An Interview with Bonnie Murthy of Vegan Wares (Part Three)

This is part three of a four part interview series, click for part one and part two

Vegan wares also has sustainable eco brands like braintree in store.

Vegan wares also has sustainable eco brands like braintree in store.

If you take into account more modern technology, we have digitized payment systems such as PayPal and others. Also, the pervasiveness of digital technology, especially in the near future with so many other countries coming online.

Do you think that that access will allow comparative prices, so people can take advantage of the platform to have a more even base of selling – the quality and price are in proportion across the board?

I definitely think so. I completely agree with you. That the electronic payments would help. We are making good progress in that regard. It’s funny. I was having the same line of thought, recently.

You can go through individual sellers. People based in Asia or Turkey. Their premium model prices sit around $25 or $30 for logos. If you go to the US, and if the same quality of work, it is about $120 Australian dollars. It is the same platform.

You can get it done for a third or a quarter of the price. You can go to India or Pakistan. Most businesses will gravitate toward that. In a way, it is good. You are providing income to those countries and individuals.

In another way, you see a discrepancy in the market, where one demographic thinks that their work is worth $30 and another think that their work is worth $20. You’d think electronic payments would even out a bit more.

I think part of it has to come from the consumers themselves and realizing that just because they have a low cost of living doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay them as much because their quality of work and the amount of effort they put is the same as someone in a first world country.

That discrepancy tends to disappear. I think more equality is needed. Definitely, I think online platforms and social education is going to help with it.

People lacking rights. People lacking the ability to vote, to education, to decent wages, and so on. Women and children having rights violated. These are important factors. This might explain some of the gap in the pricing.

If you don’t have to pay someone a livable wage wherever they live, you are getting more out of them per unit of time and per product. I definitely agree with you. One of the ways to have a targeted objective to help is to have a livable wage for women is for them to have rights.

A Vegan Wares employee puts the finishing touches on a pair of shoes. All pictures: Katie Wong Hoy

A Vegan Wares employee puts the finishing touches on a pair of shoes. All pictures: Katie Wong Hoy

I don’t mean necessarily nuanced socio-cultural stuff, just education or have the right to vote. Let’s talk about Vegan Wares a bit, what makes it unique? What is its feature product?

Goodness! It is unique because there are a lot of features. We make shoes for people to customize them. That is around product and what the feature of product is. As a company, it is that we do better than most companies stuff around the durability and quality of the product.

That, to us, has always been something that we will not compromise on. Our shoes are handmade here. We are having the store made in India. This is funny because we are talking to our agent. We have to emphasize.

We don’t care if it costs more. We want it to be better quality. 5 years down the road, the customers feel better about the product, its sustainability. Its design. People love to have that option to create their own product.

We do made-to-order, which people get to stand and go, “I like that shoe, but in that color and that color stitching, and that color sole.” You’re giving people something very individual, very unique.

To me, that’s what puts us aside from a lot of the other companies out there, which is different than one product made on one particular style. You get only three products or something, which is what we don’t do here.

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