Hi Marta! Tell us a bit about yourself…
Hi! My name is Marta and I’m the founder of Vegana Marketplace. I’m from Spain but I have lived in the UK for a long time, currently I live in Hertfordshire with my partner and 2 year old daughter. I worked in planning and management for big companies for over 12 years but when I was made redundant at the beginning of the COVID pandemic I knew it was time to stop and think about the future. With everything going on in the world, a young daughter and after a very difficult year due to family illness, I knew I wanted to make a change and focus my time, energy and skills into a project that I’m really passionate about and where I can make my small contribution to helping the environment, the animals and other small businesses. Then Vegana Marketplace was born!
With many of us now turning to online shopping, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed with the huge array of products available to chose from. For those of us looking to purchase from cruelty free brands- having an entire platform dedicated to featuring only vegan and sustainable products can save hours of searching! What inspired you to launch Vegana Marketplace?
Like many of us, I’ve become more and more aware about the environmental issues around us and I’ve tried to move to a more sustainable lifestyle in recent years.
At the same time, I have always loved markets where you can find unique artisan products from small businesses, the type of unique products that you can’t find at main supermarket or shop chains.
I believe that vegan products are essential for the future of our Planet and artisan products from local makers are better for us, the environment and the local economies.
However, I realised that finding products that are vegan, cruelty-free and good for the environment online is a big challenge. It generally takes a lot of research and hours of reading through FAQ pages and ingredients or materials lists to make sure the products are suitable. If you also want these vegan and cruelty products to be unique and from small businesses, then that’s almost impossible to find online!
It is also very difficult for small businesses to get their products noticed online as the internet is dominated by the big brands. My goal with Vegana Marketplace is to provide a platform for independent businesses to promote their products and for online customers to easily find the vegan, cruelty-free, eco-friendly and unique products that they are looking for.
I would like Vegana Marketplace to become a community for people that believe in making a difference by choosing the products we consume responsibly.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business right now?
It’s definitely not easy to start your own business and the current situation can make things even more difficult but to everyone starting their own business right now I would say, if you have a passion and the vision for what you want to do, then go for it! It is never going to be the perfect time and there are always going to be challenges along the way, so now is as good a time as ever.
Make a plan, do your research and more importantly, believe in yourself. Find people around you that will support you and encourage you when you doubt yourself (it will happen often!) and just keep going, you can do it!
What are you favourite products on Vegana Marketplace at the moment?
We have over 500 products listed so it’s difficult to choose! I am a big fan of everything sweet so our collection of brownies & cookies are always high on the list of my personal preferences. A selection of chef-cooked ready meals are always in my freezer, as a busy mum with a new business this has saved the day in more than one occasion to provide a quick delicious, healthy dinner for my family. And the selection of vegan cheese makes an amazing cheese platter which is one of my favourites for a special weekend lunch.
But of course, it’s not all about food! I love these handmade dresses for my 2 year old daughter and the wax melts and candles from our home collection are a must if you like beautiful smells in your home.
Covid-19 has changed the attitudes of many consumers with many now reflecting on their shopping habits and how this may impact the planet we are living on. What positive changes do you hope to see in the future?
I really think that people are now more aware than ever about the environment issues we are facing, especially the younger generations which is great to see. Popular documentaries and public figures are doing a great job at educating and raising awareness. The next step is to get more and more people to take action and this would include people in power and big companies as they can really make a big difference but also all of us as individuals can make changes to our lifestyle that would have a positive impact on the planet. These changes can be big or small, everything helps!
For example, going vegan is a great way to help the planet and save animals but if you are not ready to go fully vegan, only reducing the amount of meat and dairy in your diet can make a big difference too!
Finallly what is your favourite Hurtig Lane watch and why?
All the watches are beautiful but the Amalfi Petite in White is my favourite. It is elegant and sophisticated but also small and comfortable which makes it perfect to wear every day and combine with any outfit. Its classic design and colour will never go out of fashion so you can enjoy it for many years to come. Perfect example of an environmentally friendly beautiful watch!