In celebration of Small Business Week (May 5-11), Flauk is highlighting the stories of some amazing women-owned businesses. Please join us in the movement to #shoplocal and #supportwomen!

We are so excited to introduce you to Lauren Toyota, the hilarious Canadian genius behind Hot For Food Blog, our all-time favorite vegan recipe creator, award-winning and best-selling cookbook author of Vegan Comfort Classics: 101 Recipes To Feed Your Face, and YouTube cooking video darling. This woman takes popular comfort food classics like nachos, calamari, and dan dan noodles and somehow, magically, turns them into vegan dishes that will BLOW YOUR MIND (and your tastebuds). Her non-preachy and accessible approach to vegan cooking has helped to catapult the vegan lifestyle into the mainstream and prove that you don’t have to have just tofu and salads to go plant-based. And she does it all with wit, creativity, and total business-savvy badassery every step of the way.

We asked Lauren about what it’s like to run a local business, who inspires her, and the unique trials and advantages she’s experienced as a woman-owned business. Get ready to fall in love:

What do you love about running a business in your local community?

I love the freedom and creativity of running my own business. While I am local to Toronto I also love that my online based business is able to teach the globe. I’m spreading vegan love at home and beyond so it’s very satisfying!

Are there any unique challenges that you’ve faced as a woman in launching or running your company?

I’d like to think my female intuition is at the forefront of all of my business decisions. I made it a point to connect into that space and use it to my advantage. I always have, but it was strengthened as I started developing this business a few years ago. So while believe it gives me personal satisfaction and success to follow those instincts and live from the heart and gut, I think it can be challenging at times to remember to rely on this, when the traditional business world is driven by the thinking mind and what’s in your head! The challenge is to keep all the outside noise at bay!

What unique advantages or perspectives do you bring to the table as a female business owner?

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a woman, but I think having nearly a decade of real career experience under my belt has helped with running my own business. It’s not something I ever thought I was capable of doing, but I always imagined what it would be like. I think all my professional experiences working for big companies and other people really clarified a lot of what I truly wanted. Although there was a lot of unknown diving into being an entrepreneur, I was also ready when it happened just given my age, the timing and all the experience I had prior.

Share the love: tell us about any of your favorite companies out there run by badass women that we all should know about!

My friend and publicist is a badass PR woman and runs PenelopePR.
Follow @penelopepublicrelations

My bestie Natalie Matias is a meditation teacher offering free guided meditations, and other online courses and one-on-one programs.
Follow @natalie.matias

My other bestie Lorena is a badass female cobbler who owns Sole Survivor in Toronto which is an all female operated shoe repair/design shop.
Follow @solesurvivorshop

And my friend Amanda Persi just started a plant-based retreat company called The Getaway Co. and we’re hosting the first one together this June in Bali! She has other offerings coming soon.
Follow @thegetawayco


Lauren Toyota of the vegan recipe blog Hot For Food

You can follow Lauren’s journey and make her DELICIOUS recipes here:
Instagram: @hotforfood
YouTube: @hotforfood