I founded Cow Jones Industrials Vegan Boutique in May of 2007. For 5 years, it was a brick and mortar shop in Chatham, New York. At the end of September 2012, the shop closed but the business continued as an e-commerce site.
I wanted to have a business that was a reflection of my beliefs. I have been vegan since 1989 – it was and will always be because of the animals. When I first considered opening a vegan shop, it seemed that there were designers out there who were specifically creating vegan products. The timing seemed right to open a storefront where I could be a presence for the animals, showing consumers that there are beautiful and sustainable options that don’t involve harming our animal friends. I am the granddaughter of coal miners – my father was involved in various unions all his life and so fair labor practices are also very important to me .
After transitioning to veganism, I became very active with the organization Trans Species Unlimited in NYC and smaller, informal groups of activists. I read everything I could get my hands on as far as animal rights books, etc. There seemed to be a lot of momentum back then for effecting change. I moved out of the city in 1997 and my involvement in activism changed through the years. Opening the shop in 2007 was a different form of activism – to some, it might only have been a shop, but there were photos of animals with messages on them scattered throughout the shop and in the storefront windows. I had brochures for numerous sanctuaries and I had my own personal library of books on animal rights that people could borrow.
A spark was ignited for me again when I became involved with The Ghosts in Our Machine (http://www.theghostsinourmachine.com/) as one of the coaches of the 5-Day Ghost-Free Journey http://www.theghostsinourmachine.com/ghost-free/.
This has been a true honor for me to be involved with this and has motivated me to begin delving again into the issues – this time around, I am mostly interested in how to help people to make connections and to facilitate change.