The Magazine for Vegan
Click here to Advertise on VegFamily
Behind the Scenes
Vegan Cookies from Allison's Gourmet
Personal Development for Smart People
Jeanine Taylor: President of Snooty Jewelry.How long have you been running Snooty Jewelry?
How did you learn to design jewelry?
Although I started my jewelry business two years ago, Snooty Jewelry was born in June 1999.
How did you come up with the name Snooty Jewelry?
When the idea hit me to combine veganism and jewelry making, the word 'snooty' popped into my head at the same time. I didn't like it at first, for concern people wouldn't get the humor in it and be turned off. But when I jokingly shared the name with friends and classmates, they LOVED it and encouraged me to keep it. I decided to keep it until I could think of something better. Stay tuned...
Article continues below
When did you become a vegan?
I became a vegan in the summer of 1991 after reading John Robbin's "Diet for a New America." At the time, I was a dedicated carnivore and had a friend who gave the book to me for Christmas the previous year. I used to love sunbathing while reading in my backyard. This particular weekend I had read *everything* else in the house. So after seriously considering reading the telephone book, I reluctantly opted to read my friend's gift. By the time I got 3/4 of the way through the book, I realized I could no longer participate in the devastation of animals, the environment, or my health, and became a vegan then and there. To this day, it ranks as the smartest, most empowering decision I've ever made, and I will always be grateful to my friend for changing my life in such a positive way.
What gave you the idea to start a vegan jewelry business?
After having my jewelry business for almost a year, I enrolled in an entrepreneurial training program. When faced with the daunting task of writing a business plan, I took a hard look at my business and the course of my life and realized something was missing. After several weeks of struggling to put my finger on what that 'something' was, I came up with the idea of actually marketing what I was already doing but not advertising - that my jewelry was "vegetarian" because I didn't use any animal products. It's a little scary at times feeling like the only person combining two seemingly unrelated concepts, but the idea of possibly blazing a new trail that others will hopefully follow is very exciting.
How has the idea of a vegan jewelry business been received by your customers? Your suppliers? Your family and friends?
My non-vegetarian customers buy my jewelry because they love getting good quality jewelry at an affordable price. My vegan customers value those same things and enjoy the added bonus of supporting a like-minded business. The ability to fill a niche for vegans and still market to non-vegetarians is what makes it a successful business.
To many of my suppliers I'm simply one of thousands of customers so don't usually get into the veganism of my business. As I build relationships with my smaller vendors, the topic eventually comes up and they're very interested in hearing a new twist in selling jewelry and are always very respectful of my values.
I am extremely blessed to have very supportive friends, family, and mentors who wish me every success. It's hard for me to image how I could be doing this without them.
Who are your personal or business heroes and how have they inspired you?
One of my biggest heroes has always been Martin Luther King, Jr. His strength of conviction to speak out about injustice and his dedication to bringing about change through non-violent means in the face of so many against him, is a heart-rending inspiration to me.
Being a vegan, I have the good fortune of knowing so many incredibly wonderful people doing so many amazing things for people, non-human animals, and the environment, I'm afraid you'd run out of disk space if I tried to name them all. Hopefully they know who they are!
Do you find that most of your customers are vegans?
At this point, I would say my percentage of vegan, vegetarian, and non-vegetarian customers is pretty close to their percentages in the general population. As my business grows, and my line of vegan-specific designs increase, I'm hoping those percentages will even out.
What challenges do you face as a vegan business owner?
Most non-vegetarians seem to imagine that being a vegan is "difficult". I believe the ease I experience of being a vegan is related to my inner confidence that I'm doing what is right for me, and knowing that nothing can shake that. So being a vegan business owner really hasn't presented any difficulties for me. As with many things in life: attitude is everything.