- In 2010, Jenné Claiborne began a vegan cooking blog for fun. Ten years later, Sweet Potato Soul has evolved into a multifaceted media brand: In addition to publishing her first cookbook in 2018, she also hosts a highly successful YouTube channel, where nearly 500,000 subscribers tune in for her highly accessible plant-based recipes.
- As she looks toward the year ahead, Claiborne has some pretty lofty goals—for both herself and her brand. But her strategy for success is starting small—because as she learned from the rise of her business, sometimes the tiniest steps ultimately add up a bigger impact than we ever expected.
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When perusing Jenné Claiborne's CV, it wouldn't be a leap to assume that the food blogger and vegan chef had methodically planned her meteoric rise from the very beginning. Her blog, Sweet Potato Soul, boasts hundreds upon hundreds of easy-to-make vegan recipes. She has worked as a personal chef and certified health coach. Her YouTube channel is a runaway success, with nearly 500,000 subscribers. And at the start of 2018, she published her very first cookbook—endorsed by Chloe Coscarelli of By Chloe fame and John Mackey, the co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods.
But ten years ago, Claiborne didn't necessarily envision herself as one of the most popular vegan food bloggers on the internet. Her initial career aspirations were actually in acting—and after circumstance led her to adopt a vegan diet, she began to wonder how she might combine her performative streak with a career in food.
"I realized that sure, I want to be an actress," she said. "But it would also really be cool to have a cooking show and write cookbooks one day." She began work as a private chef, and launched her blog, Sweet Potato Soul, as a fun aside. And once it became clear that her relatable writing style and recipes were attracting a more engaged readership than she could have anticipated, Claiborne knew that she might have something major on her hands.