Innovation Award and Young Business Person of the Year entrant – Vausages, Zerline Long and Reiss Seymour
When Zerline Long woke up from a vivid dream that she was serving vegan sausages at a festival her partner said ‘let’s do that’.
Six years later the couple’s business, Vausages, has become one of the country’s top vegan street food retailers. They sell their food at festivals, shows and events around the UK.
They make sausages from scratch using their own, unique recipe in a commercial kitchen at a factory unit in Cannock Chase after crowdfunding £30,000 to move production out of the kitchen at home.
Zerline and partner Reiss Seymour, both aged 26, are now working with food distributors to get Vausages into independent food chains, restaurants and cafes around the UK.
They had no previous experience of running a business when they began – just a shared passion for vegan food.
“It’s been a challenge from the get-go,” said Zerline. “We started off as two young people who just really liked food. We literally started off with a dream I had and worked from there.
“It was very difficult because we had no connections in this industry. We had to learn everything from scratch by ourselves.
“I was just working at a coffee shop at the time and Reiss was working for his dad. I knew we could do it and we just kept on going.
“We worked on our sausage recipe, which we still work on now, and went to market after market and festival after festival. It’s been quite a mad journey.”
Zerline and Reiss now have one permanent member of staff and have a team of around 15 people to work at events.
The couple’s USP is that they make their own sausages from scratch and use a wholefood, plant-based recipe including mushrooms and quinoa designed to avoid key allergens.
Zerline added: “A lot of street food businesses buy from wholesalers. We saw a gap in the market to do something different.”
Vausages has been entered for the Innovation Award category of the Staffordshire University Business Awards and Zerline and Reiss have jointly entered the Young Business Person of the Year category.