Sunday, February 7, 2010

VET Member of the Week: Heather, creator of Vegan Craft Samples!

This week's Vegan Etsy Team Member of the Week is Heather of Holistically Heather and Aunt Flo's Pads. Heather is a constant advocate for animals, and regularly donates portions of her shop proceeds to various sanctuaries and other animal causes. Most recently, for example, Heather is generously donating 100% of the profits from both of the above shops to save three bulls from slaughter. Possibly her most focused animal action effort is through the only all-vegan sample bag on the market, Heather's brainchild Vegan Craft Samples. Today Heather talks to us about this ambitious and creative way to promote vegan crafters and products while simultaneously supporting animal rescue efforts.

How did you choose the name of your shop?
I chose the name Vegan Craft Samples because I thought it best explained the idea of the project.

What inspired you to begin Vegan Craft Samples?
Vegan Craft Samples came upon me when I realized that there were no sample bags currently running that were vegan/animal friendly. So we started our own, and decided to give profits back to animals that need them!

So you donate to animal organizations through your shop?
100% of the profits from each bag sold goes to an animal sanctuary. Each new edition of the bag goes to a different sanctuary, which is voted for on our blog, It's all in the Blog. Our Valentine's Day sample bags are on sale now, and 100% of profits are going to Pigs Peace Sanctuary. Bags are available in three sizes, and can be purchased in our etsy shop or on our website. They make great gifts!

What are some of your favorite things about Etsy?
I love that you can find pretty much anything your mind dreams up, and it is totally handmade!

Do you sell your items outside of Etsy, either online or in retail shops?
Not quite yet other than the website, but we did recently donate a couple of our bags to raffles and fundraisers for animals!

Have you been featured anywhere?
We have been interviewed for Veg News Magazine, reviewed on their "This Just In" blog, reviewed by Sarah Kramer, and have appeared on various other blogs.

How long have you been vegan, and what made you go vegan?
I have been vegan almost 15 years. I grew up in a family who loved animals, yet didn't respect them. It made no sense to me, and after I found out that they were lying and saying the chicken wasn't real chicken that I was eating... I stopped eating meat. Shortly after, I began reading about dairy and other animal products and it was a no brainer for me. My partner Jessi has been vegan about 3 years now; she was vegetarian when we started hanging out but quickly turned vegan after learning how easy it was to cook (and learning more about dairy production).

What are your favorite foods?
Daiya cheese on everything and anything, stuffed shells, raw tabbouleh, salad, coconut milk ice cream...

Do you have any favorite vegan things, like books, websites, stores, etc.?
I recently read Obligate Carnivore, and I highly recommend it to vegans and non vegans alike... it's a great book. I also recommend "It's A Vegan Dog's Life" by our fellow team member of eponymous shop name. It is priceless for anyone who has fur babies in their lives, full of information and recipes pups will beg and steal for!

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?
I recently started out on the local roller derby team! I am blogging about life as a vegan roller derby girl - the blog is called Vegan Derby Girl. It is awesome and all of the women are so supportive and helpful! I also enjoy riding bikes, hiking, canoing, swimming and traveling.

Do you have any animal companions?

Penney is the little princess of our house, who hates when it rains and would much rather hold her potty until it is sunny and warm out! We were told she is a black lab chow, but she's definitely a whippet terrier of some sort. We had a new addition to our family last year, Carmel, who had a miserable past and is improving mentally and physically every day. He is a yellow lab

What is the vegan community like in your area?

The vegan community in Utica, NY is small but hopefully growing. I know there are vegans around this city, we are just trying to find them. We recently started hosting a monthly vegan potluck at our house. The first one was in January and we had about 10 was awesome!

Why do you think it's important to buy handmade?
I think it's important to buy handmade because that is the closest option to my ideal at this point. Ultimately I would love to trade 100% of the time: trade for things I need, make things for people that they need....this is a very disposable world we live in with way too many useless possessions that become obsessions.

Do you have any future plans for your shop or other endeavors?

Jessi and I plan to start an animal sanctuary in the future, and hopefully use the sample bags as a way to raise money to help as many animals as we can! We also will be transitioning all of our Etsy shops to benefit our sanctuary 100%... oh to dream, but it is becoming more and more real.

Is there anything else you would like to add or share?

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Enjoy this lovely video featuring the Valentine's Day bag samples!


melissa bastian. said...

Great interview Heather! I particularly like the part about possessions becoming obsessions.

Vegan Dog's Life said...

I love the interview, Heather! Thanks so much for mentioning my book (oh, and reviewing it on Vegan Essentials, too!). I wish I could come to your vegan potlucks. That would be fun! Hugs & kisses to Penney & Carmel. :)

Jessi said...

Yay Heather! I got my February sample bag - it's awesome - thanks! And you're awesome - great interview! : )
Peace, Jessi

mvegan said...

So awesome, I LOVE the vegan samples bags, and Heather does a great job bringing them together to help the animals ;0) You rock, Heather! Michele :)