This week we hear from Roni, owner and operator of Daisy Wares. In this shop you'll find everything you need to make you feel and look your best. How does she do it? Why does she do it? Let's find out...
When did you open your Etsy shop, and how did you choose its name?
I started selling jewelry on 10/9/2007, then shortly after I added bath and body products. My beagle Daisy died of cancer at a young age of 6. I have dedicated everything in my life to her including naming my shop after her. And Wares means articles of merchandise hence, Daisy Wares.
What kinds of items do you sell in your shop, and what inspired you to start creating them?
I went to a craft party and brought my knitting, everyone else was making jewelry. It looked so fun and inspired me to take a few classes on the basics and off I went to creating. I had purchased some bath and body products off of Etsy and figured why am I paying for this when I know I can make it. Again, took many detailed classes on not only how to make bath and body products but also how to add the proper most healthy ingredients.
Do you donate through your shop to any charities or do any volunteer work?
I always give 10% to Animal Place. They rescue farm animals from abuse and neglect. They even help out with spaying/neutering dogs in Mexico where the dog population is getting out of control. Animal Place has just purchased 600 acres of land in Grass Valley, CA so I'm so pleased that they can rescue many more animals in need.
What are some of your favorite things about Etsy?
My favorite things about Etsy are the people who fight for animal rights on there. They use their talents to create wonderful items and at the same time care about animals. There are quite a few animal loving groups I belong to including Vegan Etsy. I enjoy talking to them through forums and such about our common goal. I've also made some close friends from these groups. I also love my customers. I've had wonderful people come in and out of my shop through the years.
Do you sell your items outside of Etsy, either online or in retail shops?
I have my own website, www.daisywares.com. I do many craft shows a year. I have done other Etsy like websites but none of them worked for me as well as Etsy does.
How long have you been vegan, and what made you go vegan?
I went vegetarian in 1984 and turned vegan in 2007. I really wish I had learned about factory farming sooner. A friend started learning about it. I took his information and went to Animal Place for a tour and that day I vowed to never use another animal by-product again. Many people think like I thought and if you didn't have to kill the animal it was okay to drink their milk and eat their eggs and wear their leather, but that is wrong. Death of an animal is always the final outcome and it is a gruesome inhumane way to die. They die for all the wrong reasons and I will fight to the very end to give them the voice they need.
What are your favorite foods?
Since Daiya Cheese came out I've quite spoiled myself with vegan pizza. I love all vegetables but what I think I like most of all is the vegan sweets! I love love love vegan cupcakes. Tofu Teriyaki on top of brown rice, yellow curry, stir fry, spinach, shallots, roasted garlic, artichokes, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, deep fried tofu dipped in peanut sauce, nutritional yeast on top of popcorn, garden burgers, vegan sushi, salads with nuts and fruits, biscuits and gravy and pancakes for breakfast foods, vegan BLT's, really there are not too many vegan food I don’t like. The list can go on but these are about all my staples in life.
Do you have any favorite vegan things, like books, websites, stores, etc.?
I've been doing some grocery shopping at a place called Rainbow in San Francisco, the vegan choices are amazing and everything is priced pretty good. I love all vegan restaurants. I get excited to receive Veg News in the mail. Once a year we have a Veg Fest in Golden Gate Park and it's a bunch of vendors selling vegan and animal rights stuff. I like the Green festival too, though sadly it's not all vegan (but I'm trying to change that).
What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have?
I like to knit, play Wii and my DS Lite, read, hike, eating out, catch an occasional movie, spend time with my cats and dogs, listen to my hubby play music, love my iPod touch for music, games and reading. And of course visiting Animal Place when I can. Getting involved in animal activism and learning how to be more green to help stop global warming are other interests I have.
Do you have any animal companions?
I have 2 dogs and 7 cats. All have been rescued but one. I bought one of my dogs from a breeder 16 years ago. Again, didn't know about puppy mills and breeder problems. I urge everyone not to buy from breeders but adopt!
Do you have any future plans for your shop?
I want to phase out my fragrance oils and only use essential oils from plants. I'd like to become mostly all natural. I have a wide variety of things already in my shop but you never know when I might add something new like shampoo for instance.
Is there anything else you would like to add or share?
The best thing you can do for your health, this planet and the animals we love is to establish a vegan diet. It's not hard in the least bit and it's something to be very proud of.
What is the vegan community like in your area?
We are so spoiled with veganism here in Berkeley, CA. We have many dining and shopping options for vegans. It's a wonderful city to live in. Up in the hills where we live we have a lot of wildlife. It's so nice to look out the window and see deer laying in the yard.
Do you do any work to promote veganism, animal rights, nutrition education, and/or other such causes?
Something new in my shop are stickers with animal rights messages. I also have a Dazzle shop to sell those images on T-shirts or mugs and other accessories. My license plate on my Prius says "Lovin' Vegan". It has a heart symbol, N, VEGAN not to mention a few GO VEGAN stickers on it. I'm always promoting veganism on my Facebook Fan page, and passing on petitions for people to sign to save animals.
Why do you think it's important to buy handmade?
I think you have a better understanding of what is in your product when buying handmade. Especially with bath and body products. You don't want to buy something that has hidden parabens and unhealthy ingredients in it. And when you buy vegan handmade you can be sure your product was not animal tested or supports some kind company that believes in killing animals. Buying handmade makes the item unique and special. It's nice to support a small business that has good wholesome values.