BEIRUT: Still in its infancy, Badass Vegan Kitchen (BVK) has already created its own individual identity and is making waves in the city’s growing vegan scene.
BVK is one of Beirut’s newest vegan brands, officially launched in March 2019, and mostly known for its various cookies – the name, after all, gives it street cred. The tahini crumble cookie was the first product and as of mid-June, the brand has expanded to include a range of different cookies, burger patties, a cheese alternative, and vegan mayonnaise.
"One day we had people over, my husband was tattooing and he asked me to make him a cookie," and so BVK was born, Carol Homsi Mezher, owner and sole employee of BVK, told Annahar.
A few weeks later, Mezher took a batch of her cookies to Chitabi3i, a well-known organic food shop in Jal El Dib, to see how they would sell. The cookies were so successful that "the whole set was done, fully branded, in a week or so," she said.
Within a month of making a vegan cookie for the very first time, Mezher had launched her vegan food business.
BVK’s cookies and goods continue to be sold by Chitabi3i and are now also sold by a number of other food retailers, including Luna’s Kitchen and Smart Spot Kiosk.
Mezher cites the marketing and branding of the business as the main reason for BVK’s rapid growth. "Everybody that bought the cookie for the first time bought it for the packaging and the design, but they came back because of the taste," she said.
Having a background in corporate design, Mezher decided that for her own business she wanted to have fun, she didn’t want to put walls around what her brand should or shouldn’t be.
Being the owner, Mezher has complete freedom to control and direct the brand’s creative image and strategy, from the graffiti-style writing used for its logo and packaging to the color of products’ labels. This is something that Mezher believes helps BVK distinguish itself from other vegan brands.
"I see something and I go do it, that’s the edge I have," said Mezher.
BVK’s name is an example of Mezher exercising and deploying her specific vision for the brand. For Mezher, the word badass encompasses the ethos and message of BVK, but in the businesses’ early days she received negative feedback around its name.
"Some people told me to change the name… I stuck with the name, it’s not negotiable," Mezher said.
The company’s mission is to spread veganism, and to encourage people, vegan and otherwise, to eat more vegan food. Mezher understands that veganism is something that many are still wary of and marketing her products on the basis of their vegan nature could put some people off buying them. However, in her opinion, the brand’s mission demands incorporating the word vegan.
"The word vegan is the limitation, but I won’t take it out… because I am about spreading veganism," Mezher told Annahar.
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