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, Co-Owner of Deep Sea Vegan, located in Nashville, TN, USA.

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

We are a plant-based pop-up restaurant now transitioning to multiple brick-and-mortar locations. We are family owned and black-owned. I am a certified rescue diver and chef. My twin brother and co-owner Kelvis is a certified open-water diver. Along with our sister and co-owner Michelle, we have launched a unique brand of extremely delicious and nautically themed menu items that are all made exclusively from plants, flowers, and vegetables. No soy, tofu, tempeh etc.

Tell us about yourself

What started as a medical journey to lower my cholesterol by transitioning to a plant-based diet turned into a thriving business! I combined my love for scuba diving and my talent as a chef and created Deep Sea Vegan. All of our menu items are themed after scuba diving, the beach, or the ocean.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Being able to offer people extremely delicious options for everyday comfort foods and putting a smile on their faces by doing so is my biggest joy! Also being able to share my love for the ocean and the importance of saving and protecting coral reefs and the ocean while sharing my diving videos from around the world. Seeing how that inspires and educates people is equally a joy for me. And most importantly, working with my siblings to cement the legacy our mother, the late great chef Maydean poured into us is ultimately what motivates me daily.

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

The hardest part of being a business owner is staying motivated and consistent during the challenging times of building the business. Staying consistent is easy when things are going well. Staying consistent with your effort when things aren’t going well 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?

  1. Make sure you are willing to give yourself 5 years of true commitment to your vision without making any real money. Or don’t even start it.
  2. Be prepared to pour your own money and resources into your vision.
  3. Surround yourself with people that can align themselves with your vision and support you and become a team with you.

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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