Bonnie Murthy is the owner of Melbourne based vegan footwear business Vegan Wares.
She will be speaking at World Vegan Day Melbourne so make sure you take the time to say hi!
Getting to know Bonnie Murthy
Why did you decide to launch Vegan Wares?
My step-father (Peter Cabena) established Vegan Wares in 1995. Back then the only shoes available for vegans were either cheap vinly or canvas palladium shoes. Peter used to wear the palladium shoes to work and was ostracised for it. So, when he had the resources, he decided he wanted to create the option for people to have the highest quality vegan shoes possible. I stepped into the business about 4 years ago to lend a helping hand. Unlike other jobs I had in the past, I never got what my friends call the 3 month/ 5 month itch to leave. I fell in love with why we do what we do and so here I am and here I intend to stay!
What does the vegan philosophy mean to your brand?
For us, veganism is a compassionate and conscientious approach to life (and business). It’s not just about the immediate cruelty-free concerns but rather a broader approach to a sustainable life that takes into consideration environmental and ecological impacts of the choices we make.
What hurdles do you face as an ethical brand?
There are a few. From the business side of things, the landscape is always changing. We often face challenges with manufacturing and suppliers where getting compliance with our specifications is a trying process. It’s not that people don’t want to comply but rather that they can’t fully appreciate our values, which means that sometimes to cut corners they may make decisions that are unaware of or inconsistent with our philosophy. It requires rigorous questioning and constant research to stay on top of it all.
From the client side of things, the biggest challenge is the habituated consumer response to seasonal fashion cycle- the desire for what’s ‘new’ and ‘in’ as opposed to a more thoughtful approach to consumerism.
What’s your vision for the future?
Making the highest quality vegan products will always be a significant part of what we do. However, our priority right now is to help educate people make decisions that go beyond the immediate cruelty free issues and consider long term impacts. We would love to see a world where conscientious attitudes inform daily decisions and sustainable choices help reduce use of resources and waste on a planet that is already overburdened.
Why do you choose to align with World Vegan Day Melbourne?
World Vegan Day has always helped bring awareness towards a vegan philosophy, that in itself is a reason enough to support the event. It also gives the vegan community an opportunity to show those who are not yet vegan, how easy a vegan life can be; and it gives us the opportunity to inform people how we can live a more sustainable life.
What are your top five food picks that you just can’t live without?
Oh dear, that’s a tough choice to make. I am not one for heavily processed foods so all fruits and veggies are winners for me. If I had to choose, I’d say Mangoes, Avocado, Hummus, Kale, and Tomatoes.
You can catch Bonnie in the speakers space. Time: TBA