Discover a New World of Vegan Cheese...

Discover a New World of Vegan Cheese...

Friday, November 1, 2013

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND ORDERING, PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK TO BE DIRECTED TO OUR NEW WEBSITE:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Thank you!

We are truly grateful. And lucky. And all those other good things!

THANK YOU for your gracious support. We are overwhelmed by everyone's kind words and generous spirits, and we look forward to our future. 
We couldn't do it without everyone who has chosen to help us, and I suppose words cannot adequately describe how grateful I am. 



We are in the process of purchasing equipment, ordering supplies, and signing a contract for our kitchen!  I am teaching my first cheese making class on Saturday, as well.  Things are moving along, even they are not always moving as fast as I would like...but perhaps that is a good thing given the (at times) very overwhelming nature of this beast.    :)


Will post more soon, and thanks again!
♥ ♥ ♥

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has".
---Margaret Mead




http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1427925008/door-86-vegan-cheese-project

Monday, August 19, 2013

UPCOMING CHANGES

HI everyone!

A lot of things have been going on lately and I wanted to post a quick update.

First, I want to thank everyone for sticking with us as we transition.  It's been a very busy time this past month, and we have seen success in various stages along the way; we finalized our LLC a few weeks back, we launched our Kickstarter campaign and were elated when we were fully funded before our deadline date; we received our food handlers certifications, and attended our first local event! While at the event, we were able to meet with local restaurant owners who are interested in putting our cheese on their menus, so THAT is happy news!

As many of you may know, this process is time consuming and we are working everyday towards our goal.  Our website is under construction, and will be up and running soon!

We are also working on our final logo, getting it more streamlined and minimized so that it looks great on our labels once we are ready to ship, so you will see these changes coming soon as well.

Our last hurdle is the Dept. of Agriculture. We are submitting our applications for manufacturing in a commissary kitchen, and since we are a vegan "dairy" product, they aren't really sure where we fit in just yet. They are not sure how to classify us, but it will be settled soon, I have no doubt.

Finally, I am teaching my first cheese making class!  It is a basic course for 10 people and I will be demonstrating how to make raw, cultured vegan cheese. I think it will be great fun, and I'm really excited to introduce this process to my clients.

Keep checking back and as always, look for us on Facebook and Twitter.

https://www.facebook.com/Door86VeganCheese
https://twitter.com/door86veganchse

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Until next time--

Daphne














Sunday, July 28, 2013

WEBSITE INFO

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to update to tell you that THIS is the page you are directed to when you google "Door86vegancheese.com"

As soon as the website is up, we will link it and you will see that page instead.

Thanks-

Daphne


Sunday, July 21, 2013

NEWS! NEWS! NEWS!

Hey there!

I know it's been a while since I last updated, and a LOT has happened since then.  I had spinal surgery, moved across the country, started a "real" company, and made a few new friends along the way!  I am grateful for all that has happened for all that will continue to happen.

I'm still making cheese here in Nashville, and in the process of getting that KITCHEN!  We have found a great space that we think will be perfect.  We have also launched a Kickstarter campaign with the hope that it will help us get the funds we need to get up and running properly.  It's going well so far, and we are thrilled to see the progress it's making!  But more importantly, we are amazed (mind blowingly so) by the generosity shown to us by the many people who have only read or heard about us, and have not had the opportunity to try the cheese....the trust they have placed in us is humbling.  The confidence that our Colorado friends have in us is equally thrilling; they have stuck by us and their support means so much--the Denver vegan community holds a special place in our hearts.    :)

Here is a link to the vegan cheese/wine tasting that was held in Colorado Springs:

http://www.meetup.com/ColoradoSpringsVeg/events/110434432/?action=detail&eventId=110434432


I thought I would place the link to a little VegNews write up that we received. We were very happy to see it and are looking forward to seeing how this all turns out!  Here is the link:

http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=5986&catId=8


Also, here is the link to the Kickstarter campaign if you want to read more about the project:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1427925008/door-86-vegan-cheese-project


I will post more updates soon!  Thanks again, everyone, we appreciate it more than you know.

Sincerely,

Daphne




Saturday, May 18, 2013

Every New Beginning...

Tomorrow is our last Neat Market.
Tomorrow is the last Sunday when I will wake up early and make coffee, check all the bags and coolers, make a mental note to grab something that I will inevitably forget, feel nervous, feel excited,  tell my husband/partner something he already knows because I've told him 5,000 times already, and rush out the door fifteen minutes later than we had planned on leaving.

I've been sort of weepy and sad today and I suppose this is why.  Besides saying goodbye to a lot of old friends that I've known for years, I'm saying goodbye to those of you that I've met in just the last few months via the Neat Market.  I will truly miss you all. Some of you have touched my heart and mind in ways that you will never know. I have grown as a person because I've had the good fortune to stumble into your presence. Thank you for being open hearted, and offering me your kind spirit.

Tomorrow is not the last day of Door 86, but it is the last day that we, as a company will be located in Denver.  We are relocating to Nashville, and plan to ship wholesale from our base of operations there.  We may have a source of Neat Market distribution here, but nothing is certain as of yet. One thing is certain though, that we WILL SHIP TO NOOCH by August!  :)

Most people have asked the question; "how did you start doing this?"  I usually just tell people that I've been making raw cultured cheeses for several years, but recently was able to experiment with some new recipes that I combined my old techniques. That is true.  But the real answer, the hardest one to talk about, is the WHY of it.
I suppose now is as good a time as any to answer that honestly and in full. Its not a question I like to answer when surrounded by people. Its not pretty or happy. It is not a short answer that I can segue into another conversation. But the outcome of it has been happy. For that I am more grateful than anyone will ever know.

I moved to Denver last April of 2012.  I hated it. I hated everything. I was, as they say, down the Rabbit Hole.  I didn't think I was, but I was.  We had come here from Spain, where we had planned to retire, but fate, it seemed, had other plans for us.
I arrived in Spain in August of 2011.  I was there for about a week when my only sibling, my brother Rich was killed. He was hit by a car and passed instantly from what I've been told. I have never asked any of the other details, nor will I ever.

I flew home to Nashville for the funeral and while there, I realized how far, and how long I had been removed from my family. I had always been fine with it; we were military, and it was expected that we would always be geographically located far from our families.  But something changed in my brain after Rich died.  It was as if someone removed my brain, changed my thought processes, rearranged the chemical balance, and put it back in.
I remembered how life had been a few weeks earlier; how I had only been concerned about my life, my needs, my wants, my goals, my job, my status in Academia, my, my, my.....the list goes on...but I could not, as hard as I tried, find it in me to truly give a fuck about any of those things anymore. Something was gone. Just gone.

In the months that followed, I went through the motions of life while we were still in Spain.  I figured the best way for me to get on with things, to cope, would be to just MOVE FORWARD. That was always my MO.  Just MOVE FORWARD and everything will work out.   I took a new job teaching English, I worked on two conference papers that I presented in Ireland and at Boston University, I tried to live my life as it was, and generally focused my energies on landing a teaching position at a university once we came back to the U.S.
Funny thing, though; Grief doesn't play by the same rules that I had always played by. I was in another world and didn't even know it.

So last year I get to Denver. It sucked. The traffic sucked. The people were unfriendly. It was too big. I sulked. I hated my life, I hated my husband, I hated me. I did not care if I lived or died.   I couldn't really say why.  But then I knew; I was depressed. I was still very much grieving for my brother. I had not taken the time after the funeral to grieve. I just reverted to old habits.

So I started working on my mental health.  I started seeing things a bit clearer. Slowly the clouds lifted.
In August while surfing Amazon for a new vegan cookbook, I ran across Miyoko Schinner's "Artisan Vegan Cheese". I ordered it and lets just say it really opened my eyes.  All the cheese I had been making years before, and could never get the texture right, or solve other problems, her book really helped me to figure it out. It inspired me so much!
 I was obsessed; I made nearly everything in the book!  And that stuff was pretty good!  Not being one who can ever leave a recipe alone, I got out my old recipes, and tinkered and experimented for weeks. I looked through my cheese books for inspiration; I thought why not make all kinds of cheese???  Its just a blank canvas waiting to be filled. So that's what  I did. And I was happier than I had been in a very long time. Really, blissfully, HAPPY!
It was as if someone had thrown me a life-raft in the form of vegan cheese.

A few months later, I ran across Plants and Animals Denver, and found out about the Neat Market.  I had all this cheese that I had been making and I thought maybe people would want to taste some of it. I thought it was good, so maybe someone else would too.
 I contacted Mark and the next thing I know, its January 2013 and I'm signed up to sell cheese at the Neat Market. I had no idea (no really, not a CLUE) what I was doing. Sure, I knew the basics; go in, set up samples, talk about it, sell it, blah blah blah...but I had no idea the shit storm I was going to stir up.
I sold out in a little over an hour.  You could have knocked me down with a feather. On top of that, I had a yellow legal notepad full of email addresses for people who wanted to know how/where/when they could order more. Order more??  What the hell do you mean?  I had planned on it being just a one-time deal so I could get out of my house and interact with society since I had been living as a depressed, slightly deranged hermit for the last several months.  I had not given any thought to "whats next".

But soon enough, people came looking for the cheese. It grew, and continues to grow. I've learned a lot along this short 5 month journey, and I continue to learn. My husband is my partner, and has been supportive, and involved and I probably should be nicer to him when we discuss cheese.

One day I realized that I was sort of happy again. I wasn't depressed.
Sure, the grief over my brother is there, and it will always be. Some days are harder than others. Life isn't always easy or fun.  But somehow, something saved me. I really do believe it was the cheese.

So when smiling people with mouths full of cheese ask me, "How did you start doing this?!", that's the long of it. That's the truth of it.
But perhaps its best to just say that someone threw me a life raft.  :)

I look at this journey as the beginning of something good; a way to help other people, animals, raise awareness, meet like-minded people, and do some good in this world.  That is my hope, and I believe that is my calling.  I will go to Nashville to be nearer to my family, but I will go to Nashville and see it as a new beginning, a blank slate of sorts, even while we may have to close the door on this one for a while.

As I've said many times before, I plan to ship wholesale before summers end, and so you WILL see us again.

With a heavy and grateful heart, I offer many thanks to all of you who have supported us, reached out to us, taken interest, offered advice, friendships, and community. You are our heart and our first priority when we ship. We have been blessed.

Love,

Daphne














Sunday, March 3, 2013

Growing Pains and Lessons Learned...

One thing that no one tells you ( I suppose one has to experience this on his/her own) when starting a business is just how much it can overwhelm you, and despite the excitement, there is always a sense of self-doubt during the process.  I'm finding this as I go along...

Business has been brisk, to say the least.  There is so much interest in the cheese!  I am so grateful for it that I cannot express it without sounding like a lunatic. But I am finding that building this project is quite an endeavor.  I decided to put myself and my cheese out there to see if anyone would like it enough to buy it. They did! They do!
And now I am consumed with trying to navigate the waters of setting up a business; getting licensed, building a website, shipping, marketing, production/costs, recipe development, inventory, emails, orders, deliveries, taking phone calls from people who want to order the cheese for their store or restaurant...the list goes on and on...all while trying to keep my sanity.

Last week was brutal and I found that I need to prepare much more than I had anticipated. I ran out of labels. I ran out of bags. I ran out of cheese. I forgot someones order.  My kitchen was destroyed. My inventory/order list was discombobulated at best. I was taking orders on Facebook and on my email. I was texting some people and calling others. I was, in a word, frantic. It was not a good feeling.

I made a decent profit on Saturday after all of the deliveries were picked up. According to one well-meaning  friend, I should have "felt great after that". But I didn't. I felt scattered and unorganized and somewhat like I had failed. I gave everyone their orders. The cheese was fresh.  It tasted good. Everyone seemed pleased and I was able to talk to all of my clients for a few minutes, and I loved that. I love getting to know them.  But something was just "off".

I tried to unwind over the course of the evening and into Sunday. But there was and is still a heaviness that I cannot shake.  I know that it's because I need to organize everything better so that I can take more control of this thing. Otherwise it's going to control me, which is exactly what has happened.

I have started to write down what is not working so that I can see it and make changes where I need to. I don't want the business side to be so out of balance that I start losing quality of the product I am making. It must remain a slow, small batch endeavor. I will NOT sacrifice quality for a quicker, larger profit margin; that goes against what I wanted to accomplish in the first place.
The cheese is a living thing that I actually make...It is sort of like my child and I find myself taking a very personal interest in each batch.  I will never mass produce it. I will never rush it. It must be allowed to develop and become what it needs to become.
I suppose this should apply to my business as well. I've been so worried about rushing to fill orders or ship out samples or make new business contacts that I have let those elements take over. No more.  I will nurture it slowly and carefully to ensure that it is on solid ground.

I have decided to deliver only twice per month. The beginning and end of the month seems to be a good fit. We will attend the Neat Market mid-month, and maybe a Chomp dinner, but that will be all.  That way, I can have time to culture and cure the cheese. I will have time to breathe and organize in the ways I need to, and I think this will be beneficial to everyone, not just me.

I am so grateful for everything, even the chaos that is on my plate. Its been wonderful and I would not trade what I have learned and continue to learn for anything. I have a long way to go, but I hope everyone will hang in there and continue to walk with me and watch this project grow. I have big plans for it, eventually. I just have to take baby steps and realize that before I can walk or run, I need to crawl.

I am prioritizing and the first thing I am doing is getting a website up and running. This way people can order directly and if shipping is necessary, then it can all be taken care of in one place. It will look a little different from this blog, but I think it will be nice; user friendly and simple. Working on my LLC is also something that is in progress...its going to take time, but I intend on making some headway with this as well.  In the meantime, new cheeses are developing and I will post updates here as well as on FB/Twitter (Twitter...never thought I would say that!).

Until next time,

D.