As more Black Americans turn to veganism, the HBCU-founded plant-based food company, Everything Legendary is supplying the demand for flavorful vegan food.
Everything Legendary is founded by Morgan State University alum, Duane “Myko” Cheers and two-time HBCU alum, Danita Claytor, who graduated from Bowie State University and Howard University.
The two were influenced to enter the plant-based market to create healthy foods for their mothers, who were both facing illnesses.
“My mom had been battling with lupus for 35 years, and she had been a strict vegan for over 30 years. Danita’s mother was battling cancer at the time and we were trying to get her on a healthy regimen, but she didn’t like the taste of any of the plant-based food. So as we entered into the plant-based market, we wanted to create a product that was flavorful, yet healthy,” said Myko.
Based in Hyattsville, Maryland, Myko and Claytor have been building their business since 2019. It has grown from its pop-up sampling and guerilla-marketing introduction to a well-received national product rollout.
They found major success after landing an investment deal with Mark Cuban as a contestant on season 12 of Shark Tank, which helped them launch their product in grocery stores nationwide.
Everything Legendary is sold in 5,000 grocery stores and has multiple partnerships with lucrative brands such as Live Nation, General Mills, and more.
Myko and Claytor pride themselves on offering soy-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free products with chef-inspired ingredients. With ingredients so clean, their goal is for a 7-year-old child to be able to pronounce them all listed on the Nutrition Facts label.
According to Myko, what sets Everything Legendary apart from its competitors is that the products are “actually healthy.” “Read the ingredients,” he said. “We are also the largest African-American manufacturer of plant-based meats in the country. We offer soy-free products and our Nutrition Facts label is the cleanest compared to our competitors.”
Serving the HBCU community is an immense priority for Myko and Claytor as they have recently brought Everything Legendary to Bowie State’s food halls—and they don’t plan on stopping there. Their goal is to expand the food company to be available at every single HBCU across the country, then roll it out to all colleges and universities nationwide.
The co-founders are also launching a few new plant-based products that are geared specifically to Black culture soon.
As for advice for others wanting to follow in their footsteps, the duo said, “You have to truly love what you do. You have to build an amazing team. Start now and perfect later. Things won’t always be perfect, but you have to keep trying.”