Patricia Stachowicz spoke to Karolina Tyszkowska & Kiirstin Marilyn in New York about their niche journey with V 4 Veganism
How V4V Productions started:
Founded by Karolina Tyszkowska and Kiirstin Marilyn in 2016, the two had known each other from previous collaborations. In the summer of 2016, Kiirstin, also a musician, was working on a music video for her new single. Karolina broached the subject of starting a web series centered around veganism, sustainability, and social justice. This project would promote vegan leaders and entrepreneurs in the New York City area. Despite the popular belief that all vegans ever talk about is being vegan, neither Karolina nor Kiirstin knew that the other had adopted this lifestyle. Naturally, they became the perfect partners for this new venture, and V for Veganism was born. This new team consisted of Karolina behind-the-scenes, doing camera and editing work, and Kiirstin in front of the camera, hosting. V for Veganism quickly caught fire in New York City, and was soon approached for interviews and vegan-oriented event coverage.
In the fall of 2017, V for Veganism decided to extend its reach beyond being a web series. Following successful events including a launch over the preceding summer, and the Halloween-themed Octoberblast, V4V Productions was a natural next step. Now, the company would be an umbrella for all types of original content: music videos, activism event videos, and live events. V4V Productions’ first venture in event production, titled Can I Live, became NYC’s first-ever Animal Rights-oriented music festival. Twelve vegan artists were featured at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory, aiming to share and normalize veganism to fellow music lovers. Additionally, they fundraised for 3 tri-state area farm sanctuaries: Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary, Skylands Farm Sanctuary & Rescue, and Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Combining these efforts with the success of Can I Live, V4V productions had finally found its niche in the New York vegan and activist scenes.
Some of the obstacles faced when founding V4V:
These accomplishments were met with a great obstacle: money. Cited as both a strength and a weakness of the company, co-founder Kiirstin Marilyn describes V4V as having a “shoe-string budget…Having little to no budget forces us to be creative which can be stressful but also fun. Karolina and I never back down from a challenge, and we always manage to make it work. Research and compromise are key.”
How does V4V help start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs?
However, financial woes don’t prevent V4V from promoting start-ups and entrepreneurs through the same channel where it all started: the V for Veganism web series. Other tactics such as giveaway contests via social media are used to showcase start-ups that give sample products to V4V followers. Collaborating with other vegan artists is another essential component to creating events such as Can I Live and Runway V. Not only do these events fund nearby Animal Sanctuaries; they give entrepreneurs a space to sell and promote their products to a new audience, whether they be an established 501(c)(3) or a project that has yet to be discovered.
In addition to holding music festival, Can I Live, V4V recently held its runway show during New York Fashion Week. Describe the process of curating these events:
Co-founder Kiirstin describes event curating as “a lot of work, but none more than putting together a fashion show.” Developing a larger-scale project like the recent Runway V is a challenge on a tight budget, and requires collaborating with individuals who are also ethically-minded. For V4V, the ultimate goal is animal liberation.
Delegating tasks is perhaps the most important component of professional events, as each participant is able to play to their strengths. Karolina doubles as V4V’s graphic designer, which helps the brand’s marketing and event promotion. Knowing people in the given industry is helpful as well. Being a musician herself, Kiirstin contacted friends who had connections with NYC music venues, which enabled V4V to secure venues for its events. Animal rights activist and hip hop artist Philly Stallone helped with finding performers, and was able to use his platform to promote Can I Live. Make-up artist Andrew Sotomayor aided in securing a sponsor and team of make-up artists for Runway V. “Without his expertise,” Kiirstin notes, “the burden of pulling off such a large event would have been much greater.”
Although V4V is mainly a “two-woman outfit”, a range of collaborators are necessary to produce each new event. Serving as both founders and co-producers, Karolina and Kiirstin’s responsibilities include booking and scheduling interviewees for their web series and reaching out to potential event sponsors.
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A webseries dedicated to introducing a vegan lifestyle and building a supportive community in the boroughs of New York. New episodes every Monday! www.VforVegansim.com Find them on the intraweb #V4Veganism Instagram/Twitter/ Facebook @V4Veganism Produced by V4V Productions www.v4vproductions.com
You can also see V4 Veganism’s Youtube page:
________________________________________________________________________This article is authored by Patricia Stachowicz, Lifestyle & Finance Writer in New York for The Onside Media, get in touch with Patricia Stachowicz: [email protected]