INTERVIEW: JULIE MATHERS


Our latest interview has landed and today we share with you all our interview with the very lovely Julie Mathers; founder of the site Flora & Fauna. We love it when we connect with people who’s values align with ours and even more so when they are cool enough to own a pig! Shopping as a vegan can be a challenge at times if you don’t know where to look so Julie created Flora & Fauna; the biggest 100% vegan online beauty boutique in Australia! The site has also recently been voted for Best New Retailer and Best Bootstrapped Growth Initiative for the Online Retail Awards so read on to find out about this gorgeous site and Julie’s inspiration…


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

I grew up in the North of England 40 years ago in a culture that was very much based on meat and two veg but we also grew up with animals – rabbits, dogs, hamsters, mice, guinea pigs, fish and more. I developed a love for animals at a very young age and spent days and weekends rescuing animals. My mum would always come back from being out somewhere with an injured bird or squirrel she’d find. We actually rescued a baby squirrel and rehabilitated it. So I loved animals and still do.


When did you decide to go vegan and why?

My love of animals meant I became a vegetarian at the age of 16 and I was very headstrong with this (as with most things) so I cooked my own food but stuck to my guns even though my family still ate meat. I turned vegan two years ago and haven’t looked back. Learning more about the dairy industry amongst other industries on how animal by-products are created made me realise vegetarianism wasn’t enough. Education is the key here.


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

My friends and family appreciate my decision but I am still amazed at the number of poor jokes I get and the number of people who say they could ‘never’ go vegan. I’m not a believer in the word can’t. My husband is amazing! He is the main cook in the house; his view is that if he wants to eat he has to cook and I am a terrible cook. But he always cooks vegan food with no questions asked. We eat vegan at home and he supports my decision wholeheartedly.


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Tell us a bit about Flora & Fauna and what it stands for?

Flora & Fauna is Australia’s (and possibly the Southern Hemisphere’s) largest 100% vegan and cruelty-free beauty boutique. Our mission is to change the way we shop so consumers ask how something is made and what it is made of as opposed to who is wearing it. We firmly believe there are amazing natural, vegan alternatives to everything and we aim to find them. If you are vegan you can still be stylish, still use innovative products, still look after yourself as well as looking after the environment. Our ethics are core to what we do and how we operate. We work with our brands and suppliers as partners and our customers are the centre of our universe. Our packaging is sustainable and our ambassador is Rosie, our beautiful pig who is 100% vegan and proud.

Flora & Fauna has over 1500 natural vegan & lifestyle beauty products with everything from deodorant, bamboo toothbrushes to soapberries, vegan lipsticks, liquid eyeliners and more. We have leading brands including La Mav, INIKA, Black Chicken Remedies, Weleda and some new innovative brands such as My Magic Mud, Woohoo, Passionate Skin Care and hannahpad.


Why did you start up with Flora & Fauna?

I started Flora & Fauna to make vegan products more accessible, more attractive and more mainstream. I want to educate people so that we really think about what we use every day and the impact it has on us and the planet. You can’t sit at the side and wonder, you have to do something which is what I decided.


What’s it like being vegan where you live?

Well, we are an hour out of Sydney in Galston so you have to pick and choose but it’s fine. Do we have the food options of New York? No, but we do have options and you can be creative. And there are some amazing restaurants like Bodhi, in Sydney, where vegan food is stunning.


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

Awareness and education. People are becoming more aware of how food is made and they aren’t accepting it. We’ve been brainwashed for years by brands but the rise of the internet has really helped change that with information more widely available and shareable.



What’s your one health tip?

Be happy!


What inspires you?

Making a difference. I talk to customers every day and they give me great feedback; we centre all our decisions on our customers from what we buy through to our packaging. I love it when we take an idea, run with it and we see a change. Seeing the lightbulb flicker when our customers realise their impact on themselves and the planet is inspiration in itself.


What’s your average day like? 

I get up around 7 am to walk Rosie the pig. From anytime after that my day is very varied but the first thing I do is have a look at emails and social media to check out what our community is saying. I also check on orders. It then continues with me seeing suppliers, doing a bit of marketing, building crazy new plans, playing with the website and probably more emails. I am a bonafide workaholic so I’m on constantly until I go to bed which is often really late because I’m a night owl. What I do like to do is squeeze in a run. We live in the bush and it’s beautiful so that is my time to connect to nature, be free and get inspired.


Do you think you have a work/life balance?

It depends on how you define work/ life balance….. I love what I do and I don’t see it as work at all so I am always working in some fashion and that’s how I roll. But I do get time to squeeze in other things but your time becomes far more precious when it’s your own business as every minute is so valuable. In starting Flora & Fauna I have definitely been focused so read into that what you will….


What’s the best part of your job?

Talking to customers and getting amazing feedback.  There is nothing that puts a bigger smile on my face than that interaction.


What words do you live by?

A phrase I say often is ‘You Only Live Once’. I don’t want to be left wondering and I owe it to myself and the planet to maximise my time here and give back as much as I possibly can.


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What’s next for you?

We’re growing at speed, which is great so more products, more solutions and more education. I have many ideas which all revolve around making a difference. What is absolutely on the long term list is owning an animal sanctuary. Rosie the Pig needs some friends!


Inspired by Julie and fancy checking out Flora & Fauna for vegan goodies? Find it here

If you are a vegan brand, blogger or individual and are interested in being interviewed as part of  {in conversation} please get in touch at contact@theveganedition.com.

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