Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alexander Volkov, Co-Founder and CEO of Green Wolf Foods, located in Campbell, CA, USA.

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

Green Wolf Foods's mission is to create a health-conscious, sustainable, and cruelty-free world. Green Wolf produces tasty, convenient, nourishing vegan food. Our pilot product line is Vegami - Naturally Smoked Vegan Salami. Green Wolf offers three unique flavors filled with veggies and greens and creates a new kind of Vegan Deli that brings traditional deli flavors with a modern plant-focused perspective. Even though I invented Vegami FOR VEGANS, many of our customers are meat eaters. They are excited to bring home not "fake meat" but spinach kale vegami, something unique, delicious, and healthy. We even came up with the slogan "Not fake meat. Real plants."

Tell us about yourself

I am vegan, and for many years one of the things I missed is the convenience and flavor of smoked deli cuts. I cooked my own home plant-based Deli recipes, waiting for truly delicious products to hit the shelves. When something new appeared at the store, I tried it. Each time it was a disappointment. I wondered why it is so hard to create really tasty vegan Deli products. Being a cooking enthusiast from a young age, I decided to make it myself, and in the process, I found the answer I was looking for. Most plant-based brands today are battling in a red ocean trying to make their products look, feel and taste EXACTLY like the "real meat." Whose ham is hammier, whose turkey is turkey-err? They add unnecessary fats, emulsifiers, thickeners, flavorings, and colorings to their products. It doesn't make them healthier. In most cases, it makes them a less healthy choice. What do we get as consumers? Dozens of similar products. Some of them taste better than others, but they all lack nutrients and consist of unpronounceable ingredients. I disagreed with that, so I invented VEGAMI. Vegami has straightforward ingredients, with ⅓ of the recipe comprised of vegetables. Vegami has eight times less fat, half the sodium, and double the protein as traditional Salami. The reason Vegami tastes so good and much better than most plant-based alternatives is simple. There are no ingredients trying to make it look and taste like animal flesh or fat. Instead, we innovated our own three flavors: spinach & kale, brown mushrooms, and tomato basil.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I created a unique product and launched it on the market within three months. One of the most important lessons I learned from my experience as a start-up founder and chief product officer is the benefit of agile development, early testing, and failing fast. I got all the necessary licensing and certification in a few months and launched VEGAMI at the Vegan festival in August 2022. It was a great success, from the very first person who tried our product and purchased it right away to the line of excited vegans we had before we sold out. We went to 3 more vegan festivals and sold out everywhere. We knew we had something truly unique. Next, we launched at Farmers' Markets and a vegan Cheese Monger store in New York. TODAY we have regular customers, our sales are growing, and demand is higher than the manufacturing capacity.

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

There is not one hardest thing. All of the things that encompass starting a new business are hard. Some are harder than others, and at different times, what seemed easy might become hard and vice versa. Today the hardest thing for me is fundraising. Finding and convincing people to believe in you and to support what you do with their own money is hard.

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

  1. Solve the problem that you have yourself. This will go a long way when things get tough, and they will get tough. This will help you stay on the right track and focus.
  2. Do not be afraid to be different. Listen to advice and feedback from your customers, but know that not everyone will agree with you all the time. Sometimes being different is what will help you create a unique product and will drive your innovation forward.
  3. Find early customers and raving fans as soon as possible. Do market testing early and find out if people are willing to pay for your solution to the problem you are solving.

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.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.