Find out how Georgie went from loving wool to loving sheep!
Meet ex 'wool snob' Georgie Gardner. She owns Vegan Stitch and she's proud to say that she's left her wool-loving days behind, and she is grateful for the research that took place, in order to make this possible! Georgie learned about the benefits of researching and using other materials, and now feels that wool is a limiting factor for designers!
What does Vegan Stitch specialise in selling?
Vegan Stitch specialises in making home decorations and some accessories, gloves, brooches etc.
Where is Vegan Stitch based?
In Derby, England.
Do you exclusively serve those who are local to you or can others who are further away access your products too? If so, how?
I attend a lot of vegan events up and down the country, whenever I can. I do this to try and make my products accessible to more people. However, I also sell online on my Etsy shop, which means that people all over the world can buy my products.
What inspired you to create a business that solely focuses on designing and making vegan textile products?
I love craft and design. I've always wanted to have my own business, which was possible because I have the skills needed to sew, knit and crochet. This combined with an obsession with designing, and knowing which colours compliment each other, has resulted in me producing some lovely items, even if I do say so myself!
I decided to start making products for the home, and because I'm vegan, they had to be made without any animal materials. It's definitely a niche.
So many designers in home-ware use wool and are proud of it. The wool industry is horrific and that fact seems to get very little exposure, I see it as a form of activism as well as doing what I love.
How easy is it for you to source cruelty free yarn for your products?
I get my yarn from several different places. I cant always buy the same materials from the same shops. But I strive to look out for the most ethically sourced yarns. Example of this are the hessian yarn, hemp and cotton, which I source from ethical producers.
There's a little knitting shop not far from where I live where I buy the bulk of my yarns. Some people would argue that using acrylic is not sustainable or ethical, but I always say 'its better than harming sheep, and livestock farming is way, way worse! This is obviously from the animals' point of view, but it's worse for the environment too. So many harmful chemicals are used in wool production, which cause land and waterway degradation.
Does using vegan yarn effect the outcome of what you make?
Admittedly I used to love using wool as I loved its soft appearance, and it's hard to achieve that look with acrylic yarn. I spent a lot of time searching for yarns that might exist that acted like wool and felt like wool, and as a result, I've discovered many alternatives and I I have learnt a lot from using them. I will admit I was what you might call a 'wool snob' at one point in my life where nothing else mattered but wool. So, as well as opening my eyes to the suffering of animals, veganism has taught me of the benefits and joy in researching and using other materials. I would now consider wool to be a limiting factor in many designers work.
What's the most popular item that is purchased from Vegan Stitch?
My knitted and crocheted winter gloves are my most popular item in the winter time. Vegans and non-vegans just flock around my stalls and look at them in amazement. It's a nice feeling having something you make be appreciated so much! I almost always sell out of my gloves at every stall.
I'm currently working on something a little different to what I usually do. I've been making reusable makeup remover pads, which are hand crocheted with 100% recycled cotton yarn. They have been a big hit with customers so far. It's so important that we all strive to create less waste, and reusable products like these can be a massive part of that. My lavender filled hearts have proved to be popular too. I try to express my love for colour in items like my lavender hearts, and I'm thankful that they have received a great response.
Is Vegan Stitch owned by, or in partnership with, another company that tests on animals or sells non-vegan products?
Vegan Stitch is solely run by one girl and her tools! Everything is cruelty free and vegan. I am vegan so everything I buy has to be cruelty free, vegan and not owned by any nasty companies! This applies to everything I buy for my business too.
What is your vision for the future of Vegan Stitch?
Obviously like anyone trying to make it in the world, I would love to be noticed as a 'vegan designer' and appeal to vegans in the same way that other designers do!
After all 'vegan is the future'.
I want to prove that life can be beautiful without animal products, and this can happen without supporting nasty companies. I get that in the vegan world, food is a popular way to show non-vegans how easy it is to be vegan. Sometimes I think maybe i'm ahead of myself in what I do. Veganism is all still new to many people. But I am a vegan, so if I am going to craft and sell, it has to be cruelty free.