The End of an Era for No Meat Athlete (and What’s Coming Next!)

Get ready … for the times, they are a changin’.

When I started No Meat Athlete, I didn’t have any hopes of changing anyone. I thought from the beginning that people would like to wear t-shirts to announce that they were “No Meat Athletes,” but that was the extent of my vision for this blog and brand.

And so it was easy to say, “I think our logo should be fun. How about a vegetable that’s doing a sport?”

I have the drawing skills of three year-old, but luckily, my sister Christine is pretty good. (See her blog, where she accompanies every post with a little doodle.)

So we started here:

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Then went here:

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And eventually, got here:

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Then tweaked it a little:

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And if you have an original shirt with this homemade-looking guy on it, and you’re still reading NMA, then you win the loyalty prize (which isn’t an actual prize, but I think you’re the coolest):

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Finally, a few months later, the carrot as we know him arrived:

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Since then, this guy has been printed on 25,000 shirts, and loaded on webpages 30 million times. I’ve even seen 6 or 7 running carrot tattoos. Yeah, real tattoos. (If that’s you, you win a prize too.) Who could have predicted that our carrot guy would have this kind of impact?

Is it time for the carrot to hang up his shoes?

If I told you that the carrot was going away, I know at least 6 or 7 (tattooed) people who would be after me. So I’m not going to do that. The carrot will always be a part of NMA, and he’ll still show up on some shirts and parts of the website.

But the truth is that it’s time to change some things. A lot more things than the logo, actually. Here’s why:

No Meat Athlete isn’t just “Matt’s blog” anymore. It started as nothing more than my way to document my vegetarian experiment, but in six years I’ve come to realize that it has actually impacted a lot of people.

And I’d never have expected this when I started, but what I feel now is a sense of responsibility.

A sense of responsibility to the six people that now make up our growing team behind the scenes. To our running groups around the country and the world. To you, one of the hundreds of thousands of people who read or listen to No Meat Athlete every month.

And, perhaps most of all, to the much larger number of people who we haven’t reached yet: those who are looking to make a change but don’t know how to make it. I know that we could change the lives of so many people (and as a result, so many animals) for the better … if I could be just a little bit more consistent. If we could publish just a little more often. If our shirts were just a little nicer (and if they didn’t run out of stock so often).

But none of that can happen when NMA is subject to my personal ups and downs, like the periods when I don’t feel like running or I’m not inspired to write. Or when I get so many emails I can’t respond to them all, so I let them sit for weeks or months.

Or when we run out of shirts because I’ve never quite figured out how to manage that inventory, or to lay out the cash that’s required to keep everything in stock.

When I let my own shortcomings affect the brand that way, everybody loses.

No Meat Athlete isn’t going away, but this old way of doing things is.

It’s time to get real. For the past few months I’ve been formulating the plans to shift the way we do things, so that we can reach more people with this message, and have the kind of impact on the world that I know we can make.

You’ve seen the first movements in that direction: the new content schedule, where I’ve promised to show up with a new post or podcast, four times a week, on specific days. (Sunday/Wednesday blog posts, Monday/Thursday podcasts.) Most of the time I’ll be the author, but now and then we’ll feature some guests, and I hope we can increase that frequency to share other voices and perspectives.

Beginning next month, you’ll see an increase in frequency and consistency on our Facebook page, followed by other social media channels.

Also starting on July 1, we’ll finally outsource fulfillment of the shirts. Some 30,000 carrot and stamp shirts have passed through our house, with either my wife Erin, I, or a helper or two handling every single one of them. (No joke; we once accidentally shipped our baby monitor to a shirt customer when our son dropped it in the bag.)

It’s been cool to remain such a cottage business for so long, but at this point we’re holding NMA (and the movement) back by trying to do everything ourselves. The best news: this means way fewer out-of-stocks, going forward.

In two months, we’ll roll out a brand new, shiny web design — one that’s easier to navigate, and nicer to look at, too.

We’ve also got three new programs in the works for this year, each designed for people at different phases of the process of adopting a healthy, plant-based diet.

And although it’s in the earliest stages, there’s a new print cookbook coming, too.

And this is just the stuff I can talk about; a few other projects are more massive and ambitious than any of this, but are still on lockdown.

But the soonest change you’ll notice — in just a few weeks — is a new logo. And with that, new shirts.

No, the carrot isn’t going away. Like I said, he’ll still have a place. But he (if it’s a he; I never really decided that) is going to share the spotlight for a little while, handing off the baton for a bit. No, not to Mr. Flexing Tomato, but to a logo that better represents what the brand has become (without taking ourselves too seriously, of course).

Trust me, even this small step is hard for me. I’ve looked at probably 150 new logo designs, and 149 of them have missed the mark. This brand has been such a huge part of my life for six years now, that nothing seems worthy of replacing the running carrot. So why change at all?

Because I think we’re missing an opportunity to reach a lot of people. For some, the carrot says it all. But I know that for others the carrot prevents them from giving the brand — and more importantly, this diet and lifestyle — a chance at all.

The carrot is great at saying “We’re fun! We’re welcoming!” … not so great at saying, “But seriously, this diet actually does work really, really well — even for sports. Give it a shot.”

So in July, we’ll bring out the first new clothing items to feature NMA’s new logo, and from there, we’ll add more apparel. And of course, feature the running carrot on a few throwbacks.

I’m really excited about this new logo. Incredibly nostalgic, sure, but ready to move on, and happy to have a symbolic way of letting everyone know that we’re serious about this shift.

So, two things to do:

1. If you’d like me to send you an email as soon as the new logo shirts are ready, before they’re announced anywhere else, you can sign up here.

2. We’ve got a bunch of carrot and stamp shirts to clear out of our house! So for the rest of June, we’re gradually reducing the prices of all the shirts we have left. You can get all details about our “End of an Era” sale here.

Ok, that’s it, before I get any more sappy. Looking at those old iterations of the carrot got to me, so now I’m off to spend Father’s Day at the waterpark with my wife and kids. Hope you have a great one too! 🙂

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Comments

  1. Stephen D says:

    Can’t wait to see the new changes! I hope that NMA will still remain authentic and fun as opposed to turning all sleek and professional like a million other running sites out there.

  2. The carrot had a good run! (Get it?)
    🙂

  3. Hi, Matt

    I’ve followed your blog – on and off, I must admit – for the last 1.5 years. I’ve been vegetarian for 20+ yrs and got into running two years ago (did various other sports before). Just wanted to thank your for the effort that you’ve put so far and wish you success in transitioming to a new level (I liked the original logo, let’s see what the new one will look like). Just so that you know, your word has reached all the way to Moscow. 🙂 There’s been a surge in running here over the last couple of years. Not as many vegan runners yet though, so I should get one of your t-shirts. 🙂

    Best,
    -ARTEM-

  4. Good for you… Well done!

  5. The carrot was fun. But i totally agree with you: its better to reach more People and convince them our veggie life style is another real and doable option for anyone. Looking forward to get the new logo shirts!

  6. Michelle says:

    NMA is what convinced me to go vegetarian, and now I am almost vegan. Still working on it. I found this site when googling black bean brownies a few years ago, and then the charges started coming fast and furious for me! So many new recipes and a new way of cooking! I was so excited! I felt like I became a much better athlete and runner, eating this new way instead of what I had previously thought was healthy. Thanks, Matt, for doing so much for the running/vegetarian community.

  7. It’s been a pleasure to watch you and this site evolve, Matt.

    Couldn’t have happened to a finer, more grounded fellow.

    Much continued success!

    -Joe

  8. Matt
    You are an inspiration. I saw a post on Facebook over 9 months ago. Went cold “turkey” (can you even call it that?????) and never ate an ounce of meat again. I was always a runner but never a lifestyle runner. I have shed over 30 pounds and my mile is mid 7’s which it hasn’t been ever. Most importantly I feel better. I look better. And I spread the word every chance at get.

    Much continued success.
    Mark

  9. Right on Matt, some very good thinking from the sounds of it.

    Cheers to that splendid mind of yours and thanks for being awesome.

    Kai

  10. support it.. continue the expansion ~congrats

  11. I love the running carrot! Glad he’ll still be a part of the brand. Best of luck to you!! Looking forward to where we’ll go from here! 🙂
    PS. Congratulations on your success! It’s well deserved!

  12. I’ve been an NMA fan probably since close to the beginning and love what you do and how you do it. I’m transitioning back to a veggie and hopefully vegan diet right now and your blog posts have been a big part of this decision too. The personal touch is important so I hope you don’t disappear entirely and I shall still wear my carrot shirts with pride – while looking forward to seeing the new ones. Best of luck!

  13. Way to go Matt and the NMA team! As much as I love the carrot, I think it’s wonderful that you are thinking about how you can reach as many people as possible with this message. I’m sure you’ve come up with a great new logo to achieve that, and I can’t wait to see what it is! I’m very excited for the future of NMA and the great things you’re going to accomplish.

  14. Melanie says:

    Love what you do but any chance you can make the new kit smaller for some of us petite folk? I currently can’t wear any of your products as even the small is big 🙂

  15. Sandra, Italy says:

    Best wishes Matt,can’t wait to see the changes:-)

  16. Matt, my sister gave me a copy of your book for Christmas the year I switched to a plant-based diet and ran my first half-marathon. I love your blog and wish you all the best as you transition to a new way of doing things. I think many people fear change (ME!), so while I’m definitely excited for you, I also hope you’ll keep things personal and witty to reflect YOU, which is what attracts people to your message in the first place. Not slick marketing, not guest blog posts, not new logos and shirts and merchandise, but you and your authenticity. Best of luck, and maybe I’ll grab one of those shirts before they disappear.

  17. Best of luck to you man! You are an integral part of the plant power way of life revolution. I know that you have inspired and helped me along the way over the last few years. Thank you and I’m looking forward to see what the evolution of NMA is.

  18. Stefani says:

    I have followed your blog for many years now and I am so happy for you that things are going so well. I love this site for the non judgment and the wonderful support. And recipes! I can’t wait to buy a new shirt and will cherish my old school shirts haha. Your recipes helped me finally transition from vegetarian to vegan over 2 years ago. Thank you!!!!

  19. Congrats, Matt. I am looking forward to seeing the new logo!

  20. Please, please, please tell me you’ll be getting more of the old cycling jerseys with the carrot!?!? That’s the coolest thing ever, and I didn’t know it existed until a few minutes ago.

    Thanks,
    Ron NMA Denver

  21. Have followed Ghislain from the early days (no I’m not the one with the tattoo) & love the growth of the site. Like all things, change is inevitable.

    Run on my carrot tip friend.

  22. Please tell me you will have more triathlon tops and shorts in women’s small? I really need one for my next triathlon in October, so you have some time….

  23. Danielle Schmidt says:

    Hi Matt, I’m so happy for you at the growth of your blog! I first started following it approximately a year after you first went plant based. I was so excited because I won a contest for a free carrot shirt by commenting on your anniversary. Your following has grown so much since then and I wish you continued success . I still have the t-shirt but my husband stole it and grossed it up!! Lol

  24. OH it all sounds exciting! Looking forward to seeing the changes (:

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