This week I caught up with Dawn Whittle – founder & CEO of vegan directory Not To Die For. As well as being an online go-to for all things vegan and cruelty-free, Not To Die For is also a blog, marketing agency and a great place to find inspiration on stylish vegan living.
Alongside running the website, Dawn lends her marketing expertise to small start-up business specialising in vegan, eco and sustainable living, balancing the two like the awesome boss lady she is.
I decided to pick Dawn’s brains to hear how she keeps it all together.
Tell us a little about Not To Die For. What’s it about and what was the inspiration?
I created Not To Die For about 4 years ago. I’ve always been fiercely passionate about animal rights and felt like I needed to do something. I wasn’t really sure what that something was so I just started blogging about topics I was genuinely interested in: food, fashion, interiors, beauty and travel. What I was really trying to get across was that you don’t need to sacrifice your love for style or luxury to live a kind and ethical lifestyle.
Veganism is becoming a lot more mainstream these days, with new vegan brands and products launching on what seems to be a daily basis! It’s amazing, but even as recently as couple of years ago, it was a challenge to find a restaurant or supermarket that offered vegan food, or find stylish and well-made non-leather footwear.
I wanted NTDF to be a place where people could go for inspiration on ethical brands, products and places. I cover a range of topics, such as eco-friendly interiors, ethical weddings, fashion, travel, as well as vegan food and cruelty free beauty.
I’ve also been lucky enough to collaborate and work with some lovely vegan and cruelty-free brands, and review some amazing products!
I love that Not To Die For is a place where vegans and conscious shoppers can locate and discover new brands and places. How else do you think we can spread the word, and how can cruelty-free, sustainable businesses promote themselves more?
Social media is a great way for raising brand awareness, sharing inspiration and for meeting fellow vegans and brands. Unfortunately, since Instagram and Facebook changed their algorithms, it’s much harder to be seen online now.
Putting aside a little monthly marketing budget for online advertising is always a good plan, especially for start ups or new businesses who want to promote themselves to a specific audience.
How might a business work with you and what can they expect to gain from a listing on Not To Die For?
Not To Die For isn’t just a blog! I’ve worked in marketing for the past fifteen years and I have a brilliant designer and a great developer who work with me, to offer a full range of marketing services for vegan brands.
We’ve developed websites; run social media, PPC and Google shopping campaigns; branded new start-ups and managed email marketing campaigns for a few ethical businesses. We also have a Not To Die For media pack available, which includes a range of advertising opportunities on the blog, including banners, sponsored posts and product reviews. We have a business directory that’s been updated recently so brands have more of a ‘profile’ rather than a basic listing.
Once listed they can ask us to promote their latest offers, news or sales as often as they like. Listings are free, we just ask for a little mention on social, once the listing is live.
Do you have any expansion plans for the website in the future, or have any other exciting projects you’re juggling right now?
Actually, I do have a rather exciting announcement to make! I’ll shortly be launching an online shop, selling a range of women’s, men’s and children’s clothing and gifts. Proceeds from each sale will be donated to an animal-based charity, sanctuary or organisation.
It’s taken a while to come together as it was really important to me that the garments and print were sourced from ethical, sustainable and eco-friendly suppliers and that their supply chains were socially responsible throughout too. All materials in the garments are either 100% organic, recycled, PETA approved, or Fair Wear Foundation accredited. All inks are water-based and don’t contain any harmful chemicals. It’s all really exciting, watch this space!
Quick, name your top 5: Place to eat, place to shop, beauty brand, fashion brand and homeware brand.
Okay, off the top of my head… Hypha in Chester for eats, Vegan Haven near Ellesmere Port for beautiful vegan interiors, Pixi for beauty/make-up (though this can change on a daily basis haha), Nkuku for gorgeous ethical homeware, I do love a Reformation dress and Red Cuckoo vegan handbags are amazing (I have two!).
And finally…what’s been your latest brand obsession?
I’m currently addicted to Sweet and Smokin’ Hippeas and Ape Thai Chilli Coconut and Rice Puffs! Although I’m going to Portugal in two weeks so trying to reduce my snack consumption!