Meet husband and wife team, Raymond and Laura Sjolseth. Don't they look like they're full of positivity?
Raymond and Laura have created an online boutique with a difference! They actively encourage customers to visit the office and try before they buy. Isn't that great? I want you to know about them because of this, and because they are determined for their store to exclusively sell vegan and ethically-made women’s wear.
What does Lookie Lou specialise in selling?
Lookie Lou currently carries six categories of vegan and ethically produced women’s apparel and accessories, but our most popular category by far, is shoes.
Where is Lookie Lou based?
Lookie Lou is based in Glenview, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. Even though we’re an online boutique, we invite customers into our office to try on our goods and see them first-hand. We also participate in as many regional vegan festivals as we can.
Do you exclusively serve those who are local to you or can others who are further away access your products too? If so, how?
We have customers in the United States, Canada, and Australia, too. We'll ship to anyone in any country upon request, we simply quote most international orders on a case-by-case basis since shipping rates and customs duties vary so dramatically. We hope to have customers all over the world soon and we would love to participate in international veggie fests.
What inspired you to create a business that solely focuses on vegan clothing, shoes and accessories?
My husband and I wanted to create a store that represented our values, and one where we would actually want to shop. We wanted a store that carried only vegan and ethically-made women’s wear, but we didn’t want the products that we carried to be easily recognized as vegan. So we started researching designers and put together a vegan lifestyle collection that would fit seamlessly into any fashion maven’s wardrobe.
How easy is it for you to source cruelty free ingredients for your products?
We’re just beginning to manufacture our own products now, so I can’t yet speak about how hard it is to source cruelty-free materials. But the difficulties in finding existing vegan brands and designers is largely dependent on the product category. For example, there are a great number of vegan shoe manufacturers out there now. Vegan lingerie designers, however, are much harder to find. Many high-end lingerie brands incorporate a lot of silk into their products. Still, the number of manufacturers and designers who are consciously creating vegan apparel is increasing every year, and we’re thrilled about that.
Do these ingredients affect the outcome in comparison with non plant-based clothing, shoes and accessories?
As long as high-quality vegan materials are used, vegan apparel and accessories last as long as, or longer than, their animal-based counterparts. For example, faux leather shoes and bags can be just as durable as leather goods when they’re well-made. And faux leather can be much easier to keep clean. And in the case of lingerie, polyester and cotton babydolls and panties are much easier to care for than silk.
For someone who hasn't purchased from you before, which are your most popular products?
Our most popular products are our HoodLamb winter coats (which are extremely warm!), our Siamese Dream booties, and all of the Roni Kantor low heels.
Is Lookie Lou owned by, or in partnership with, another company that tests on animals or sells non-vegan products?
Not at all! My husband and I own Lookie Lou wholly, and happily, we are long-time vegans.
Tell me a bit about yourself before you launched this company?
I’ve always had a love of animals and science. In university, I studied environmental science, but I wasn’t able to find work in the field (particularly in the midst of a recession). I landed a job in marketing at my husband’s lighting company, which is how we met.
When it was time for both of us to move on from that business, we knew we wanted to be in business together and we wanted to build a company that represented our values and interests.
My husband, an entrepreneur, has a love for brand-building. I’m passionate about veganism, and we both love fashion and design. Thus, after a lot of brainstorming, Lookie Lou was born. It’s really nice to feel that your business is helping to change the way people understand veganism whilst providing customers with beautiful apparel that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
What is your vision for the future of Lookie Lou?
We want to expand Lookie Lou’s international reach and introduce our own brand of accessories and apparel. We’re currently developing a line of handbags and T-shirts, both of which will be out by or before 2016. We look to our customers for direction, too. We want to know more about what ethical consumers feel is missing from the marketplace.
The V Angle
Why don't vegan wear silk?
Why don't vegans wear wool?
Why don't vegans use or buy fur?
How to find out whether something is made from animals or not
You can buy vegan shoes without spending a fortune
How to create a cruelty-free wardrobe
If you'd like to order from Lookie Lou, enter the code SHIFT20 when you check out and you will receive a 20% off any order. This generous offer will expire on 31st December 2015.