I grew up in Austria’s beautiful countryside surrounded by small farms and many animals. Growing up, my dream was to become a vet, but then I learned that I had to give injections and surgery, and I realized that career wasn’t for me. My love for animals still exists. I volunteer at several animal shelters and farm sanctuaries and often rescue animals off the street. My love of animals is my main reason for being a vegan.
But my career path has taken me a different route these past years. Almost 20 years ago I left Austria to find what the rest of the world has to offer! While working in the hospitality industry I had the opportunity to live and work in many different countries and experience a variety of cultures. That path eventually led me to work at a start-up for online hotel reservations in Amsterdam. That was at a time when online reservations and the internet in general started to grow. Through that company I had the opportunity to move to the US and build up our presence in the US market. Not a small undertaking, but our CEO was a true entrepreneur and he instilled that spirit in his employees too. So although, I was part of a company, when I started here in the US I had to be very entrepreneurial and wear many hats. The company took off and eventually I was leading a department of over 300 employees working in 20 offices across North America.
This experience taught me that I truly like managing complex projects and taking an entrepreneurial approach. This year I decided that I needed to take the leap, get back to my passion for animals, and start my own business.
Riverdel specializes in dairy-free cheeses and gourmet foods. Our goal is to make vegan food choices easier, accessible and enticing. This shop is very unique, and there is no other shop that has such a large selection of vegan cheeses.
There are many reasons for people to look for dairy-free alternatives. For some it’s because they want vegan food, for others it because they are lactose intolerant and for others it’s just that they want to try something different.
I decided to start this business because, being vegan myself, I know that sometimes finding food I can eat takes a bit more of an effort. I’ve heard several people say that they’d be vegan…if it wasn’t for the cheese! My goal in opening Riverdel is to make vegan food choices easier and great cheese accessible! There are some great products out there, but some are only available online and one has to know where to find them.
In addition to carrying a well curated cheese and gourmet foods section (crackers, jams, chutney, etc.), we also make our own cheese in-house. Right now we only produce enough to sell in the shop, but eventually we’d like to be able to sell our cheeses to other shops and restaurants.
Right now we only make small batches of cheese in-house; we use regular equipment for it. However, to scale-up and produce more we need to buy larger pieces of equipment. This loan will help us purchase that equipment so that we can produce larger quantities of cheese and sell in more locations.