|International Vegetarian Union (IVU)|
A Spotlight on Vegan Companies and Businesses
throughout the United States and a few beyond - updated May 2006
by M. 'Butterflies' Katz
co-author of Incredibly Delicious; Recipes for a New Paradigm
by Gentle World www.gentleworld.org
Vegan Virtual Shopping Sites based in Canada:
Comondi, located in Toronto Canada, sells ONLY vegan products. The company owner is a vegan for 9 years. All the staff are vegan.
The company has been in business for 6 months offering Vegan Cookbooks, Hemp Bags, Hemp Wallets, Bazura Bags & purses (bags made from recycled juice cartons), soaps, bath salts,shampoos, conditioners, shaving soaps, toothpaste, dishwashing liquid, recycled glassware, organic cotton towels, organic cotton sheets, organic cotton shower curtain, dog & cat collars, leashes, organic cotton baby clothes & accessories, organic cotton menstrual pads, 100% post-consumer recycled paper and envelopes, Corn pens, hemp socks, organic cotton dishcloths and cleaning cloths, loofah scrubbers, etc.
Marisa King, the owner, holds a Masters in Environmental Studies with a focus on Animal/Human Relations. After reading John Robbins' "May All Be Fed: Diet for a New World" in university (a life-changing moment if ever there was one), she became vegan the very next day and started advocating for animals. Having had no idea of the cruelty inherent in the food production industry, she couldn't believe that such barbarism was allowed to take place on such a monumental scale. It soon became apparent that this was the status quo and that animals were treated as mere production units. Everywhere she looked, in every human industry, animals were abused, exploited and extinguished. Animals simply had no voice or not ones that humans would deign to listen to.
After completing her Masters, Marisa cast about for ways in which to make the plight of animals more visible. In living day to day life she and her vegan roommates found it difficult to procure vegan items which were also made with ecological integrity and through fair trade. They generally had to mail-order from the U.S. and even then many companies didn't ship to Canada. So, the idea of starting an online vegan company in Canada took root. But their standards were very stringent...fair trade, organic if at all possible, always environmentally sound and always vegan.
There are many stores which offer environmentally friendly products but are not vegan and many other stores which offer vegan products but do not take into account the effect on the environment. Comondi recognizes the links which bind everything together and strive to carry products which do not break these links. We donate 5% of our sales (NOT just profits) to companies working towards positive change for animals and the environment. And, this year (Year of the Dog) we are also donating 15% of our sales from any dog-related products to organizations working to improve the lives of dogs (Global Action Network is our present recipient for their work in Asia) says Marisa.
Truth is really the name of a company, or more widely known as Truth belts. The company has been in business for 5 years and sells 100% vegan products.
Truth offers belts that come in two categories: Virtue and Vice.
Virtue belts are made primarily out of cotton, polyester and elastic webbing. They have a fashion forward look, are vibrant in color and unisex.
Vice belts are made from materials that look just like leather, but are not! You wouldn't be able to tell the difference! They are made from a very high quality PVC material.
P.E.T.A awarded Truth a Proggy award in 2003 for 'Best Leather Replacement Clothing Company in North America'.
The Vice belts offer styles from conservative to funky. All Vice belt have a stamp on the back that reads 'genuine non-leather'. "I do believe that they are the best 'genuine non-leather' belts in the world; as of yet I have not come across a 'fake leather' belt that has the quality and longevity of a Truth belt." truthfully speaks the owner.
The company also offers bags; purses, tote bags, messenger bags and bracelets.
Founder Renia Pruchnicki speaks to us, "When I started Truth, I was not a vegetarian at all! I wasn't even thinking about anything like that.My background career-wise is fashion design. When I started my own business, I chose the name Truth because I wanted a one-syllable word that had 5 letters in it (an odd number of letters is always more aesthetically pleasing) and the word Truth is so positive and beautiful - everyone can relate to it. Because I had never worked with leather, I simply used all of the technical materials that I had used in the past (cottons, polyesters and vinyls). Little did I know at the time that vegetarians and vegans would love Truth belts!
"Over the years, I started doing some research on why meat is unhealthy. I suppose it was through my customers and also companies who wanted me to put a link on my web site, that I started learning about vegans and vegetarians. Early on I went cold-turkey and became a vegetarian. This was not a good idea for me, as I had what I call 'meat craving pains'. I didn't know how to properly eat a healthy vegetarian diet. So, over the years I just gradually cut meat out and eventually found that the craving for things like steak, were no longer there. I haven't drank milk for many years now, I drink rice milk, which I love. I still eat seafood, so I guess I am not 100% vegetarian, but who knows maybe with time that will change! My company Truth has slowly turned me into a vegetarian!
"Truth has not grown to the point that I can quit my day job, but I hope to get there one day." says Renia. Perhaps we should support her and reward her for being a part of the 'Truth' of not profiting from the exploitation of animals. Truth is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.