February is upon us and Valentine’s Day is in the air. Who will you be sharing your special day with? Your spouse? Your significant other? Your furbaby? Or like many people maybe you’re spending Valentine’s Day with yourself. And is that such a terrible thing?
After all isn’t the greatest love, self-love? I’ll let you ponder…
Which brings us to another question. Have you ever really been in love?
We all want to be loved and love others but are we in the right space? Some of us see the world through rose colored glasses. For some our reflection is clouded by the many filters we have accumulated along the way. Obscuring our true intentions and desires, hidden from our conscious selves and wreaking havoc on our lives and relationships. Are we seeing ourselves for who we truly are? Do we deem ourselves worthy of real love? Is it paramount to achieve self-love before we can be in-love with another?
Karine Charbonneau aka The Vegan Cupid says “Absolutely!”
The savvy CEO of Find Veg Love, a vegan matchmaking service, has built her international business of love on helping clients become the best version of themselves. And in her expert opinion: “Then and only then will you be able to enjoy a successful relationship with another person.”
The Decision to Be Vegan
Karine was born in Ottawa Ontario. In 2005 she was inspired to adopt the vegan lifestyle when her husband, at the time, was attending law school. One of his animal law professors presented the class with a video about the horrors of industrial agriculture. When Karine’s husband shared what he had learned, it prompted them to continue researching the subject. Soon thereafter the two made the decision to go vegan. 16 years later Karine maintains her ethical vegan lifestyle, “I’ve been vegan for 16 years because I love animals, there is no turning back for me! “
We Plan, The Universe Laughs
After graduating from Carleton University with prestigious degrees in psychology and criminology she was forced to pivot after the economic crash in 2008 and began studying event production. These degrees, later on, would prove vital, although at the time seemed futile.
She then traveled to California and planted roots where she saw a much-needed void. A new career had presented itself and Karine began hosting profitable vegan events in her local area. Weddings, birthdays, trade shows and conventions were big business but when she heard many of her friends were unsuccessful in finding love she felt an inexplicable spark of inspiration and was stirred to attention. Already dialed into the vegan community, she was armed with a dynamic database of existing contacts, her very own persons of interest, criminologically speaking of course. She found herself meeting and being hired by accomplished people; except when it came to dating, they were unsuccessful. A resounding “Where are all the single vegans at?” played in her head. Many of her peers, clients and friends were having a difficult time in the dating world. These highly desirable people couldn’t seem to find a decent “Vegan” counterpart.
Growing Her Wings
Quick to action in 2011 Karine began a speed dating circuit. Sold out events to vegan men and women looking for vegan connection, a good time, and maybe a soulmate. Of course this entailed a lot of hard work. At this point the speed dating was a side hustle for Karine in between the larger cash cow events she was really famous for.
Her heart was in it though. Karine is a people person and prides herself on helping others. In her words, her favorite part of the job. “Sure it’s stressful,” she says “and a lot of behind the scenes work,” but she is dedicated to the process.
In 2017 she decided to return to Ottawa, her true home. Although a location with a much smaller vegan population she was up for the challenge. To keep up with the demand abroad she continued to remotely produce events throughout the United States and Canada. In her absence her social gatherings were well attended in many states now and her reputation preceded her.
A year in, she was approached by a follower of her work who took specific notice of her work ethic and cracker jack success. He asked if he could hire her as his personal matchmaker. Having worked with other matchmakers he had thus far been unsuccessful in finding a forever mate. Tired of seeing Karine work so hard and struggle to really build something sustainable he began to share with her pertinent information about how the other professional matchmakers operated so that she could start implementing these formats in her own business.
A Cupid is Born
Being prudent she plugged herself into the world of matchmaking. Quickly joining a matchmakers alliance. It was here she met other professionals; all part of a tight group who engaged with one another during workshops and events where they all networked and learned about the latest techniques, technologies and resources.
Diving right in, she began to study her clients. Highly attuned to their words vs. their actions.
“People seek out a Matchmaker thinking they are the Holy Grail, with the intention of solving that one problem; finding the one person they haven’t been able to locate.” She follows by saying, “Many of us who think the right person is not out there which is not the case may be too unrealistic, too picky or maybe just not open minded enough. We tend to block ourselves! Sometimes it works and sometimes not. But if you are in the right place within yourself you will choose a much better partner.”
Sure, like any novice, at the beginning she did not have a lot of experience she took on clients she probably should have passed on but now it has proved as valuable lessons.
Her vetting process is much more fine-tuned and only will work with you if she feels you are ready.
Working on herself was part of the plan. She attended motivation and self-help coaching sessions where she learned a lot about herself, who she was and the kind of relationship she truly desired. This also helped her with her client base learning important facets of what is important to bring to a relationship rather than focusing on what to take.
The Next Chapter
Karine loved being a vegan matchmaker. Her client base was growing, and her business was stabilizing. All great news and the perfect launching pad to just go full speed ahead. Except she was noticing a pattern within her clients. She was observing their willingness to hand over their money however many of whom may not have been doing themselves a service. Of course she could have taken their money and sent them on dates with those who seemed on the surface, perfect for them. But when you have integrity that is not the path you take.
How could she help those who weren’t choosing well for themselves but still respected her expertise in the field? And what were these people skipping when it came to bad relationships/no relationships? Could it have been the relationship they were having with themselves or lack thereof?
What if she could coach people about self-love, self-worth, and saying yes to themselves before another?
Why not teach others what she learned? Having pro-actively ending a 15-year relationship; she finally realized she needed to get to a new place within herself in order to experience the relationship she deserved and was meant to have.
Living it meant she could teach this from an experiential standpoint and walk others through her footsteps.
She went to work and painstakingly created a 10-week program made up of coaching modules. This included access, if you so choose, to a Psychologist/Hypnotherapist, an Intuitive Healer and even an Astrologer. All part of The Vegan Cupid team waiting to impart knowledge on those willing and ready.
This would be offered only to those she thought ready. Now her favorite part of what she does is helping people become the best versions of themselves.
In her words, “When someone is in that place of self-love they will choose and attract a much better partner for them, ultimately laying the foundation for a more sustainable relationship.
It’s important to “Do the Work” and get to that place where you are finally ready for a new chapter.”
If you’re seeking a Barbie, Ken doll or checklist don’t call The Vegan Cupid!
She has seen and heard it all.
It’s hard to believe that everyone will ultimately find the love of their life a block away.
Because of this what might start out as a long distance relationship could potentially be the answer.
Now as a matchmaker, she turns clients down when she knows that someone is not ready and suggests one of her coaching platforms. A win-win for everyone.
Sometimes Stars Align in Perfect Succession
Her favorite dating story tells of a man and woman who met in one of her virtual events. Although having done them for years because of the pandemic they have become much more popular now.
“These two met in August of 2020, during the pandemic. The event was open to everyone both in the United States and Canada. One in California and one in Ottawa Canada, they hit it off immediately and sought to keep in touch…and they have.
To date, they have taken a virtual staycation together. They’ve sent care packages to each other. They cook most of their meals together, they watch movies together and have been happy for six months now waiting for the day they will finally be able to travel.
The woman so impressed with Karine and the results has recently bought a virtual event ticket, asking Karine to gift it to one lucky recipient.
Relationships are complicated enough.
Vegans want vegans. Meals, holidays, raising kids, clothing, etc., this takes care of those debates.
Does it come with challenges? Sure! Vegans are a small percent of the population. However in spite of this, I’m convinced that The Vegan Cupid can help.
Spending her days on social media, Zoom hangouts, emailing and giving free advice on her well known Facebook group is just a slice of her day but everything she does is done with love.
Her message is “You are not alone. There are others who are experiencing the same thing, many of us are.” She offers hope to the hopeless. She uses her personal journey to inspire others. The ultimate lesson is we can be our own matchmaker. If we just let go and let in.
Karine writes dating articles for Veg News, LiveKindly and Veg World Magazine. She’s out there. Her videos are available on the Plant Based Network where she will be producing more content on their new channel “Vegan Dating” created for her and for aspiring vegan couples.
With the vegan population growing each day the future is heaven for The Vegan Cupid. The more vegans there are in the world, the better our chances of finding that special someone.
Click here to watch Cupid Class, a free virtual training by The Vegan Cupid herself. Subscribe to the The Vegan Cupid e-newsletter. On Facebook? Join The Vegan Cupid group. You can find a variety of Vegan Cupid Zoom events for wine lovers, coders and techies, pet lovers, fitness lovers, food lovers and more here. On Valentines Day check out her livestream broadcast “The Vegan Cupid Dating Show” featured on The Plant Based Network in its new category Vegan Dating.