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Who am I?

Food Without A Face began when I started the vegan transition 2 years ago. I realised there was a definite lack of help for people who were looking to become plant based and so I started to develop an idea for an app that would give people directions to the nearest vegan friendly business no matter where they were in the world.

I've always loved food and I'm not a salad eating kind of person, so what really appeals to me are the foods that vegans would normally miss - scrambled "eggs", meat free bacon and burgers, chunky wraps and, most importantly, good coffee and cake!

With that in mind, having sampled a lot of what the area has to offer, I've noticed a distinct lack of vegan friendly businesses near where I live and along the coast of the North East of Scotland.

What is the money for?

Recently I came across an absolutely beautiful old building called Collie Lodge in the coastal town of Banff, Aberdeenshire. This would be my absolute dream location - close to the sea, excellent parking, very reasonable rent and a whole lot of potential to make this the best vegan cafe around!

This building goes to a closing date on the 28th February. If this building slips away, there will be others and the money will be used to find one of those instead. But this is just too perfect not to aim for!

So with this building in mind the money will go towards:

  • Decorating! The building has been used as a Tourist Information office for years and currently looks a lot like an old school classroom. Out with the purple gloss paint and library shelves!

  • Refit! The food prep area and counter will be created from recycled materials

  • Equipment! Coffee machines, panini makers, storage units and fridges are all needed to keep food in good shape

  • Stock! All of the tasty vegan ingredients need to be bought in

  • Rent! For the first month or two the place will resemble a building site and won't be much use as a cafe so the money will go towards paying rent until the cafe can make it's own income

What makes your cafe so special?

Aside from being the only vegan cafe for miles, FWAF will have several special features:

  • Eco Friendly Practices: electricity will be supplied by renewable energy companies; food will be served in recycled packaging that is also compostable; we will push for an electric car charging point in the car park and discount will be available to those driving electric vehicles; recycled plastic coffee cups will be sold that will discourage the use of disposable cups; recycling bins will be available in store
  • Vegan Comfort Food: yes, there will be healthy options. But my goal is to encourage EVERYONE to eat here, not just vegans! In order to attract omnivores and show them just how great our food can be, there will be all sorts of tasty stuff available - maybe even some Cullen Skink!
  • Dog Friendly: as a crazy dog lady, I absolutely 100% will encourage you ALL to bring your dog friends after your walks along Banff beach. There will be snacks and water waiting for them!
  • Bird Friendly Coffee: as a place that promotes kindness to all living creatures, it would be wrong to ignore the impact that coffee farming has on our feathered friends. With that in mind, all of our coffee will aim to come from companies that are certified Bird Friendly - coffee is grown in the shade, meaning that the combination of foliage cover, tree height and animal diversity provides suitable migratory bird habitat while maintaining productive farms. Producers must be recertified every three years to ensure they continue to meet these requirements and can truly call themselves Bird Friendly.
  • Creative Space For Hire: whether you run a camera club, an art group or even just want to meet here before heading out with your running group, the space will be available for people to hire for a small charge.

What will it be like?

The aim for this coffee shop is to be unlike anything else in the area. The interior will be relaxing and warm with upcycled furniture, comfy seating and lots of cool artwork by local artists.

There will be shelves of vegan friendly products that you can purchase to take home and we will also be running community events every now and again.

Risks and challenges

The biggest risk is that the building may go to someone else - the closing date is the 28th February and there are several noted interests. This money will allow me to bid higher than I would otherwise have managed and may secure the lease.

If the building is unavailable, I will keep pushing on and find somewhere else equally as suitable!

Another risk is the financial risk that comes with all businesses. A cafe can only make money if people visit! But luckily I have a lot of great contacts in the press and also the vegan community of Scotland are a supportive bunch. People have assured me they will travel from miles around if it means getting themselves a decent latte!

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