Client Success Stories
Client Success Stories
No Evil Foods: Co-Founders, Sadrah Schandel and Mike Woliansky
What is your business?
No Evil Foods makes meat from nothin’ but plants, giving you all the texture, flavor and experience of meat with a plant-based protein. We’re helping hungry mouths everywhere make the connection between food, kindness to self and others, and environmental impact. We loudly proclaim ‘Do No Evil’ as our battle cry in the food revolution and it steers us in all ways: from how we treat our team to where we source our ingredients.
Why did you start a business?
My co-founder & partner Mike Woliansky and I love to get creative in the kitchen and we just weren’t finding existing products on the market that satisfied our desires: a plant meat made with a short list of simple ingredients, and with the texture and versatility of traditional protein. So we channeled our punk rock ethos and DIY resourcefulness into launching No Evil Foods in 2014. We really wanted to slay the plant-based protein game and believe that real change (health, sustainability, compassion, etc) begins at the center of our plates. Our brand has experienced explosive growth from a single farmers market in Asheville to over 250 restaurants and retailers across more than 25 states in just 3 1/2 years!
Have you started other businesses?
Before launching No Evil Foods in 2014, I ran a lifestyle photography business specializing in maternity, birth, and new family photos. No Evil Foods took off so rapidly, so I switched my focus toward taking photos of food and I take nearly all of the product & recipe shots for NEF. Mike also spent years 10+ years playing in and managing independent bands.
How has your business benefited from being a part of the incubation program?
For No Evil Foods it’s so valuable to have an office space right next door to our production team at Blue Ridge Food Ventures. The set-up creates more synergy and connection between our team members and allows everyone to work together and be more productive.
We’ve also been able to attend some great seminars and talks touching on everything from HR concerns to growth strategy. Finally, it’s always great to be working and just existing near other entrepreneurs and small companies--developing relationships, asking questions, learning from one another successes and failures, sharing ideas. I think this is probably the greatest part of being involved in the incubation program.
What is the most challenging aspect of owning a business?
I think what makes being a business owner difficult is also what makes being a business owner so rewarding. The element of choice and the realization that all decisions are up to you can be overwhelming and liberating at the same time. Building out a team of skilled people who you trust helps relieve some of the pressure and makes the freedom that comes with entrepreneurship a little more fun!
What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
Reach out to people in your field and learn everything you can from them, and be humble enough to ask questions. We were surprised by how welcome other entrepreneurs were to us as newcomers. But above all, trust your gut, don’t take no for an answer, and get ready to do the work.
Is there anything that you want people to know about you or your business that they may not already know?
Visit our website to find tons of delicious recipes! You can also find out where to buy our products, enjoy them at restaurants, or order online and have our plant meats shipped straight to your door! www.noevilfoods.com
No Evil Foods is a mission-driven company, focused on impacting environmental sustainability, public health and animal welfare through better food choices. Every bite of No Evil Foods you take supports our cause: to use food as a force for good, because real change starts at the center of your plate.
Congratulations to WWBC Director, Sharon Oxendine, on receiving the SBA NC Women in Business Advocate of the Year award!
Sharon Oxendine serves as the Director of the Western Women’s Business Center at Carolina Small Business Development Fund in Asheville, NC. She provides one-on-one counseling and business services to women entrepreneurs. She also markets Carolina Small Business Development Fund’s lending program and originates loans in underserved markets in Western North Carolina counties. Sharon has over twenty years of non-profit experience, which includes business, financial and human services management. She has worked in the Western North Carolina area for over eleven years offering business training, lending and support. Sharon received the 2008 SBA Women’s Business Champion for the State of NC. Sharon studied at Central Wesleyan College and has a Bachelor of Arts in business management. Learn more about CSBDF HERE.
Congratulations to Meredith Bennett, the founder of Devoted Human, for receiving a fully funded Kiva loan.
Meredith and her business are participants in A-B Tech’s Business Incubation Program. Kiva plans to fund $3 million in loans to women and is sponsoring “dollar for dollar” matching today in recognition of International Women’s Day. To learn more, see: Kiva HERE.