Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kendall Duffie, Chef, and CEO of Deep Sea Vegan, located in Nashville, TN, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are a 100 percent plant-based pop-up restaurant transitioning to several brick-and-mortar locations. Our core consumer base is foodies! More than 80% of our customers are non-vegans, just people that love extremely delicious food!

Tell us about yourself

I am a chef and certified rescue diver. Seven years ago, I became vegan at the suggestion of my doctor as a means to lower my cholesterol. As a chef, I welcomed the challenge to create delicious vegan food I could enjoy, and over time my family and friends would try the various foods I was making and be blown away that it was vegan! This eventually morphed into a restaurant business concept combining my love for scuba diving. All of our menu items are made exclusively from plants, flowers, and vegetables (not dot, tofu, tempeh, etc.), and all of our menu items are themed after scuba diving, the beach, or the ocean. My twin brother and co-owner Kelvis is also a certified scuba diver, and along with our sister and co-owner Michelle, we have created an amazing product and brand that we know will continue to grow in this ever-growing plant-based food industry!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

For us to see how many people are able to enjoy the everyday comfort foods that many are allergic to or unable to eat, like dairy products, fish, etc., and be blown away at how delicious it is gives us a feeling of joy and success. Also, educating and inspiring people about the ocean, coral reefs, and their importance and marine life through our scuba diving videos and pictures that we share online is very rewarding as well.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

One of the most challenging things about being a business owner is staying consistent, motivated, and driven when things aren’t going well. It’s easy to be on your game when everything is going well. But when you can stay consistent, motivated, and driven during those very challenging times is what separates the ordinary from the extraordinary.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

I would tell anyone that is starting a business these things.

  1. If you’re not willing to give yourself five years without making any real money, don’t even start.
  2. If you’re not willing to pour your own money, give your time fully to the business and sacrifice a lot. Don’t even start.
  3. If your heart isn’t 100 percent into it, don’t even start.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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