Meet the Founders
„Before Brammibal’s Donuts became a company, and before Brammibal’s were called
Brammibal’s they were just donuts that we made in our kitchen to cheer up our friends.“
Jess, how did you come up with the idea to make donuts in your kitchen?
When I was 15 or 16, I started my „unofficial“cake business. When I went to punk shows, I had a stand with cakes and sold them on a donation basis. I discovered my passion for baking when I became vegan. A couple years later, we were invited to a friend’s birthday party, and I made donuts for that occasion.Everyone loved them, and I realized there were no vegan donuts in Europe.
How and why did you decide to turn it into a business?
Before Brammibal’s Donuts became a company, they were just donuts that we made in our tiny kitchen to cheer up our friends. We – Jess and Bram – were a nurse and a student/part-time musician with a shared love for vegan food.
The praise we got for our baking was amazing! People loved our donuts! In good old Berlin fashion, we started a side hustle and opened an Etsy store. Instead of crocheted DIYs, we offered vegan donuts you had to pick up from our apartment.
We quickly realized that there was a real demand for vegan donuts, so the logical nextstep for us was to put ourselves out there. We started selling at local markets and vegan events, and at every single one of them, we had a constant queue and sold out early.
We could not keep up and make enough donuts. It was time to make a choice, so we turned our side hustle into a full-time business! We decided to take the risk and open our first brick-and-mortar shop at Maybachufer. It was possible because we saved all the money we made selling donuts at markets. But honestly, it was also very low budget. We had maybe € 20K, of which € 6K alone was to pay the deposit for the rental contract. We did everything ourselves with the help of friends. We had no choice. I also remember how, the day before opening, a neighbor glued our lock, so we had to call a locksmith and borrow €500 from our friends to pay for the groceries for opening day.
Bram, why is Brammibal’s Donuts a fully plant-based business?
From the start, the goal has been to make vegan food more fun and approachable. We were both already longtime vegans, and it was one of our dreams to start a vegan company. Ultimately, we wanted to show the world that veganism is the future and that you can run a successful business selling only vegan products. We hope people will be inspired by this and start their own vegan ventures. Back in the day, Jess became vegan for the animals. For me, it was initially mostly about the environmental aspect. I was already a vegetarian, but when I learned about the environmental impact of dairy, I didn’t want tobe co-responsible for that. Veganism seemed like an easy change I could make in my personal life to do something good. Only onceI became a vegan did I really learn about the suffering that happens in milk and egg farms, which only reinforced my decision. Before that, I wasn’t really exposed to that side of food production.
What would you say are the benefits of being a fully plant-based business?
First of all, it’s a huge plus to have a mission baked in. You will automatically connect with your customers and employees. People will want to support your business or work with you because they also believe plant-based food is the future. Another advantage is that, if you’re starting a vegan food business, meeting hygienic requirements is much easier. From an operational point of view, it’s simpler because you don’t have to maintain a separate storage room for certain groceries or worry about salmonella.
Find the full interviews in our Impact & Sustainability report: