In Conversation: Margaux MP; Blogger of Margaux Mango

This Friday we are super excited to share our latest {in conversation} interview with the lovely Margaux from Margaux. Mango. Margaux talks to us about her passion for travel, and what made her want to share more about her vegan lifestyle with others. We are big fans of her Instagram and Youtube that continues to grow as Margaux shares her message on how quick and easy it can be to be vegan! 


Hi Margaux! Tell us a bit about your childhood and background and how you feel that has influenced you today?

I was born to a French mother and Australian father and grew up as an expatriate child, which saw me living in four different continents from Europe to Africa. Living and traveling around the world at such a young age really opened my eyes to some of the world’s biggest issues. Later as a young adult, thanks to family, friends and the Internet I started to learn about issues related to Veganism. It first began with me hearing about about the health benefits of a plant-based diet, and soon I was a passionate vegan for countless reasons such as ethics, including poverty, species conservation, climate change and the environment. I really believe that being exposed to so many different people, cultures and ways of living as a child has made me far more open minded to different ideas and also much more able to question things.


When did you decide to start up your Tumblr and Youtube and why?

I started promoting veganism and plant-based eating back in January 2015! It was actually my good friend Bonny who originally inspired me. We had been travelling together in Queensland and we were staying at my grandmother’s house, and she was answering Tumblr questions. Although she had only started up a few months before she was already helping so many people and I remember reading the questions with her and helping her answer some and wanting to help people myself. So a couple days later I started an Instagram and a few months later a Youtube and Tumblr. Instagram has always been my main social media platform, but I started up Tumblr purely to answer people’s questions as I found it was much easier for people to ask questions and remain anonymous. I started Youtube to show people how to eat vegan, as I was always getting specific “what do you eat in a day” “how do you eat vegan” “how do you eat healthy” etc, and I found making what I eat videos was the easiest and most effective way to show people!



When did you start to get great feedback from your Youtube channel and it really started to grow?

When I started to be myself and to stop trying to emulate others. I find people are the most interested in what I eat and I find filming what I eat in a day videos my favourite too. I’m a very private person and so I don’t like sharing a lot about my life, but I love sharing what I eat as my main message is to eat a plant based diet! So when I started concentrating on what I eat in a day videos I found that that’s when I got good feedback, and people messaging me asking me for more, as they found them great for ideas and inspirations. I also love getting messages when people tell me that my videos really helped them understand how to actually eat a vegan and whole food plant based diet.


What were your biggest challenges starting up your Youtube channel?

YouTube is still something I’m working on, I’ve changed a lot since I started making videos. One of my biggest challenges would be to have confidence in myself, I often cringe at myself when I watch myself (I think a lot of us do!) and so one of my biggest challenges is to push past that and upload anyway! Anther challenge is that I am not talented at making high quality productions nor do I make fancy food, that’s not me, and for a while that really held me back.

 

But I’ve started to learn that I’ll never get anywhere unless I am just myself. So I’ve turned that weakness into a strength and the way I see it my videos are simple and no fuss and make me much more relatable. I think someone can watch one of my what I eat videos and be like that’s simple! I can do that! I can eat vegan too, it’s easy. That’s my aim.


What first made you go vegan?

My uncle had cancer and my aunt told me about how they were treating it through diet; she told me about plant-based diets and the China Study, and I was mind-blown. I went home, bought the book and within 10 pages I had completely changed my diet. As time went on I also obviously learnt all about the ethics and environmental reasons behind veganism too.



Was anything a challenge for you when first going vegan?

I’ve never had trouble being or staying vegan. I guess the main thing in terms of actually being vegan was to find out what to eat, there was a lot of trial and error before I found what works best for me! I did also get a lot of people I used to know make fun of me etc but I’ve always stood by my beliefs so it never made me reconsider veganism or anything.


What has been the best thing about being a vegan youtuber?

Helping people. Helping people go vegan, helping people stay vegan, healthy people get healthy, just helping people. Which in turn helps the animals and the planet.


What’s it like being vegan in the city you live in?

I live in Melbourne, although quite far out from the city, so I rarely venture there! But it is so easy being vegan as Melbourne has a huge vegan population. There is a suburb called Fitzroy and although it is over an hour from me I sometimes go there as it is pretty much vegan capital with a street filled with vegetarian and vegan restaurants; from Thai to ice-cream to nachos to burgers to Vietnamese to anything you can think of! There is even a cruelty-free store. I am pretty much a whole foods kinda girl though so I don’t eat out very often, but I do love a donut here and there! In standard supermarkets it is also really easy to find speciality vegan foods like tofu, veggie sausages, yoghurts, ice creams etc!


Why do you think there has been such a rise in Veganism over the last few years?

Yes! I’ve only been vegan about 4 years but since then there have been so many more cafes and restaurants all over Melbourne that have opened that have either a completely vegetarian menu or have lots of options for vegans which is awesome! I have also noticed it all over the world not just in Melbourne either. When I go back to places that I haven’t visited in a couple years I am so shocked at how many more options there are! Just last week I was up in Queensland and just in one town I go to there was 2 new vegan restaurants! The same goes for France, every time I visit there seems to be an explosion of new vegan/vegetarian friendly places! It’s gaining momentum!


What inspires you?

I find inspiration in many different things and people but one thing that inspires me is kindness and generosity. I know it may seem cliché but when I see people be kind, whether it be with their words or their time or anything else I feel inspired. I also find hope really inspiring, when I see people making a difference or things getting better in any aspect of life that really inspires me as I start to think change is possible!


What’s your average day like?

On a work day I will get up around 7am , I try to get at least 9-10 hours of sleep a night, drink lots of water, and maybe go for a run or a bike ride if I’m up early enough. Then I trend to come home and make breakfast and lunch for work. I then eat breakfast in the car on the way to work, as it is a long drive. After work I’ll come home and have dinner and spend time with my boyfriend; we’ll either just hang out, watch a movie, play a board game, or if it’s a nice night we might go down to the beach or even for a walk or a run together!

 

On my days off I love to exercise and go for longer rides, and spend my afternoons with my boyfriend and down at the beach when it’s warm! These are the days I post on Tumblr, Instagram and sometimes film What I eat videos!



Do you think you have a work/life balance?

These last couple years 100%. Since I graduated from Uni a bit over two years ago I’ve spent almost more time travelling than working. I have been so lucky to be able to work and save and travel. I am awesome at budget travelling, probably because I’ve travelled so much in my life that I know how to do it cheap! It used to be a big problem for me, I’d always be giving something up, either my exercise or my social life – sleep was the one thing I would never compromise. I am definitely getting better though!


What’s the best part of your job?

At the moment I’m working in the cycling industry for a couple of specific brand dealers. The best part about it is getting people on the bike and getting fit. Cycling has been a big part of my life these last couple years so It has been fun to work in the industry. I am always surrounded by really fit people and that’s definitely a big motivation for me! Working here has also allowed me to travel quite a bit as they’ve been really flexible with me, which I’m so grateful for. I am definitely ready for something new though!


What words do you live by?

My all time favourite word is “Ahimsa”, it’s Sanskrit and means peace to all living beings. That’s a really important word for me because it’s so easy for me to show compassion for animals but I find it a lot harder towards some humans. This word reminds me that we are all living beings and helps me be a better person.



What’s next for you?

I have been so lucky to be able to find jobs that I can take time off from to be able to travel. Travelling is one of my biggest passions and I am definitely addicted. There are so many things I want to do so at the moment I’m debating whether I’ll go travelling again this year, whether I’ll move overseas or whether I might even go back to Uni! I would love to work in climate change and at the moment my friend and I are actually just starting to work on launching an environmental vegan climate change challenge! It’s all very new, but I am pretty excited about it!


If you loved hearing from Margaux just as much as we did, follow here on her Instagram and Youtube! All images via Margaux.

New Year, New You: How to Organize a Small Closet?


Tired of fumbling in your small closet every day for something to wear to work? The reality is with more and more of us living in big cities, our wardrobes are getting smaller and harder to maintain than ever! The size of your closet can be a big challenge when it comes to storing all your stuff and keeping it neat and organised. Below are a few tips on wardrobe organisation ideas that will get you on the right track for the new year and start 2017 with a tidy, organised wardrobe and none of the hassle.


1. Take everything out of the closet

When organising you have to start with a blank slate to really make a difference. Start by taking everything out of the closet…sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better! Clean the whole closet to see what you have and access your storage needs. Remember you want to make the most of the limited space available.


2. Purge, purge, and purge

Be ruthless, if you haven’t used it recently, you don’t need it. Donate it or throw it away. Go through your clothes and remove everything that doesn’t fit or is out of style. Leave only the clothes you love, make you feel great and that really fit. This extra space created will not only mean you can see mroe easily exactly what it is you own but also saves you time when deciding on what to wear.


3. Organise like items together

This is one of the key closet organisation ideas. After the purge, put like items together into small groups. Put all shirts together, shoes together and the like. When all things are divided out, you will realise that it makes it easier for you to see the kind of organisation system you may need to help maintain the tidy space.


4. Build extra rod space in your closet

If your closet is still overflowing nows the time to create more space by building an extra rod in your closet. The beauty of adding extra rod is that you don’t have to call a handyman or get the power drill. You can easily do it yourself. In the absence of extra rods, you can also use multiple-tiered hangers which can help organise more clothes into what is essentially the same hanging space.


5. Install a Valet Hook.

Why not utilise the space outside the closet by installing a pullout rod or a hook. Use the hook to hang dry clothing before it gets into your closet. You can also use the pullout rod or the hook to organise your party outfits or your next day’s work attire. This helps you create more space inside your closet as well as making it easier for you when dressing. You can also install an over -the-door rack where you can hang your belts.


6. Always put things back in their spot

After organising your closet by having like items together it is important to maintain the organisation by ensuring every item has its place and that that it is always returned there.This may be a challenge at the beginning, but once you get used to it, you will realise how easy life can be despite limited space in your closet.


A well-planned closet is important to keeping your room serene and clutter-free. It only takes a little thinking, and minimal effort teamed with a few organisation ideas to turn your cluttered closet into an orderly sanctuary. For maximum results organising a small wardrobe is all about making use of all the available space you have as well as avoiding overcrowding by simplifying what you put in there.


This article was brought to you by our lovely contributor Daisy Grace. Daisy is a Health & Beauty Consultant, who helps women live a life they love, in a body they live. She is a long-time native from Oklahoma, USA and writes article on various topics. Daisy’s purpose and passion lies in facilitating health breakthroughs with women who deserve good health, happiness and self-love.

Image by Clark Street Mercantile via Unsplash.

In Conversation: Shruti Jain; Blogger at Style Destino


Today we are very excited to share with you; our lovely readers our latest {in conversation} interview with the very gorgeous Shruti Jain; founder and blogger at Style Destino. Shruti talks us through her background and what made her first start her blog in 2008; making vegan fashion super cool and easy to her thousands of readers.


Hi there! Tell us a bit about your childhood and background and how you feel that has influenced you today?

I grew up in Indore, India and I have lived in Mumbai, Leicester and Nottingham (England) and now Dubai. I come from a very spiritual family; we are strong believers of Jainism, the most non-violent clan in the world. We don’t eat root vegetables, shun meals after sunset and believe in detachment from all material things.

 

I never intended to get into fashion industry. After all, coming from a family of Chartered Accountants it was natural for me to choose Finance for my studies and career. I did a post graduate degree in Finance from UK, and I live and breathe finance. However, I have always had a passion for fashion even when I was young. I could easily tell difference between silk and polyester, leather and non-leather and recognize quality at one look. For me it is always about quality over quantity, and this has helped me in my career in finance as a wealth manager and now also as a fashion influencer.


When did you decide to go Vegan and why?

Being a Jain, I always believed in living a non-violent life. So I have never had any animal as food, including eggs or even honey in my life. I don’t eat root vegetables {it kills the whole plant} or consume alcohol. Until a few years ago, I was oblivious to cruelty in the dairy industry. Back home, we always consumed milk from known farms where cows are treated very well. In India, Hindus consider the cow holy and many people, even to date, respect and take care of cows. So not only are the cows grass fed, the milkman takes milk from cow only after feeding the calf. No machines are used to milk to cows, nor are they injected with hormones.

 

A few years ago, my brother who lived in the US for a long time told me about the horrors of the dairy industry. That was when I started doing my research and watching videos of the treatment of cows for milk. When I moved to Dubai in 2014, that was my vegan calling. I couldn’t follow a Jain lifestyle yet have milk or milk products that comes from harm and inhumane treatment on any animal. That’s when I made the vegan switch.



When did you decide to start up Style Destino and what was your motivation behind it?

I was part of the first wave when blogging just started. Back in college, when nobody knew who bloggers were, I came across a few websites on fashion while researching something. The one blog I particularly remember was The Style Bubble. That was my first introduction to blogging (almost a decade ago). I was fascinated by the whole concept of blogging – it was quite intriguing and exciting at the same time.

 

Being a lifelong vegetarian, I never used leather and was always conscious about my lifestyle choices down to the beauty products I was using. However, as a connoisseur for all things fashion it was hard for me to find quality vegan shoes, bags or makeup without animal ingredients. Style and cruelty-free were almost oxymoron and so I was always on the lookout for brands that could meet my standards. Back then there were fewer online stores and most brands didn’t ship international. So I always had to find someone from my family or friends who were travelling to US or UK to get my stuff. Moreover, I didn’t find any platforms that shared cruelty-free fashion and beauty. That is when I decided to start my own blog to show people that style and ethics can coexist and that fashion does not have to come at the cost of an animal’s life. Hence Style Destino was born (first it was Beautify for 2.5 years and then renamed Style Destino in 2011).

 

Through Style Destino I want to create a platform where people can get access to information about their fashion choices so they can make an informed purchase, to showcase stylish vegan looks and introduce them to vegan brands.


What did your friends and family think of you shopping cruelty free?

They know I am a crazy person who ransacks the world for vegan shoes, bags, makeup and is always on the lookout for someone travelling to or coming from US, UK or Australia. They are mostly kind of used to it. In fact, after constant hammering a few of my friends have also given up leather!


What sets apart Style Destino?

I think the most important thing is that it is much more than just Fashion. Style Destino is about telling people you can look great without inflicting cruelty on anyone – animals, planet or humans. Luxury does not always have to come at the price of someone’s life. Calling ‘leather’ a luxury is a passe, because you can find leather even in a dingy street stall. True luxury can never come from a backdrop of exploitation of animals, humans or planet. In addition to the cruelty aspect, one must also consider about the environmental impact. A vast amount of resources is used to raise an animal in order to become an accessory, which could have been used to feed thousands of people.

 

If you are spending your bucks on a quality product, it must come from quality place using the most high-tech materials without harming a soul. That’s what Style Destino is about – balancing authentic quality and ethics – reinstating luxury and style ethically.

 

Besides I am part of the original blogging generation, I started my first blog back in 2007. Style Destino is not just another fashion blog – it has a soul, it has a voice and it brings ethics and style on one platform. I’m a writer, I’m a finance person and I’m a conscious fashionista (I don’t like the sounds of this word but it makes the point!) – so I write a lot and make sure it is not random but has a point.



What is your favourite thing about Style Destino and what is the most exciting opportunity to have come out of having started it?

Apart from fashion, I am very particular about what I put in my body. Although I hate cooking (I could never prepare a complete meal!), but I love smoothies and often make them myself. Over the last few years, I started sharing my vegan and healthy meals and smoothies on my social channels and blog, and lots of people have emailed me how my blog inspired them to adopt a healthier lifestyle. There are many people in the transition stage to veganism who reach out to me; seeking support and advice on how to make this new lifestyle work for them. I am always happy to share my experience and speak my heart out to them about this compassionate choice and I feel so glad when this advice could make a difference in their life.

 

I have even had few men asking me about where can they find good vegan shoes and what can they gift their “brand conscious” girl sans leather. Helping them out in whatever way I can, and helping save few animals is the best thing about Style Destino. That gives me kick to go on and share this amazing vegan journey with the whole world.


What are your tips for someone wanting to get started with going vegan and cruelty free through their shopping choices?

The key things to look out for and avoid when shopping for vegan fashion is:

  • Fur
  • Feather
  • Wool
  • Silk
  • Leather

 

Most premium and luxury brands, or the high-price point collections of high street brands like Zara, Mango or H&M either use silk or wool. So, make sure to read the label before purchasing.

 

While I always ask the shop assistant about whether a certain item has leather, silk or wool, I always make sure to read the material description myself. If its not attached to the item, I ask them to verify it on their system. Often, the shop assistants do not know about the material and if they know you don’t want leather, their wild guess will always be what you want to hear “no it is not leather”. To cut it short, don’t trust the words, do the research and verify from the source.

 

Whether or not you want to ditch all non-vegan items from your current wardrobe is a personal choice, I would recommend at least donate leather items to some charity store. Once you have made the vegan choice, why do you want to be seen wearing a dead animal’s skin. There are so many quality vegan options available. For example, Angle Roi, Matt and Nat and Stella McCartney make amazing bags, for shoes my favourite picks are Olsen Haus, Susi Studio, Charles and Keith, Opificio V and Bourgeois Boheme. Dauntless makes amazing vegan leather jackets and all these brands are also eco-friendly and sustainable. After all, you don’t want to wear vegan clothing that is made using child labour or comes from factories where the labor can’t afford even proper meals.

 

Earlier on I wasn’t very conscious about other ethical aspects of fashion; as long as my items didn’t harm animals I was happy. But when I read about and saw the videos on the treatment of labor in factories and how the fast fashion industry is damaging the planet, it changed things for me. The Rana Plaza story was especially an eye-opener that I felt at heart. Being a vegan is about making a compassionate choice, and that means compassion for everyone. So I would recommend that, as much possible, buy from brands that are 100% ethical. Trust me there are plenty of them!



What are your must have vegan fashion items you can’t live without?

  • A good pair of jeans (with no leather tags) that you feel amazing in – I love AG jeans, they are ethically made and uses eco-friendly materials and the fit is amazing. Rag & Bone also has great denim and it fits me like a glove. Plus they don’t have leather tags!
  • A good pair of heels – having petite feet has some challenges but fortunately I manage to find some good leather-free shoes. KG by Kurt Geiger, Miss KG, Opificio V and Charles and Keith are my favourites, they have a good selection of leather-free shoes. I recently bought the Stella McCartney platform shoes and they’re amazing. I practically live in them now, and they go with pretty much everything from dresses, skirts to denim.
  • A chic sling and a versatile tote – A good handbag puts together even the simplest look, and I swear by my Stella McCartney sling and Issey Miyake Bao Bao tote. They both are classic examples of vegan luxury – simple and elegant and made from absolutely cruelty-free materials.
  • A white shirt – it can work in a lot of ways.
  • Red lipstick – when I want to make a statement without much effort a red lipstick does the job. Its powerful, sexy and strong – just how I feel. Lush Decisive and Hourglass Opaque Rogue Matte are the best I’ve come across!
  • A pair of sunglasses – They bring elegance and class effortlessly. I want to get a pair of good eco-friendly ones soon, but currently I am living by Dior So Real.

What’s it like being vegan in the city you live in?

I come from Mumbai, India and despite having world’s largest vegetarian population, your choices as a vegan is very limited in India. It’s a dairy obsessed country and veganism hasn’t quite picked up yet. Finding vegan cheese, vegan chocolates or vegan butters is next to impossible in Mumbai.

 

But Dubai, where I live now, is absolutely different. Before I moved to Dubai I always presumed that being a vegan here would be really hard. In fact it’s the opposite, you can easily lead a vegan lifestyle in Dubai and get all the fancy vegan food. It was in Dubai that I made the complete vegan switch and the healthy and vegan food scene is growing by the day!


Why do you think everyone is so much more aware of eating healthier and plant based over the last few years?

There are a few reasons for this. With increased awareness through media (online and offline) about the positive impact of a plant-based diet on one’s health and overall well-being;  more and more people are starting to make the switch. People are also generally much more conscious about their health than they were, say, 5 years back. Celebrities, too, have made a huge contribution in the plant based movement. Ever since stars like Rihanna and J-Lo have attributed their perfect bodies and health to vegan diet, suddenly the whole world is talking about it. Being vegan is the new cool thing, and it’s here to stay.

 

Instagram is another big reason. When you see so many good-looking plant based meals, often flaunted by gorgeous women with perfect bodies, it kind of inspires you to give it a shot. When you come across inspiring stories of vegans from across the world through social media and other platforms, it makes it easier for you to try this lifestyle too. Education through movies like Earthlings and Peta videos have also planted an important role in taking vegan lifestyle to masses.


What inspires you?

I am on a mission to become better than I was yesterday. This is what inspires me!



What’s your average day like? From the time you get up to how you break up your day and when you go to bed.

I am not an early riser, but I try to wake up at least 2 days a week at 7am but everyday is completely different. Some days I am hooked to my computer creating investment plans, doing back-to-back Skype calls. Other days I’ve got my fashionista hat on and I am at fashion weeks or working on ideas for my blog. The rest of the time I am posting about my healthy vegan meals and smoothies on Instagram.


What’s the best part of your job?

Whether it is planning someone’s financial future or offering style advice, the best part about my job is that it helps me make a positive difference in someone’s life.


What words do you live by?

Believe in yourself and never let your conscience down. Not money, not fame, not designer bags will make you content or go with you, but your good deeds and thoughts will!


What’s next for you?

Video is the future of the internet. So it is really something I want to explore. The problem is I am still not comfortable being the face of the camera, and I am a perfectionist, so my goal is to understand how to start with video with these two challenges!


If you enjoyed our interview with Shruti just as much as we did, check her out here. If you are vegan blogger, business or just about anyone leading an inspiring vegan lifestyle then please get in touch about being part of our {in conversation} interview series 🙂

All images via Style Destino.

In Conversation: Mireia M. Blanch; Founder of By BLANCH


This week we are so excited to bring you our interview with our favourite vegan shoe brand of the moment: By BLANCH. The brand was founded by Mireia when she was looking for vegan shoe options and really felt there was a gap in the market for stylish, vegan shoes that she would really love to wear. Mireia talks us through the reason she went vegan and why ethics are so integral to by BLANCH and everything it stands for…


Hi Mireia! Tell us a bit about your childhood and background and how you feel that has influenced you today?

I was born and raised in Barcelona and studied a degree in Tourism & Hotel Management. I think I chose it because I always felt I wanted to discover the world and see new places and I thought it would be a good working field to do that…

 

The first time I left Barcelona, for longer than a vacation time was when I was 20 years old. I spent a whole Summer between Edinburgh and London, as I wanted to improve my English. Straight after that Summer I got an Erasmus exchange course with my university and I spent 7 months studying in Utrecht, The Netherlands. After that, my life continued in Barcelona for few more years. It wasn’t until 2009 that I felt the urge to explore a different continent, somewhere far from Europe. I chose Australia because of its location (close to idyllic Pacific Islands) and wildlife. I spent a year there and it was one of the best! I met my love (who is actually French and that’s the reason why I live now here), I found one of my passions which is scuba-diving and I had the opportunity to see some of the best beach places in the world (Fiji Islands, Tonga, New Caledonia, Indonesia..). Once the year in Australia was gone I jumped at the idea of another adventure and spent a year in New Zealand where I collected many more great memories. After all these travels, my boyfriend and I decided to come back to France. He has a family business in Strasbourg and was it was the easiest place to settle down.



Can you tell us a bit more about why you decided to go vegan?

Sometimes I think if my parents didn’t force me to eat meat I wouldn’t have chosen to eat it to begin with. When I was little I felt disgusted by it. I remembered my grandmother killing a rabbit for food in a summer house and that horrible moment stayed in my mind forever. When I was young, meat was so hard to swallow it and finished up as a dry ball in my mouth. I always tried to find the way to hide it somewhere.

 

Unfortunately as I grew up, I tried to do like others and what I thought was “normal”, so I ate animals. It was only in 2012 when I started to feel quitting meat. That same year, a good German friend I met in Australia came to stay at our place here in France for a week. She announced to me before coming that she was now a vegan and the first thing I thought was; “Oh my! What I’m going to cook for a whole week?!” In the end it turned out to be the easiest thing and so much fun to prepare new meals! While she was with us I felt I wanted to know more about her motivation to go vegan and  she just told me to read the book Eating Animals from Jonathan Safran Foer (which I highly recommend) and to watch Earthlings. So that is what I did and that was it; as easy as that! I couldn’t put animal products in my mouth anymore…

 

I guess all that time when I was a meat eater I didn’t want to think that a steak was coming from an animal, and so it was easier to not make the connection. That was before, because after doing all the research about veganism, I was so touched and sad, the only thing I could think was “why I didn’t do this before”?


What made you start up the business?

Becoming a plant-based eater was quite easy. I like nutrition and learning a whole new way of eating was somehow fun. I wanted to stick to my vegan philosophy and quit leather, silk and so on, which was more of a challenge. Like the majority of girls I like clothes, and I felt it was too hard to find high quality vegan shoes that were stylish at the same time. It led me to spend a year thinking about the idea of designing my own line of vegan shoes until I decided it was exactly what I wanted to do. I spent another whole year doing research about synthetic materials, finding the perfect atelier, designing a collection and making samples, all before I opened the online store.


What have been the main challenges you have faced starting By BLANCH?

The first challenge was to self-learn everything about how to design a shoe collection and all the steps to produce it. I was very motivated so it was actually a really enjoyable process. Other challenges included finding high quality synthetic materials and an atelier with some experience as well as the production itself! You have to be behind all the process and even when doing this, there are always little mistakes to be corrected. It consumes a lot of time to supervise all the process but it is necessary in order to ensure a good final product.


What has been the most exciting thing about By BLANCH?

Seeing my dream coming true. Seeing the great feedback from people regarding the shoe models and the brand itself. Seeing progress and that I am working in a kind business, where you can wear lovely products with cruelty.


What sets By BLANCH apart from other brands on the market?

I think there is room for everyone and there are several vegan brands doing a great job out there. I design shoes in a selfish way; I make shoes I like to wear, in my own style and I want them to be wearable yet stylish! What I am really proud of is being an ethical brand. Ethical for the animals and for the people. By BLANCH is designed in France, produced in Spain and we use synthetic leather made in Italy. It would be cheaper and could have more profit producing in Asia or North Africa but that’s not the brand’s philosophy.



How did you really start to get By BLANCH out there into the world?

Social media has been the key. As a small structure we couldn’t afford big marketing campaigns and social media was the answer; especially Instagram and Facebook.

Another great tool to get the word out has been all the lovely publications and bloggers who wrote about us. We’re really grateful for it!


What’s your one style tip?

Any By BLANCH ankle boots with a pair of skinny jeans. Wear them with a white V-neck tee for the day or a blouse by night. I love when you can see few centimetres of your ankle.


Why do you think there has been such a rise in veganism over the last few years?

We live in a society of excess. Fifty years ago people ate meat once a week and now it’s lunch and dinner. We’ve learnt many modern diseases are related to animal products consumption and people have started to realise that eating meat is actually unhealthy and that you can have a nutritious healthy diet as a vegan.

 

In terms of food it has becoming quite easy to be a vegan thanks to the growing demand that has now created many vegan restaurants and food brands now available. In terms of clothing still a bit more limited, but that is slowly is starting to change too. Also I think it helps that some celebrities have announced they are now vegan because their love for the animals. Many young people have follow them, which it’s a good thing in this particular case.


What inspires you?

I don’t follow trends and to be honest I get inspiration from everywhere: watching people in the street, surfing the net, in a film… but I always stick to my own style (I’m a jeans and boots girl!).


What’s your average day like?

The last few months have been a bit tough in terms of work as I have an 8 month-old baby girl. I had to take care of her during the day and work in the evenings or while she was napping. I think before becoming a mother I didn’t realise it would be that hard to do both things at the same time. I must say when I see her smile, it gives me all the energy I need. She just started to go to the kindergarten so my work life is getting back to normal.

 

I like to start the day checking the emails. Clients must be answered in 24hours, then suppliers, medias, bloggers, etc. I work with to do lists. I started that from my days working as an event planner when I had to deal with so many different things and events at the same time and needed to be extremely organised. So I write all the things that need to be done by priority and I cross them out once are done. I try to look for inspiration and new ideas for the brand all the time, so it’s not unusual to see me eating lunch and surfing the net at the same time. Being a busy mom makes me use any single free moment I have; Sometimes I can be in bed and start thinking about a new idea and have to jump out to write it down.


Do you think you have a work/life balance?

Balance is the key in life. I love my job but family comes first and I think even if you love what you do, you need to find the time for the people you care about. They are the real happiness.


What is the best part of your job?

Creativity. I Love to be able to design the shoes I want to wear and to create something. That’s the fun part of it. I also love connecting with amazing people who share the same values than me.


What words do you live by?

Love, compassion and gratitude.


What’s next for you?

By BLANCH is a very young brand and I want to concentrate on the shoes. In the future I’m open to all possibilities. Maybe adding handbags or even a men and kids line.

Everything is possible, you just need to follow your dreams!


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*Offer Valid until the 31st December 2016.

In Conversation: Nadhisha Lu, Blogger at Huntd


If there is one thing we love it’s people who are interested in making a difference in Veganism but equally are not willing to compromise their style. That’s why one blog we’ve long been huge fans of is Huntd. Nadhisha shows how easy it is to stay fashionable and stylish through only vegan pieces. Today we have the absolute pleasure of sharing our latest interview with this super cool Aussie babe and why fashion and Veganism do go hand in hand!


Hi Nadhisha! Tell us a bit about your childhood and background and how you feel that has influenced you today?

Hello! My name is Nadhisha and I’m a 27 year old blogger from Sydney Australia. I was born and raised in Sydney however I don’t think anything specific about my background has influenced my compassion for animals and the choice to be vegan. I was however raised Buddhist and continue to live by most of the principles of Buddhism such as never harming a living being and practicing kindness and compassion to all. I do have amazing parents as well who have raised me well and to always do the right thing.


When did you decide to go vegan and why?

I tried to go vegetarian so many times in the past, but my love for food and the thought that one person would not make a difference always resulted in going back to a non-vegetarian lifestyle. Turning vegetarian came quite suddenly back in 2013. A friend of mine posted a video of ‘From Farm to Fridge’ a documentary about the factory farming industry. I already had a great love for animals and after only 12 seconds (basically the introduction of the video) I stopped the video and cried for about an hour. I then decided that I could no longer eat meat but due to my previous attempts I decided to go pescatarian for a few months to help with the transition. Reflecting back, this decision worked for me because I was able to wean off animal meat and then gradually become vegetarian. I then watched a PETA video about the leather industry in 2014 and vowed never to purchase anything made from an animal again. After much research and self-discovery, I made it my aim to become fully vegan on January 1st 2016 as I slowly discovered the pain and sadness behind the dairy and egg industry. You could say that I have had a slow but successful lifestyle change in the last 4 years.


How did you first find going vegan?

I found it quite easy because by then I had started my vegan fashion blog and my passion and determination for animal rights was quite strong. Basically my love for animals and the pain in my heart for animals was much much stronger than my love for any type of food. The only thing I struggled with at first was in social situations – I still struggle 9 months on to ask waiters if a certain menu item is vegan. I think my friends also feel that they need to make sure that any restaurant we go to has vegan options. It’s not a big deal though and there is always something I can eat.



What do you friends and family think about you now being vegan?

Most people I have talked to mention how proud they are of me. They say that I’m an inspiration and I’ve had about 4 people come to me privately to let me know that they have either reduced their meat consumption, or turned vegetarian because of my blog and the posts I share on social media. Not one of my friends or family members have ever shown anything but positivity towards my choice to lead a vegan lifestyle.


When did you decide to start up Huntd and what sets it apart?

I started Huntd about a year ago in late September. By then it was nearly 2 years since I decided not to buy leather or any other animal product when it came to fashion. I however have always loved fashion and struggled a lot with finding vegan designer options. Prior to becoming vegan, I was a Louis Vuitton lover and had acquired a nice collection – my fashion goal was to purchase a Chanel bag, but suddenly my moral conscience took over and I was in a rut. There was a fight in my head between loving designer fashion and loving animals – of course the animals won! I did a lot of research and started to find that there were some vegan options out there . You just had to do a bit of research and ask a few questions. I decided that I wanted to share this knowledge with everyone and combine it with information about the cruelty leather/fur/silk and wool trade to show people that there were animal friendly options out there.

 

I firmly believe that reducing consumption of meat and reducing the purchase of animal by products really does make a great of difference so even if I changed one mind at a time, I would be ultimately doing some good. Slowly I realised that there was a HUGE audience out there of true animal lovers who were in the exact position as me and hence I became a part of this amazing community.



What do you feel has been the most successful part of your blog?

I think my love for fashion, current trends and finding animal friendly alternatives to popular fashion items has made my blog quite successful. However this is only the beginning and I wouldn’t call my blog successful just yet! I have seen a gap in the market for on-trend, but classic vegan pieces which has encouraged me to slowly start designing my own products with the hopes of launching next year.


What are some of your favourite cruelty free vegan fashion pieces?

It is easy to buy vegan items these days as a lot of accessories are made from PU and PVC; making them also quite affordable. What I am really interested in though are brands that try to utilise ethical practices and eco-friendly materials. Stella McCartney pieces are probably my all time favourite as the materials are all eco-friendly. The brand has gotten so big that they are able to create their own eco-friendly materials and develop ethical practices and standards. Other brands who are always on trend and are slowly exploring the transition to eco-friendly materials are Matt and Nat and Freedom of Animals.


Why do you think there has been such a rise in veganism over the last few years?

I think it is largerly thanks to social media, which has meant animal cruelty; especially in the meat and fashion industry is much easier to expose. Much like my own personal experience, other peoples views and attitudes can be changed with a click of a button. The cruelty within these industries are being exposed rapidly and people are really beginning to open their eyes within the comforts of their own home. I think the fact that social media has become so portable, means there really is no escaping the facts. People are being exposed to the realities of animal cruelty at work, at home, on public transport and everywhere in between. I also think the rise in vegan-friendly restaurants and menus now makes it much easier to transition and I don’t personally feel like I miss out on anything as there are so many alternatives readily available. I feel the same is happening slowly in the fashion industry too. The easy accessibility of vegan friendly items is a huge factor in the rise of veganism.



What inspires you?

I think anyone who tries their hardest to make this world a kinder place inspires me. People who are so passionate about animal rights that they have made it their life mission to seek justice for the voiceless inspire me everyday to become stronger. In terms of fashion, I still am inspired by the fashion industry. I feel with the knowledge I have gained, I am able to be inspired, yet am able to make the right and moral choices.


What’s your average day like? 

My life is crazy! I am busy setting up a business, I work part time as a hair stylist and I also work part time at a health centre. On days that I’m not working at my part time jobs I try to go to the gym, work on my blog, create content for my instagram (I love to create flatlays as I have a background in design) and I work bit by bit on my vegan fashion designs. I also love to cook and explore new recipes, such as taking normal recipes and turning them vegan without compromising on taste! I have a beautiful supportive husband who owns his own businesses so I am lucky enough to have the time to explore my passions and work on what I love. No week or day is ever the same for me which is what I love and thrive in. I also have the cutest rescue dog who follows me around the house and sleeps wherever I’m working to keep me company.


Do you think you have a work/life balance?

I definitely do, I quit my full time job exactly a year ago and since then my work/life balance has been amazing. I pretty much work 50% of the time and then spend 50% of the time on my passions – my blog, cooking, my business and fashion.



What is the best part of your job?

With hair styling I love the creativity. I love being able to create and love that no style is the same. I also have amazing clients who are so lovely to work with.


What words do you live by?

I live by a quote from Buddha – May all living beings be delivered from suffering. I work towards that vision every day of my life. I hope that one day in my kid’s generation or their kids, that we become an informed world where animals and humans do not need to suffer.


What’s next for you?

Working on Huntd – the fashion side is definitely what is next. I aim to have a fashionable line of shoes and hopefully a line of clothing made ethically and from eco-friendly materials. I hope to grow the blog and apart from fashion begin to explore vegan food and vegan beauty products.


Find Nadhisha on Instagram here and her blog here. If you are a vegan business, individual or blogger and are interested in being interviewed as part of our {in conversation} series, please get in touch at contact@theveganedition.com.

All images via Nadhisha.