Vegan Collagen: Everything You Need to Know, Thanks to Whimsy Official
“We are just so adamant about helping other business owners,” says Victoria McAbee.
Over video from her home in Auburn, Alabama (though she is soon moving to Austin), McAbee is speaking about one of the main goals ofWhimsy Official, the wellness brand she cofounded with friend Jasmine Lee: help other companies led by women and non-binary folks succeed through guidance and investment.
“We definitely came out of pocket a lot and went into a little bit of debt, but we did have really generous friends and family who would be like, ‘Hey, I just Venmo-ed you $500—go buy your point-of-sale system,’” McAbee recalls of her company’s early days. “And people just do not realize how that sticks with you forever; you’ll never forget how such a small investment can help you so far along your journey. So we want to be able to do that for other people.”
It’s a noble pursuit, especially for a brand that is still itself in infancy. Despite only being founded in 2018, though, Whimsy Official has begun making waves in wellness. Focusing on vegan collagen—both to consume and to apply topically—the brand is sustainable, plant-based, and downright trendy. Whimsy Official’sGlow Getter Collagen Blend, in an Instagram-worthy blue hue, is an earthy adaptogenic powder perfect for mixing into teas and smoothies. And itsLip Gleam, made with mango seed butter and strawberry seed oil, is a delicious treat for your pout, immediately softening and adding a chic shine.
Collagen is consistently one of the buzziest words in the wellbeing industry—especially when it comes to skincare. This structural protein naturally forms in our bodies, but we lose more of it every year that we age; so taking it in supplemental form in particular (and to a lesser degree, applied directly onto the skin) is said to help clear complexions, strengthen nails and hair, and even improve joints. And while many brands of ingestible collagen come from animals (usually fish or cows), Whimsy Official is fully vegan. Below, McAbee shares more.
So, for starters, why vegan collagen?
We started as a mobile matcha bar—my business partner Jasmine and I—back in 2018. We got a custom concession trailer built for us, and in our college town we started this little business called Whimsy on Wheels where we were hauling around the seven-by-14-foot trailer. It was so scary, because I had never driven a trailer in my life.
So we started with that, and then really got into the adaptogenic tonic side rather than just matcha, and we really felt a draw towards switching over to being plant-based. And once we both started transitioning, we were like, “Okay, other people are wanting to see a shift, as well.” So we started looking into different things that we could add into our drinks.
We’re very big into creating something that we love and that we would use every day, knowing that there are people like us in the world who would feel the same way. So that’s how we made that decision to be completely vegan.
What is vegan collagen?
It comes straight from plants. In the sense of plant-based eating, our philosophy is that plants are essentially the source. Chickens, cows, all these animals—they eat grass, they eat plants, and that's fueling them. I understand why people eat meat and why people would want to have actual animal collagen, because truly to see immediate results, yes, that is where it’s at. But when it comes to teaching our bodies to produce for themselves and to sustain themselves—that’s really what we’re into.
Our approach to not only skincare but also the wellness aspect is very, very synonymous in that regard, because your body is so intuitive; our bodies know exactly what to do. With collagen, you’re absorbing bioavailable nutrients—and our collagen is double-blended, so the powder is super, super fine. When you put it into warm water, smoothies, coffee, whatever it is, you’re going to get every ounce of those nutrients; there’s nothing that’s being wasted and eliminated. It’s all about allowing your body to really embrace its natural functions and getting it to stimulate its own collagen rather than relying on other living things’ body parts to do it for you.
What is vegan collagen made of?
Ours comes from blue pea flower, which is so, so high in Vitamin D and really helps to boost collagen production in the skin. We also have maca, which is a root adaptogen; prickly pear cactus; goji berry; and then rhodiola, which is a flowering adaptogen. Each one of those has its own really great benefits, but in the sense of what is actually the most concentrated and what’s actually doing the work—the heavy lifting—of the collagen, it’s the blue pea flower. And that’s also what makes it blue.
What are the benefits of vegan collagen? What have you noticed in your own body since taking it?
The biggest reason why people take animal collagen is for joint protection, and I have noticed some of those results from taking our collagen. And then energy-wise, it really does help with that—especially on days when I’m like, “I cannot drink matcha; I don’t want any caffeine,” or if I’m on my period and I’m cramping and I just want to take it easy, I still feel that little boost of energy. It’s like drinking a cold-pressed juice, but in adaptogen form.
What’s your favorite way to take your Glow Getter powder right now?
I like to drink it as a tea. I’ll do eight ounces of warm water, sometimes a little bit of honey, and then lemon. I know that sounds like a super weird combination, but the acidity and sweetness and the earthiness are the perfect trifecta.
As far as being a business owner, what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve had to learn so far?
How to be resourceful is number one for me. When we first started, we were just making really silly decisions—we would buy things that weren’t at wholesale and then use them in our products, and wonder why our margins were not higher. But then as we learned more, we were able to make that change and understand the value of investing a larger amount of money upfront so that you can reap the benefit down the road. So that’s one thing: just making better decisions, and knowing how to stretch a budget further just by planning a little bit more strategically.
What are some things that you’re doing to keep yourself sane and grounded at home these days?
I find the time every day, even if it’s at 7 or 8 a.m., to just wake up slowly, make my matcha or make my collagen or whatever I’m having for the day, and eat breakfast. I like to listen to a podcast and walk my dog for a little bit.
I’m really just embracing taking my time and acting on my own time, and not being as reactive to other people's needs—because that, I realized, was the number-one thief of my joy. Just reclaiming that and getting back into my power has been hands-down the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.