A Vegan Treat as an Olive Branch: Lavender Kitchen’s Crusade to Collaborate with their Competition...
(Inside Kaffe Mercantile) 2276 Washington Blvd., Ogden || 801.628.1576
Monday–Friday: 6 a.m.–7 p.m.
Saturday: 7 a.m.–5 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Ogden’s Lavender Kitchen founders Kye and Lisa Hallows have both been creating baked goods their whole lives. “Just super traditional, you make everything from scratch, you use everything from the garden—the idea that it’s always better if you make it yourself,” says Lisa of this principle that she and Kye have continued to carry with them throughout life. Currently running an all-vegan bakery with pastries, three breakfast sandwiches and doing custom cakes, the duo uphold their made-from-scratch roots.
The almost two-year culmination of that upbringing wasn’t either of their first business ventures. Prior to opening up Lavender Kitchen, Kye had opened up Lavender Vinyl on 25th Street in Ogden with their best friend, Blake Lundell. “We wanted a café with [Lavendar Vinyl], but we couldn’t put that much capital into it. That’s when Lisa and I met.” Around the same time, Lisa was just concluding a pie-truck venture with a friend, but was hungry to get back into the game. When she met Kye, it was as if everything finally aligned. “Just because you have a failed attempt doesn’t mean you can’t figure out the right groove for your business,” Lisa says. “Lavender Kitchen is 1,000 times better than what I could’ve imagined [I would’ve started] five years ago…The right people at the right time can make your dream happen.”
Ironically, prior to the pair meeting, Lisa wasn’t vegan—something that led to what Kye likes to refer to as “part of their evil plan”—“she was full-fledged within three months,” they says. Lisa attributes the change to the fact that she was already eating vegan food 80 percent of the time while she was with Kye, and started to notice how much better she felt.
“Things that are made with love just taste better.”
However, the duo makes it clear that their baked goods are not just for the enjoyment of those of the vegan persuasion. “We know not everyone in Ogden is vegan, but our stuff is so good that even if you’re not vegan, you’re still gonna like it,” says Lisa. The benefits of eating their muffins don’t end with the ingredients. “You’re reducing your carbon footprint, you’re helping a small business, you are supporting your local community and you’re supporting a queer business, so there are so many things that we’re all about,” Lisa says. Kye and Lisa were nice enough to give me one of their muffins to try, and I can assure you, if you were to eat one of their muffins next to a regular muffin, there would be no way of knowing which was vegan.
The time and effort the pair put in their food does not go unnoticed. Their breakfast sandwich with sunflower-seed sausage, which the two claim they changed 50 times to make it just right, is now their best seller. “Things that are made with love just taste better,” says Kye about why they goes through that process.
Delicious-tasting baked goods aren’t the only part of Lavender Kitchen done with a keen sense of intent. Kye and Lisa also want to use their platform to help develop the local small-business community in Ogden. “We wouldn’t have been able to start the record store and our bakery if it wasn’t for the amazing people in this community, and we want to be that for the next set of local businesses that start,” says Lisa. She doesn’t only talk the talk but walks the walk: The two love entering partnerships with other local small businesses, and currently, that can be seen through their O-Town cookies, which are made with homemade jam from local O-Town Jam. The profits go toward helping homeless individuals across Utah, including single moms and women who have experienced domestic abuse.
“We’re all in this together, and if we can all help each other as a small-business community. Why wouldn’t we?”
Supporting local social movements is something that Kye and Lisa love most about what they’ve been able to create through Lavender Kitchen. As Lisa says, “There’s so many layers to it. It’s the whole ‘It gets better’ [part of it], all these little baby queers that can maybe now [say], ‘Oh I can own a business; I can follow my dreams in Ogden, Utah,’ where you think you might be squashed, [which is] not the case. Everyone in this community is so supportive.”
Helping foster that sense of community success isn’t a new idea in Ogden. Kye started working at Kaffe Mercantile about a decade ago and claims that the queer couple really took them under their wing and helped them grow not only personally, but professionally, to the extent that they allow them and Lisa to run their business out of the Kaffe Mercantile kitchen. “When you’re comparing two small businesses—even two vegan small businesses against each other—it’s not a competition,” Kye says. “We’re all in this together, and if we can all help each other as a small-business community. Why wouldn’t we?”
Those experiences have also heavily influenced where Kye and Lisa want to see Lavender Kitchen grow in the future, a dream Kye likes to call “The Lavender Empire.” “Lots of growth through wholesale—I want to have more of a full-service menu. I want to hire some employees and create jobs. We want to grow and help the next entrepreneur grow their business, too,” they says. The whole idea of collaborating with your competition is something the pair really takes to heart and hopes to be able to grow through more partnerships in the future. For the time being, you can find all the businesses that stock their sweets on their website (linked above), where you can also request custom orders.