A peek inside The Compassionate Closet: your new source for gorgeous vegan products! Plus 15% off for Vegansaurs! »
What a suave, ethically fancy belt!
Stephanie Boyd is the owner of the brand-new gorgeous vegan online store The Compassionate Closet! Vegansaurus spoke to Stephanie about how and why she decided to open the store, where she finds her inspiration, and more.
Vegansaurus!: When did you start The Compassionate Closet, and where is the HQ located?
Stephanie Boyd: We launched in July 2014, making our debut at the VegFest CO and launching the website later that same month. We’re based in colorful Colorado.
What inspired you to start the store? What were you doing before Compassionate Closet?
My inspiration came from my very own closet. After going vegan and sort of “mastering” what’s on my plate (a task that’s never really done with new veggie food brands, new restaurants, and endless recipes to try!), I turned my attention to my wardrobe and realized that my closet was
a cemetery! Full of wool, cashmere, leather, and silk—I was shocked and disappointed by the lifetime of cruel choices I had made. So when I set out to turn over my closet, I quickly realized that—although there are vegan, cruelty-free, and fair-trade choices out there—you really have to search them out. That is when I decided to help bring vegan fashions to the marketplace and launch The Compassionate Closet!
Damn these shoes are fine.
Why did you choose to make Compassionate Closet online-only? Will there be a physical store in the future?
Although we’re primarily online, we are working hard to open a physical store in the Denver-Boulder area soon. Meanwhile, we’re making our way around to meet-ups, pop-ups, and festivals to promote and to connect with other like-minded, and inspiring people.
How do you choose which products to feature and sell in the store?
Great question! There is a lot of thought that goes into which brands and products we carry. We look for designers with the same values—ethical, sustainable, vegan, cruelty-free, and that give back—and with awesome style, of course! We look for both well-known and aspiring brands, but brands all must be trusted brands. We want to support designers that are leading the way in creating sustainable styles!
Vegan forever! So cool.
You feature some truly amazing, unique vegan products that can’t be found elsewhere (like the Colorado-Vegan sweatshirt I love!) Were you frustrated with other vegan stores’ limited offerings, or did you have a personal “aha!” moment that prompted you to create your own?
All of the above. I love so many of the vegan styles out there, but few one-stop vegan apparel stores exist, and I have a lot of ideas and inspiration spilling over! For example, I am a proud native of Colorado, and as one of the healthiest states in the country, a Vegan Colorado shirt
seemed like an essential for fellow Coloradans to show off their state pride and their vegan values. Now a best seller! Stay tuned for more original styles coming soon!
Cute mini goat bling you can buy from The Compassionate Closet!
Who are your vegan inspirations?
In this meat world, I am inspired by the growing community of fellow vegans and activists! No matter how long or the reasons that led you to veganism, we all have something in common (a core value that shouldn’t be downplayed): we strive to make compassionate, peaceful choices. We all have our own stories of struggles, transition, limitations, and support (or lack thereof); I am inspired by every vegan that has persisted, lives by example, and goes out of their way to educate others of the benefits!
This sweatshirt is great if you’re a vegan who lives in Colorado, or you happen to love Colorado vegans!
How has the reception been to Compassionate Closet? Are you finding it easy to spread the word about it?
A-MAZING!! Feedback and demand have been overwhelmingly positive! I get so many compliments on the website and, most often, “thank you for starting this business! We need more vegan apparel options!” The vegan community has been very supportive helping spread the word. Thank you for your continued support!
Is there anything else you’d like to add for readers?
Yes! We are committed to providing a better life for animals in need. Toward that goal, 5% of all purchases supports the admirable work being done for animal welfare by the people of Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary. WEAR NO HARM really means something and we want you to know every time you shop with us!
Vegansaurus readers! Save 15% OFF your shopping excursion on The Compassionate Closet with discount code SAVE15 through October 31st!
Great American Beer Fest is Coming! What should we try? »
Great American Beer Festival is coming to Denver this weekend, which means the whole town is pretty much gonna be just like this for four days straight:
And for the first time ever, Vegansaurus is sending a correspondent INSIDE the madhouse, to report back on all the latest and most important breaking beer news.
There’s a bear trying to break in to your convention!! Photo © Brewers Association
If any of y’all fabulous readers are going to be there, holla at me and we can trade bites of pretzel necklace.
Mine will not look this fabulous.
Otherwise, you have three responsibilities:
- Tune in here and to the Vegansaurus social media for updates on the bestest, most award-winning vegan beers and other shenanigans (or go straight to the source: @razpacker).
- Tell us what YOUR favorite vegan beer is in the comment section, so we can make sure to try it!
- Get sloshed on beer this weekend, in solidarity. Responsibly, of course.
[Not sure if your fave beer is vegan? It’s ok, we’ve all been there. Step 1: Check barnivore.com. Not on there? Become a detective and email the company! You will be doing a service to all of humanity, in the name of beer.]
Thank you for joining us on this magical, fizzy, hoppy journey! Cheers!
Denver’s Watercourse Foods ditches dairy and goes all-vegan! »
Vegan deviled eggs. That’s probably all you really need to know about the completely overhauled menu that launched a few weeks ago at Denver’s premier vegetarian restaurant, Watercourse Foods.
Watercourse was already one of the best things about Denver, with its huge, all-vegetarian, mostly vegan menu and hip wall art that makes me want to get a tattoo every time I walk in there. But now they have a new chef and they’ve kicked out the dairy and eggs! It’s a whole new day in D-town.
The vegan deviled eggs were kind of a revelation and probably worth the price of a plane ticket. The “whites” are made with tofu, agar, and black salt. The yolks are all creamy and mustardy, and they’re pink because of beets or something. They’re pretty intense, so get a plate to share. But hell yeah, this is a food I have missed.
I visited less than a week after the new menu launched, and I will say that I think they were still working out some of the kinks. The black bean cassoulet side was too salty, the hush puppies were dry, the menu was full of typos, and the servers were a bit confused. But give it a couple months and I’m pretty certain this is going to be an excellent change. Especially as they kept some of the best stuff from the old menu, like the Po Boy and Seitan Grinder sandwiches and the seitan wings. And especially as they won’t be supporting the devil dairy and egg industry anymore. Oh and they serve breakfast all day now! Biscuits and gravy at 8 pm, here I come!
Here’s some of what my table ordered. The photos kinda suck because I didn’t follow Isa’s advice and ask for the Instagram seat near a window, but that just means you’ll need to go see it for yourself, stop relying on me for everything, ARG. [Ed. note: these pics are super, you goof!]
Roasted cauliflower salad.
A trio of sides: Coconut curry soup, slaw, and kale.
Red Beans & Rice with hush puppies.
Green Chili Burger with black bean cassoulet.
Final ed. note: WE CANNOT WAIT TO GO HERE!!!! Rachel, can we stay at your house? Do people still have futons? I call the futon!
It’s Paul Shapiro’s weekly Animal News You Can Use! »
Want to read a great AP story about the proponents of anti-whistleblower “ag-gag” bills getting part of their bodies (I’ll let you be the judge) handed to them at a legislative hearing in Nebraska yesterday? Also, the ag-friendly Bakersfield Californian editorial board slammed the supporters of a similar California bill this week, saying how they’re “amazed by the audacity of the cattle industry.”
Good week in statehouses for farm animals, with a New Jersey ag committee passing a bill to ban gestation crates and a Colorado committee doing the same on a bill to ban dairy cow tail-docking. We’ll continue working hard to further advance these bills.
There’s a fascinating story out today about a meat industry front man who admits he created a fake Facebook profile posing as an animal activist in order to criticize HSUS and encourage other animal activists to do the same.
After extensive dialogue with HSUS, Bob Evans is the latest food giant to announce it wants to phase out gestation crates. And the National Pork Board did a survey with promising results about the changing attitudes of pork producers to the gestation crate issue.
Think you’re the only one who finds promise in plant-based products? These billionaires are with you.
Finally, students! If you want “Skinny Bitch” Rory Freedman, VegNews editorial director Elizabeth Castoria, and HSUS’s Kristie Middleton to read your essay, enter HSUS’s Meatless Monday essay contest now!
Video of the week: Justin Timberlake on SNL singing about vegan eating. Words can’t describe how great it is.
Photo of the week: My cats enjoying their catio!
In Boulder, Colo., on Sunday night, a hundreds of people held a candlelight vigil for a bull elk killed by a police officer and a sheriff’s deputy on Jan. 1. Mourners were angered and saddened, telling the Boulder Daily Camera that “It was a beautiful, beautiful elk” who they felt was a “guardian” and “ part of the neighborhood,” who had returned to the Mapleton Hill area for two years.
Get the full story at the Daily Camera, where you can learn such fun facts as the police officer suspected of killing the elk owns a taxidermy website, and see the photos the men took of their kill. People in Boulder are rightfully very angry about their harmless neighborhood elk being killed just for being their harmless neighborhood elk.
Edit: The video is down! But it’s very sweet; go watch it at the Daily Camera.
Fruit leather, step aside. You just got your ass kicked by my new favorite flat snack: Veggie-Go’s.
Take the fruit leather you know and give it a classy, vegetable-oriented makeover, and you’ve got the sophisticated dehydrated foodstuff known as a Veggie-Go. I met these Colorado-made cuties at a street fair in Denver a few weeks ago, and after sampling each of the five flavors, I knew I had to pull the Vegansaurus card and convince the guy at the booth to give me a bunch for free. SCORE!
Verdict: The snacks are a bit thinner and more brittle than fruit leather, so you can’t do the thing where you scrape them down with your teeth, but they’ll still make you do a little dance in your chair when you remember you brought one in your lunch. My favorite flavors are Carrot Ginger and Sweet Potato Pie, but they’re all good.
Right now they’re only for sale at a couple Colorado Whole Foods, but you can order them online from Abe’s Market, which I recommend you do post-haste. Especially if you’re rich, because they are kind of pricey, like all sweet things in life: pedicures, true love, signed first editions of Alice in Wonderland, etc.
Bonus: The owners are at the tail end of a Kickstarter campaign that has a pretty sweet perk: Donate $25 or more, and you’ll not only get to sample each current flavor, you’ll get to help them pick the next flavor, too. And if you’re really feeling bossy, $1,000 will buy you the rights to create your own flavor. Jackfruit lychee jicama lime! Bam! Done! You’re welcome.
Guys, I found the best unexpectedly awesome restaurant this week! It’s in Colorado, so I know most of don’t give a shit, but I want everyone in Colorado to come here and make sure it stays open forever. Plus, it’s in a strip mall in the suburbs, so we can have a universal discussion about that.
The place is called Krishna Kafe, and it’s in possibly the most run-down shopping center I’ve been to (the pothole-to-pavement ratio in the driveway to the parking lot is off the charts), about 15 minutes outside of Boulder in a hit-and-run town called Lafayette. According to my friend who just moved there, it’s where all the people who can’t afford to live in Boulder live, so it kind of makes sense that there’s a big immigrant community, and that some of those immigrants might open restaurants, and that those restaurants might be orgasmically good.
The place serves chaat-style street food, and in my opinion is approximately 7.5 times better than Vik’s Chaat Corner in Berkeley. My vegan husband and I showed up with our gluten-free friend, and the owner had his wife come out to talk to us and help us order. She was really knowledgeable and accommodating, and suggested dishes we all could eat.
I’m usually really opinionated about my food, but I honestly couldn’t choose which of the three I liked more—they were are richly spiced without being mouth-burning, had an interesting blend of textures, and just SO GOOD. The Indian grocery next door is just an extra perk, too. And it’s cheap!
If you live on the Front Range, make a trip here. For reals. If you ever come to Colorado for skiing and hiking and stuff, and want cheap food and don’t mind wandering out of your way, also come here.
What are you favorite amazing restaurants in random run-down strip malls?
Denver’s getting it’s own full-time vegan store! Take that, Bay Area!
I already told you about our monthly pop-up, Neat Market, where I got my hands on my first-ever bag of soy curls. They’re so good I risk marital disquiet by picking them out of the stew whenever we cook with them.
Well now Joshua LaBure, Denver’s resident over-achieving vegan (he started Neat Market and Chomp! and I should probably interview him soon), has inked a deal on a storefront and hopes to open the place by July. He’s planning a Kickstarter campaign, so look for an update on that, and read more if you want on Westword's blog.
Meanwhile, in other Colorado vegan news: Reliable sources tell me Native Foods is opening in Boulder on May 29; Trader Joe’s is coming to Denver and Boulder within the next year; the Boulder farmers markets are in full swing and the Denver ones start this week; and on Friday, May 18, the Vegan Van will be parked in front of Sweet Action Ice Cream, serving something amazing and top-secret that may involve waffles and me fainting.
I love Colorado.
Kickstart Pressed Juice in Colorado! »
Orange-carrot-pineapple amazingness. Fund the Kickstarter so I can have more!
Back in February, Jenny told us about how much she swooned over the raw, pressed juice at Pressed Juicery in Los Angeles. But who says only California should get all the good new-age cleansing stuff? Behold: To Colorado’s up-and-coming vegan scene, two Denver vegans are trying to add the magic of fancy, orgasmic juice. I say, Rejoice and drink juice! Also fund their Kickstarter campaign; this stuff doesn’t fall from trees!
Source Juice is the brainchild of Jaclyn and Chris Webb, a vegan couple who basically got obsessed with juicing, wanting to take it to the next level, and realized they couldn’t buy cold-pressed juice anywhere in the state. So they bought a fancy juicer and plan to bottle and sell the stuff at Denver’s monthly pop-up vegan market, yoga studios, farmer’s markets, etc.—all the places people willing to pay for uber-delicious organic juice might flock. Plus home delivery for the lazy bums.
Jaclyn gave me a little bottle of this stuff, and it’s GOOD. To quote my husband Danny: “I want to drink this juice until it comes out my eyeballs.” My other favorite thing about the project is how boot-strappy it is. The vegan scene out here in Denver is so gosh-darn scrappy and full of initiative! People don’t wait for venture capital funding or whatever, they just make things happen in a small way. And so even though we don’t have the vast selection of restaurants available in SF, LA, or NY, it makes me feel like I’m part of a movement or something.
So even if you don’t live in Colorado, consider pitching in a few bucks (the campaign ends on Friday, April 13). And if you know anyone in the area, pass this along to make it happen. JUICE!!!
Good Things Coming to Colorado! »
Native Foods Veggie Soy Burger photo by KayOne73 on flickr.com
I love Colorado! But I’ve got a bunch of new reasons to love it more! I thought I’d share just to be a bitch and make you jealous. Or maybe to convince everyone on the coasts that the center of this country has something to offer other than Tea Parties and rodeos.
- VegNews reports that Native Foods Cafe plans to open 15 new locations this year. They were supposed to come to SF and never did, so I’m dubious, but one of those alleged new spots is Boulder AKA Berkeley of the Mountains, home of my office. Chicken Run Ranch Burgers for me EVERY DAY! Don’t fail me, NFC, or there WILL be trouble. Like an angry email, maybe?
- This Sunday, Denver’s getting a pop-up vegan market! Boom, town is instantly cooler! Plants And Animals (host of Chomp) is teaming up with Portland’s Food Fight grocery to bring rad things to my city without me even needing to use the internet! I’m so psyched, everyone who’s anyone is gonna be there, including Beet Box vegan bakery and the Denver Seitan Company!
- The Vegan Van! Check this: D-town has its very own brand-new fully-vegan food truck! I got to hang out next to its founder, Amie, at the Avocado Takedown a while ago and her food was TO DIE FOR. I actually might have to kill myself to get a chance to try this stuff, that’s how literally I intend that idiom. Or maybe I’ll just go find her on Sunday at the Neat Market and send you photos! Maybe that!
- Google Offers has 50% off right now at Watercourse Foods, my current favorite restaurant. Three words: Seitan Hot Wings. I done bought 4 coupons, everyone’s invited!
Oh so you want to come visit now? Fine, fine, I might even let you stay at my house. Maybe. Only if you bring the whole Berkeley Bowl with you.