Name: Najla T.
Alma Mater: Howard University
Business Name & Description:
Good As Green, LLC is a creative vegan food company that provides beneficial superfoods and fresh produce transformed into exotic, gourmet meals. We have provided food for nonprofit organizations and shipped some of our menu items directly to loyal customers, and we host fun brunch and dinner pop-up events.
What year did you found your company?
Good As Green, LLC was officially established this year (2016), but I have been providing meals for my clients as a personal trainer since 2014. That’s actually how my company began.
What has been the most exciting and/or fearful moment during your HBCUpreneur career?
I have had a company in the past, that I provided media services such as video editing and marketing presentations. That was when I graduated college, as I graduated from the John H. Johnson School of Communications (Old Howard) with a degree in Communication. When I was experiencing an arduous time finding opportunities, I just created my own and freelanced for a while. It was very exciting when I first began and I was doing what I really enjoyed, but it was DIFFICULT and REALLY ROUGH! I had to move back home, save money, work multiple gigs, and work was inconsistent. Although, this time around, I’m much more fulfilled. I’m happy for the inconsistencies and still involved with media, but now as a health and fitness consultant. I was SO afraid to launch Good As Green, especially because of what happened with my first company, but I have such a wonderful support system and so many people encouraged me to take the leap. I was afraid since I didn’t attend culinary school, but people OTHER than my family enjoyed my food and I’ve helped so many people adopt plant-based lifestyles, so the fear subsided. When I launched a pop-up in DC back in September, everything that could go wrong tried to, but it ended up being a successful first event. I was nervous before, during, and after the event! I knew I made the right decision when so many people attended the pop-up, including one of my non-vegan friends all the way from New Jersey, and genuinely enjoyed the food (we are brutally honest up North LOL). People who don’t even like beets enjoyed my Smoky Beets burgers, so I received many requests to deliver and ship them.
One of the most rewarding moments was when I provided breakfast for Run Hope Work, a non-profit organization that provides mentorship and trade certification for Washington, D.C. youth. They were highly apprehensive and skeptical at first, but they really enjoyed the food I provided! I made Sweet Potato French Toast, Smoky Beet Sausage, Good As Home Fries (we use green bananas instead of potatoes), Apple Pie Oatmeal, Loaded Breakfast Burritos, Smoky Arugula Avocado Toast, Alkaline water, and Homemade Hemp Protein Shakes (that they described as vanilla milkshakes). That week that I provided breakfast was confirmation for me because these guys were eating McDonald’s and carryout. Many said they hadn’t eaten “green stuff” before and they really didn’t know if vegan food would taste good. It made me feel good and is my mission. I provide creative whole foods, not just tofu or seitan. I also list the benefits of most of the ingredients I use.
What made you want to start your own company? I really enjoy helping people! The first time, I was forced into creating my own opportunity, but this time around, it’s much more rewarding. As a personal trainer, the most important component that I found my clients struggling with the most was food. Some clients told me straight up, “I’m too lazy to cook.” I didn’t want to waste my time or my clients’ money by allowing them to sabotage themselves, so I did their meal prep for them and all they had to do was add their own meat if interested. So many of my clients never added the meat and were completely satisfied. I then began providing meals for people simply curious about vegan food. I wanted to replicate the feeling I had when people told me that I assisted them in living healthier and so Good As Green began!
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