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Sandra Nomoto: A Journey to Veganism and Marketing

Updated: Feb 13

In the latest episode of The Glen Merzer Show, we had the pleasure of chatting with Sandra Nomoto, a remarkable individual whose journey into veganism and marketing sheds light on the transformative power of plant-based living and purpose-driven entrepreneurship.

Sandra's path to veganism began in 2007 when she watched the eye-opening documentary Earthlings, a pivotal moment that sparked her awareness of the ethical and environmental implications of consuming animal products. Despite initially taking two years to transition away from meat and seafood, Sandra's commitment to a compassionate lifestyle eventually led her to embrace veganism fully in the spring of 2018.

What stands out about Sandra's journey is not just her personal transformation but also the profound impact it had on her health. Struggling with undiagnosed digestive issues for years, Sandra found relief and improvement in her symptoms after eliminating dairy from her diet. Her experience highlights the often-overlooked connection between diet and health, demonstrating how adopting a plant-based lifestyle can offer holistic benefits beyond ethical considerations.

Sandra Nomoto's Vegan Marketing Success Stories book promotional photo

You can get Sandra Nomoto's Vegan Marketing Success Stories book here

Moreover, Sandra's story reflects the intersection of her cultural upbringing and dietary choices. Growing up in a Filipino household where meat-heavy dishes were the norm, Sandra's transition to veganism challenged traditional culinary practices but also opened doors to explore plant-based adaptations of her heritage cuisine.

Beyond her journey to veganism, Sandra's professional endeavors are equally inspiring. As a seasoned marketer with a niche focus on supporting vegan businesses and individuals, Sandra embodies the fusion of passion and purpose in her career. Her commitment to aligning her work with her values underscores the importance of conscious consumerism and ethical entrepreneurship in driving positive change.

Sandra Nomoto's story is a testament to the transformative power of living in alignment with one's values. Whether it's advocating for animal rights, or promoting environmental sustainability and ethical marketing practices, Sandra exemplifies how individuals can make a meaningful impact by embracing a plant-based lifestyle and channeling their passions into purposeful endeavors.

Tune in to The Glen Merzer Show to listen to Sandra's full interview and discover more insights into her journey to veganism and marketing.

Join us at Real Men Eat Plants as we celebrate individuals like Sandra Nomoto who lead the way towards a healthier, more compassionate, and sustainable future for all.

Listen to the episode here: Sandra Nomoto on Vegan Marketing

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DISCLAIMER: Please understand that the transcript below was provided by a transcription service. It is undoubtedly full of the errors that invariably take place in voice transcriptions. To understand the interview more completely and accurately, please watch it here: Sandra Nomoto on Vegan Marketing

Podcast Transcript:

Glen Merzer: Hello and welcome to The Glen Merzer Show. You could find us across all your favorite podcast platforms. You could find us on YouTube, and please remember to subscribe. You could find us at Real Men Eat Our guest today is Sandra Nomoto. She's an award winning ethical marketer for cruelty free businesses, and she's a book whisperer for authors with impact. She has authored two books herself. The world's first vegan marketing book called Vegan Marketing Success Stories, and also another book called The Only Public Relations Guide You'll Ever Need. She's a public speaker, and she co-hosts Veg Networking Canada, which is Canada's only vegan networking group. She blogs at and writes for several outlets. Sandra, welcome to the show! 

Sandra Nomoto: Thank you so much for that warm welcome. Great to be here, Glenn. 

Glen Merzer: All right. Now, first you have to tell me what the heck is a book whisperer? 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah, that's a fancy title I gave myself last year because after a few years, I started off working with authors. This was kind of during the pandemic, editing and formatting their books. And then that turned into coaching. I've ghostwritten, almost two books now. And then helping on the marketing side with authors as well. And so I just decided, I was originally using the title of the content doctor, which was a very good description of what I did for businesses. But when I decided to let that title go, I decided to go with Ethical Marketer and Book Whisperer. And so that that way folks know that I work with both businesses and authors. 

Glen Merzer: Okay. Now, when did you become vegan yourself? 

Sandra Nomoto: Spring 2018. 

Glen Merzer: Oh. Fairly recently. 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah. Yeah. It's almost six years in, so I'm still quite new, but. But it was an 11 year journey, so I was on the path for a long time. It just took me a while to to get it. 

Glen Merzer: What was that path like? What started you and I guess 2007 on the journey. 

Sandra Nomoto: At the end of that year, I saw Earthlings, and that was the first time that I had seen how our food is made, and it impacted me very deeply. And I knew that veganism was kind of the ultimate goal, but I didn't set a timeline for myself to to get there. And so it took me about two years to completely cut meat for my diet. And then for a good chunk of time, I was still technically pescatarian. So I've never been a huge fan of seafood and dairy. So most of those are seafood and eggs, I should say. Most of those foods I avoided, except for maybe on the weekends. I would have some fish and chips or something at a restaurant. During the week I really learned how to cook, either vegan or vegetarian. And then, when my husband and I went on our honeymoon in New York City in 2017, we ate at Iron Chef Morimoto restaurant, and I ate what I call the best seafood meal of my life. And I said, it's not going to get any better than this, so I'm leaving on a high note. Goodbye, seafood. And that was my last meal. Seafood meal. And then from there, it was just dairy. So, you know, pizza and ice cream. Some of my favorite foods. But for me, what it really did was health. And so for many, many years, I've had an undiagnosed digestive condition which my health team has not been able to diagnose. And so just after a bad bout of acid reflux in the middle of the night, I decided to go back to my natural path in spring 2018 and said, I need I need some answers. I need more answers. And so she said, let's do a food sensitivity test. So I did this test, found out I was sensitive to dairy, among other things, and which I would later learned that most people of color are intolerant to dairy. And then she said, okay, do a four month cleanse of all these foods, foods and beverages, and then and then reintegrate them back, after four months. And I came to the end of that four months and said, hey, I was able to do without dairy for this amount of time, and I've always wanted to be vegan. So I guess I'm here now. And as you know, once you do diet, everything else, you know, your clothing choices, personal products, all of that becomes so much easier to do vegan. So. So that's the date that I count from April 2018. 

Glen Merzer: Now, did your undiagnosed health problems begin to go away after you went vegan? 

Sandra Nomoto: You know what? Actually they did. They're not completely gone. You know, every I would say a few times a year now, I still get a little bit of bloating, heartburn, acid reflux, those, those uncomfortable symptoms. However, my episodes of vomiting, which were actually the worst symptoms, went away after, after I went vegan. And I learned while I was on that path from a nutritionist that I know, a plant based nutritionist, that there is something called underactive stomach. The scientific name is hyperlink, hypo claw hydra. And there's no, you know, it's very hard to diagnose, but I have a feeling this is what I have because of the symptoms. And one of the ways to alleviate it is animal products, by avoiding animal. So I think really that that dairy was the key for me. 

Glen Merzer: It's amazing how many health conditions go away when people just stop eating animal foods. 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah. 

Glen Merzer: Yeah. Now you are a Filipina Canadian, right? That's right. So it's growing up. Was there a lot of fish? Was is that, was your, family diet influenced by the ethnic diet of all Filipinos? 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah, I would say so. Our breakfasts, breakfast and lunches looked pretty. Pretty North American. You know, cereal for breakfast, slapping some deli meat between two pieces of bread for lunch or PB and J, that sort of thing. But I'd say in the evenings, my my parents are pretty good cooks. And so our dinners looked a lot like, sauteed meat dish, maybe some vegetables on the side, which I never liked as a kid, but of course, very much welcome now and then and then a side of rice as well. And so I grew up. Yeah, very much eating, meat heavy diet. Again, my, my parents did try incorporate some seafood, but because of that those bones and their so they're so difficult to pick out, especially when you're a child. I was never a huge fan of seafood, but. But yeah, now that I'm vegan, I actually, unfortunately do not, make a lot of those dishes because I'm sure they're easy swaps, like, you know, swap the tofu or sea tan for the meat and just saute it, you know, without the animal fat. But yeah, it's just because there are so many other dishes you can make, vegan. It's just. Yeah, it's just not a cuisine that I cook. Cook, vegan myself. If I did want to eat Filipino vegan, I would, I would go out to the local restaurant, which, there is one in town that thankfully has a vegan menu, so that's great. 

Glen Merzer: Okay. And how did your family and friends react to your becoming vegan? 

Sandra Nomoto: It was pretty non-reactive, I should say. And, and also because I did it in stages, like I said, 11 years. As I kind of reached those milestones, it wasn't a huge deal when, when I did and, you know, when it comes to, like, the family gatherings, I always bring those staple plant based dishes and desserts. So. And everybody's welcome to them. But usually, yeah, they know that I'm going to be the one bringing them. And, yeah, none of my family have have taken the steps to go vegan. I've got a couple friends that are that are vegan, but not not due to my influence, but they certainly have, I would say, learned a lot about why you should move in that direction. Because of the journey that I've been on right now. 

Glen Merzer: When did you get involved in marketing? 

Sandra Nomoto: So my first journey into marketing was when I, started my career in public relations. So that was the field that I just happened to jump into after university. And then after about a year and a half working at a local firm, I decided to start my own business. And that turned into, you know, a small virtual agency that I closed in 2018. So for, a good decade and a half, or ten and a half years, I was running. Yeah, my own, public relations agency. And then when I at coincidentally that the closure of that business coincided with me going vegan. And so as I was going vegan and, exploring different career paths, I didn't think that I was going to stay in marketing. I wanted a good ten foot pole away from it. But, I sat down to meditate at the end of 2019, and my intuition just very strongly told me, you know, you're vegan now and you will always be writing. So put those two things together and, and go and make a go of something. And that's when I started this second business at, the start of 2020. Originally as, a copywriter for vegan companies. And, and that has since expanded into to what I do now, which is, a few different marketing tasks, consulting and then working with authors. 

Glen Merzer: So this is a niche. You're a marketer, but just for vegan businesses and individuals, right? 

Sandra Nomoto: That's correct. I should I should clarify that the business does not necessarily need to be owned by a vegan, but so long as they're yeah, they're not selling animal products or byproducts in any way. That's really my criteria. And after the first two years of, you know, I, you know, I saw myself, okay, I can do this. And folks are coming my way and I all, every, every company that was on my roster, was vegan. And so I thought, that's going to be my commitment going forward. You know, there's there's no reason to keep supporting, companies that have animal products, as part of their supply chain. So that's just my personal way of of helping out our movement. 

Glen Merzer: All right. So it's not only businesses that are in the vegan space, but just business. If it's a business that, I don't know, an art gallery or something, there's nothing non vegan about it. You would entertain marketing for them, right? 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah, sure. Yeah, I would say those, those kind of companies are probably not not knocking on my, you know, proverbial door. But but yeah sure. 

Glen Merzer: Yeah. So the ones knocking on your door more are the vegan businesses, the businesses I guess making vegan foods, providing vegan clothing, things like that. 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah. I mean, as a result of, you know, publishing my, you know, the second book, which is in the vegan sphere and talking on podcasts like this, people, you know, have come to know me as a vegan. And so if they're looking for marketing support and they, you know, they're vegan themselves and they want to align themselves with with a vegan, I'm probably one of those folks that they're going to come to. And so that's what's great about our movement. It's that we we're we're kind of in every industry and sphere. And so yeah, if you want to, you know, hire a vegan accountant or marketer or, HR or, you know, person, there are, you know, we're we're in various industries. And so I think that's what's so great about it. 

Glen Merzer: Yeah. So you're in Vancouver, right? 

Sandra Nomoto: Vancouver, Canada. 

Glen Merzer: Yes, yes. So what is the vegan scene like in Vancouver? 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah, I would say it's it's quite thriving here. And which is probably the same for all the major cities in Canada and across the U.S.. We've got close to three dozen vegan exclusive restaurants, cafes and bakeries. And then, you know, even the omnivore restaurants, you'll usually find options. Probably wouldn't be too difficult to. Yeah, to to dine here as a vegan. And then in terms of just the general community, yeah, there's a lot of folks, there's a couple Facebook groups that, you know, are great for keeping people connected. A lot of, activists that do that sort of thing, in the city and, yeah, and a lot of meetups that are not only open to vegans, but but that, are hosted at places that have vegan food and welcome non vegans. And so, yeah, I would say our, our community here is is pretty thriving. 

Glen Merzer: Now I write books. I've written a number of my own, and I've coauthored a number more trying to persuade people that the Whole Foods low fat vegan diet is the optimal diet. And making the case for why it's the best diet for the planet to. And yet, maybe I haven't done my job well enough because most of the world still isn't vegan. Is this a marketing problem? Is there a way we could market the truth better so that more people will go vegan? How do we have to turn the world vegan as soon as possible? And when I say vegan, you know, predominantly plant based. So how do we do that? It's really at pace. Kind of a marketing problem, isn't it? 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah. And I would say it's been difficult because animal agriculture has had such a huge head start. And that's probably our biggest hurdle, right? They've had billions of dollars in advertising that they've been able to, use for for decades. Right. And so, it's not that we haven't done our job in terms of messaging. I think we the yeah, the issue is that we've we've now got to combat all of that and misinformation, I should say that's been out for so long. And it's, you know, it's just been passed on from generation to generation. And so, yes, it's a marketing issue for us and will always be. But I think, you know, thanks to the internet and the speed of the information that we've, we've had, and also just supporting a lot of the big players, I think and not not only big players, but, you know, the, the smaller companies that are maybe making alternatives in your city. I think, yeah, it's just going to take every bit of effort that we have, you know, through social media and publishing books and podcast, you know, podcasts, and all the other tactics that I mentioned in my book, it's really going to take, a united and consistent and persistent effort. And so, I think, yeah, we've just gotten started in terms of how we try and beat that behemoth of an industry that's that's kind of gotten a head start. 

Glen Merzer: What do you think are the most effective tools to persuade people to change their way of eating and living and becoming the. 

Sandra Nomoto: Well, I'm not going to claim to have all the answers, but, this is something I, you know, was was asked when I published my book, how do we get more people to go vegan? I and I really didn't have an answer for folks until I came across a couple of studies that were, done between 2018 and 2021. And then the, the the results have been published. I would say in like around 2022. And so these studies were done by a company called vole mad. I believe they're in Germany. And then for analytics, which is a Canadian research, and analytics company, they do studies. So they looked at, folks who identify as plant based and asked them, you know, what motivated you to start moving in that direction? And the most popular tactics that that people mentioned, hopefully I can remember them all, but I would say number one were documentaries. And so I think and I see this, the more documentaries that we can produce that counter that misinformation that we've just talked about, the better. You know, everybody right now is talking about Netflix is you are what you eat. That's the hottest series that people are talking about now, which is great because that's got a lot of information that will counter, yeah. Counter the, the animal ag industry. A couple of the other top tactics include, just just peer to peer, conversations, just talking with your loved ones about why you're personally going vegan. That's very powerful. And yeah, being a person like me who brings the plant based dishes to the holiday table. Right. So. So that can also be be be quite powerful. Social media posts. That's why I like to share a lot on my Instagram stories, because I never know what post is going to resonate with somebody and get them on the path. Blogs are corrupt. 

Glen Merzer: You there is Instagram more powerful than Facebook. 

Sandra Nomoto: I would, yeah, I wouldn't say I like these these studies. I don't think they dug right into, you know, the various social platforms. They just kind of said social media in general. So I wouldn't say one would be more effective than the other. Maybe Instagram has a bigger of a bit of a leg up over Facebook, because you have to show either an image or a video, whereas Facebook, you only have to put text. So maybe Instagram might be better, but but there's different audiences on on those. Both of those. 

Glen Merzer: And Instagram skews younger right. 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah. Yeah I would say so. So yeah. So kind of it kind of really depends on on who your audience is there. And then the last two that I was going to say were blogs and articles and, talks. So either educational talks and lectures at schools or talks at events. So your, your kind of local vege festival or yeah. Or public event. And so those are the top tactics that, that really got people to go plant based between those years. I'm not going to say that it's, you know, those are currently the ones that are getting people to go vegan now, but at least between the 3 or 4 years that these studies were done, those are the top tactics that that really move the needle. 

Glen Merzer: Now, where books on that list are of I've been wasting my time. 

Sandra Nomoto: Books were on the list, but they were down lower. So I'm more in kind of the medium, the medium range. 

Glen Merzer: There you go. Yeah. And, in your own life, have you people you've known who have gone vegan? Has it been more often for health, for the environment or for ethics? The animals? 

Sandra Nomoto: I don't think I would know that from. I mean, I know a lot of vegans now, but I don't necessarily know why. Yeah, kind of why they went vegan. I know a lot of for a lot of folks, it was for the animals. Or like me, they saw a movie like Earthlings, which really showed us how we treat the animals. I think a good, a good chunk of people, maybe for health. But but like me, you know, we we start with the animals and then we see something like conspiracy, which talks about the environment. And then something like what? The health which or what's the other, yeah, environment and something like what, the health or the China study, which, which addresses health. And then knives. Yeah. And then it kind of adds to those, those reasons why we might have originally, started to go on that path. So I think a lot of folks are maybe like that. It started off with one thing, but then they learned about the environment or the other factors and then and then, yeah. And then it pushed, pushed us even more. 

Glen Merzer: So right now, what was the, the reason behind are doing a book yourself. And I actually have done two. The first one, the vegan marketing success stories. What was, what was your plan of action coming up with that book? 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah, that started because, I had an intuitive reading around the time of my birthday in the spring 2021 and intuitive reading. Yeah. And the person. 

Glen Merzer: Charge of reading. 

Sandra Nomoto: The person said, your spiritual guides are telling you you're going to publish a book. Oh. And I went, okay. I did not have an idea for a book then, but I started thinking, you know, the gears started turning and I thought, what would I possibly write a second book on? And I knew that it would be nonfiction, because fiction is just not my my genre of choice when it comes to writing. And I thought about marketing because I've always been fascinated about marketing. And now that I was, you know, a new vegan, I thought that might be a valuable topic. And so I googled to see if anybody had done a book around this. And not only did someone not do that, but there was only one book about vegan business called Vegan Ventures, which was published in 2015 by Katrina Fox. And so I thought, wow, what an underserved market. We have so many books around why to go vegan and vegan cookbooks. But, yeah, but yeah, I, I saw quite a bit of a gap in terms of, being a business. And so, yeah, I started I started a list of companies that I wanted to interview to contribute their story to the book and started emailing, you know, those requests out in fall 2021. And then by early 2022, the book, I finished writing the book, and then it came out in the fall. So, so, yeah, that's that's all how it how it unfolded. 

Glen Merzer: Well, this raises a fascinating philosophical question, Sandra. If a psychic makes a prediction about your future. And because of that prediction, it gives you the idea to do what the psychic predicts. Is that person really a psychic? What do you think? I mean, do you give the psychic credit for predicting your book? You do. I didn't know you wrote the book. 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah, not the book I dislike, but the idea of writing the second book. 

Glen Merzer: The psychic would have been wrong if you had never had that session with the psychic. 

Sandra Nomoto: That's right. 

Glen Merzer: So it's a it's a gray area as far as I'm concerned. How good that psychic there's clearly the psychic was persuasive. But how good they were as a psychic, I can't quite I can't quite, fathom that. 

Sandra Nomoto: And, you know, I've been I've been doing these readings for fun for many, many years. And this person that I talk to, somebody that I've known for, for quite some time, and she considers herself an Olympian level intuitive. And so when I say she's an intuitive, like it's yeah, it's kind of a real deal. And of course, you don't ever have to listen to something an intuitive tells you, right? But in my case, she was she was bang on. And not only did I publish the book, but it kind of yeah, just really got my name out there in the vegan world. I was really unknown. And and now I've been invited on podcasts and invited to speak at events and, and, you know, my business is grown. And so I absolutely could not have predicted I would be here if it hadn't been for that reading. 

Glen Merzer: All right. We're going to take a quick commercial break and we'll be back with Sandra in Motor. Okay. We're talking with Sandra Emoto, the author of, vegan marketing Success Stories. So, Sandra, tell us something about in your book, there are different success stories. Tell us about some of the success stories in the book. Some of your clients. 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah. Happy to hear so. So there are 47 contributors. And then another, few dozen examples that I got permission to use. So quite a few stories you'll, you'll read about in the book. And yeah, I'll share some of my favorites. So the first is of a, in beauty and wellness company called Garden Garden in the U.S. they're they're quite well known for having one of the first vegan and organic sunscreen products. And so a number of years ago, they got involved in a reef safe campaign, in Hawaii, where, you know, as many of you will know, there is a lot of coral and, some of the ingredients that are in mainstream, some mainstream sunscreens are quite damaging to the coral. And so they got involved in this, advocacy campaign to try and ban two particular of, the chemicals. And they weren't even selling in Hawaii. This is the amazing thing. None of these mainstream sunscreen companies got involved, and they were not even selling in Hawaii, but they took it upon themselves to use their platform and and get in as many media outlets as possible. Really use, yeah, kind of their community and network to, to spread the word about this, online petition that was around to, to try and ban these two chemicals. And so once it finally passed the law, the CEO, Nova Covington, got the opportunity to, fly to Hawaii and, meet the governor. And when she met him, he said, oh, so you're the woman who crashed my server. So, so really great story about just. Yeah. Like I said, they weren't even selling in Hawaii, but, they gave out a lot of their product samples to get people involved in this, and. Yeah. And were really able to make, a huge impact in that state. With regards to the coral. So, so that's what I enjoy sharing. And then the other is of a woman also in the U.S., called Meredith, Marin. She runs a company called Vegan Hospitality. And in 2016, she relocated to Aruba, where her husband's originally from. And as a vegan, she found herself with not very many options there. So not great options in the supermarket nor at restaurants. And so she started by talking to chefs at the restaurants and saying, hey, what can you make for me? And because of that, you know, talking to chefs and getting the opportunity to help them actually create vegan dishes on their menus, that brought in the demand for the food in the supermarkets. And she also, you know, appeared in every media outlet that would let her talk about the importance of veganism. She taught cooking classes. She started the social media accounts for Vegan Aruba so that travelers, vegan travelers who were coming to the island could, learn where they could eat at restaurants and such. And then, I believe a couple of years later, she got the, opportunity to partner with the Aruba Tourism Authority and sponsor an influencer trip. So they flew, I believe it was six American vegan influencers to the island. Show them a good time. And, a lot of that content that that was created over that trip is still some of the talk, top ranking content that you will see if you Google Vegan and Aruba. And so, yeah. So after because of all of that, happy cow, which is the app that, you know, a lot of folks use to locate vegan restaurants or places where they can eat or, partake in vegan activities named Aruba, the most vegan friendly island in the Caribbean. And, and that was, you know, almost single handedly done because of Meredith and because of the success she had in Aruba. She created a company called Vegan Hospitality, which now teaches, folks to be consultants in their area and pretty much do what she did in Aruba in their own areas. And so, yeah, just really great success story. And, and again, almost single handedly done by Meredith. So that's one of my other favorite stories that I love sharing. 

Glen Merzer: That's a great story. Now, do you have any companies that you've worked for that manufactured vegan foods? 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah, I've worked with, a few local companies. So one is, a bakery in Whistler, which is, the ski snowboard town, just about two, 2.5 hours north of Vancouver here. So they have. 

Glen Merzer: That, added Natasha. 

Sandra Nomoto: That's right. So I interviewed. 

Glen Merzer: Them on my podcast. 

Sandra Nomoto: There. Yeah, yeah. They're amazing. So bread, the only pie based bakery you'll find in Whistler and then another local company, that makes vegan pies and quiches, called Breathe Kitchen here in Vancouver. I've worked with them as well. 

Glen Merzer: Okay. And. How different is it or is it not very different being a vegan marketer to compare it to what you did before, which was that you were in in PR and marketing, but not, not not in this niche of vegan businesses. 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah. So when I was running my agency conscious PR, I was focused on. You know, trying to tell the stories of socially and environmentally responsible companies. So a lot of sustainable companies, folks that, you know, we're impacting people positively. Animals were not you know, I admit they were not at the forefront, when I was running that agency. And now that I'm vegan, I really see that there is a huge, opportunity for, for these types of businesses. So the B Corp's the folks who are members of 1% for the planet, you know, all of these folks who I believe share the same values, but they just don't know how much we use animals in, in our everyday lives. And so I think there's a huge opportunity there. And that's the main difference between, the companies that I work with now and, and the ones that I did with my agency, but also, in terms of marketing, I am doing, different. Yeah, a different type of marketing. So during my agency, we were focused on media storytelling and social media, whereas now it's a lot of writing. So writing content. So that could be social media, could be blogs and articles could be emails. And I've actually just, recently started getting back into, media outreach again because the client some, some of the clients that I've worked with had said, you know, I would love to, to do media outreach, but, I don't have time to do it myself, so I'll pay you to do it. So so I've actually started doing some of that work again. So yeah. And it's really exciting to, yeah, as I said, be a vegan supporting vegan companies. But because I really do believe we need to move the industry forward and, and really get animals out of, of out of the supply chain. And actually, the last chapter of my book, there is a section about, how some of these companies who decided to move in a vegan direction. You can also use that story in your marketing. You know, The Body Shop just announced that, they were able to do that by the end of the, of 2023, and that that story was in my book the year prior. So they've actually been able to do it now. And now they're making headlines. And so, yeah. So if you're, you know, running a business, you're not a vegan company yet, but that's something you're, you know, you're interested in. It's absolutely possible. And then and then you can do some marketing around that too. 

Glen Merzer: Yeah. Yeah. So in business now, you're in the vegan niche. Do you find that? As I find in my life. Of course, I have many friends who are not vegans. Probably most of my friends are not chickens. Meaning I have probably more friends who are not vegans than vegans. But I find as I get older that more and more, more and more of my time, more and more of my friends. Is it has something to do with being vegan. You know, I have I feel that, you know, I started as a writer. I wasn't writing anything vegan themed. I was writing stage comedies. Now almost everything I write has something vegan, some vegan aspect to it. Or it's all about veganism. And with my friends, I mean, it never used to be something I even thought about whether somebody is vegetarian or vegan. It was the last thing I ever talked about, let's say, when I was in college. I was a vegetarian at that time, but I never even asked other people if they were vegetarian, much less vegan. But now, as I'm getting older, I find that. Being part of a vegan community is important to me. It's important to my wife. More and more of my friends are vegans. Almost all of my work is vegan. Do you find that same thing happening in your life to that, that the vegan imperative kind of starts to take over, doesn't completely crowd out the rest of life, but it starts to take over a little bit. 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah, absolutely. And I think I think it speaks to your values. Right. You know, veganism is can be a big part of people's lives. And I think naturally if you seek out that community. So like I said, you know, I started going to meetups, especially if they were hosted at restaurants where I'd never tried the food. And even if the people sitting next to me weren't vegan, you know, it was kind of that that was the reason why we were all there. We wanted to be vegan food. And then, as a result of starting, you know, a new business that is focused on supporting vegan companies. I've joined several vegan networks. And so vegan business try vegan mainstream. And, you know, as you said at the beginning, I co-host a group here in Canada called Veggie Network in Canada. And so it kind of my, my work life is now is now surrounded by vegans as well. And so yeah, I think that definitely happens when you start living out your values and you surround yourself with with that community that shares your values. And I think we need more of that. It's it's not a bad thing at all. 

Glen Merzer: Tell us about veg network in Canada. What is that? 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah. This is a network that started as an in-person group here in Vancouver in 2020. And then when the pandemic hit, it turned to to zoom. And so I wasn't invited as a member until about a year after. So 2021. And then about six months later, the the original founder of the groups, decided to step down. She got too busy and invited me to become the co-host. And so what we do is, is, is anybody who's vegan and in Canada or if you're you identify as Canadian, maybe living somewhere else, is welcome to join us. We we meet Thursdays, 1:00 on zoom Pacific time. And, the criteria to join us is you need to be vegan. That's it. But we also interview guests who maybe not. I, maybe don't identify as vegan. However, they work for, vegan Company. And the questions that we ask are all about the journey. The business journey. So, so, yeah, it's a great chance to, to get to know other vegans or just folks in the vegan industry. And, and we're the only ones in Canada that are doing this. I've gotten invites from, you know, folks, folks outside of Canada, can I join too? And I say, sorry, but but we do record our interviews and we put them up on YouTube. So anybody who would like to check out, the person that we interview every week, you can do that on our YouTube channel. 

Glen Merzer: So each week is an interview with a vegan business person. 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah. So it'll be either a member who, who who joins us, who identifies as vegan and, and is a vegan professional or entrepreneur. Or it'll be a special guest, who works for a vegan company. 

Glen Merzer: Okay. And has that led to, vegan synergy and, I don't know, new businesses being formed or new investment, happening. 

Sandra Nomoto: I don't know about new businesses or investment. But yeah, I feel like Canada is always a little bit behind the U.S. in terms of just how fast the industry moves. Not that there are, you know, we have our fair share of vegan businesses. Absolutely. But none at the level of, let's say a Beyond Meat, right? And I think in order to get there, we just have to keep talking about vegan business. And and that's why we're around. Yeah. Just to showcase, those of us here in Canada who are, who are in that industry and working towards it and, yeah. And to to inspire anybody who might be watching our interviews on YouTube. Just to know that. Yeah, we just really want to normalize veganism in business, I think, yeah, we could just use more of that, not just in Canada, but but everywhere. 

Glen Merzer: Well, let me ask about veganism in Canada. Is is Vancouver more veg friendly, say, than Calgary where they have that, that, what do they call that rodeo thing? They have. 

Sandra Nomoto: The stampede. 

Glen Merzer: Yeah, yeah. The stampede. Yeah. That's awful. So is is, is Vancouver more veg friendly, vegan friendly than than Calgary? 

Sandra Nomoto: It's hard to say because I. Yeah. I'm not, I don't know in terms of population, how many we have here versus Calgary because Calgary is also a major city. So they very well could have more vegans than Vancouver. I just don't yeah. I just don't have those numbers. But certainly the Calgary Stampede is, is, you know, gives them a bit of a deficit there because it is it is cattle country. So, you know, very like, very much like Montana or, or the other states around it. So, so, yeah. 

Glen Merzer: And what about the French part of the country? How is, how is veganism doing in Montreal and Quebec? 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah, I think Montreal's got a pretty thriving scene. I know that they have the Montreal Veggie Fest. The vegan festival. I don't know the exact name. That that is every year out there. And then one of our members is in Quebec City, at Veg Network in Canada. And, I don't think she would say Quebec City is, as much, of, of, Vegan City as Montreal. But but she's out there, so, so there's, there's at least. Yeah, at least a handful in Quebec City. But yeah, like I said, the major cities, I think, are pretty good in terms of a community. And personally, I've been trying to, just spread the word, in Facebook groups, to reach more folks in the Maritimes. So in Atlantic Canada and in central Canada. So, not only Alberta, but Saskatchewan, Manitoba, because I know there are folks that have, you know, that are vegan that are are out there, but most of our members are in the major cities. And so, yeah, I would just really love to to meet more folks, in the other areas too. 

Glen Merzer: Do we know if there's a higher percentage of vegans in the United States or in Canada? 

Sandra Nomoto: I would think that there are more just because of the higher population. 

Glen Merzer: Percentage. 

Sandra Nomoto: Percentage. 

Glen Merzer: Percentage. 

Sandra Nomoto: I've no idea. I would guess it would be probably higher, though. 

Glen Merzer: You think higher in the United States? 

Sandra Nomoto: I think so. 

Glen Merzer: Okay. All right. But do you feel that, it's trending in the positive direction in Canada? 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah, I think so. Yeah. Again. But a lot of, a lot of, meat eaters across Canada, and that's due to our colonial history. But, but yeah, I think the more, the more we spread the word about the benefits of of going back to base and becoming vegan, like. Yeah, I think it's possible. 

Glen Merzer: Now, Canada had terrible fires, over the summer. I don't know for how many months. Are people connecting that animal agriculture? 

Sandra Nomoto: You know, it's hard to say I because. Yeah, the wildfires here are it's a, it's sort of an annual thing. And. Yeah, it really varies each year how intense the effects are. Of course, if it's a harder summer, that'll make it worse. Or higher winds and that sort of thing. I it's it's not due to. You know, animal agriculture, I would say as as much as it is in the Brazil, in Brazil or the, the, the rainforests out there. And so I think because of that, people don't make that connection. But I think, yeah, the more that we talk about the environment and, and that fact that, trees are cut down, because of, because of animal act, I think that's, that's really the point that that is more important to make than it being the cause of wildfires. That makes sense. 

Glen Merzer: Yeah. Well, you know, as the climate gets hotter. There are more wildfires. And then as there are more wildfires, the planet gets hotter. So it's a it's an, self-reinforcing negative spiral. And so in that sense, the fact that animal agriculture is making this a cause, the leading cause of greenhouse gases making the world hotter. We're more likely to get wildfires. 

Sandra Nomoto: Great point. 

Glen Merzer: Yeah. So, what can you tell us about your ambitions for the future with your marketing business and, any future projects you may have? 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah, a lot of people have asked me, you know, if I'm going to work on a third book and I don't have an idea for one yet. I've got quite a few documentary ideas, because once I learn that documentaries are the most powerful tactic that get people to to move in a plant based direction, you know, I'm really interested in, in producing them. You know, I don't have a handful of cash to start one, but if anybody's listening out there, I've got some ideas and you can you can always turn documentaries into a book as well. Use the and use the information. So that's kind of what I would like to get into. Just yeah, getting more into the film medium versus books and, yeah. Nothing, nothing too huge on the, on the business front. Just. Yeah. Working with marketing companies. I've been really fortunate to work with a few vegan authors now, which I really enjoy. And, I'm new. 

Glen Merzer: And do you want to tell us who they are? 

Sandra Nomoto: Sure. Yeah. Happy to plug them. The first is Steven Lee August, who wrote, vegans versus the verses in bold. 

Glen Merzer: And let me get that. Vegans versus the versus. 

Sandra Nomoto: Yeah. So versus same word twice as us and then the versus as in the Bible versus RSS. And and his book is about evidence in the Bible, for veganism. So if you're a Christian, and interested in veganism, you definitely want to pick this book up. Or if you're an activist and you love debates and you want to argue with an omnivore Christian about what the Bible says in your in our defense. This is a book for you. So, so that's the first, author that I've worked with. And then the other is, Tiffanie Peterson. Also, both of them are in the US. And she, wrote a youth fiction book called animal, and it's a fictional, story about, a teen who finds herself in a fantasy world. She enters some portal, and then she, she's in a new world where, where animals are talking, and and she's got a relationship with animals. And her, her family is there, but her family doesn't understand that this is a different world than than the norm. The more normal Earth world that they come from. And, yeah, it's more targeted to to. The youth. So. Yeah. So it was to others. 

Glen Merzer: All right. Well, Sandra, it's been a pleasure talking with you and, continued success. And if you can just market veganism enough, maybe the world will go vegan. Yes. 

Sandra Nomoto: Trying. Trying. Glen. There are other, all of us, vegan marketers here, so. 

Glen Merzer: All right. Well, thank you and continued success. 

Sandra Nomoto: Thanks, Glenn. Best to you, too. 



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