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Talking Sustainability with Ferdinand Beck of Vegan Savage

By Reading Time: 4 minutes

This blog article is based on an interview on our YouTube channel. Subscribe to never miss a video!

Ferdinand Beck is a vegan fitness content creator and influencer with almost 327,000 followers on Instagram and 50,000 subscribers on YouTube.

He’s even been called the world’s hottest vegan, and he hopes to inspire others to start a healthy, plant-based lifestyle.

Beck promotes topics including the benefits of veganism on his website and social media platforms, and also by selling merch on his online store. Along the way, he’s learned a lot about sustainability and eco-friendliness in the ecommerce world. Now he’s ready to share his best tips!

1. Research your niche

Before adopting a plant-based lifestyle in 2014, Beck only had a passing interest in fitness. Switching to a vegan diet changed everything for him and inspired him to continue working hard in the weight room.

“I experienced so many benefits,” he says. “My health got better, my skin got clearer, and I wanted to continue building muscle.”

Beck lifts weights
Ferdinand Beck

Traditional bodybuilders credit their ability to put on pounds of muscle and lift heavy weights with copious amounts of protein, often in the form of animal products. Some weightlifters think it’s harder, or even impossible, to gain muscle mass without eating meat.

Beck disagrees and says he wants to help others understand that a plant-based lifestyle is a healthy option and that eating less meat and consuming fewer animal products is better for the planet.

“The first part of my journey was gaining understanding that animal products harm our health, our planet, and of course, the animals,” he says.

The next part of Beck’s journey involved learning about fitness and nutrition. He researched questions like:

  • What vitamins does the body need?
  • What foods help us build strength and muscle mass?
  • How does our body metabolize food?
  • What kind of exercises make us stronger?

As Beck continued to improve in the weight room, he began promoting his vegan lifestyle online where he created a community of people he calls his “vegan savages.”

Offline, he purchased t-shirts from popular retailers with slogans like “vegan” and “plant-based” on them. He says those shirts sparked many in-person conversations.

“People would come up to me and ask me about being vegan because they saw the shirts I was wearing,” he says. 

Beck was impressed with the ability the shirts had to start discussions and garner interest in his lifestyle.

2. Choose a like-minded partner

Eventually, Beck decided to create his own shirts.

“I couldn’t find shirts with the slogans that I really wanted, so I looked into a couple of print-on-demand suppliers to make shirts for myself,” he says. “I tried a few, and Printful stood out.”

Beck decided to use a print-on-demand model to print t-shirts because it’s more sustainable than buying in bulk. He created the shirts he wanted to wear without wasting any materials.

Before choosing to work with Printful, Beck asked the print-on-demand companies he tested about product quality, transparency, customer support options, and eco-friendly products.

“Other print-on-demand companies don’t seem like they’re developing anymore,” Beck says. “But I see Printful moving toward a more sustainable future.

Beck vlogs
Ferdinand Beck

Beck began using Printful to create shirts with phrases like:

  • Vegan
  • Vegains
  • Plant-based athlete
  • Vegan Savage
  • Mind over matter
  • Be kind to animals
  • Friends not food
  • You had me at vegan
  • Follow your highest excitement

It didn’t take long for Beck’s online community to notice his shirts and ask where they could buy them. 

In response, Beck opened his store with Printful in 2018, and named it Vegan Savage, after his online community.

On his store’s homepage, Beck included information about himself, his mission, and the sustainability of his print-on-demand business.

Thanks to the interest from Beck’s followers, orders began rolling in quickly.

3. Offer eco-friendly products

The vegan savages aren’t the only ones who care about issues like sustainability. Nearly 70% of consumers in the US and Canada think it’s important that a brand is sustainable or eco-friendly. 

In 2020, Beck began testing Printful’s range of eco-friendly products, which are made of at least 30% sustainable, recycled, or biodegradable materials. He wants to make sure all of the products he offers are as high-quality and sustainable as possible.

A woman hikes in a tofu love tank top
Ferdinand Beck

Beck says he’s looking forward to adding more eco-friendly and organic cotton options to his store and hoping to offer plastic-free packaging in the future. 

He says he visualizes a “bright green future” with all organic materials, fair trade, and most importantly, happy customers.

4. Communicate about sustainability

Communicating often and being honest with your customers is key to keeping them happy. You can add messaging about sustainability to your website and social media posts.

Product descriptions are another great place to communicate about sustainability. Including information about the products you offer will help your customers know exactly what they’ll get when they buy from you and what the environmental impact will be. 

Beck says most of his customers come to his store through his social media accounts where he shares details about his products. About 60% of Beck’s customers are vegan, while the other 40% are plant-based, vegan-curious, or vegetarian.

A man models a vegan savage t-shirt
Vegan Savage merch

This might not be the case for you and your customers, and that’s completely fine! You don’t have to be a vegan fitness influencer to promote these topics to your audience. Sustainability is interesting to shoppers from many different niches.

Talking about sustainability on your store’s marketing channels regularly, like Beck, could give you a leg up over your competitors. Try creating a sustainability page like Printful’s with information about how your products are made.

5. Give back to your followers

Another thing that’s helped Beck make sales is gifting merch to his friends and followers. 

Beck says his friends love receiving free products and create social media posts showing off their Vegan Savage gear. They often tag him in the photos, which helps more people find his store.

But Beck doesn’t push everyone who comes across his store to buy from him. On top of promoting sustainable fashion and veganism, Beck encourages his followers to do their research to find out where their products are coming from and what their environmental impact is. 

Beck wears a Vegan Savage hoodie
Ferdinand Beck

Just like Beck, you can use your store and social media to promote mindful shopping and encourage your customers to donate or upcycle products when they’re done using them.

These are just a few ideas of things you can do to make your store a little more sustainable. Before you implement any of them, consider your audience and what they care about most. Stay true to yourself and your store’s message.

If you need more inspiration, follow Beck as he continues to create amazing content and products about living a plant-based lifestyle.

Are you interested in trying out any of these ideas? Excited about adding eco-friendly products to your store? Planning on tweaking your marketing messaging? Let us know in the comments!

Caroline is a former journalist turned marketer. She is a content marketing specialist at Printful and is becoming increasingly obsessed with social proof.

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