We had the good fortune of connecting with Ariel Levin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ariel, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Without risk, there is no reward. Throughout the course of my life, I have taken many risks… most of which didn’t pay off, and would be deemed as “failures” to the majority of people.
When I was growing up, taking risks didn’t seem so scary because I was under the shelter of my parents, and had their security to fall back on.
When I got to high school, I took a major risk and decided to drop out of normal public school to do online classes so I could pursue a career as a professional equestrian (horse back rider).
After years of relentless hard work, my horse sustained a career ending injury and I had to retire him much sooner than expected.
All of my dedication felt as if it amounted to nothing, and I returned to high school to finish out my senior year. There, I would graduate ahead of my class and end up opening multiple small businesses that would also “fail”.
I became passionate about animal rights and the vegan lifestyle, and instead of going to college right away, I opened up a private meal catering company called “Plantway Cafe”, where I would cook all day and deliver homemade plant based meals at night. I spent weekends at farmers markets trying to gain business, but it didn’t go anywhere.
After that failed, I tried blogging on social media, I became a certified cycling instructor, and I started hosting free monthly potlucks around South Florida.
When all of these ventures ended up failing, I decided it might be a good time to play the safe route and go to college.
After moving to Miami and completing one semester of school (and hating it), I decided to take another risk and, once again, drop out to pursue another “crazy” idea: putting together a vegan festival.
This was my biggest risk yet because I had no experience with planning events and had absolutely no idea where to start.
However, once the idea was in my head, I couldn’t let it go.
I figured things out day by day, made tons of mistakes along the way, and am still learning as I go. It has been the furthest thing from easy, but definitely one of the most rewarding risks I have taken.
It has now been three years, and I am the proud Founder + Organizer of VEGAN BLOCK PARTY: The ULTIMATE vegan food, drink, and lifestyle festival.
I am grateful to have a growing following of dedicated attendees, as well as be the person behind a festival that thousands of people look forward to every year.
I am living in alignment with my purpose, and feel as though my passions have been ignited by the risks I was willing to take to get here.
I never would have expected this to be my career path, but I am enjoying the journey and taking it as it comes with full understanding that nothing is forever.
Looking back, the past risks I took that were seen as “failures” were actually lessons learned in disguise.
This shift in mindset has changed my life, and I reflect back on previous experiences with the mentality that everything happens for a reason.
Working with horses for 18 years of my life taught me how to work hard, remain dedicated, trust the process, and most importantly, gave me a respect for horses (and all living beings) that ultimately lead me to veganism.
Starting my own meal prep business taught me how to do the dirty work, put myself out there to get clients & customers, spend hours prepping, cooking, cleaning, and delivering… it wasn’t easy and the workload wasn’t justified for the payout I received.
Hosting free potlucks taught me how to market an event, gather community, and connect with individuals who share similar mindsets + beliefs. I made longstanding friendships that I utilize at my festivals to this day.
Blogging was brutal, but it did teach me the ins-and-outs of social media, building a following, capturing + posting high quality content, and using different platforms to boost a brand.
Becoming a spin instructor was fun while it lasted, but I wasn’t great at it and I prefer Peloton’s cycling classes from home anyway (lol).
When I look back even further, I think about being a little girl and starting a “homemade horse treat” company, and being the CEO of PTSA (“Protect The Snails Association”).
The snail thing was because there would be hundreds of snails in our driveway after a rainstorm that would get stepped on or run over. I felt it was my duty to go outside and relocate them to safe spaces in order to save them…. I might have been a bit to ambitious with that one.
It makes for a funny story, but I also would like to think that my drive and creativity plays a role in the risks I am willing to take to this day.
What should our readers know about your business?
VEGAN BLOCK PARTY is the ULTIMATE vegan food, drink, and lifestyle festival.
Thousands of attendees join us annually to eat, sip, and celebrate all things vegan.
The festival features 100+ unique vendors, a fully vegan bar, music + entertainment, celebrity influencers, contests + giveaways, free health + wellness workshops, art + activism, and so much more!
VEGAN BLOCK PARTY provides an inclusive environment that invites attendees from all walks of life – there is no requirement to be vegan in order to attend.
You can expect to find a welcoming, fun environment to indulge, party, and connect with an incredible community of fellow conscious consumers.
Our Main Event is coming up on October 16, 2021 at Historic Virginia Key Beach Park in Miami, Florida from 12pm-8pm.
More information & tickets can be found at veganblockparty.com
Follow us on social media to stay updated with future events: @veganblockpartyofficial
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shoutout local Florida animal rescues such as Operation Liberation, Critter Creek Animal Sanctuary, Tweeter’s Retreat Animal Sanctuary, and Peacefield Farm Animal Sanctuary.
Operation Liberation is ran by my good friend Liz, who goes our on the street of South Florida to rescue stray cats, as well as provide free TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) services to help control the population of feral cats.
Critter Creek, Tweeter’s Retreat, and Peacefield Farm are all incredible Non-Profits that rescue animals in need and provide safe havens for them to live out their lives fully loved and free.
You can find them on Instagram:
Khaleel Sutherland Photography Mike Hedge Ahmed Addine Plasencia Sway Photos Starving Artist Photography