A vegan marketing journey inspired by plant medicine, a family business, and co-creating with a higher universal intelligence

My VEG Networking Canada co-host Justin Manning introduced me to Joy Lopes in 2022. Joy is a member of our vegan networking group and designed the cover for my second book, Vegan Marketing Success Stories. She’s now a friend and is also a brilliant artist, multi-disciplinary designer, speaker, and belly dancer. Let’s learn all about Joy!


When and how did you go vegan?

Back in 2015/2016, I was a meat eater who was looking for enlightenment. I attended an Ayahuasca ceremony, completely oblivious to the connection between food and spirit. During the ceremony, I was led to understand that ALL animals belong to something bigger (call it the Animal Kingdom, Mother Nature, Universe—whatever you will) and they matter, too. The lesson hit me so strongly that I made the decision right there and then that, to the best of my abilities, I’d never hurt those beings again.

I never looked back.


How did you get into marketing, and what kind of marketing do you do now?

I truly got into marketing when I was a teen. I had always had a keen interest in the subject, however, I only “got it” when I was faced with personal difficulties and marketing acted like a survival tactic for me.

My family had a vacation/holiday rental business (way before AirBnB and the like), and my dad passed away shortly after getting the property ready to rent. I had to take over the business and used what I had available to make it work: some of the rudimentary design skills I had just learned in architecture school, Photoshop, and copywriting I had learned from observing lots of ads. I created a Facebook page to promote the business, which was a new feature at the time, and really easy to get attention to. We grew the page, and the rental got booked months in advance—relieving some of the financial stress my family was going through. That was super powerful for me to experience.

However, only years later, once I moved to Canada, I got in touch with marketing again—this time it was my first job here. That job showed me a world of possibilities. I was lucky to have many of my mistakes forgiven on my way to experimenting with it (in a team of 2—me and my boss at the time, collaborating to do a lot with a little budget). From there, I got into freelancing, which is what I do now. I combined my love for collaborating directly with business owners, marketing strategy, and design/visual arts to support businesses that are going after some meaningful cause for the common good of humanity in some way.

You can hear more of Joy’s story in the intro interview we did with her in 2022 at VEG Networking Canada:

What kind of work fires you up right now?

Co-creating with my clients really fires me up! You know—those easy, flowy collaborations. We come together to solve a problem and collaborate to shape a vision into something tangible that they can use to grow their businesses. For me, that process of co-creating with them is the most magical thing! I live for that experience!!! I love seeing the results. For me, they’re the cherry on top. However, when a delightful collaboration takes place, ultimately, everyone wins. The results are better, and the process to get there is much more enjoyable for all involved. Helping solve those visual puzzles and seeing the clients unlock whole new levels of growth for their businesses is everything for me!


Share your best marketing win, and one marketing horror story.

I used to work as a marketing coordinator and sole in-house graphic designer at a company. One day, one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities landed for us: a decently sized booth for “free” (in exchange for products) at a prestigious trade show that was the perfect fit for the products. The catch was we had about 2 months to make it, no booth to start with, and a very limited budget. My boss wasn’t sure, but I felt that even though I’d have to work extra-hard to make it happen, we could do it and the company would benefit greatly.

My gut was right on that one. We managed to create something that was simple yet really effective. It stood out somehow. We got it done on schedule and way below budget. The company got their products featured in the event’s main booth (by the organizers), and we were able to use that opportunity to launch new products that took off (as a result of that event and other efforts, of course). The best part for me was the process. While I was the lead designer on that project, to have the team believe in my vision and come together to execute on it was so beautiful! You can read more about that booth’s design here.

For me, the biggest horror stories are always the ones where something happens and we don’t finish the project. Whenever I take on a project, I’m committed to seeing it 100% through with the client. However, sometimes, life happens in a way that’s out of our control. (Un)fortunately, this has only happened twice in the 2–3 years I’ve been doing this full time. I’ve had projects that I thought were going to knock it out of the park in their industries—and somewhere along the process, we’ve had to go in different directions. For me, this is a very stressful thing because I really care about the success of my clients. I’ve had real nightmares in the two situations when it happened. For me, the worst part is the waste of time and resources. It’s always heartbreaking.

One thing I learned from those experiences and would advise anyone who’s working with a designer/creative service provider to design something for you: Once you make a decision with your designer, stick to it and see it through. Have someone else in the team hold the vision so that during unforeseen circumstances/forced transitions, you get to complete the project, measure and tweak it based on its performance until you find your winning solution. Starting over can be much costlier, not to mention the time spent which is forever wasted. By having that person who can act as an anchor, those transitions can go a lot smoother and resource waste is minimized.


Who or what vegan company do you think is crushing in marketing right now?

I’ve been really admiring Desirée Dupuis from Voes & Co. The way she created and took the brand to such great heights—I find it inspiring!


What do you wish more business owners knew about the creative process when working with creative professionals like you?

Different creatives will have different approaches. For me, the creative process involves more than just stakeholders and myself as a professional. I view myself as a channel. Each project is an endeavour where stakeholders, I and other forms of “higher universal intelligence” come together to co-create something that’s just the right solution for that problem. If you’re working with someone like me, you want to feed us with all your intuitive knowledge of where you want to go, set your intention for the highest and best outcome (your dream outcome) and let the process unfold. It’s magical what can happen when that process of co-creation comes with a vision that is not too tight in terms of control. There are possibilities we cannot see at first. Some of us will source it from those higher realms. You want to let that creative “download it” and really trust the process. If it looks messy in the middle, worry not—keep your eyes on that intention and trust. 🙂 You’ll have it!

You can find Joy at JoyLopes.com.

Download Chapter 1 of Vegan Marketing Success Stories to learn the 6 basics ALL vegan businesses need to implement before they start marketing!

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