By default, the way we live our lives often determines the kinds of people we attract. Though life and love tend to go hand in hand, those who live holistically are often left out of lifestyle and relationship conversations. More often, African American vegans aren’t even mentioned when the topic of holistic practices are up for discussion. Founders Jarrell and Rex quelled the disconnect with a revolutionary way for vegans to connect. Meet Vegan Bae is a virtual reality-based dating site that not only meet the needs of fellow herbivores but offers intimate settings for you and vegan bae to get a little more intimate without ever leaving home. In honor of everything black and business this month, Jarrell and Rex made it a little easier for black love to win! Let’s get into it.
Lé: Are both you Jarrell and Rex vegans? If so, had it been a conscious decision to implement change, or have you gentlemen always consumed a plant-based diet?
JG: I am a dietary Vegan. My family and I adopted this lifestyle seven years ago. Being in the fitness and health industry for 10 years, I saw being Vegan as a natural next for me to experience a healthier life. Although Rex adopted the dietary Vegan lifestyle for a brief period, he is currently not Vegan.
Lé: Aside from the obvious reasons of starting a vegan-based dating platform, what made you guys launch a dating app? Why in VR form?
JG: Launching this app was an idea of mine during my last year and a half of college. It started as a research project. Then transformed into what you see today. A few years ago, I noticed that the Vegan community was experiencing immense challenges in finding someone who subscribes to their same lifestyle. Launching this app to me meant that I would have a chance to do something innovative, cool, and inclusive for a community that often felt alone and discouraged. I also aim to perpetuate awareness about all things Plant Based/Vegan.
Lé: What would you consider a healthy relationship in this day and age?
JG: Great question! I’ll give a short answer. In my opinion, a healthy relationship could have many faces. However, I believe the core ingredients to having a healthy relationship are and have always been having the ability to understand your partner, effectively communicate, adopt a teamwork mentality, take accountability, and make atonement when necessary. 5 things. See, that’s not so bad. Right? *laughs*
Lé: What generation does the app intend to target?
JG: So, our target audience is 25-52. So, we have Gen-X, Millennials, and Gen-Z using the app.
Lé: Is Meet Vegan Bae subscription based?
JG: We plan to be in the future. However, Meet Vegan is free to use since we are still in the early adoption stages.
Lé: You’ve been live for just about a year now, have you guys hit any major milestones?
JG: We have received great feedback and support from our growing social media community. We aired our first television commercial last December. We’ve also been on several podcasts and in digital magazines since launching. Which we consider milestones because we’ve received acknowledgment in several states and countries. We also recently gamified the app by adding a bowling feature!
Lé: Did you host a launch party?
JG: We didn’t host a launch party. However, we plan to host a launch party when we launch our app’s live version. We are planning that now, so stay tuned!
Lé: What would you like to see happen for the company in the next three months?
JG: In the next three months, it would be great to see our first review telling us that they found someone special using our app! I think that is possible in three months.
Lé: Do you think solely focusing on just those who adhere to a vegan lifestyle hinders your ability to reach a broader audience?
JG: Theoretically, yes. But we knew coming into this that a broader audience would not be our focus. However, we also believe that Vegan people do a great job in spreading the word about things they enjoy, and most Vegan people have non-Vegan friends. So, even though our focus is not on non-Vegans, they still have an opportunity to learn about our app through their peers.
Lé: Would you consider adding a category to the app experience for those of us who would love to participate but aren’t committed to a plant-based lifestyle?
JG: We know some Vegans don’t mind dating non-vegan people. So, yes, we’ve had conversations about adding a non-Vegan category to the app. It may be coming sooner than later. However, it all depends on what the people want.
Lé: Did your love lives influence the concept behind Meet Vegan Bae?
JG: I’d have to say that my relationship with my wife indirectly influenced the concept of the app, because I’ve been with my wife for 18 years. So, I know firsthand the feeling of having a significant other that share the same morals as you do and how fulfilling it is. I took my experience and contributed my creative efforts to helping others capture that feeling.
Lé: What’s you current status? Are you gentleman single, dating, wifed up or in a calm situationship?
JG: “Calm situationship” is wild *laughs*! Rex is single, and Jarrell is married.
Lé: What advice do you have for others who want to dive into the world of dating apps?
JG: Be respectful and honest about who you are. If you can adhere to those words of advice, come on over to Meet Vegan Bae!
Interview Done by: Jaymi Le | Jaymi Le is currently living a Bichie lifestyle in the streets of Brooklyn. She writes, produces, and talks her ish effortlessly. Follow all things me @talktomslee_. Remember to keep it cute, I might be talking about you on Talktomslee.com.