Saturday, November 17, 2012
Saying goodbye to Cruelty-Free World
It started with not being able to find a vegan belt.
Then in May of 2006 we "opened" at the Boulder Creek Festival and the journey began. Cruelty-Free World allowed us to sell vegan belts, bags, purses and wallets. We would set up our tent, Mike would make sure the products looked perfect, and then we would welcome anyone who swung by to a completely cruelty-free world.
We have a ton of stories to tell and one day we will. Probably here. In six years of selling vegan goods at markets and festivals, we have had more than ten thousand (much more!) people in our booth/tent.
Not all liked the idea that we were vegan. Or gay. Some got in our face. It didn't work. After six years we have heard it all, believe me.
Many asked questions about veganism. Many would start a conversation with "We don't have a lot in common because I _________ (fill in the blank with eat meat, hunt, like cheese, etc). Little did they know that they could not be more wrong.
We tried to welcome every person into our booth without judgement. Regardless of what they said to us. For the most part we accomplished this.
We brought veganism to people who had no clue. I loved watching Mike, surrounded by a group of women from the suburbs while he was talking about his favorite cookbook, and then watching all of the women leave with their first vegan cookbook tucked under their arm.
I have a zillion stories like that. Most of them include conversations with people who just wanted to learn about veganism in a non-threatening, non-judgemental environment.
We sold over a thousand vegan cookbooks, many to people who were not vegan at the time. We also, thanks to PCRM, Mercy For Animals, PETA and Vegan Outreach, were able to pass out several thousand booklets about veganism. Special thanks to Cliff at Splaff, Albert at Hempys and the whole crew at Queen Bee for always creating awesome vegan belts, wallets, bags and purses and allowing us to show the world that beautiful accessories can be found without the cruelty involved.
Mike and I will always be grateful for all of the wonderful people we met while at our booth or in our tent. Our lives have been filled by people that, without Cruelty-Free World, we would have never met.
We are also totally grateful to everyone who ever bought something from us, as because of you we have been able to donate thousands and thousands of dollars to animal rights and human rights groups throughout the country. From big national groups to tiny animal shelters we have discovered on road trips, so many groups received donations because of the success we had with Cruelty-Free World.
The gratitude continues to our friends and family who supported our efforts. We found that 90% of our customers were not vegan or involved with animal rights when we first met them, and some times it felt that we could get only a little support from our own community. But our core friends and family were always there to encourage us and remind us why we were doing this.
After six years we have decided to look at new projects. This blog has taken off and we'd like to put more energy into it. The options are many and we are super excited to what else we can do to help make the world a better place for all living beings and be a voice for the voiceless.
This weekend will be our last show. One of our favorites. The annual World Gift Market at First Universalist in Denver. This has been our best year ever and we are ending our six year run with a bang.
Stay tuned to The Gay Vegans blog. And you still might see us at your local festival or Farmer's Market. You never know!
Thanks everyone! Thanks to those who have supported CFW.
And thank you for reading!