Ethical Business Spotlight: The Vegan Warehouse

Welcome back!

This week’s Ethical Business Spotlight features Carl & Ewelina Augustin, co-founders of The Vegan Warehouse & MERSI. Learn more about this compassionate couple’s journey to create the ultimate online mega-store of fantastic vegan products!

Carl & Ewelina Augustin, co-founders of The Vegan Warehouse & MERSI

Let’s jump right in!

The Vegan Warehouse is a one-stop shop for all things vegan! From clothing and makeup to food and cleaning supplies, what inspired you to create your online superstore? 

When I went vegan in 2010, I really struggled to find vegan alternatives to my household staples that were easily accessible and affordable. Searching for replacements in fashion, beauty, skincare and household items, I aspired to find a single marketplace which aggregated all the vegan essentials I was looking for. Fast forward seven years, after partnering with my now husband, Carl, we decided to create this marketplace ourselves, with the mission to simplify the lives of all vegans out there.

MERSI / The Vegan Warehouse

There are currently over 30 vegan and cruelty-free brands featured on your marketplace. What do you look for when choosing brands to partner with?

Vegan Beauty Products / The Vegan Warehouse

We’re extremely proud to carry so many amazing vegan and cruelty-free brands at The Vegan Warehouse! When looking for new brands to feature on our marketplace, we always look for a few criteria when deciding whether they will be a hit with our customers, and our mission. Firstly, we always verify that the products are 100% vegan and cruelty-free and that they follow strict ethical practices in sourcing. 

Secondly, we are always striving to put our best eco-friendly foot forward. We know the harsh effects that fashion and beauty have had on the environment, and continue to do daily within larger corporations. By selecting products that adhere to sustainable practices and packaging, this is a top priority for us at The Vegan Warehouse. Look out for packaging made of recycled plastics, biodegradable materials, and less harsh ingredients to effect the environment.

With these morals in mind, we also are continuously searching for innovation. From cult-favorite skincare products to smaller soy-candle vendors, we are consistent about bringing the best of vegan products to The Vegan Warehouse!  

You recently launched a premium accessory line called MERSI. Congrats! If you had to choose just one item to represent the new brand, which would it be and why?

MERSI Ruby Crossbody

Thank you so much! Launching MERSI has definitely been the highlight of our 2020, and a long-running project we’ve been so elated to release! 

Looking back to when we first started The Vegan Warehouse in 2017, our best-selling handbag and fan-favorite to date has been our Ruby Crossbody, a compact cross-body style with a bold printed strap and studded hardware detail. We created MERSI with the idea of redefining the idea of “vegan fashion” and creating a bolder, more authentic landscape for our customers to explore! With its bold personality and unique design, we feel that our Ruby Crossbody speaks to the kind of brand image we speak to.

You donate a portion of your profits to animal sanctuaries and recently sponsored Lily, a resident goat at Catskill Animal Sanctuary who can really rock a heart print. For veg-curious people who are considering shifting to a vegan lifestyle, what helped you make the connection between your personal choices and animals?

Lily, Catskill Animal Sanctuary resident recently sponsored by The Vegan Warehouse

While getting educated with books and documentaries is a great route to take, nothing is more eye opening to me than spending time in nature. Living in a city we rarely think about where our food is coming from and what sacrifices are made for it. It’s often that disconnect that causes us to participate in animal cruelty. We recently visited the Catskill Animal Sanctuary to meet a few of the animals we sponsor. Spending time around them and seeing how incredibly gentle, sweet, and intelligent they are served as another reminder and reinforcement of our mission. 

What has been the biggest challenge and reward while creating your business?

I would say the biggest challenge when starting out is committing all of your energy and resources to something and putting in work consistently before you can see results. Building a business from the ground up is a roller coaster – that’s why I’m glad I’m on this journey with my co-founder and husband Carl! 

The most rewarding is definitely seeing the vegan movement spread! We aim to use our platform to educate and encourage not only the veg-curious, but also those who never thought a plant based diet could work for them. I’ve heard countless stories over the years of people taking slow steps towards eliminating meat and eventually committing to a vegan lifestyle. We are so here for it! 

The Vegan Warehouse

What’s next for The Vegan Warehouse?

We are constantly working on bringing the best and the latest in vegan beauty & fashion to our consumers. While expanding the MERSI line to include wallets and other accessories in 2021, we are also focused on widening our selection of up-and-coming skincare brands. Stay tuned to our social media @theveganwarehouse for all the exciting things to come! 

MERSI Vegan Handbags / The Vegan Warehouse

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Thank you so much for participating in my Ethical Business Spotlight series!

The Vegan Warehouse is truly a lifesaver (for animals) and takes the time and guesswork out of buying vegan beauty, household, clothing and accessories by offering them all in one place!

From animals and ethical consumers everywhere, thank you!

Ethical Business Spotlight: Threepaws Gourmet

Happy Saturday! This week’s Ethical Business Spotlight features Hannah Anderson, Founder of Threepaws Gourmet! Read on to discover more about Hannah and her journey to create fabulous vegan dog treats your pups will love!

From the Founder: My name is Hannah Anderson and I reside in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my husband and two children (2, 4). I am originally from Seattle, WA, am a lifelong vegan, and have had the pleasure of both interning at Farm Sanctuary (in upstate NY) and working as an Editor for VegNews magazine.

Let’s jump right into the interview!

1. What inspired you to grow Threepaws Gourmet into what it is today?

When I struggled to find dog treats that were both healthy and visually exciting, I thought, ‘why should artificial colors get all the fun when there’s a rainbow of dog-friendly superfoods?’. As saturated as the pet industry was, there was an opportunity to create some healthy competition. My mission here at Threepaws Gourmet has always been the same: to “Raise the “Bone” on Dog Treat Standards.” It’s always special for me to see how people choose us to help celebrate their pup’s most special occasions, but perhaps most importantly, to see how they can feel good about treating their pups year-round. 


2. While developing fun dog bone flavors like Coconut Confetti Peanut Butter, Hickory Smoked Coconut Bacon, Strawberry Coconut Cream, and Coconut Carob Mint, your puppy Layla acted as “Chief Taste Tester” and “Crumb Control Officer.” If Layla, CTT & CCO of Threepaws Gourmet had to recommend just one flavor to a new doggo, which would it be and why?

My rescue pup Layla honestly loves them all … however, sales do tip in the direction of our Coconut Bacon Bones. 🙂

3. Your dog treats are organic and vegan, and are also free of corn, grain, gluten, and soy. Why was this important to you and did creating truly healthy, clean treats cause any issues while developing your recipes?

What began in my home kitchen is now handcrafted with love, passion, and compassion, by adults with special needs at a wonderful local organization called the Eisenhower Center. I feel it’s important for ethical business owners to make sure their values are reflected in as many aspects of their business as possible. For me, that means checking a whole lot of boxes … but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The only issue with meeting our high ingredient standards is a higher cost, but we will always be committed to providing our informed and passionate customer base with treats they can trust.

4. Every month, you donate a portion of your sales to a new charity as part of your “Threepaws for a Cause” campaign. What charity have your paired up with this month?

Unfortunately, COVID-19 put an abrupt halt to our much anticipated “Threepaws for A Cause” campaign. Gratefully, we were still able to donate over $1,000 from earlier this year. Giving back to charity is an important part of our purpose. 

5. What’s next for Threepaws Gourmet?

Currently we’re securing a partnership with Chewy.com, are in talks with several storefront franchises, and would love to expand sales to Canada in the near future. 

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Thank you, Hannah, for participating in my Ethical Business Spotlight series and congratulations on all of your success! My dogs absolutely LOVE your treats and I love that they’re organic, vegan, grain-free and gluten-free!

Head on over to Instagram to win a bag of Threepaws Gourmet treats and stay tuned for my upcoming 2020 Vegan Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway on Nov. 15!

Ethical Business Spotlight: Red Tale Moon

Happy November! This week’s Ethical Business Spotlight features Jeanine Boubli, Founder of Red Tale Moon!

Jeanine Boubli, Founder of Red Tale Moon

Jeanine lives on Long Island, New York. She is a mixed media artist whose love for creative expression has been evident in the many chapters of her life journey. Learn more about how Jeanine combined her love of animals, art, and poetry to create her vegan, cruelty-free clothing business!

Let’s go!

What inspired you to create Red Tale Moon and what is your mission?

My deep love for all animals and Mother Nature.

I have been a volunteer animal caregiver at a local sanctuary for 7 years and what I have been fortunate to see, feel and know deep within my heart has become a forever part of my soul. My mission is to inspire connection with all animals, Mother Nature and meaningful reflection through art and soulful poetry.

“Salt Fine Art Women’s Long Sleeve” by Red Tale Moon

Annabelle the cow and Salt and Pepper the sheep are a few of the animals featured in your clothing designs. Why did you choose these specific animals?

Annabelle, Salt and Pepper are some of the amazing animal residents at the sanctuary who I know well and love very much.

“Pepper Women’s Zip-up Hoodie” by Red Tale Moon

Your quote LOOK AT ME = SEE YOURSELF ™ appears on several of your garments. What does this quote mean to you?

When I wrote the quote it was the last line of a bio I created to accompany some art prints I had exhibited at a nature center art gallery. I included what I wrote below so you can see the words that conceived Red Tale Moon.

When deciding to share from my heart rather than speak about various “accomplishments” the words flowed out of my fingers onto the keyboard. Then the universe was tapping on my shoulder, “Hey Jeanine include one of the kids photos”, It was all stream of consciousness and when I saw Pepper and brought her image into the bio more words flowed out of my fingers. I kept hearing the quote in my mind over and over again in the middle of sleeping, when driving, ALL THE TIME so… I said out loud OKAY!!! I will create a product and the rest is history. This journey of which you are also now a part of continues on.

What this quote means to me is everything. Take a look at Pepper for instance and you will see she has deep feelings, wisdom, innocence and divinity. Take a look at yourself …all living beings… we all matter… we all respond to love and genuine connection, we all want a safe home to live in and to share life with our friends and so much more. Everyone matters. All animals, humans and of course Mother Earth.

Be Someone who cares

Be Someone who shares Compassion for All living beings

If your heart is not open Open it

You may be in for a joyous surprise

I am no different than you

I love my friends I cherish a safe home

A sound sleep the music of the birds

Look at Me = See Yourself ™

“Red Tale Moon apparel is made with brands that are environmentally conscious with fabric content that supports these values.” How does your business create earth-friendly apparel and why is this important to you?

Whatever I can do to help the environment I support. We use organic cotton for all styles and cotton for the tanks. Direct to Garment printing uses water based ink while providing a high quality print with exceptional details.

After seeing The River Blue documentary I became even more aware of the negative impact of “fast fashion.” Every choice made aligns with my values. Quality over quantity.

We only have one Mother Earth and she needs to be treated with respect. Everyone’s choices affect everyone.

Jeanine Boubli, Founder of Red Tale Moon

If you had to pick just one item to represent the mission and overall aesthetic of Red Tale Moon, which would it be and why?

Hmmm, that’s a tough question as each design represents the core values and mission of the brand. There are 3 different styles of designs, some have messages of compassion, some are fine art, and some use original poetry and the use of text as both a design and statement. 

I would say all of them.

“Annabelle Women’s Long Sleeve” by Red Tale Moon

What’s next for Red Tale Moon?

To stay true to this journey of art, heart and soul, inspire more connection with “farm animals” that many do not see as friends, and increase the compassionate conversation about animals and Mother Nature through creative collaborations with individuals and brands that share similar values. Anything is possible! Follow me on my journey and share yours with me. 

Red Tale Moon at New York Fashion Week 2019

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Thank you, Jeanine, for participating in this week’s Ethical Business Spotlight! Your mission to honor all living beings and the environment through the creation of beautiful, ethically-crafted clothing is truly inspiring! Check out Red Tale Moon and enter to win a shirt on Instagram!

Ethical Business Spotlight: HOUSE OF FLUFF

This week’s Ethical Business Spotlight features Kym Canter, Founder of House of Fluff! For this series, I ask vegan and cruelty-free businesses 5 questions to share what they’re all about!

Kym Canter, Founder of House of Fluff

Bio Kym Canter

House of Fluff founder Kym Canter spent a decade as the Creative Director of luxury fur brand J.Mendel. She is considered responsible for building this small luxury fur brand into a globally- recognized lifestyle brand. Prior to joining J.Mendel, Kym was a fashion editor and a top fashion stylist. Ms. Canter held editorial positions at Elle Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, and O The Oprah Winfrey Magazine. Her styling work has appeared in publications as diverse as The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, InStyle, Surface Magazine, and The Face.

Since launching House of Fluff in 2017, Kym has become a sought-after expert on cruelty-free fashion, ethics, and sustainability. She has spoken on panels sponsored by the National Retail Federation, The Business of Fashion, New York University, and the Real Real. Kym has been quoted discussing her point of view about the future of fur, sustainability, and entrepreneurship in The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, BOF, In- Style, O The Oprah Winfrey Magazine, and the BBC.

Let’s jump into the interview with the incredible Kym Canter!

1. What is the inspiration and mission behind House of Fluff?

Our mission is to create animal-free and earth-friendly, conscious luxury goods. 

House of Fluff Pink Mink Jacket

2. Vogue describes House of Fluff as “incredibly glamorous and blissfully guilt-free.” Are your customers animal advocates, environmentalists, fashionistas, or all of the above? How do you create garments with your customer base in mind? 

We find our customers are not just vegans or environmentalists, which we are fine with. The idea was always to make a product so great it would appeal to everyone. We think this is the best way to effect change and show people that they can move away from the use of animal products.

House of Fluff Vintage Mahogany Mink Jacket

3. As an industry powerhouse and expert on cruelty-free fashion, ethics, and sustainability, you have been quoted in the Wall Street JournalVogue, BOF, InStyle, O The Oprah Winfrey Magazine, and the BBC. What led you to become a fashion-focused activist for animals, people, and the planet?  

I really feel I  came to this late in life. I grew up in the 70’s when most people thought it was ok to eat meat, have pets, support animals, and wear fur! It was a culturally confusing time. At the end of 2016, I had my “ah hah” moment and realized I no longer felt comfortable wearing animal fur. When I could not find any luxury products to replace my real furs with, I decided to sell 26 of my own fur coats and build a brand for people searching for alternatives to animal-based fashion.

House of Fluff Vintage Mink Coat

4. In addition to offering animal-free fur, you recently launched your first collection of vegan leather made from Mexican cactus plants. Why did you choose this plant-based material and what makes it special?

We were searching for petroleum free, animal- free leather for a while and we tried almost everything. When we found the cactus leather we loved it because the plant uses very little water, no herbicide or pesticides are used, it can regenerate itself after harvest, and it was well priced and felt really luxurious.

House of Fluff Cactus Oversized Trucker Jacket

5. HOF uses excess fabric scraps to create (adorable) plush collectibles called “Scrappy’s,” which is a unique and fun way to reduce waste. Which Scrappy’s is your favorite and why?

I love them all!!! We are always selling out of them and then someone in the office will make a new one and we will all play with naming them. We love when the customers that own the Scrappy’s send pictures of them so we can see how they are doing!

6. What’s next for House of Fluff?

We are actually about to launch a home collection which is great and we are very excited about it!  In November, we will be launching our first group of bio-based animal-free fur!

House of Fluff Vintage Mink Coat

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House of Fluff is the epitome of animal and earth-friendly fashion. If you’re a conscious consumer who wants outerwear made from luxurious, high-performing faux fur and vegan leather, you must check out House of Fluff!

Huge thanks to Kym Canter for participating in my Ethical Business Spotlight series! Your dedication to making the world a better place through sustainable, cruelty-free fashion is truly inspiring and we can’t wait to see what is next for you and House of Fluff!

Ethical Business Spotlight: Interview with Fyve’s Founder Mindy Cheng

Hello again!

I’m thrilled to launch my new ethical business spotlight series with Mindy Cheng, Founder of Fyve! In these short interviews, I ask five questions to introduce you to the company and its products. Let’s jump right in!

What is the inspiration and mission behind Fyve?

The inspiration behind Fyve is my daughter. She was born with eczema and really sensitive skin. I wanted to create safe, trustworthy products for her, and anyone else suffering from the same symptoms. Fyve morphed into something more that just this initial inspiration though. Our mission is to provide the best 5 ingredients in every bottle, to all of humanity, without harming any living creature.

If you had to recommend one product to a new customer to introduce them to Fyve products, which one would it be and why?

We’d recommend our Lemongrass Body Butter. It’s where our genesis started. The only product that would soothe my daughter’s flare ups was this body butter. It’s gentle on the skin, yet so moisturizing. The lemongrass helps reduce redness too.

There’s a lot of competition in the natural skincare industry. How do you set yourself apart?

We set ourselves apart by our core ethos, which emanates in everything we do. We want to leave this planet better than we found it. So everything we do, every choice we make, always comes down to asking ourselves if we’ve fulfilled that ethos. 

What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned or experienced throughout your journey to create Fyve?

It’s been such an amazing journey! It’s surprising to hear so many stories of other people suffering from eczema, sensitive skin, and their frustration in not being able to find a truly natural and sustainable alternative. We’ve also met so many amazing people along the way. It just goes to show you what amazing things can happen when like-minded humans get together to create change.

Where would you like to see Fyve in five years?

We would love to be in retail that also share a similar ethos, like Credo Beauty, and more Whole Foods Markets across the country. We also envision building a community and space where humans can share their stories, provide tips and guidance to others, and to have a place where they belong.

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Thank you, Mindy, for creating fantastic vegan and cruelty-free products with an amazing mission! Check out my recent review to discover your soon-to-be favorite Fyve products!