“I’ve always loved food. My life revolves around eating...I’m such a huge foodie!” professed Taryn Rasgon, the twenty-seven-year-old serial entrepreneur. This plant-based powerhouse is the founder of two major businesses that both create community in their own unique ways. Her first venture, Vegetaryn, is a highly recognizable plant-based apparel brand. Even those who are not vegan have likely come across someone wearing her designs. Her most recent undertaking is a communal creative workspace for female entrepreneurs - Biz Babez. Located in a loft in Downtown Los Angeles, Biz Babez provides a productive, female-driven environment for creative business owners to work, collaborate, and build a brand. We sat down with Rasgon to gain some inspiration from her plant-based commitment and entrepreneurial drive.
Rasgon adopting a vegan diet as a sophomore while attending Arizona State University, following an eye-opening trip to Spain. She saw the pig thighs hanging from the ceiling and gained a new perspective on the animal-heavy fast-food staples she ate at home. When she returned to the States, she resumed her typical college diet of Chipotle and pizza, until she realized her food “was making [her] sick.”
Following self-guided research on nutrition, Rasgon reasoned that a plant-based diet was her best bet. She explained, “I wanted to learn for myself and listen to my body in order to be healthy.” At first, she told herself she would just eat vegan a few nights a week, but she quickly gave up this timid approach and embraced a completely plant-based diet. She found that she loved cooking for herself, and all of her ailments, from eczema to asthma, disappeared. “I consider myself cured of asthma,” she stated.
Creating Community Around a Brand
After being vegan for two years, Rasgon knew it was much more than just a diet. Vegan was her lifestyle and community, and she decided to use her entrepreneurial spirit to “spread the vegan message.” She Googled items that she could buy and sell and eventually settled on t-shirts. Her designs communicate a fun style that sparks conversation. She explained, “I don’t have to say I’m vegan; the shirt will say it for me. Of course, none of them scream vegan. I don’t want to be the crazy vegan in the room. When people approach me about my shirt, it gives me the opportunity to talk about my lifestyle in a non-confrontational way.”
The company began with two designs, “Lettuce Eat Plants” and “If Looks Could Kale.” Three years later, both styles are still best-sellers. Rasgon has created dozens of t-shirts and sweatshirts through multiple collaborations with other plant-based influencers. “Not Milk,” “#VeganAF,”and “I Come in Peas” are just a few of her fan favorites. The apparel is available to ship nationwide, and hundreds of vegans proudly wear their Vegetaryn gear while attending vegan festivals or just out and about. There is no denying the strong Vegetaryn community. In this case, it is cool to be caught wearing the same t-shirt.
Forever in pursuit of community, Rasgon launched her latest venture, Biz Babez, in October 2017. Think of it as a WeWork for female creatives. As a solo entrepreneur, she often felt isolated and lonely. She admitted, “Sometimes I’d just go to the grocery store to talk to another human.” During the summer of 2017, she collaborated with her now-business partner, Danny, and the two threw themselves into the project. They secured a space in downtown Los Angeles and transformed it into “a Pinterest-perfect office space for girls who gram.” Biz Babez is open to anyone, including men, though Rasgon cautioned, “Men need to understand that this is a matriarchy, not a patriarchy.” Members have access to an open office space with Instagram walls and props, along with yoga events, happy hours, and community workshops for those who want to learn to build their brand. The space can also be used for photo shoots. As of January 2018, Biz Babez has sixteen members.
“We work for ourselves, not by ourselves,” Rasgon added.
We couldn’t let the conversation end without talking about food. A quick scroll through her daily Instagram shots of gorgeous plant-based food legitimizes her self-proclaimed "foodie" status. She loves a social brunch as much as the next LA gal, but for the most part, she keeps it simple. “I’ll eat steamed broccoli any day of the week,” she professed. She also loves anything pickled. When dining out in LA, she frequents Real Food Daily, Suncafe, Crossroads, and Organix.
Rasgon is constantly on the go, developing new t-shirt designs, planning community events at Biz Babez, and eating her way through the vegan mecca of Los Angeles. To keep up to date, follow her on Instagram.
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