All during locked down we were rocking something from the label Vegan Happy. The collection kept us warm, happy and cool during hard times. The label shares the love of the vegan lifestyle with us. And kept us happy so now as we head back to the gym we can finally shout about the brand. Read more about the vegan streetwear label currently on our lips.
Vegan Happy Interview
Why did you start the company?
VEGAN Happy was set up just over 3 years ago after a late around the table discussion as since going vegan I couldn’t find the sort of clothes I wanted to wear. I was so proud of becoming vegan I wanted to wear something with a logo that would spark the conversation when I was out and about, but everything I could find had large slogan’s and I didn’t feel that was me, so I set about creating the sort of clothes I wanted to wear with subtle and stylish logo’s, so you can fly the V flag wherever you go but the logo won’t overshadow your outfit.
Tell us more about the company?
VEGAN Happy is going from strength to strength and our ethos is to create subtle and stylish clothes that won’t break the bank, are on-trend yet also timeless, and really will fit to any age or gender. Our style is probably described as cool stylish casual but we have so many other elements in other than our casual separates daywear range, including bags, kids, babies, and even an awesome dip dye range which is just about to drop!
What influenced you to start the ready to wear label?
It was an entirely selfish decision as, as mentioned I couldn’t find the sort of clothes I wanted to wear when I went vegan. At my age now, or indeed any age, I still want to look cool and current and I think the sort of clothes I wear (and we have in our VEGAN Happy range) work just as well on a 20 year old as they would on a 65 year old. Our clothes are the sort of wardrobe staples that will serve you for a long time!
I also believe that the clothes I want to wear should be affordable. I love high fashion but when I went vegan, the first thing I had to do was sell or gift my high end designer leather bags and shoes as they didn’t fit with my ethos any more. So my view now is that I want to purchase things, and make things, that are affordable so my customers can spot something they love and then be wearing it shortly after without having to break the bank.
What events happened in your life to motivate you?
Going vegan was such a huge shift in my life and felt a huge heart swell of love towards everyone and everything. We even have a range in VEGAN Happy called ‘Vegan Is Love’ which is pretty much where we are at with our mindset.
Stopping drinking is the other huge thing that has happened in my life and I celebrated my 5 year sober anniversary very recently on the 14th March.
On top, I have recently re-married my ex-husband! We managed to fit a wedding in during the relaxing in lockdown last year and two people who met at school age, went on to have 2 kids and then let life get in the way, re-found each other and remarried. So love, compassion, kindness and forgiveness also motivate me.
Why is that important to you?
I like to be the public face for our brand and what I do reflects on how VEGAN Happy is perceived. We include ‘real people’ our customers in our campaigns and our ethos is that the customer is always right. We only want 100% satisfaction in our customer base, so if something goes wrong (as it does as you can’t control every element however hard you try) we put it spectacularly right.
What happens if nothing changes in the world?
If nothing changes in the world, there will be NO WORLD. I believe that everyone will come to veganism in their own way and in their own time and that makes me very happy. Everyone will consider veganism as either an environmental choice, a health choice, or to help animals, and whichever way people come to veganism it really doesn’t matter. Of course I would love everyone to jump on and be a vegan tomorrow but what I have come to realise is that everyone will go at their own pace, it’s just my job to help ignite that spark that grows into a flame. I am happy to wait and help people with questions along the way.
People that wear VEGAN Happy get stopped a lot when out and about, especially in the supermarket, as they look approachable. No large slogans slamming meat eaters but just a gentle nod that we are vegan and you can ask us anything you wish.
Can I ask you a difficult question? Why did you choose to stop drinking alcohol?
I had so many childhood issues wrapped up in my drinking, too many to name here, but with stress for me came more booze. So I think I just got to 50 (I had just had my big birthday) and I think outwardly I was this amazing fun person but inside I was really sad. A few things happened very close together which made me stop, I just realised it was getting a bit out of control and the fun bit was less and less and drinking on my own (disguised by working long hours etc) was becoming more and more.
No one said I should stop, I just realised that if I wanted the life I dreamt of I had to change. I wanted to be clear and present always and to be there for my kids. I didn’t eat properly and I wanted to be fitter and healthier so I just gave up. I thought I would have pain and withdrawal but I think the joy saw that off and to this day I have never had one drink (5 years later) or even craved one. I actually learnt to adore drinking tea in the pub (still love the pub, it’s my favourite place to go and chill). Also, by going sober you enter a sort of self-induced therapy where you are forced to confront all of those issues that you have been medicating with booze but as you are sober you get to really look at them and deal with them rather than sticking a plaster over them.
Is it working?
My life is incredible! It’s the best decision I ever made and I have never regretted the decision, I only wish I had made it sooner.
Who else cares about solving the problem?
I think going back to the veganism and the need for us to save the world, I think everyone cares but not everyone is doing anything. I think our saviours are the youth of today who are aligned with the Greta Thunberg thinking and are angry at us for messing their planet up. They will be the movers and shakers that really effect change on a global scale and save our planet before it’s too late.
What are you grateful for?
I am grateful to be alive as with drinking I nearly died in self-induced accidents more times than I can remember. I had a VIP pass to the local hospital! So I am grateful for giving up alcohol and the chance to live a different life. And of course I am so grateful to my family for loving me unconditionally, and also our VEGAN Happy customers who choose us and go out and evangelise for us in our clothing.
My dream is to be out and about and see someone wearing VEGAN Happy, that would be incredible.
Where do you see the company in 5 years?
In 5 years we will be manufacturing our own clothes as currently we can only ethically source. We need to investigate ethical manufacturing and start designing our own items. I also hope to expand into the US as I have family near Boston so I would love VEGAN Happy to cross the pond. We do ship globally to the US currently (anywhere in the world) but newly hiked postage prices make it so costly so we are hoping to expand there.
What is the signature design?
We see ourselves as cool stylish casual. Our signature style this season is mix and match pastels.
Why name it Vegan Happy?
We wanted vegan in the name so it would be easily identifiable as a logo to spark the conversation and the word Happy just jumped out at us. Happy is a word that made us smile and indeed we have a ‘Happy’ range in our shop. We wanted something simple and easily recognisable and even our logo is monochrome for simplicity and to be identifiable.
Who do you want to reach?
We want to reach any vegan, or someone wanting to consider veganism, between 18-100. We are all inclusive and don’t see age at all. We have the same people wearing some of our items that are 18 as are 80 and looking equally as awesome.
How do you source the material you create with?
We still ethically source rather than manufacture as mentioned above, but we are very careful about how we source and make sure that not only are our clothes vegan but the suppliers we purchase from have ethical working policies for their staff, we look at what their carbon footprint and environmental statement is, and so much more. Then we decide to add them to VEGAN Happy if we are satisfied our customers will love and they fit with our high standards.
What is your creative process?
We still aren’t designing ourselves but when we are (2022) we have a clear eye on what we will be designing. We will follow the cool stylish casual feel we have currently but we are also thinking about having guest designers design something for that season and we would look to young up-and-coming designers to help give them the airtime and visibility they need.
We are also looking in to getting more in to the youth market and more street style fashion but we are long way off that yet, but that’s the dream.
What would you tell your 15-year-old self?
Don’t worry about things you can’t change and just look forward.
Believe in yourself.
Don’t worry if that boy doesn’t call, he wasn’t the right one.
Work hard, no one else will make your dreams come true.
Get up earlier than everyone else and steal a march on the day.
If you have an idea act on it.
Don’t give up on your dreams.
What advice would you give young entrepreneurs?
Whatever you want to do, don’t follow the mainstream, that place is too crowded. Find something that has a niche. Decide what you want to do and define your audience clearly and then just go and do it! There are so many funding sources for starter businesses and don’t be afraid to ask for favours. It’s amazing how much help you can get by being open and reaching out. And don’t be afraid. Believe in yourself and do it. There has never been a better time for branching out on your own than now.
Who would you like to see wearing the line.
My celebrity brand crush who I would love to see wearing VEGAN Happy would have to be Sia but other than that, I just love to see our growing list of customers wearing out line out and about. Sia… you know where we are!
Thank you to Vegan Happy for all the lovely gifts and taking the time to telling us more about the brand. See you anything you like make sure to check them out online. www.veganhappyclothing.co.uk
Photos: Vegan Happy & Sachin Ghataaura