Do you have a vegan equivalent for every animal product?
There’s an equivalent for just about everything now. It’s come along just in the last few years, actually.
Which lasts longer — leather or imitation leather?
It depends on a number of factors. If you get the low-quality stuff you see at certain chain stores, it’s going to fall apart no matter what.
What is most of your material made out of?
Most imitation leathers are made from a combination of carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen. Beyond that, I’m not a chemist, but a lot of them, especially the ones we carry, are microfiber.
How many wholesalers do you buy from?
Probably about 25. That includes jewelry suppliers, makeup suppliers, a couple of different book publishers.
Tell me about vegan jewelry.
Actually, a lot of jewelry is vegan by default. It’s things like leather, feathers, pearls that aren’t vegan.
Does it help business to have Native Foods right in front of your store?
Native has been very, very good for traffic, and traffic has been good since 118 Degrees [another vegan restaurant at the Camp] opened up a couple years ago as well.
Do you ever get requests to custom-make something vegan?
We aren’t a manufacturer, so we don’t have the facility for that. But I occasionally get a commission to make a watch strap for somebody. I actually made the strap I’m wearing now. Usually, we recommend people we know who can make something.
What’s the nicest compliment you’ve ever received about one of your items?
I don’t know about the nicest, but the one we get the most often is that people say they would never know an item wasn’t leather if they hadn’t bought it here.
What do you think the future is for vegan clothing? Do you think your store might have more competition in the years to come?
Anything is really possible. But the supply of vegan fashion out there is getting much better. More companies are doing things that happen to be vegan. Toms finally got around to making vegan shoes. Macbeth, a few years ago, started making vegan sneakers, and we can’t stock enough of them. There are things that just fly out of here when we get them.