They have been standing outside Europe’s largest slaughterhouse for 48 hours. Holding a few banners. Not a word is spoken. In the middle stands Christian Vagedes, Chair and Founder of the Vegane Gesellschaft (Vegan Society), CEO of the Ethiconomy Verlag publishing house, initiator of the veganfach specialist trade fair and publisher of ‘veganmagazin’, the German-speaking world’s leading vegan media platform. He is a peaceful man of action type. And he is a passionate advocate.
The man whose message has more than a grain of truth For Vagedes, eating vegan is not a trend – it’s a message. It’s about attitude, about seeing the big picture, he says. That’s what he’s fighting for. Even on a small scale. Producing trainers out of pineapple leather is the kind of project that gets him all fired up. For him it’s clear that eating vegan must move into the mainstream. As a publisher, Vagedes also has a good grasp of the art of gentle provocation. Karl Ess, a self-professed vegan and Germany’s most successful fitness coach, with 400,000 YouTube subscribers, poses with a steel chain around his neck on the front cover of Vagedes’ ‘veganmagazin’.
Eating vegan is not a trend – it’s a message.
Wanted: people who think for themselves rather than follow the crowd.
Achieving difficult goals is what Vagedes does best. His procedure is simple, but extremely efficient: get a team together, focus, implement. Vagedes was looking for this kind of team for his magazine ‘veganmagazin’ – and he found it at Mohn Media. He placed great importance on flexible thinking during implementation and fast, uncomplicated action. Thorsten Terhechte and Julian Schagen, magazine experts at Mohn Media, helped him throughout the entire process, from organising creative workshops to establishing intensive contact with the target group in order to find out what their needs were. “For me it wasn’t just about the printing. I wanted people who think for themselves, who make things happen – not service providers who just agree with whatever I say. I believe in shared goals – not price wars. Good ideas come about when people work together for mutual benefit – not by exploiting relationships,” says the entrepreneur and dedicated follower of Rudolf Steiner.
For me it wasn’t just about the printing. I wanted people who think for themselves, who make things happen – not service providers who just agree with whatever I say.
A provider of solutions with a team-player mentality Thorsten Terhechte’s team was able to provide the right answers to the questions that came up as the magazine was created. “Our aim was to help this medium-sized company with its very special requirements and a complex product to achieve results as easily and simply as possible,” explains Terhechte. What is the best way to get a magazine with almost 180 pages, a print run of 70,000 and a two-month publication frequency into retail outlets? How can refinancing partners be found? What technology and logistics make the most sense for a product of this magnitude? All of these questions were dealt with quickly. “You can’t bring out a magazine for vegans that doesn’t fulfil the strictest requirements in terms of environmental protection,” says his colleague Schagen. “From paper orders to printing to logistics: we exhausted every possibility wherever feasible. The magazine is a statement in support of vegan food and came about in exactly the same way as the vegan movement of which Vagedes is a part. It’s due to passion and the conviction that a good idea in the hands of a good team can be the start of a very fruitful relationship.”
“You can’t bring out a magazine for vegans that doesn’t fulfil the strictest requirements in terms of environmental protection,” says his colleague Schagen.
So, how have things progressed? The demonstration outside the abattoir is now a thing of the past. The small-scale protest turned into a movement with hundreds of thousands of supporters. And the hastily put-together banners became a high-quality magazine available throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland. A first victory came out of the initial battle. Vegan food has now entered the mainstream. That much is clear.
It’s due to passion and the conviction that a good idea in the hands of a good team can be the start of a very fruitful relationship.