My first blog post is for the wonderful Vevolution, a vegan and conscious living events and media start-up. They asked me why I started up One Small Shop and here it is..
At Vevolution we are all about supporting new startups and giving them the platform they deserve to talk about the incredible things they are creating. With this blog we have invited the amazing Katie Dent who has created One Small Shop an ethical, vegan and cruelty-free online shop stocking the very best in fashion, homeware and lifestyle.
I have always loved new bags and beauty products. But when I started to think about how bags and beauty products are made my opinion quickly changed on buying new stuff.
That’s how the idea for One Small Shop came about - I wanted to fall back in love with shopping. I wanted to have a shop where people didn’t have to check every label. I know how excited I am when I go into a vegan café and can have anything on the menu; I wanted to open a retail version of that.
I got sick of checking every label, sick of frumpy brands and sick of shopping being a guilt trip. So I started searching for alternatives, and this took months, but I found some really amazing brands. People doing great things, who don’t exploit people or animals to make a profit. Companies who put their principles first, but who also make really cool, beautiful products.
But it went further than that; I didn’t just want to do a vegan shop for vegans. Pretty much everyone, no matter what they eat, would always take the cruelty free option if it was offered to them. So I wanted to make it easier. Someone recently bought a Wilby cork bag from One Small Shop instead of a leather one she’d been looking at and that made my day.
Vegan fashion tends to be pretty pioneering. Fake leather used to be made from environmentally damaging materials but is now being replaced by fabrics such as Piñatex which is made from pineapple leaves and also used in the new range of Votch watch straps.
I also wanted to work with brands that care about people too. I’m really excited to soon be stocking two amazing social enterprises who put this at their very core. Mini Stitches create gorgeous kids clothing and the entire collection is made by local women who are involved in their charity. Their free training programme aims to empower women facing multiple disadvantages. The only thing I don’t like about this company is that I can’t fit in their clothes.
The Soap Co. create luxury soap products and 80% of their workforce are visually impaired or otherwise disabled or disadvantaged. Their parent company is CLARITY which is a registered charity and the UK’s oldest surviving social enterprise. They are also just really cool looking and natural products. Both Mini Stitches and The Soap Co. aren’t just feel good marketing exercises, they mean proper training and proper jobs and absolutely no sacrificing the quality of the products.
Finally, if you care about animals and people then you probably care about the planet. One part that really excited me was finding brands that make really cool products, literally out of waste. Reclaim Bags are made from the inner tubes of lorries and tractors, all sourced from a mechanic’s yard and handmade in Bristol. Wax and Wick Workshop use repurposed wine bottles for their soy candles.
Swedish Stockings make tights and socks out of recycled yarn. This doesn’t sound all that ground breaking until you realise each year over 2 billion pairs of tights are worn a couple of times then thrown away. It’s pretty easy to see why the fashion industry is the second most polluting in the world. Their factories are also pretty much all solar powered and zero waste.
The skin care brands were all founded by people on personal missions; to find the best lip balm, cure adult acne or use the most natural ingredients. The grooming products for dogs have just as high standards as the ones for people. As it should be!
I’ve now got nearly 20 brands that I’m really excited to be working with. I started off feeling really happy to be vegan but always kind of putting down the fact that I was starting a vegan business - “it’s vegan but it’s really good honest’. Since starting the shop, I’m really proud to own a vegan business. It completely rocks. I thought I would never stock hemp or slogan vegan tees but I’ve just ordered in both!
I love Fashion Revolution’s Who Made My Clothes campaign and I can proudly say that we know who made all our stuff and that all our stuff was made in a loving and compassionate way.
We can all make a difference in our every day and it’s a really easy win – one small shop at a time!