Raw Tales

Raw Tales

Ingrid | Kansha Botanicals

When did you become a vegetarian?

I became Vegetarian about ten years ago with leanings towards Vegan. I do eat fresh eggs from my gorgeous chicken gals in my country-style backyard.

What made you decide to become a vegetarian?

I love animals. I used to eat meat as I was raised that way. Gradually the two just didn’t marry in my brain and heart. Then one day I simply decided that it wasn’t me. I never looked back. I saw a bumper sticker that said, “No animal has to die for me to eat.” That pretty much sums it up.

What inspired you to start your company?

I’m a naturally inquisitive and practical person with a love of science and art. Over the years all these elements came together and culminated in my business! The main trigger was one of many craft market visits where I ogled handmade soap and thought ‘Wow, how are these made? I’m going to find out.’ And I was hooked. It began as a fun hobby past-time and grew into a small home-based handcraft business. I did (and still do) years of research, formulating and testing. I wanted my business name to embody ‘gratitude for the natural healing powers of plants’ and Kansha Botanicals was born – ‘kansha’ in Japanese means both ‘gratitude’ and ‘vegan’. And yes, as a child I had skin allergies and sensitivities, as do my family. That helps drive my passion to develop vegan bath and skin products that are designed especially for sensitive skin. (It’s a familiar story these days!)

What product/service do you offer?

At this stage, I sell high quality vegan handcrafted soap. I am currently developing bath bombs. I also have, nearly ready for public release, a revitalizing face cream that is brilliant for sensitive and mature age skins (hello mums and bubs, you can both use it!) Also on my list for further refinement are lip balms, whipped body butter, face scrubs, shaving soap and liquid soap.

 

How can our readers use your product/service when planning their next event?

Depending on the event type, your readers could use my products as gifts for clientele, fundraising projects (raffles) and include them in monthly subscription boxes.

What has been the biggest challenge with having a vegan company?

The biggest challenge has been the business side of things. Creating a small handcrafted business requires a whole new set of skills.

Creating high-quality vegan products designed for sensitive skins is also a challenge, but a fun one that I love as it feeds the scientist in me.

How did you overcome this challenge?

A rather steep learning curve developing my business skills involving LOTS of administration work, planning, research, etc.

In regards to promoting my vegan products, I believe getting everyone to love my products first is important whether they are vegan or vegetarian or not. Then I can gently create awareness and education about the cosmetic industry and the benefits of vegan skin care to them.…and the need for no animal involvement. If they love my products I’ve already created some goodness in the world! 


In one sentence, what would you tell an aspiring vegan company owner/entrepreneur?

Be true to yourself and what you want to achieve. Plus….baby steps! You can do it!

What was your most memorable customer experience?

I’ve had several absolutely outstanding customer reviews that totally confirmed I was doing the right thing. They explained that my soothing vegan soap (and face cream) did amazing wonders for their sensitive, allergy skins and actually helped them recover and heal from aggravated skin conditions that other products couldn’t. Their stories of what they had suffered and how my products had improved their skin brought tears to my eyes. I certainly felt proud and happy!

Do you have any additional information that you would like our readers to know?

No matter who you buy products from, please stay educated and read the ingredient labels and then go and find out what they are! I’ve had doctors recommend petrochemical based creams to me to put on eczema baby skin! They had no idea. Please support the vegan cruelty-free skincare cause and the Australian handcrafted industry whenever possible! When you buy from us we do a little happy dance!

Raw Tales

Stephanie Alward | Rustic Peppermint

When did you become a vegan?

My partner and I became vegan in March 2013 after being vegetarian for years.

What made you decide to become a vegan?

We talked about going vegan on and off for a while but selfishly and stupidly thought our bodies wouldn’t cope without cheese, eggs and dairy products. We watched a few documentaries and then started reading The Veganist.

The Veganist was a turning point for us. Reading other people’s horrific experiences and what made them decide to be vegan. We only got through the first three chapters. We were heartbroken and in tears, because we didn’t know the pain and suffering side of those industries, to the degree we know now! We decided together on that day that there was no way we could be a part of hurting any animals any longer. Ultimately, if they suffer, we suffer. We shouldn’t be ingesting fear and pain from a living being. Plants are the only way of the future.

What inspired you to start your company?

Going vegan was a huge inspiration for us. We became obsessed with reading contents and ingredients of everything, from food, to household cleaning products to skincare and beyond. We struggled to find Vegan and 100% natural products, so we started making them all. We fell in love with researching and formulating skin and body care, so we started gifting and sharing our creations with friends and family and before we knew it, people were asking us if they could buy our products!

What product/service do you offer?

We offer all natural 100% vegan highly organic skin, baby and body care.

How can our readers use your product/service when planning their next event?

Your readers can have our products in gift bags for their attendees (if it’s an event), they can also use them as great gifts and prize packs, not to mention our products are perfect for a pamper session!

What has been the biggest challenge with having a vegan company?

Making sure that all the raw materials/ packaging are vegan and as environmentally friendly as possible!

How did you overcome this challenge?

We dedicated so many hours researching different companies and their products and are always on the lookout for better/more sustainable options.  We also like to chat with other business owners/entrepreneurs in like-minded industries to get advice and to brainstorm. We are very proud of what we have achieved so far but we know there is always room for improving and perfecting.

What does success look like for your company?

That’s a tough one! We want to share Rustic Peppermint with as many people as possible, and help them on their vegan journey by helping them find products that make their skin feel and look amazing, the way nature intended. We are building our wholesaler base and collaborating with other businesses/ subscription boxes to get our products out there and share the love.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere we look. Mostly Mother Nature, but we do turn to Instagram, Pinterest and social media as well for ideas, photo inspiration, accessories, and tips.  People, their skin and how we can help and our customers also inspire us. Our customers are the ones who are always throwing new ideas at us, asking if we can formulate something new for them. We have family and friends and love helping them with their skin and showing people that you don’t need anything that has been tested or comes from an animal to feel good about yourself or have glowing, supple, radiant skin. When our niece was born, that was the inspiration for us to develop a baby and Mumma range!

 In one sentence, what would you tell an aspiring vegan company owner/entrepreneur?

Just do it. It will be scary and overwhelming at times, but so worth it!

What was your most memorable customer experience?

It’s hard to choose just one memorable customer experience because every time we get to interact with our customers and get positive feedback, it’s memorable and it makes us feel like we are making a difference. From someone telling us that our deodorant is the only natural deodorant that has ever worked for them, to a mother of a two-year-old thanking us for helping her daughter with eczema, to a personal email from an online customer that took time out of her day thanking us, as she wasn’t expecting such a beautiful, high-quality product, they all give us butterflies and great opportunities to do our happy dance!

Do you have any additional information that you would like our readers to know?

We love doing this!! And we love the support. Us small businesses wouldn’t get anywhere without the backing of loyal customers, their repeat business, their social media reviews, their gift buying/giving. We appreciate all of it. We’re here because we want to

help people on their vegan journey and skincare is a great place to start! Plus, who doesn’t love a bit of self-pampering?

 

Raw Tales

Libby | Green Ritual

When did you become a vegan?

I became vegan about 15 years ago but prior to this, I was a strict vegetarian – no gelatin, no animal rennet, etc, then moved into no eggs…so the transition was an easy one.

What made you decide to become a vegan?

I became a strict vegetarian at the age of 9 years old when I thought I could save every animal and help the world see that animal cruelty was so desperately wrong…I still feel that way now, 28 years later! Only now, I have educated myself further, matured, and look at how I can make a difference and educate people in the right way without scaring them off.

What inspired you to start your company?

I was SO sick of factory-made, poor quality products from shops, so I started making as much as I could myself. I make all of our household products, skincare etc, and the shop came about allowing others to purchase the best quality natural candles and incense at a low price – we keep everything almost at cost value for the consumer.

What product/service do you offer?

We offer candles made from natural soy wax and have now incorporated a new coconut soy wax too. The burn is clean, long-lasting, and perfect for your home, office, or travel. We also make incense sticks in a traditional stick using organic essential oils – everyone who buys say they are best they have ever used! Our Sandalwood and Citronella incense are perfect for our climate here in Australia, and for keeping mozzies at bay!

How can our readers use your product/service when planning their next event?

We do a lot of orders for weddings, parties, hotel functions and the like. We can make any candle or incense in any fragrance you would like, and offer advice on the right candle for your theme or the “feel” you are trying to create. (We also offer wholesale and bulk discounts too!).

What was your most memorable customer experience?

I have made some beautiful candles for people’s funerals and memorials, and these customers spend time talking to you about their loved one and the memories they had, so you can then design a candle with a particular fragrance to suit them – that’s so special.

Also, sending samples out to celebrities and getting good feedback is always cool!

What has been the biggest challenge with having a vegan company?

People taking you seriously in the beginning. You mention the word “vegan” to people and sadly, for some, it still conjures up old ideas that people had about vegans years ago.


How did you overcome this challenge?

I decided to register the products with The Vegan Society and PETA to help gain a bit more credibility at the start and this has helped heaps. Also, just talking to people about your products being kind on the environment AND you are really helpful. When people realize how toxic and harmful paraffin wax candles are, and factory-made incense with synthetic fragrances that THEY are going to be breathing in, they are shocked!

What does success look like for your company?

Happy customers! That’s all that the company is about. We are doing it to inspire and educate people, whilst creating that beautiful ambiance for wherever you may be.


Where do you find your inspiration?

I just traveled Australia – did the big lap! – and so the candles have evolved (and are still evolving) into that true “Australian” feel, whilst incorporating more green and sustainable methods and supplies. I am constantly reading up and searching for better options for everything I make.

In one sentence, what would you tell an aspiring vegan company owner/entrepreneur?

Go for it – if it is what you believe in, you can’t fail!

Do you have any additional information that you would like our readers to know?

Our shop is ever-evolving so keep checking in! We can custom make to suit your wants, and offer great discounts on bulk buys!

AND, I am currently getting the other side of the business up and running to help people make great vegan choices – look out for VALT (Vegan Austalia Lifestyle and Travel) coming soon!

greenritualorganics@gmail.com

 

Raw Tales

Laura | Clean-Faced Cosmetics

When did you become a vegan?

I became vegan in May of 2015, after trying and failing twice before earlier that year.  I had been vegetarian for about eight years before that!

What made you decide to become a vegan?

My decision to go vegan was actually the end result of several different decisions – several different resolutions I made. I had been educating myself about the dairy industry and figured that the logical next step toward a “kinder” lifestyle was to not support it by purchasing and consuming its products.  I also wanted to be kinder to myself – animal products tend to be full of saturated fat, cholesterol, and/or hormones, none of which your body needs in that kind of excess!  Oh, and I was converting my business over to being 100% vegan during that time as well (when I opened my shop, most of CFC’s products contained beeswax), so yes, the logical next step was for me, myself, to go vegan!

Owner wearing exclusive CFC product ( purple lavender-infused sheer tint balm)

What inspired you to start your company?

I had been buying and using exclusively cruelty-free beauty products since 2012.   However, I was having trouble finding brands that both had “clean” ingredients and were not exorbitantly expensive!  This seemed fundamentally silly to me…because no one should have to pay more for a product with fewer/simpler ingredients, you know?  I was also stuck at a low-paying corporate retail job that made me miserable.  Having always been a creative individual, I really wanted to try my hand at crafting and selling cosmetics – hopefully, it would be a fun way to bring in some extra cash.  So I started researching, DIY-ing/experimenting, and taking photos…several months later (in 2014), Clean-Faced Cosmetics was born!

What product/service do you offer?

CFC offers organic, cruelty-free, vegan cosmetics.  Each product is made with ingredients that you can both pronounce and count on your fingers!  Many of my bestselling products are “staple” products, such as black mascara, black eyeliner, and foundation, but I have quite a few “wildcard” products as well that aren’t as traditional (moss green tinted lip balm, anyone?).

How can our readers use your product/service when planning their next event?

CFC offers wholesale for party favors, etc.  If you are interested, please send me a message on Etsy for more information.

What was your most memorable customer experience?

Although there isn’t one specific experience that sticks out, customers with extensive skin allergies and sensitivities will often tell me that, thanks to CFC, they can finally wear makeup all day comfortably!  Hearing these stories always makes my day.

What has been the biggest challenge with having a vegan company?

Sourcing my ingredients is always challenging!  For example, just because something is cruelty-free does NOT mean it is vegan, and vice-versa.  I am also trying to transition CFC to zero-waste right now, so that’s a whole new challenge – you really don’t realize how much plastic packaging is in our everyday life until you try to avoid it completely!

How did you overcome this challenge?

I always make time to do my research.  As of late, I have been asking for – and receiving – a TON of help from CFC’s fans on Instagram!  Right now, I communicate regularly with a very dedicated group of zero-waste fans, all of whom I am very grateful for.

What does success look like for your company?

Good question!  I would very, very much like for CFC to be completely zero-waste one day.  I want to start a new trend in the world of cruelty-free cosmetics.  I want to promote reducing, reusing, and recycling in addition to animal rights.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I tend to be inspired by the concept of minimalism – or maybe it’s the constant need to save time in my morning beauty routine or space in my small bathroom; I don’t know!  Anyway, my cake mascara is a good example of this – the product also functions as eyeliner and brow filler and, unlike vintage cake mascara, you do not need to add water to the product before applying!  It’s been my bestseller since day one.  I’m also constantly inspired by my customers and the wonderful feedback they provide!

In one sentence, what would you tell an aspiring vegan company owner/entrepreneur?

As clichéd as it is, do not be afraid to just take baby steps – starting a vegan company is NOT easy in a society like ours, where animal exploitation is, unfortunately, so prevalent in so many industries – do not be afraid to take it one challenge at a time for the first few years.

Do you have any additional information that you would like our readers to know?

CFC currently has 80+ products listed on Etsy; however, I am always happy to do a custom version of anything – just shoot me a message if you want products made just for you!

Raw Tales

Amy McQuade & Veronika Prusa | Alcome Co

When did you become vegan?

I became vegan 2 years ago when I was 24 years old. My partner (in life and business) and I made the choice at the same time and supported each other through the process. I remember going to Bali 2 weeks after becoming vegan and being stressed about the food options but after arriving and eating fresh whole foods for a week, I felt amazing!

What made you decide to become vegan?

I have been vegetarian since I was 12 years old and quite proud of that all of my life and by the time I was in high school, there would have been only one or two other vegetarians in my year and it was still considered quite radical and at the time, but overall I felt really good morally and ethically about my choice to be vegetarian and never thought any deeper about the issue than that. Around 2 years ago, my younger brother, who had never before shown much interest in environmental or animal welfare issues, announced to the family that he was going ~vegan~. It was confronting for me on a few levels, as I considered myself to already be an ethical, plant-based eater at the time. I felt a bit of friendly sibling rivalry at the time so I started researching. After the usual documentary binge marathons with my partner, I was inspired to go completely vegan and I knew that it would be a permanent change in my lifestyle; better for my health, *truly* cruelty-free and better for the planet – win-win!

What inspired you to start your company?

Veronika and I were fledgling vegans and we realized at the time that no one was creating the kind of ethical body care products that WE would buy, that being: organic, natural, and, well, cool products that were made locally. ALCOME.Co started off as a small dream in a studio apartment in Adelaide and we moved to the coast to a bigger house and set up a workshop space in which to create handcrafted ethical body care that inspired us in our daily life towards wellness. We wanted products that were not only vegan but locally made, organically based and looked great on the shelf; so not your grandma’s lavender cream!

What products/service do you offer?

ALCOME.Co is an organic skincare company handcrafting ethical alternatives to conventional toxic body care products.  Proudly handcrafted in small batches in the Adelaide Hills, ALCOME.Co’s fresh, plant-based formulas deliver high performance, everyday skin and body care solutions for healthy self-care that is good for you and good for the planet. Our most popular products are our activated charcoal toothpaste, natural deodorants, and lush clay masks. We wanted to create a company that gives back, and our unique products combine naturopathic formulas with a strong ethical focus;  5% of profits are donated to South Australian Animal Welfare Organisations and we are committed to ending single-use packaging with ALCOME.Co’s Zero Waste Recycling Program.

What has been your biggest challenge with having a vegan company?

The biggest challenge for us was coming up with vegan-friendly alternative formulas to the tried and true conventional body care products, we have spent months perfecting formulas and swapping out animal products that have been used for decades in natural body care solutions which has at times been challenging.

How did you overcome this challenge?

When a product finally comes together, the satisfaction is worth the months of hard work that goes on behind the scenes. When you look at it from the perspective that our jobs are amazing and we get to come up with unique body care products that most people have never considered before it becomes an amazing creative process.

What does success look like for your company?

Success, to us, looks like having an ethical foundation to stand on, first and foremost. If we can’t stand by the production of our products and ensure their quality, then any success will be short term. We focus on quality small batch production, networking in our local communities and our amazing customer base to spread the word that they love our products! We have about 15 stockists in South Australia and we are aiming to double this; to be a known brand in SA would be so gratifying to us.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Our inspiration came from a lot of navel gazing, we created products that we would get excited about! To get super dreamy, LUSH has reached holy grail status in natural body care and some of their ideas are so inspired. They take lots of risks with new types of products, minimal packaging, and plant-based ingredients and we like that. We have also gained a huge amount of inspiration from Instagram and the #waronwaste; we have adjusted our focus to ensure that we will become a zero waste brand over the next few months because we want our products to be amazing to use without costing the earth, the first steps of this are already in place through our recycling program and refill station.

In one sentence, what would you tell an aspiring vegan company owner/entrepreneur?

Just start! Seriously, beginning anything is the hardest bit of any project and we all know that. Know that your product or concept is never going to be perfect, dive in, take on board the feedback that you receive on the way and adjust as you go along. It’s definitely better to be good at something rather than procrastinate until you think you’ll reach perfection. Good luck!

Do you have any additional information you would like the readers to know?

We will be releasing new products in time for Christmas and we couldn’t be more excited to announce them as well as key market events and new stockists! Sign up to our newsletter at www.alcomeco.com to stay in the loop and you’ll also receive 10% off products!

Raw Tales

Jenn | Jenesis Cosmetics

We would gladly like to introduce, Jenn. The owner of Jenesis Cosmetics.

What inspired you to start your company?

 
Jenesis Cosmetics was the beginning of a combination of my love of beauty
products, makeup artistry, product innovation and of course, my growing interest in
natural, cruelty-free vegan beauty. I stand by the belief that no animals should be
harmed in the production of cosmetics, and those consumers deserve to know what
they are putting onto their skin.
.
My products contain vegan and natural ingredients and are free from toxic
chemicals, substances, and preservatives. The beauty industry is a sly one and most
commercial beauty and skincare products contain ingredients that are damaging and
toxic to our bodies. Parabens are one popular example, but some ingredients like
Dimethicone and phenoxyethanol that are less talked about, are also toxic to the skin
and body (linked to hormonal dysfunction and reproductive impairment), despite
them generally being classified as “safe.”
.
.
 

What product/service do you offer?

 
Jenesis Cosmetics currently offers a simple range of color cosmetics including:
Vegan, Non-toxic Pressed Eyeshadow range
Vegan, All-natural Cream Lipsticks – aka lipstick made with ingredients so
safe, it’s pretty much edible!
Loose or Pressed Highlighters in a variety of interesting shades
Creamy Eyeshadow Base / Primer
Eye, Lip & Cheek Creams
CUSTOM COLOUR – Design your own loose or pressed eyeshadow option
 
 
All my products are:
✓Made with vegan ingredients (no animal products)
✓Formulated with natural ingredients – free of parabens, synthetics and toxic
chemicals
✓Cruelty-free (no animals were harmed or exploited for the birth of Jenesis
Cosmetics products!)
✓Each product is handmade with love and care
 .
.

What has been the biggest challenge with having a vegan company?

 
Starting a vegan beauty business has presented more opportunities for me than
challenges. The vegan and natural beauty industry are growing rapidly, and more and
more people are beginning to switch to healthier alternatives for themselves, whether
it’s what they choose to eat or apply onto their skin! I see this as a huge opportunity
to educate consumers about vegan and natural products, and to support a new era
of healthier consumption and living!
.
.

What does success look like for your company?

 
Success for Jenesis Cosmetics is to develop a unique and outstanding brand in the
sea of vegan beauty businesses. More importantly, success is about achieving and
Sustaining a high level of customer satisfaction through great innovative beauty
products, business transparency and the ability to be helpful to and educate my
customers.
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.

Where do you find your inspiration?

 
I find inspiration through a range of creative interests including music, painting
(particularly abstract art), fashion/style and more. To ensure that I continue to
develop and produce new products that are innovative, I am always on the search
for new products other beauty companies are releasing. Doing the adequate research,
and staying creative is essential to running Jenesis Cosmetics.
.
.

In one sentence what would you tell an aspiring vegan company

owner/entrepreneur?

‘Do whatever ignites your passion.’
 
Fear of failure and confidence is the last thing you need to worry about. Starting a
business (or anything) is all about how much passion you have for it, and how hard
you’re willing to work
.
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Raw Tales

Jessica Yaw | Meadowlark Botanical

We would gladly like to introduce Jessica Yaw, Owner of Meadowlark Botanical.

When did you become vegan?

I’ve been Vegan for about 12 years, though I’ve been vegetarian since age 3, which sounds young but, it was my decision. While on a grocery trip with my mom I asked her what the red stuff was in the shrink-wrapped package. After many questions, I learned that it used to be a cow. I’ll never forget that moment.

What made you decide to become a vegan?

I’ve always been very connected to animals and the earth. To think that there are still some out there who believe animals can’t experience emotion or pain is just…. beyond. No living-being wants to live in fear. There is a myriad of Vegan and conscious options for consumers now and almost effortless to choose the kinder product. I do my best not to contribute to the suffering of farmed animals.

What inspired you to start your company?

It was based on a personal need. Seven years ago I began getting severe itching and hives from stress and body/personal care products. I thought I could control the symptoms with topical medications, even though the severity was increasing. That ended with an ambulance trip to the hospital in anaphylactic shock and eventually was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder.

Realizing that many of the commercial “natural” products contained preservatives, I threw out everything and decided to find something that would not only work for my skin but heal it.

After much research, I began creating skin creams using a host of organic ingredients that came together for me in a truly divine way. Within days, my skin started clearing. I wasn’t itchy. The creams I made have helped heal not only my skin but also generated immense, positive change.

What product/service do you offer?

I create safe, natural and vegan products for bath, body, baby, and home. My focus is on herbal remedies and natural alternatives to synthetic-laden products. I specialize in helping folks with sensitive skin, eczema, allergies and chemical sensitivities heal their skin naturally.

What has been the biggest challenge with having a vegan company?

There haven’t been many challenges with respect to veganism. I found the issues were more with wasteful and not very earth-conscious shipping practices of the suppliers I was using.

 

How did you overcome this challenge?

I switched suppliers! A company I initially worked with shipped things in styrofoam packing peanuts!  I called to let them know they’d no longer have my business. Thankfully conscious businesses are on the rise and there are many options now!

What does success look like for your company?

Success for me is helping to heal my customer’s skin and contribute to their quality of life. I love hearing from mom’s who thought they’d tried everything for their child’s eczema, including Rx creams. The healing their kids experience in such a short amount of time is almost magical. I am forever grateful!

Where do you find your inspiration?

Nature! My garden, a walk in the woods, trees, flowers, herbs. Inspiration is all around us.

In one sentence what would you tell an aspiring vegan company owner/entrepreneur?

The things you are passionate about are no mistake- they’re your calling.

Do you have any additional information that you would like our readers to know?

I’ve continued my love of natural plant-based remedies with training in medicinal aromatherapy, herbal medicine and folk medicine. I’m passionate about holistic health, empowering women and living a mindful, well-intentioned life.

Raw Tales

Heather Doherty | Vegan Police Shop

We would gladly like to introduce Heather Doherty, Owner of Vegan Police Shop.

When did you become a vegan?

I became a vegan when I was 18 years old. I will have been vegan for 21 years this November.

What made you decide to become a vegan?

I had gone vegetarian as a teen when I realized that eating animals wasn’t necessary. I made the connection while chomping into a chicken wing and having a vein pop out and hit me in the face. All at once, I realized that not only was I eating something that had been alive, but I was also eating its dead flesh. I didn’t want to contribute to the suffering of animals but hadn’t even heard the word vegan at that time. I did meet a couple of vegans a few years later and was shocked to find out that they didn’t eat any animal products at all. I started to think about it a bit from that point forward. Dairy was a bit tougher for me and I was one of those people who loved cheese and didn’t know how I would live without it. At that time the cheese alternatives tasted like rubber so it seemed like a big loss for me. However, I ended up picking up a pamphlet on veal crates from a punk show and decided to go vegan at that moment. Once I quit dairy, I felt amazing for what seemed like the first time in my life. I think I had an undiagnosed allergy or sensitivity to dairy so that feeling was better than any cheese I could have had.

 

What inspired you to start your company?

Well, I had been a very shy vegan for a long period of time because of all the backlash that I faced from meat eaters in the beginning. I have always been a passionate artist and I taught myself how to screen print about 10 years ago, I was hooked. When my son was born, I realized that I needed to speak out more for animals and teach him to be proud of being vegan. I felt that turning my activist art into wearable clothing was the right direction for me to move in.

What product/service do you offer?

I screen print clothing items with my original drawings. I use fair labor clothing only and am offering more and more organic clothing as well. I screen print my clothing with water based inks which is environmentally friendly as opposed to the regular screen printing ink that most companies use.

What has been the biggest challenge with having a vegan company?

Lately, people selling vegan t-shirt’s online has just exploded. I have to spend a few hours every week looking on the internet for people who have stolen my images and ideas and are uploading them onto websites that print the shirts using computers rather than by hand. All of the legitimate, long standing vegan shirt companies are dealing with this. It’s been a struggle for sure.

How did you over come this challenge?

It’s something that I have to keep on top of but the nice thing about it is, that I have connected with other vegan t-shirt companies and we all look out for each other. If I see a stolen shirt somewhere I let the business know and vice versa. It’s pretty great

 

What does success look like for your company?

Knowing that my shirts are out there and may have made someone think for a moment and change their eating habits, that is success to me. Being able to give back to the vegan community with monetary and merchandise donations feels really amazing too. Also when people tell me that a shirt they bought from me was their first animal activist shirt, that brings me so much happiness.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find my inspiration first and foremost from the animals. I want to stop the suffering even if it feels impossible, I will always work towards that goal. My children who give me hope for the future. I am also so inspired by all the activist organizations out there, farm sanctuary owners, vegan business owners and the single individuals who are making a positive difference in this world. Any person who goes against the grain to stand up against a major wrong, I am so inspired by that.

In one sentence what would you tell an aspiring vegan company owner/entrepreneur?

Find what you are passionate about, be authentic and give back to the vegan community.

 

Raw Tales

Kailah Shannon | MG Naturals

We would gladly like to introduce Kailah Shannon, the owner of MG Naturals.

When did you become a vegan?

I have dabbled in Veganism for quite a while now, after my daughter was born the idea of adopting a kind diet really appealed to me.

What made you decide to become a vegan?

I love the philosophy of it being a kind diet. We humans go through life causing so much destruction & damage in the name of progress & getting what we want. I really love the idea of living your life in a way that has minimal impact on other living creatures, that we can all exist in harmony whilst still living amazing lives.

What inspired you to start your company?

After my daughter was born I was horrified to learn of all the chemicals & toxins that were in the food & products we were using everyday. I wanted to rid our lives of as many of these as I could. But, I found that de-toxifying my makeup bag was incredibly hard with all the green washing. Many brands that I had purchased because of the “green & natural” marketing contained toxic ingredients & finding truly safe products was near impossible. I set about researching & creating my own brand that was truly 100% safe. If I don’t feel comfortable applying a product to my babies cheeks then we won’t make it, being a small company we are so lucky we can put people before profits.

What product/service do you offer?

We are on our way to being a full service makeup brand, we started out with just our BB Cream and have been able to rapidly expand to offer a wide variety of makeup products. We will be adding mascara and lipstick to our line up this year which is very exciting for us and our customers.

What has been your biggest challenge with having a vegan company?

The biggest challenge for us in formulating vegan products is in ensuring that we can create the same look & feel of non-vegan brands whilst still remaining true to our principles of kindness to all.

How did you overcome this challenge?

We overcome this challenge by ensuring that we do all of our research & the old principles of trial & error. We keep at it, trying & tweaking our products untill we hit upon a formula that we are 100% happy with, it may take a bit longer – but its worth it.

What does success look like for your company?

We are a small family run company so success is very simple for us, we absolutely love hearing customer feedback. People who thought that their skin was always going to be problematic, feeling comfortable & beautiful in their own skin – that’s success for us.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I have three daughters now & one day (very soon) they are all going to want to wear makeup so knowing that they have a safe alternative in MG Naturals fires us up to keep creating fantastic products. That & our customers, we have the nicest customers.

In one sentence what would you tell an aspiring vegan company owner/entrepreneur?

Just do it, you wont regret it. Aligning your business with your values creates magic.

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