If you want a one stop shop for vegan fashion, Grape Cat's the site to visit!
Christine and James Lucas went from eating meat, to making the connection between the duality of loving animals and eating them. They became vegetarian and then vegan. However, on their journey, they've started a Vegan Supper Club, held cooking lessons, potluck events and they now organise camping trips, gastronomy tours and more!
You can find out more about them and their business below.
What does Grape Cat specialise in?
Grape Cat is an online vegan retail store carrying all kinds of fashion, from t-shirts to coats, and wallets to belts. Grape Cat prides itself on carrying a variety of products, as well as eco-friendly and U.S. made merchandise.
Where is Grape Cat based?
Pipersville, Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Do you exclusively serve those who are local to you or can others who are further away buy your products too? If so, how?
We sell locally at VegFests and also online to U.S. customers and we offer free shipping for purchases of over $50 within the United States. We take international orders by special request.
What inspired you to create a business that solely focuses on fashion, accessories and veganism?
Chris and I started Grape Cat because the nearest shops to us that sold vegan products were in NYC; so everything that I bought had to be purchased online. Grape Cat was born in March 2013, after we realised the need for more vegan retail items in a central location.
By 2014 we had learned a bit more about our market, improved our website, and started participating in more Veg Fests.
This year we have expanded to New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, and North Carolina. Next year we are expecting to visit Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois.
Where does the name ‘Grape Cat’ come from?
Years ago, when I was spending a lot of my spare time painting, I became interested in jazz. At that time, I also had a small t-shirt business and started researching jazz terms to put on the t-shirts. One term that really stood out was grape cat.
In the Jazz Age, if you were a grape cat then you were a person that loved wine. Chris loved it, too, so I made her a t-shirt with a cat and the phrase “Grape Cat.” I soon realized that the term combined two of her favourite things, which are cats and wine. So when we were researching names for our business and couldn’t find a URL that wasn’t already taken, Chris suggested Grape Cat.
How easy is it for you to source cruelty free and ethical fabrics for your products?
It is very easy. There are a lot of great, small companies that offer a variety of items in different fabrics, such as, hemp, recycled bicycle tires, recycled bowling ball bags, organic cotton and bamboo. We’re always excited to find companies that care about the environment and want to make a greater number of sustainable, thoughtful products.
Is Grape Cat owned by, or in partnership with, another company that tests on animals or sell non-vegan products?
No. Grape Cat is solely owned and operated by Chris (Christine) and James Lucas. We personally vet each product to make sure it hasn’t been tested on animals and to make sure it does not contain animal products.
Tell me a bit about yourself before you launched Grape Cat.
I grew up eating the typical American diet. My family used to go to McDonald's for lunch and dinner when my parents were too tired to cook.
At Thanksgiving, we would have turkey and at Christmas we would eat ham.
I also loved going to zoos and the aquarium. I was so fascinated by animals that I wanted to be a marine biologist.
Like most people, I never connected my love of animals with eating meat until 2002. This is when I worked for the Wall Street Journal. I used to have lunch with a vegetarian on a regular basis and whilst we enjoyed our meal, we would talk about the food that I was eating and how it made its way from the farm to my plate. I learned about factory farming and the horrors the animals experience there. I slowly started connecting the dots between animals I loved to watch and pet, and the ones I was consuming. I first gave up beef and pork, and then chicken and turkey. By the end of 2002 I was vegetarian.
In 2009, I had an idea which was starting Bucks County Vegan Supper Club. I was hoping to teach people how to cook their own vegan dishes. This eventually turned into a monthly potluck and has grown to a group of over 425 members. The group now does camping trips, goes to restaurants, and organises outings to events like Veg Fests. In 2010, I started to realise that my consumption of eggs and dairy resulted in animals being hurt. That's when I decided to go vegan.
In 2011, a friend of mine said she thought it would be fun to do a cooking show. We started a blog, From A to Vegan, with our spouses. At first we were doing cooking videos and blog posts. Now the blog does restaurant, cookbook, and product reviews, gastronomy tours, and commentary on current events.
So veganism has inspired me to start a meetup group, a blog, and a business. My hope is to help people connect the dots between the food they eat and the other ways that animals are exploited in our daily lives.
What is your vision for Grape Cat?
We are currently working towards broadening our message across the United States, with hopes of a retail store in the near future. We want to show customers that there are great non-animal alternatives to everyday products, and that there’s always a way for us to do right by the animals. We also want to support local and small businesses across the United States that produce sustainable and alternative products.
The V Angle
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If you fancy saving 15% off your order, visit Grape Cat and enter the code PlantShift when you check out. This offer will be valid until December 30th 2015.