Krystal Dillard began a health journey of transitioning to eating vegan three years ago. While she said it wasn’t easy, she continuously tried new items, often trying to get her family to eat them with her.
Dillard began posting photos of her meals on her personal Facebook page as well as her business page — The Hippie Herbivore Co. — to inspire others who were considering transitioning to vegan or those who were just considering making healthy changes to their diet.
While looking on Pinterest for vegan snacks that her family might eat one day, a photo of donuts caught Dillard’s eye, and she decided to try making them. They were a hit and soon she made some for her friend, who suggested she post a picture of the donuts to her social media accounts.
Dillard had originally thought of having a side gig doing vegan meal prep for local followers, but as soon as the donuts were posted, people overwhelmingly wanted to know how to order them.
“I was leary at first … I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes,” she said. “But no one was doing vegan donuts, so I could offer something we don’t have here.”
Dillard’s following grew as people saw the variety of donuts offered, along with an easily-accessible price list.
Dillard said she didn’t plan to make money off the endeavour originally, but as the orders came in she realized the need for her business in the Owensboro community.
“A lot of my customers aren’t vegan, but they have a food allergy,” she said, adding that many customers would tell how their child had not had a donut in a long time.
Dillard’s own daughter has a dairy intolerance, so she began offering gluten-free, sugar-free, keto and low-carb donuts — all of which are also dairy free.
Dillard’s unique offerings are also attractive and that is what draws people to try her vegan options.
“People will try a donut faster than meal prep — they are more apt to try a dessert,” she said.
Dillard works full-time for U.S. Bank, but she said that working from home during the pandemic has allowed The Hippie Herbivore Co. to take off because she is able to “clock out” of work and go to the kitchen to get started on donut orders.
Dillard has done the necessary research to find vegan ingredients, often using a mobile app that she can scan a barcode and find out if the item really is vegan.
“Some sugars are not vegan, so I have to use very specific brands,” she said.
For now, Dillard is happy to make the donuts in her kitchen, but she does hope to have a food truck or food cart one day to offer her unique vegan items to the community.
“I just want to influence people … and inspire them to make healthy changes,” she said.
Orders for Dillard’s donuts can be made through her Facebook Page or through her Instagram, @the_hippie_herbivore.