We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandy Heyde Montague and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brandy, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I grew up in a small town called Kentland, Indiana. And by small I mean 1800 people, and 1.3 square miles of land to share. I still adore my hometown. But growing up in a rural farm community definitely influenced me to help animals for the rest of my life. My grandparents farmed, and one of the most exciting parts of my visit to their house would be feeding “scraps to the hogs”. I was fascinated by the pigs that they raised. I remember spending so much time watching and feeding them as a child. When I was three, I happened to be on the farm the day that the truck came to take them to slaughter. The pigs were branded as they were pushed into the truck, and to say I was traumatized would be the understatement of the year. I declared in that moment that I would be a vegetarian for the rest of my life. I wasn’t quite sure what exactly that meant at three, but this definitely made me the odd child growing up at bbq’s and cookouts. No one quite understood how I could not want meat. And I could never understand the appeal. On the flip side, I grew up understanding why people farm, and how they made a living, provided for their families, and often loved and cared for the animals deeply. It’s a complicated world. Kentland also had me barefoot and outdoors for a big chunk of my life. I think growing up in an environment where nature and animals are so intertwined influences the way you see the world. I’ve known since that young age that I’m here to help animals, and my life continues to be a journey to find the best way that I can do that.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
That’s a lot of questions! 😉 For Animals. For Earth. is a platform for animal and environmental activism. We highlight creators and activists that we admire, and we share simple ideas that will make a difference for either animal welfare or sustainability of the environment. Our mission is to create a space in which we inspire each other to try these simple ideas – helping animals, and the planet, while we do it. I’m proud of our focus on creating a non-judgmental environment, where we know that we’re not perfect, but it’s still worth trying to make changes. We really work hard to find simple and unique ideas that people can try. If readers are interested, they can download our free ebook “50 Simple Ideas to Make a Difference” at http://bit.ly/50simpleideas Along the way, I’ve learned that it’s much harder to create a social enterprise than I thought it would be. I suppose I was naive to think that if I led with compassion, I would grow something just as quickly, or quicker, than if I didn’t. But you face many tough decisions when you want to put animals and the environment first. In my experience, supplies are more expensive, messaging is harder, and it’s tough to find your niche. That being said, options are growing more abundant by the day. And I truly think that more people than not are looking for a way to make a difference. This is why I’ve pivoted my main focus to my podcast, so that I can highlight these people and learn from them. I believe there are others out there like me, who dream of building a B Corp some day, but need the support of other like-minded people to navigate the choices and to stay inspired. I hope that the For Animals. For Earth. podcast will be a platform for inspiring each other, and showcasing all of these unique, simple ideas that we can all try.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would invite my friend to come in early December so that we can spend a lot of time outside and take in the holiday vibe downtown. We would spend one morning rollerblading along the LA River and having coffee and brunch at Spoke in Frog Town. We would spend a day in downtown LA, first grabbing a bagel and iced coffee from Mocha Java Express. We’d wander through the Biltmore oohing and awing at the architecture. We’d score tickets for the Broad and check out all of the cool spots on the way there. On our way back across town, we would swing into Bottega Louie for a macaron. Then ice skating in Pershing Square. Off to another coffee at G&B and to wander around Grand Central Market picking up lunch. We’d grab a drink at NoMad and ooh and awe once again at the architecture. Then on to an early evening drink in the roof top bar at Perch, dinner at Takami Sushi, and wrap up in the main lobby and sky bar of the Korean Air building. Phew! Not sure that’s possible. But it would certainly be fun to hit all of those great spots in one day. The next day we would sleep. 😉 And hang out with a low key coffee from KAFN in Adams Hill while we let the kids play at Palmer Park. The next morning we would get up and go to the Switzer Falls Gabrielino Trail hike off the 2. I love that drive out of the city. It’s breathtaking and really puts you into a different world. I also love hiking along the creek here (and the fact that a lot of it is in the shade). The waterfall at the bottom is a nice surprise. I think it’s a special place. I’d also make sure that we do a morning hot yoga class at Kinship Yoga in Highland Park. We’d have gluten free pizza at Piencone. And I would convince my friend that vegan food can be really good with Sage Bistro in Pasadena. That little nook where the restaurant is located is fun to wander around too, checking out the little shops. And of course we would have to swing into Pasadena Humane to pass out some treats. Lastly, we would do Sunday morning church in the Arts District. We’d grab coffee and a croissant from Blacktop Coffee. Across the street, we’d go to the Japanese Catholic Center. I love introducing people to our community there, especially if we’re having a festival. It’s a really fun way to experience the traditional Japanese culture. And then, lunch at Urth Cafe!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have a ton of people who deserve credit for my story. My family, who has always been and continues to be supportive of my random ideas and hopes for a better future. My board of advisors, who actively help me make decisions for For Animals. For Earth. and invest time in this with me. And my close friends, who chat with me and exchange voice memos daily to help me through the emotional ups and downs that come with running a business.
Other: Podcast: https://foranimalsforearth.com/podcast
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