Interview with Kim Miller from Kinda Bacon
My first taste of Kinda Bacon was at the Sydney Vegan Festival last year. You can read more about it in my old blog here. I was volunteering that day. I was handed a packet by one lady to give out to other volunteers and the chefs who were doing cooking demonstrations. She looked stunning, tall and slender with such clear skin and the best boy-cut I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I later found out that her name was Kim, and she was the founder of Kinda Bacon. When I first tasted Kinda Bacon, I was surprised with how bacon-y it tastes. Made from coconut flakes, it also has the slight sweetness of the coconut that balances the saltiness of the bacon flakes. I sprinkled it on all my food for the next few days and snacked upon it until it ran out.
Fast forward another year, and I had the privilege to interview Kim. Kim is such a lovely and cool person to talk to. She has a lot of experience in the twists and turns of life and you could tell from the interview how passionate she is with what she does and with her vegan lifestyle. Hope this interview will inspires you as much as it has inspired me.
Hi Kim, tell us a bit about you personally and give us a little insight about your biz, Kinda Bacon.
I’m a Sydney gal born & bred, my partner & I live in Sydney & have been together for 18 years. My career has spanned from hair dressing to body piercing to corporate finance, & with my skills, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel & live in different parts of the world.
One thing that’s been a constant in my life is my love of animals. As a kid, I grew up with a menagerie of companion animals, including cats, dogs, birds & rabbits. Animals have always meant so much to me, I love nothing more than just hanging out with them, interacting with them & observing their incredible individual personalities that they have. They can be curious, cranky & loving, they feel joy & pain just like us. I’m in my happy place when I’m just hanging out with animals, they bring so much joy.
I’m also a BIG fan of vintage clothing & love nothing more than trawling the second hand shops for lovely vintage finds.
Kinda Bacon was a calling that recently came to me, & even though I’d never had any experience launching a food product, my heart just sung out so loudly, that I’d have been crazy not to listen to that calling.
What make you decide to pursue Kinda Bacon? How did it all start?
It’s been a wonderful rollercoaster, kicking off & venturing into our first food product, if someone told me a year ago that’s what I’d be doing, I’d have laughed my head off.
At the end of 2013, I took a trip to Ubud in Bali, it was definitely a spiritual journey for me, I was eating completely raw vegan & practicing daily yoga, it was a really spec
ial time for me, & it was whilst travelling that I got my inspiration for Kinda Bacon. If anyone hasn’t been to Ubud in Bali, do yourself a favour as it’s an absolute vegan food mecca there as there are just so many wonderful vegan restaurants & cafes, it’s the perfect place to re connect with yourself.
Once I arrived back in Sydney, I searched for coconut bacon & couldn’t find anything like it for sale, so I attempted to recreate it, with great results. Then the idea occurred to me why not just take the plunge, give it a go & put it out there & start a business, my heart was really screaming this, so even though it was right out of my comfort zone, I just had to go with it.
How long have you been vegan for?
I never had a meat heavy diet though I transitioned into a solely plant based diet in 2013. For me switching over to a plant-based diet is undoubtedly the most amazing decision I’ve ever made. The driving force around my veganism is animal rights, & environmental reasons. Switching to a plant based lifestyle is the most direct way you can make an impact on your own health, save the lives of animals & reduce damage to the environment. I have never felt more at peace.
Would you mind sharing your transition story and what made you choose to transition to a plant-based lifestyle?
My story, began with my long term partner Chris, falling ill and being diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago, though she is now thankfully in remission :)
I guess this was the beginning of everything, discovering that whole food is medicine, this naturally lead to a plant based lifestyle, it was through this research that lead onto educational animal activism documentaries & actually, it was the film Earthlings that sealed the deal for me.
At first I felt so ashamed that it had taken me so long to become aware of the realities, but then I cut myself some slack & went ok well what you can do something now. I am an advocate for veganism & I’m happy to talk the ears off anyone about all the benefits of a plant based lifestyle. I also actively support different animal sanctuaries, one close to my heart is Manning River Animal Sanctuary. My visit there last year has always stayed with me. I really admire the women that run MRAS & I’m blown away by the work they do. I’m a pretty busy gal, but when I can, I participate in rally’s & awareness events held by groups, such as Animal Liberation NSW. It is so important that we speak up for the voiceless.
What are some of the challenges you face as a veganpreneur and what do you love most about your business?
Nothing makes me happier than people enjoying our product. When I talk to or see customer’s food posts on social media sites, I get really excited. I just love seeing all the wonderful ways they are using it in their meals, I’m so inspired by our customers. I also love that our product may be assisting people on their journey to a plant based lifestyle, which is very important to me.
Challenges, well when we were just starting up, it was a self-taught journey, we really didn’t have any other business owner connections & stumbling through the legalities of being a new small business owner was pretty challenging at times. Since then, I have made connections with other vegan business owners & learnt about different services like the one offered through UWS. They offer free small business guidance, which has been really helpful.
Do you have a favourite quote or mantra that you live by? If yes, would you mind sharing it with us?
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive”
Can you give us a list of your 3 most favourites vegan food?
Acai bowls, I make a pretty mean acai bowl, and I could live on them in summer.
Desserts, found at Sadhana, Earth to Table & Rubyfruit, yes, I have a bit of a sweet tooth.
Soy fish Vermicelli rice paper rolls from Loving hut in Cabramatta. I adore vegan restaurant hopping in Cabramatta, it’s such a great place to explore vegan cafes & restaurants, there are so many!
What’s exciting plans do you have for the future?
We have an exciting new flavour, Kinda Maple, which will be available for purchase on June 20th. Kinda Maple is the sweet maple treat made from coconut. It’s (of course) vegan, soy free & gluten free. It’s packed full of wonderful ingredients like coconut aminos, maple syrup & the most gorgeous array of spices like, rose petals, vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom & cacao.
If you could give the aspiring vegans and veganpreneur one parting piece of advice, what would it be?
Go for it, you just have to put yourself out there & be open to the universe. People need to follow their hearts & create a business around what they love, this way your work is your passion.
And one personal question from me. How do you have such an amazing hair and hairstyle?
Ha on the hair, well in a past life I was a hairdresser & I just love all things vintage, so I’ve put a bit of a modern fun spin on my do. Yes, it’s big & it’s held together with more than a bit of (vegan) hair spray.