Plant-Powered Prosperity: Jennifer Estevez of Consciously Planted On 5 Things You Need To Create A Successful Plant-Based Product Business

Plant-Powered Prosperity: Jennifer Estevez of Consciously Planted On 5 Things You Need To Create A Successful Plant-Based Product Business

Invest in branding, and do it right from the start. Without a brand that makes an impact, your marketing will struggle.

The plant-based revolution is here. As consumers globally are shifting towards more eco-conscious and health-oriented choices, the demand for plant-based products has never been higher. From food and beverages to cosmetics and clothing, the plant-based industry is blossoming with opportunities. But how does one tap into this growing market? What are the key ingredients to launching and scaling a successful plant-based product business? In this interview series, we are exploring the world of plant-based entrepreneurship. We are talking to founders, product developers, industry experts, and innovators who have successfully navigated the plant-based business landscape. As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Estevez, Founder & Managing Partner at Consciously Planted.

Jennifer Estevez is a CEO, entrepreneur, and business advisor with a background in food, beverage, marketing, communications, and startups. She has previously founded four companies to date, including OMvino, a marketing and communications firm, a wine club startup and two bespoke business advisory agencies, Crystals & Smudge Sticks and Consciously Planted. Currently, she focuses on plant-based and sustainable startup consultancy through Consciously Planted Advisory, while also actively involved in non-profit work and teaching yoga and meditation.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Igrew up in Pennsylvania in a vegetarian household. I was very active in participating in many varieties of sports, as I was very driven and loved competing! I was involved in horseback riding, martial arts and soccer; and especially excelled at martial arts. I became a black belt in Taekwondo at 16.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Tenacity — I have been involved in the creation of many companies at this point and when things go wrong, even when I fail completely- I never give up. In the middle of the pandemic, my first company, OMvino, a hospitality-focused PR & marketing firm, had clients become panicked, asking to end contracts early, etc.

I did not become discouraged, and instead encouraged my team to keep it together and gave them a very clear and honest picture of our financial runway. By motivating my team and asking everyone to spend some time putting ideas together around how we can pivot or shift to face our current needs, we were able to make it through the pandemic stronger than ever.

Vivacity — I am very animated and engaging, which can translate to headstrong. There have been many times where these outgoing and lively traits have supported me on my entrepreneurial journey. Through making and deepening connections, I am able to expose myself to many inspirational and creative people within the plant-based sphere as well as others in order to branch out and explore.

Autodidacticism — I am self taught, which means I have learned through hands-on experience. For example, I started off working in the restaurant industry and this gave me first hand-experience at how to connect food, hospitality, and the needs of consumers. By learning through experience, I was able to create multiple businesses as a marketing and communications professional.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

Right now I am working on a vegan carrot lox company called Love Lox, that uses up-cycled carrots and recycled packaging to make an ocean-friendly, kosher, whole-food plant-based alternative to traditional salmon. This is huge!

We are launching it in NYC and my dream is to see it in every bagel shop. There is nothing else on the market like this! Plant-based seafood options are limited, whole-food plant based options are limited; this product creates a win-win scenario of a delicious seafood alternative that even mimics the Omega-3 profile of salmon with its patented production process!

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview about creating a successful plant-based product business. What inspired you to enter the plant-based product industry? Did you have a turning point or eureka moment that led you into the plant-based industry? Can you share some key milestones that helped shape your journey to success?

I was inspired to enter the plant-based space during the pandemic. As many people did during 2020, I sat with myself and tried to understand what was aligned for me. I had a marketing and communications company that worked with traditional food and beverage companies, including restaurants and steakhouses, but I had been a vegetarian all of my life and a vegan for four years. I realized at that point I needed to enliven my personal values in my work and make a new shift. I also saw many people getting creative and starting new companies to accommodate the needs of the pandemic, so we found new ways to connect and do business at the time out of an urgent need. This journey led me to realize that entrepreneurship is such a powerful vector for change. We are simply out of time and cannot continue to live in ways that are not sustainable or regenerative, and we need new companies to replace outdated products and services.

I had experience in the startup world and I wanted to help create more conscious companies as a form of being of service. Thus, my company Consciously Planted was born. I have had the opportunity to work with some top names in the industry and it continues to feed my fire daily.

What do you believe are the key factors behind the recent surge in demand for plant-based products, and how can aspiring entrepreneurs authentically tap into this growing trend?

I think that plant-based entrepreneurs need to continue to create companies with business plans that are NOT based on temporary consumer trends and have a solid, properly budgeted marketing and communications plan.

I saw many companies try to simply ride the “plant-based wave” during the pandemic and failed. They came in fast and strong and began production with no true business plan besides capitalizing on a trend. Many companies didn’t have unique marketing propositions or reasonable budgets for PR and Marketing included in their financial raises. Many were also targeting vegans and vegetarians as a main consumer demographic. I believe that entrepreneurs in the plant-based space need to create engaging, entertaining marketing campaigns that educate consumers about why plant-based is healthy for them. No more boring taglines like “meat made from plants”. For better or for worse people care about themselves first, before animals, and before the climate; let’s meet them there!

How do you envision the evolution of consumer preferences in the next 5–10 years?

I am joyfully optimistic that we as a species will continue to innovate in the space of plant-based foods, bringing in new technologies, products, and offerings to replace outdated ones that are no longer serving us. I believe some people will not fully want to forego meat, and that cultured meat will continue to grow until it can become profitable on a larger scale and make a global impact.

What is your favorite plant-based product (not necessarily your own) and what makes it stand out? What can we all learn from the appeal of that product?

I love VFC chik’n nuggets. Their branding is the right amount of colorful, and their messaging is loud without being off putting. They make a statement, people remember them AND the product tastes great without being too expensive. I recommend giving them a try!

Based on your experience, what are some of the biggest myths or misconceptions people have about the plant-based industry?

That it is dying! Some people are continuing to shout that the industry is going downhill- and I completely disagree!

Our economy is in a downturn, however, plant-based is still going strong. We are just seeing the end of all of the pandemic “plant-based wave” riding startups that didn’t have a real business plan, and newer, more established brands filling in the space. Dairy is struggling with record low sales, and more than ever before meat companies are struggling to stay afloat with inflation. The plant-based industry is alive and well and will continue to grow.

Developing and marketing plant-based products often involves unique challenges, from sourcing quality ingredients and sustainable packaging to building a brand that resonates with consumers. What strategies have you found most effective in overcoming these hurdles?

Create a community of great people in the business world and in your private life who share similar ideas. People are your greatest resource. I don’t believe in luck, I believe in creating opportunities and connections. With the right network, you are able to collectively access more knowledge, support, relationships and resources. You can find that person to get your organic upcycled ugly carrots for your product, or you can find the perfect investor or new business partner to take care of the needs of your company- the people in your life are so important to how you develop yourself and your business.

The plant-based market continues to evolve and grow. What advice can you offer to individuals looking to launch their own plant-based product businesses? Are there any critical lessons or insights you’ve gained along the way that you’d like to share with aspiring entrepreneurs in this field? Based on your experience can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Create A Successful Plant-Based Product Business”.

1 . Do your research. Does the world really need your product or service? Back it up with facts.

2 . Grow your network and leverage it. Whether it is to raise your first $50K or to find a new manufacturer, tap in.

3 . Know your target audience(s). They are NOT just vegans and vegetarians. Diversify, expand, enrich.

4 . Invest in branding, and do it right from the start. Without a brand that makes an impact, your marketing will struggle.

5 . Invest in your marketing and communications and make noise. Don’t be a boring “meat made from plants” kind of company.

How does your business align with sustainability and ethics in the plant-based industry, and how does this alignment impact your brand’s success and customer trust?

My company, Consciously Planted, is created by founders for founders and we are here to push the mission of sustainable plant-based food. We believe that entrepreneurship is a form of activism. It is not just a post on Facebook talking about your values, it is living in your values and creating ways for others to do the same.

What certifications and regulations are essential for new plant-based brands to uphold their values as they grow?

I think certifications are important to a point, but to be honest, some new companies just can’t afford it. It’s just better that you know your products are sustainable, and ethically sourced. Do your research! Try not to cut corners from the beginning. If you need to do so for budget reasons, make a commitment to pivot and get better as you grow.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Learn to love your failure and mess. It is all a lesson.”

I have failed a lot and learned even more, and I couldn’t be happier about the journey I’ve been on.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I would tell people to take one month off minimum and eat plant based, work with plant medicine, meditate, and do breathwork. Train your mind, train your body. Heal the mind, heal the body. Do you know how many people have never had an intentional month off of work in their life? Our healing IS our priority and we don’t treat it that way. When we do, it trickles out into how we show up for others, and for the world.

This is what we call our “matchmaker question”, and it sometimes works. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a power lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

I would love to meet Mata Amritanandamayi, The Hugging Saint. I would like a hug and to understand how she believes spirituality and business can converge.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!

About the Interviewer: Wanda Malhotra, a Certified Health Coach and wellness entrepreneur with 28 years of experience, is the visionary founder behind Crunchy Mama Box, a Mission-driven Marketplace promoting healthier, sustainable living. Committed to social engagement, Wanda supports causes like environmental preservation, animal welfare, mental health, human rights, and social responsibility. Through her work, Wanda writes passionately about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact, and eco-friendly living. She shares valuable insights, advocating holistic health and sustainability, and aims to simplify wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at

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