We had the good fortune of connecting with Nikia Lightfoot and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nikia, what do you want people to remember about you?
As an African American woman, I’ve lived a good life, but it did come with challenges. People prejudged me without getting to know me. I faced many challenges and endured a lot of stress, pain and heartache. As I look back over those tough seasons of my life, I can smile now because the greatest opportunities were birthed during these times. The ups and downs of life experiences such as losing a job and a breast cancer diagnosis only served to make me stronger, elevating my confidence and the endurance that I now possess.
I want my legacy to be that I was a loving, kind, compassionate, giving and strong woman who cared about myself, my family, my friends and those who I met along the way. I want to be remembered as a woman of integrity who kept her word, a person that others could confide in, seek advice from, and one who always offers a word of encouragement and prayer. I seek to be a woman who would go above and beyond for those I care about. My spirit is one that has always sought out the good in people, even when they couldn’t find it in themselves.
As I look to the future, I wish to be a woman who set goals, worked hard and did everything with a spirit of excellence. It is my dream to build a multi-million-dollar vegan/plant-based eatery, create generational wealth for my family, provide job opportunities for my community and create a vegan/plant-based food initiative within local schools and the homeless community.
What should our readers know about your business?
I knew I wanted to do something extraordinary from a young age. Little did I know that helping my mother and grandmother in the kitchen would spark my curiosity. I knew at the age of 12, I was destined to own a restaurant. I didn’t know how I would get there or how I would be able to finance it, but my tenacity ensured it was going to happen. My love for cooking paired with the need for more vegan and plant-based options, launched my whirlwind adventure into the vegan and plant-based food industry.
The concept of Vujee Vegan was conceived September 16, 2020, during the pandemic. Vujee Vegan is a fast, comfort food kitchen serving 100% vegan and plant-based options. We are a unique concept in our community; utilizing a ghost kitchen concept serving curbside only. Our menu consists of many of your favorite items, including our award-winning homemade chili and cornbread, burgers and fries, chick’n nuggets, BBQ smoked ribz, mack’n cheeze, sweet & spicy bang bang shrymp and apple and peach dumplings.
Vujee Vegan strives to operate in a spirit of excellence, each and every day. In order for us to stand out, the keys to success include our food presentation, the amazing flavor of our menu, and the impeccable quality of our ingredients. In addition, our focus on engaging the vegan community and our customer service continues to set us apart. My goal is for each customer to be impressed from start to finish when they engage with Vujee Vegan.
It is personally exciting to be one of the trailblazers dispelling the myth that vegan and plant-based food is boring and limited only to salads and baked potatoes. Another interesting thing about Vujee Vegan is that we are not only engaging for those who are strictly vegan but also those who desire to decrease their meat intake and those who are curious in trying the plant-based lifestyle.
I believe my entrepreneurial spirit was cultivated watching my parents build their very successful businesses from the ground up. As such, our business tagline “Lettuce Romaine Calm, It’s Plant Magic©” is a constant reminder that being an entrepreneur is not easy. There will always be new challenges. We will all face some tough encounters in life… We must not panic… We should learn from the situation and eventually something beautiful will bloom from it…
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to thank my Heavenly Father for blessing me with the gift of cooking. I’m so thankful for our amazing team and I want Thomas, Cora, Aleisa, Amia, Greg, Travian, and William to know how much they are appreciated. Tyrone, Happi Pappi Owner, thank you for being my mentor and teaching me about the food truck business. A special shout out to Coach Dionne, Full Figured Fierce Founder, for the encouragement and connections. I would like to thank SMG Management Consulting Firm and Goldstar Consultants for being great mentors and guiding me on this path. There are so many others that I am unable to name individually, but I am appreciative and humbled by your support, love and encouragement.