of your TV stream­ing experience New Directions Three read­ers on their start-ups that help bet­ter the en­vi­ron­ment and your health

From ve­gan­ism to plas­tic-free liv­ing, three read­ers tell Sa­vanna Dou­glas how their start-ups pro­mote bet­ter­ing your health and the en­vi­ron­ment

Woman & Home (South Africa) - - Editor’s Letter -

‘Great-tast­ing ve­gan meals were my light-bulb mo­ment’

LEIGH KLAPTHOR, 30, lives with her hus­band Shaun, 32, and their five­month-old, Leo, in Eden­vale. Leigh’s Sprout Café is a pop­u­lar ve­gan eatery.

THE IDEA

In 2016, I left my ca­reer in mar­ket­ing to take on a job at Shaun’s lo­gis­tics com­pany. Re­turn­ing from a rather un­healthy honey­moon in March 2017, I told my per­sonal trainer I was look­ing for ways to de­tox, so he sug­gested a six-week clean-eat­ing ve­gan chal­lenge, which I took on. Only prob­lem? Eden­vale’s short­age of ve­gan eater­ies. Ve­gan­ism was new to me, but I took to whip­ping up dishes at home like a duck to wa­ter. I was sur­prised by how tasty and af­ford­able the food was and kept up the life­style af­ter the chal­lenge ended, won­der­ing if I had stum­bled upon my true call­ing – cre­at­ing ve­gan cui­sine! On a gro­cery round at my lo­cal Stoner­idge Cen­tre, a va­cancy sign for a shop that gets a lot of foot traf­fic caught my eye. I felt it would be the per­fect spot to launch a ve­gan eatery, so I called Shaun, who agreed whole­heart­edly with my idea. Soon af­ter, we were rent­ing this won­der­ful space. I left Shaun’s com­pany and got started on set­ting up Sprout.

SET­TING UP

I hired a chef and, to­gether, we re­searched ex­cit­ing meat- free op­tions for a ve­gan menu of sal­ads, smooth­ies and heartier dishes like our tofu sprock­ets and falafel wraps. To cater for our cus­tomers’ non-ve­gan fam­i­lies and friends, we added a few meat-based op­tions, like healthy chicken wraps. We then found lo­cal sup­pli­ers who’d de­liver fresh pro­duce daily and bak­ers who’d pro­vide spe­cialised items, like bant­ing buns. I briefed my cousin Rox­anne, an ar­chi­tect, on my vi­sion for Sprout. I wanted a crisp, clean design, with a calm, con­tem­po­rary vibe that would be wel­com­ing. We were also firm about need­ing enough space to prep and cook ve­gan and non-ve­gan meals in sep­a­rate ar­eas to stay true to our ve­gan prom­ise. It took 70 days to ren­o­vate and fur­nish for the launch, which I had ad­ver­tised on so­cial me­dia. On open­ing day, we were sur­prised by the big in­flux of cus­tomers!

LEARN­ING CURVE

In the be­gin­ning, it was just me, my hus­band, our friend Christal and our chef Keketso han­dling ev­ery­thing from food prep to serv­ing. We re­alised cus­tomers loved the meals, but were wait­ing too long for or­ders, so we in­creased our staff to 10.

HIGH­LIGHTS

The owner of Moove Mo­tion Fit­ness Club, a gym and well­ness cen­tre in Sun­ninghill, ate at Sprout and liked the food so much that she asked if we’d open a branch at their premises. We’re so excited about this sec­ond space, now in devel­op­ment. We also part­nered up with sup­ple­ment brand NPL, launch­ing a range of healthy smooth­ies us­ing their prod­ucts this April.

BUSI­NESS NOW

Or­ders have more than dou­bled since our in­cep­tion, and I be­lieve that we’ve con­verted a few lo­cals over to ve­gan­ism, which is a great af­fir­ma­tion for me. While I’m no longer a ve­gan my­self, I re­spect the life­style and still love the food. I’m glad I got to show eat­ing healthily doesn’t have to mean taste­less meals that cost a for­tune. >>

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