial journey?

Last fall, I had the esteemed privilege of catering a studio session for Grammy Award winner Anthony Hamilton. This was a full circle moment for me because I was first in close quarters with Mr. Hamilton when I was only a sophomore in college working at The Gap. To go from bagging his clothes to preparing his meal as the Chef and Owner of my own business was definitely a full circle moment!

Where do you see your company in 5-10 years?

I would love for The Veggie to become a familiar brand through nationwide shipping of our fully prepared meal service, as well as making some of my unique drink and small snack products available in stores like Whole Foods. As my company outgrows my individual effort, it is my hope that my passion for food and travel can collide to service personal chef clients wherever needed.

Where have you seen the biggest return on investment?

Oddly enough, I have spent very little money on marketing. I have primarily built my business on consistency, hustle, and word of mouth. I believe a key has been capitalizing on marketing opportunities that also generate revenue. This is one of the reasons I have put myself in a position to be able to travel so that as I vend across the region, I can market the business as well as generate the revenue I need to sustain and grow.

"I have primarily built my business on consistency, hustle, and word of mouth. I believe a key has been capitalizing on marketing opportunities that also generate revenue."

Do you have a mentor? If so, who?

No, but I would love to have one. I do try to share knowledge and ask questions, because I always consider myself a student, with other chefs who do work similar to me.

Biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?

It's less about what you start with and more about what you do with what you have. I have not had an investor (yet) but I regularly see businesses that did sell less than me when side by side in the same venues. There are people who have more bells and whistles, yet people will bypass them to come shop with me because they've heard about the product or recognize my consistency. It's about working what you have, and sometimes that isn't always money. But when you work with what you have and stay consistent, I believe more resources come.

Follow The Veggie on social: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

Summer is here and I'm excited to have finally returned to living in some sense of normalcy. Now that we've fully resumed our everyday lives, there's so many places to be this summer which means so many looks to come up with. With such a joyous occasion as outside being fully open, my excitement fades when facing the reality of also having absolutely nothing fun to wear. As we reunite with the world, I want my outfits to match my energy with each look giving everything it's supposed to give.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

Born between February 19th and March 20th, this mutable Water sign embodies a free-flowing nature that is typically easy to get along with. Their heightened levels of sensitivity equip them to read the room. Sometimes this works to their advantage while, at other times, their ability to feel into the unseen can be extremely taxing. As one of the most empathic zodiac signs, Pisces has a tendency to absorb the emotions of others. If they're not clear in their own boundaries, they can quickly find themselves lost in the distress of other people.

Keep reading... Show less

Black Woman Owned is a limited series highlighting black woman business owners who are change-makers and risk-takers in their respective realms. As founders, these women dare to be bold, have courage in being the change they wish to see in the world, and are unapologetic when it comes to their vision. These black women aren't waiting for a seat, they are owning the table.

In this life, there's work that we choose to pursue and work that chooses us. For Yasmine Jameelah, founder of Transparent Black Girl, this work was brought on by pain, growth, and healing that empowered her to take wellness into her own hands.

Keep reading... Show less

It's hard to believe all that we have endured the past year and a half. Between mask mandates and shutdowns, we have been cooped up in the house longer than we would have ever expected. And while our bodies have experienced change, so has our skin. "Quaranskin" is a whole thing – how our skin has been impacted during the quarantine. You may have been looking in the mirror wondering what's different and how can I get my old glow back? Two words: face mask.

Keep reading... Show less

To say that Lori Harvey's love life has been in the driver's seat of her career is a massive understatement. She's been linked to many, claiming few, and taking a page out of Beyonce's book in the process, by simply not addressing any of the chatter at all. In fact, up until now, the usually private mogul's only job was to be the beautifully radiant famous daughter of Steve Harvey, and keep us all guessing without an ounce of clarity on who is who, and what's next for any of them. But now, sis is stepping out and speaking up on all of the above.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

Michelle Williams On Depression, Healing & Why It’s Important To Check In With Yourself

"Now, the only label I've got that matters is God's: God's creation. God's work. God's child."

Latest Posts