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Meet Mary Medellin of Green Saturday LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Medellin.

Mary, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started by using social media (Facebook and Instagram) as tools to help others find vegan food options in various parts of Los Angeles and Orange County. Originally using the aliases @vegansfrommars (for vegan restaurants, events, and vegan products) and @disneylandvegan (to share information on vegan options in theme parks such and Disneyland and Knotts berry farm). For years, I used social media for awareness promoting animal activism, and a vegan lifestyle.

Meanwhile, I was also creating cruelty-free hats and accessories and selling them at various local events. It was after one of these events that a long time friend German Rivera approached me with an idea to do an event of our own. With my using social media to spread the word, and my understanding of working with vendors at pop-up events, I agreed it was a great idea.

There were plenty of large vegan food festivals that focused on large brands and food, but we saw that some smaller vegan business were not participating in larger events. With the holidays coming up, we decided to create our own version of Black Friday and Green Saturday LA was born as a vegan and cruelty-free marketplace. We began with 20 vendors, unsure if people would be interested in what we were doing.

Our first event was such a success we decided to do it again, and again. We expanded from 20 vendors to 30, to 50. Green Saturday is now every three months, and we have our three year anniversary coming up at our November 24th event in Long Beach. At each Green Saturday event, we also invite our friends from Whiskers and Tails Foundation to bring adoptable dogs and cats and help raise funds for their efforts.

We have since done smaller pop-ups at local breweries and bars in various cities, we’ve also collaborated with Eat Drink Vegan (one of the biggest vegan festivals in the country) to curate a vegan marketplace with 100 vendors. I’ve also collaborated with Vegan Street Fair and other vegan activists for a vegan bake sale fundraiser benefiting RAICES. I’ve also had the pleasure of speaking on panels about plant-based foods and living a vegan lifestyle.

It’s an honor to be a part of such a strong community working with amazing vegan businesses, vegan consumers and collaborating with others to help make veganism as accessible as possible.

Has it been a smooth road?
As Co-founder and Event Coordinator, I’ve had very few obstacles but managing an event can be a lot of work and stressful. It absolutely keeps me busy constantly researching possible new vendors to book, dealing with contracts, venues, handling social media, and all of the behind the scenes work setting up the events (you’ll even find us running around, helping vendors unload and moving tables and such) and ensuring each one is a success, but it’s all absolutely worth it.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Green Saturday LA is a vegan and cruelty-free marketplace. We specialize in working with small local businesses providing everything from vegan food to shoes, handbags and accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, skincare, art and more. We also keep our events affordable to the public, often free to attend or a few dollars for admission.

For many veganism isn’t just about the food, some want to live a conscious lifestyle and don’t want to wear animal products or use products tested on animals. I’m proud to have built so many relationships with these small businesses with the same goals.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I feel like California as a whole it is very progressive and open to veganism compared to some other parts of the country. But especially Los Angeles County. These days you can walk into many chain restaurants and easily order a vegan meal, or find plenty of vegan options at just about any grocery store. I’ve watched veganism come a very long way over the last decade. If someone wants to start a vegan business, I’d absolutely suggest they start in LA.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
@we_are_all_everywhere_forever, @Veggiealchemy, @veganunicorn__

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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