If you've even been inside Vegan Style's boutique in Fitzroy, the chances are you won't forget their retail manager and cat-cuddler, Tanya Critchell.
Tanya took some time from her busy schedule to have a chat about everything Vegan Style.
So when did you decide to go vegan?
I went vegan just over 7 years ago after being a lifetime vegetarian.
What motivated your decision?
After speaking to my close friend Jacqui about bobby calves and the dairy industry, I decided with my daughter to do the Vegan Easy Challenge through Animal Liberation Victoria (ALV) and have never looked back! I was so angry at myself for a long time that I never knew the truth about dairy whilst being vegetarian.
What drew you to work in the ethical fashion space?
As my veganism deepened, I no longer wanted to work somewhere unethical. Instead, I wanted to align my passion for animal and human rights with my work. I was cooking at a vegan cafe "Las Vegan", where Vegan Style had their first shop and was lucky enough to get the opportunity to do a few shifts.
What are the 3 things you love most about managing the Vegan Style boutique?
Firstly, I love having the opportunity to educate people on the ethics behind vegan shoes. We have a few customers that really don't know the difference between quality vegan shoes and cheap synthetic ones. It's really great to be able to help them understand and see the excitement grow in them.
The second thing I love is being able to use my activism while working, educating people regarding the cruelty behind leather and the foods they are consuming. I find that customers are genuinely curious and ask a lot of questions, and to be able to give them truthful answers is amazing.
And last but not least, that feeling that I am giving back, not only to animals but also to humans! With having only products that are fairly made. Oh and of course, shoes!! that's four, right?!
What shoe styles give you a warm, fuzzy feeling?
Definitely new and vibrant styles, shoes that stand out and are original. At the moment its the 'Billie' glitter boots by Zette.
And which pair of shoes could you not live without?
Boots! I can't live without them, no matter the season.
Do you have any fur babies?
I do. I have 3 rescue cats, Gideon, Frankie and Dexter. 2 rescue dogs, Casper and Molly and 1 guinea Pig named Squeak.
Tanya with her furry friend Frankie
Ok, so now for a serious question - donuts or dips?
Definitely donuts! I'm obsessed with the donut shop on Gertrude St in Fitzroy, Melbourne.
Finish this sentence "Vegan shoes...."
Are the only choice when it comes to shoes because they're ethical, cruelty free, and beautiful!
Got a question for Tanya?
Feel free to pop it in the comments below.