This week, New York City-based vegan handbag brand GUNAS announced that it raised $250,000 in capital from a private investor to fund its expansion into the vegan beauty industry. In 2009, Indian-born entrepreneur Sugandh Agrawal founded GUNAS—which is marketed as America’s first luxury vegan handbag company—in New York City with the firm belief that animals do not belong in the fashion industry. Now, Agrawal aims to expand the brand to include vegan beauty products, starting with a soap bar line made with olive oil, floral extracts, and volcanic ash. “Beauty soaps have a huge opportunity in terms of being animal-free and formulated with pure ingredients,” Agrawal said. “This new direction is an extension of our core values of inner beauty inside and out, without harming any living being.” GUNAS uses only vegan materials and produces its handbags in sweatshop-free facilities in Seoul, South Korea. In addition to its monetary investment, GUNAS unnamed angel investor will help the brand with trademarking, digital marketing, and expanding sales in Asia, as well as promoting the brand’s fashion and beauty products to Asian celebrities.
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