Holding your business up to high standards is great, but what goes into having the bar set so high? We spoke to Stephanie from CowHugger, a vegan boutique, to see what it means to her and her business to have high moral and ethical standards.
CowHugger carries a variety of men’s and women’s clothing items and accessories, all while keeping it cruelty free. This means buying from vegan suppliers, who do not use any animal products in their production. Although, making sure the items are vegan isn’t the only thing that goes into the vetting process.
“We look for quality in craftsmanship and manufacturing, and we look for brands that are unique and not commonly carried in mainstream stores.It’s important to us that the brand can tell us about how the products are made.If products are manufactured, what regulations are they subject to?Are the workers being treated fairly?Does anyone visit the factories? We also look for products made of sustainable materials and upcycled and recycled materials. We use the term cruelty-free and really, it encompasses not only not harming animals, but also taking care to not harm people or the environment.”
Despite the rigorous set of standards for their suppliers, they seem to have no issues with finding them. Given all the options, CowHugger chooses to carry products from about thirty-five different companies, ranging from a wide variety of different types.
“There are new vegan brands that are continually emerging.It’s very exciting.The challenge is in wanting to carry more, but we have to wait until we grow some more. Some are companies that manufacture their products, and some are small artisans.We value and respect the work that these brands put into making beautiful products.We want to see them continue to create beautiful products and to grow their businesses.”
With these different suppliers, CowHugger is able to carry unique items such as wallets and bags made from upcycled inner tubes and sustainably harvested cork. This makes it easy to start conversation in the store about how to be better stewards on the environment.
“When we first embarked on creating CowHugger, we did it with the intention of showing people that being fashionable and cruelty-free are not mutually exclusive”, Stephanie says.
This means that CowHugger is not only targeting vegan customers, but also focusing on the people who have maybe never heard of cruelty free products.
“While our customer base is primarily vegan, we try to cast a wide net since people are attracted to beautiful, quality goods and it gives us a chance to initiate newbies into the world of kind fashion. Just as great vegan food draws in people who appreciate the quality and flavor, and then opens the door, for those who aren’t vegan, to the benefits and goodness of vegan choices – beautiful vegan fashion does the same thing.It’s a great feeling to have someone pick up a shoe we carry and remark on how nice it is and then be astounded when they are told it’s not leather.It allows a conversation to flow from there, about the benefits of alternative materials to leather, and about how no animals are harmed. So many people want to make smart choices about the products they buy. They want quality yes, and they want to avoid causing harm if they can.”
CowHugger’s way of supporting high quality cruelty free suppliers, and showcasing those products to the public, is inspiring people to make more ethical choices. For more information on Cow Hugger and their products, visit www.cowhugger.com.