As veganism continues to go mainstream, cruelty-free women-owned businesses are expanding the choices vegans have in terms of what we wear and eat. Whether it’s through delicious food, innovative beauty care, or sustainable, ethically produced clothing, these companies are proving that plant-based businesses can thrive in today’s market. Even better? These brands are also proving that anything men can do in the business world, women can do equally—and, often, better. Here are five trailblazing women who have set the standard and created beloved companies that pledge to help us look and feel good without harming animals.
Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart, owner of the all-vegan clothing brand VAUTE Couture, is changing the way society views ethical fashion. The name “Vaute” is a play on the idea of “vegan haute” that also sounds a lot like the word “vote.” This is no coincidence. Hilgart purposefully had this in mind when naming the company in 2009 as a distinct reminder that, as consumers, we vote for our values every time we make a purchase. Known for its winter coats that use high-tech textiles for maximum insulation in order to keep customers warm without having to compromise fashionability and accountability, Vaute—and Hilgart—continue to work toward making the fashion industry cruelty-free.
Miyoko Schinner is an author, chef, and the owner of Miyoko’s Kitchen, an artisanal vegan cheese company churning out nut and plant-based products. At age 12, Schinner converted to vegetarianism and has been cooking since she was 15. Furthermore, Schinner has taught numerous classes, written for numerous publications (including VegNews), and has given talks about veganism across the country. After writing Artisan Vegan Cheese, a cookbook on all things dairy-free, Schinner founded Miyoko’s Kitchen, a brand that has options for all different types of cheese lovers. All of Miyoko’s Kitchen’s cheeses made are from organic cashews imported from Vietnam, while the Loire Valley, Ash, Herbes de Provence, and Double Cream cheeses are also raw.
The Lip Bar
Melissa Bar—CEO and founder of the Detroit-based vegan lipstick company The Lip Bar—has fought to turn her business into the success it is today. In 2015, Bar and her business partner went on the reality show Shark Tank, where they were turned away and told about the impossibility of selling bright, bold-colored lipstick as a profitable market. Now, just a few years later, The Lip Bar is a highly profitable company that strives to challenge the standard of beauty. This beauty brand offers vibrant and unique colors without the unnecessary chemicals, making beauty no longer a linear discussion.
Sisters Erica and Sara Kubersky have founded two vegan companies. The first, MooShoes—an all vegan, cruelty-free footwear company—was created in 2001 in New York City (MooShoes found a permanent home on Orchard Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan just a few years later). If you stop by for some shopping and all of a sudden find yourself famished, don’t fret, as the sisters opened Orchard Grocer, an all-vegan deli and food market, next door to MooShoes. Finally, in 2014, these ladies partnered with Raven + Crow Studio to open a MooShoes in Los Angeles.
Bobo’s Oat Bars
Bobo’s Oat Bars was founded one rainy afternoon in Boulder, CO when Beryl Stafford and her daughter Alex—nicknamed Bobo—decided to fight the gloom with baked goods. Beryl concocted an oat-bar recipe, and the rest is, as they say, history. Everyone at Bobo’s Oat Bars is committed to feeding customers as they would their own family members, while the Staffords pride themselves on the quality of their products and staying true to Beryl’s original recipe. All Bobo’s Oat Bars are 100-percent vegan, as well as gluten free. Bobo’s also works closely with Boulder housing projects as a way to give back to their community.