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

What meaning does this work bring for you?

Everything, there’s a lot of different aspects. I have often been yelled at by friends and family that I work too much. I am happy when I am here. I know every time that we improve, then we are helping people make a difference.

Of course, we want to give really great shoes to vegans and those ethically inclined. However, my goal is to reach out to people who would normally use leather, especially since the lifetime of a shoe should be more than a year.

People think it’s a year. I want to reach out to those people and let them know you can have shoes that last 10 years. That concept that ethical and sustainable fashion is an option. It’s, to me, a love. I spend a lot of time in the retail front of the shop. I love talking to customers.

FYE Sneakers at Vegan Wares

FYE Sneakers at Vegan Wares

I love taking feedback. That means I can direct us in a way that is fulfilling the demands of the marketplace. Also, it is making sure that it is not simply the niche that we are getting to, but when we get to customers that aren’t ethically inclined or vegans.

They say, “Oh, this isn’t leather.” We go, “No, it’s not.” We say, “It’s a high-tech synthetic. It’s neither animal or plant.” It different and durable. But they go, “It looks exactly like leather.”

It is getting to those people. I will come back to that. It is a big thing for me, getting to people who don’t necessarily think that is an option, and getting to people who believe leather is the best thing out there and going.

It’s not. You’re looking at pineapple fibre and leather made out of mushrooms now. There are so many amazing things going around. The slaughter of animals is important. Same with the mass consumption of things is important.

We have people come after three years from the first purchase and come to replace the shoe, change the color, replace the laces, and then you have a new shoe, but you haven’t gotten a new product, really.

You have re-utilized what you had before. You are reducing the amount of resources you use significantly. The impact is like the person buying 6 shoes a year versus 2 pairs of shoes in 10 years. If you think about it, it is a lot of resources being saved.

That’s a lot less in terms of manufacturing and stuff being grown. That’s a whole lot fewer animals being slaughtered. Everything, I can’t tell you one thing alone. It is every little bit of it.

It is reaching out to people that don’t quite know that that is available. It is improving out customer standards, providing a better product, and so on. All of it is fulfilling. All of it.

Vegan ballet flats by Vegan Wares

Vegan ballet flats by Vegan Wares

A lot of the ethical and sustainable fashion help reduce the amount of climate change and global warming ongoing via carbon capture. In addition, it can reduce the need for animal fibres, which can be a net carbon negative in the end.

Cow leather is the most common in terms of industries. Camels are more expensive. It’s funny because if you stop using leather. That will leave farmers with all of this left over product, which they can’t circulate.

It’s the same thing with the meat. If you consume it less, you get to the point that you’re cutting down and it’s supply and demand. If there’s no demand for it, then they have reduced supply. Otherwise, it will cost them.

You’re looking at less and less lives being take and destroyed because you’ve decided to make an ethical choice. One company we deal with, and have stock in the shop, are Eco Vegan Shoes.

They have a concept: beyond leather. It resonates with me. It is getting past that.

This can reduce the amount of consumption of things that become pollutants. One model is sustainable and recycles the fibres through decomposition. These can be net negative for carbon emissions, especially to your point, I think. Any thoughts or feelings in conclusion?

I think with something like pineapple fibre. It is not necessarily about the agriculture, when you harvest a pineapple for every pineapple you have these leaves that sit around it and the leaves would go to waste or compost.

They figured out how to use those leaves to turn them into a fibre. You’re reducing what would normally go to a lot of waste and utilizing it. It is not that it will decompose and replenish the soil. You have use what would go to waste and then made a product.

Made to order vegan boots by Vegan Wares

Made to order vegan boots by Vegan Wares

You have reduced people use PVC-based stuff and using other stuff. That new product will biodegrade. Yes, it goes through manufacture and treatment. The amount of manufacture that goes into it would be a lot less for that product.

With us, you’re looking at a synthetic product, but that will last 10-015 years; whereas, a natural product will last much shorter comparatively. Also, our material is designed to biodegrade, and will dot hat over a century.

It is designed to fall apart. Even when creating synthetics, there is a way, even if there is enough money to do research into those products to make those that are good for the environment because they have the sustainability and durability to them.

You’re using less resources. Some synthetics are good and some are bad. The bad ones won’t last a long time and are not as durable. They made to recycled and then used to make another pair of shoes, and so on. The difference is substantial.

Multiple factors come into it. If I had the choice, I would go for something that is the by-product of another industry. That means that which is being used is re-utilized, and that it is sustainable. So, you don’t have to recreate a product several times.

And I think it is a good value for the world. Often, people can put all of the money into developing and creating a product. All of the sudden, you realize that it is too expensive for anyone to afford and it becomes pointless.

It is all of those factors being taken in and being considered that will eventually get us to a point where we are using materials that are way more sustainable and ethical. I hope that will point us in the right direction in the end.

Thank you for your time, Bonnie.

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About the Author

Scott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping and gardening, and runs In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.

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