Founder of Qatar’s first fully vegan cafe, Evergreen Organics, Ghanim AlSulaiti, is passionate about creating a positive impact on society. From the debut cafe to now managing 10 other projects under his company Enbat, including Mylk, Botany and PaperCuts Factory, Ghanim aims to use his businesses to better the space around him by promoting a plant-based and ethical lifestyle.
QRM catches up with the young entrepreneur to find out more:
QRM: Under Enbat, you have a growing number of vegan companies that have been founded in Qatar. What does vegan mean to you and why is it so important?
Mylk is a destination for those who appreciate life’s simple pleasures like ice cream, chocolate, perfect coffee, tasty food, design, music, and great friendly service
Ghanim: Veganism for me is a lifestyle. It’s more of a movement and a purpose I chose eight years ago. I wanted a lifestyle that doesn’t just suit me but saves the environment, saves the animals and makes us healthier. When I found veganism, I started researching, reading a lot of books, watching all these interviews and trying to travel and speak to people who live this lifestyle therefore trying to understand what being vegan really means.
Now vegan to me means you live the most sustainable, healthiest lifestyle to date. Maybe today, it means we’re not eating these kinds of animals or using certain products, however in a few years time, it may develop into something else, especially as technology is always changing.
“Now vegan to me means you live the most sustainable, healthiest lifestyle to date”
In the past eight years, what changes have you seen in Doha when it comes to veganism?
Ghanim: So with Evergreen, we were the first vegan restaurant to open in Doha, which set the standard for how vegan food should taste and be presented as well as followed ethically. Now we see many restaurants doing the same or adapting vegan menus in their restaurant which I think is great.
Things have changed drastically because when I became vegan eight years ago and then I opened up Evergreen four years after, I lived those four years without any vegan food available in restaurants and eating out was a hassle, but now everyone is informed and at least 99% of people in Doha will know what ‘vegan’ means.
My vision was to create that option in Doha and that’s why I wanted to focus mainly on Qatar because I think Doha needs options and alternatives in comparison to the available animal and dairy products. It’s also why I opened up so many restaurants in different locations with distinct concepts because I don’t think there are not enough ideas for vegan shops. I personally can’t trust vegan food in non-vegan restaurants, in case of cross-contamination with butter and meats for example, so I had to create a solution for people like me.
Evergreen is the first vegan cafe in Qatar
Palazzio 1, Qanat Quartier, Doha, Qatar
Opening Time: 7AM — 11PM
Botany is a vegan and organic brand founded in Qatar
Let’s talk about your skincare line Botany. the conversation on halal beauty and vegan beauty is somewhat interesting as The market for halal beauty is growing rapidly and set to be worth $52.02 billion by 2025. Why did you choose to go down the vegan beauty route instead of the halal one?
Ghanim: Because I’m vegan, everything is halal for me. Beauty wasn’t an industry that I intended to go into but after I became vegan and opened my own restaurant, I realised everything that I was putting in my body was amazing and then I started to look at what I was putting on top of my skin and hair. All these botanicals from these oils and plants have so many benefits so I had to create Botany, a natural skin care line that was started from scratch in Doha.
We opened Botany Lab two months ago, a spa which uses only natural ingredients. I wanted to create a different approach to beauty as I believe people have been using these products for centuries and they were fine and looked amazing. Which means ultimately what we need to do is slow down our lives, have less stress (which I’m personally not great at), and think about what we’re putting in and outside of our bodies.
We’re going to open up the men’s version of Botany Lab next and I can’t wait to use it cause I’ve haven’t been able to use the spa yet.
What have you taken from launching Evergreen to Botany to Mylk and so forth? What’s your advice to young entrepreneurs who want to start a new business?
Ghanim: I give each business its time. I choose the right people, the right team and try to focus on the one which needs the most attention, for that day. Knowing what you’re passionate about as a young entrepreneur is very important and most of the time, people think they’re passionate about something when they’re not. I don’t think every passion should also be a business.
My biggest advice for people is try to focus on businesses that help people become better. If your business is going to make people unhealthy, please stop it. If your business is going to make the environment worse, please stop it.
We live in a world now where we don’t need businesses that hurt anyone. Instead we need ones that can enhance society and make the local communities a better place — that’s what we should focus on. That’s my message to every entrepreneur out there: make sure your business makes people better and takes humanity to a different level, not just keeps it to where it is or makes them worse.
“Make sure your business makes people better and takes humanity to a different level, not just keeps it to where it is or makes them worse”
It sounds like you really trust the process?
Ghanim: I genuinely believe things will come to you if you want them, manifest and think about them while being prepared to do the hard work mentally as well as physically. It is about working hard but letting things also happen to you indirectly.
PHOTOS: Courtesy of Ghanim AlSulaiti