15 Jan My Sweet Vegan Life
My Sweet Vegan Life
Montreal Entrepreneur Creates Dessert Niche
It’s a long way from Central Asia where Zhyldyz “Jana” Kydyrmysheva was born, but her move to Montreal five years ago has proved to be a healthy and successful one for the owner and founder of MTL Vegan Life. “My life is how I want it to be. Everything I want, I have,” Jana, who has a very popular Instagram following (@mtlveganlife), said.
When she came to Montreal at age 19, Jana could not speak English or French. Born in Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia, Jana grew up in Russia where she was a dancer and model, and studied medical psychology. Married just one year before coming to Canada, Jana credits her husband for his support and for encouraging her to follow her passions.
It was after the birth of their daughter last November that Jana decided to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Becoming conscious of what she put into her body and learning about nutrition, Jana realized that while the market for healthy foods was expanding, an equal niche for healthy desserts was lacking. Her answer was to start MTL Vegan Life and offer fine cuisine desserts made from raw, plant-based, gluten-free products. The stunning “superfood desserts” are vegan have no refined sugars.
“To start a company is hard,” she admitted. “You have to love it, be willing to live by it and struggle for it… you have to be ready for everything,” the now 24-year-old entrepreneur said. Jana didn’t sleep for a month after starting the business. Yet the new mother managed to find balance despite the demands and constant fatigue.
Jana has always had a passion for food. As a young girl she recalls wanting the items on her plate to not only taste good, but look good too. The determined entrepreneur says her kitchen skills come from practice and attention to detail (she’s only taken one online cooking class). And while she has learned techniques and recipes from others, her innate food style and discerning palate quickly have her making them her own. Her signature dessert style is simple, yet memorable, elegance. And word-of-mouth buzz is helping her business take off. Jana’s goal is to have her beautiful healthy desserts featured in high-end restaurants, available to vegan and non-vegan patrons.
“Since I changed my lifestyle and started my company, I’ve met so many people,” Jana said, explaining that it took a while to explain the benefits of healthy eating to some. “Now, they understand. Even if they’re not vegan, they try to have healthy options at least once a week, once a month.”
Jana feels her passion and attention to detail show in every dessert she creates. But the real payoff, she said, is seeing people’s reactions to her beautiful creations and watching them savour each delicious bite.