Women Entrepreneurs Who Use Their Influence to Help Animals

Living with compassion for all isn’t just good for animals and your health—it’s also good for business! Vegan and cruelty-free products are hotter than ever, and more animal-friendly companies are popping up every day as a result. And in case you didn’t know, there’s much more to vegan living than just food. Cruelty-free health and wellness, fashion, and beauty companies also continue to boom.

These compassionate women entrepreneurs are successful while still being kind to animals. Let them inspire you, as you continue to make choices every day that affect animals’ lives.

Arti Mala, First Seed Foods

On New Year’s Eve 2022, Arti Mala set a unique resolution for herself: to have more fun. Little did she know this resolution would evolve into her creation of First Seed Foods. She left her corporate job to pursue a more enjoyable path, learning about the positive effects of plant-based eating for the human body and the planet. She wanted animal-friendly eating to be easy and accessible, so First Seed Foods—a business that sells small-batch, vegan food made with love—was born.

Headshot of Arti Mala

Jordyn Weekly, Don’t Eat the Homies

Jordyn Weekly created Don’t Eat the Homies by accident. In April 2018, she came up with the phrase, inspired by her passion to spread vegan awareness. She hurried onto a print-on-demand site and created a design using the now iconic words “Don’t Eat the Homies.” The design featured five animals—a cow, a chicken, a fish, a pig, and a horse—those who have been exploited, tortured, and commodified the most in the animal agriculture industry. Little did she know at the time that this was the beginning of a company that would grow to become one of the world’s largest vegan streetwear brands.

Kerry Song, Abbot’s Butcher

Kerry Song founded vegan meat brand Abbot’s Butcher in 2017 out of a deep desire to live more authentically and the belief that by building a more meaningful connection with our food, we are also building a more powerful relationship with our bodies and the world.

Deborah Torres, ATLAS MONROE

ATLAS MONROE’s founder, Deborah Torres, is as inspirational as she is innovative. The company’s vegan chicken was named best fried chicken dish by TIME magazine’s Extra Crispy. The brand has been featured on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank, Yahoo!, and NBC and in Black Enterprise and Forbes, among others.

Sugandh G. Agrawal, GUNAS

With an award-winning design and a background in business, Sugandh G. Agrawal quit her seven-year corporate career as an industrial designer at KitchenAid to start her own brand of vegan fashion in New York. Her message is strong and clear: Animals are not meant to be a part of fashion. We can look and feel good without harming other living, feeling beings. We need to connect ourselves with what occurs behind the scenes and question our actions and their impact.

Maya Madsen, Maya’s Cookies

Maya Madsen founded Maya’s Cookies in 2015, and it has since become “America’s #1 Black-Owned, Vegan Cookie Business.” The company offers a variety of cookies, from classic favorites to innovative flavors, like White Chocolate Espresso. Maya’s Cookies is committed to superior customer service and community engagement with a focus on young people and underserved communities.

Ali Kaminetsky, Modern Picnic

After graduating from college in 2016, Ali Kaminetsky moved to New York City to start a job in retail. Every day, she would bring her lunch to work because of how much faster, cheaper, and healthier it was. She launched Modern Picnic in 2018 with the mission of providing women with a chic alternative to the traditional lunchbox.

Meg Donahue and Lisa Lorimer, MamaSezz

Meg Donahue founded MamaSezz with Lisa Lorimer Donahue after witnessing the power of plants when her mother’s health drastically improved once she ditched meat, eggs, and dairy. After they searched for a company that makes high-quality, whole-food, plant-based, ready-made meals but came up short, MamaSezz was born with the goal of making a difference for the well-being of animals, human health, and the planet.

Vicki von Holzhausen, von Holzhausen

Award-winning designer Vicki von Holzhausen began her career in the automotive industry working as a designer for luxury brands, including Audi and Mercedes-Benz. After returning to her native Los Angeles, she sought to create a lifestyle brand that would combine her technical expertise with an ethical approach to design in order to offer products that add value to the world.

Our founder Vicki is looking forward to speaking at ReMode in LA November 13-14 alongside the most innovative leaders in…

Posted by von Holzhausen on Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Stephania Bernard, NoPigNeva

Stephania Bernard and her partner went vegan after realizing the truth of the animal agriculture industry and seeing how vegan food can have a positive health impact. NoPigNeva is an online grocery store with products that allow people to conveniently enjoy delicious vegan food. Shop a variety of plant-based selections beyond what can be found in your local supermarket from the comfort of your home.

Pinky Cole, Slutty Vegan

Slutty Vegan founder Pinky Cole rapidly expanded this vegan burger joint from a food truck to a full-fledged chain with four locations in the Atlanta area and launched a partnership with Shake Shack. She has also teamed up with PETA to promote our food justice campaign, which calls on government officials to redirect meat, egg, and dairy industry subsidies to incentives for grocers in food deserts to stock fresh vegetables, fruits, and other healthy, vegan foods.

Pinky Cole at PETA event

Maya Reik, Marei 1998

Maya Reik founded Marei 1998 to create classic, feminine silhouettes and make them responsibly out of sustainable, vegan materials that reduce the harm to animals and our planet. Her collections are discerning and thoughtful, made to last and to complement your personal style.


Sarah Goldblatt, Omshala

Sarah Goldblatt is always looking for ways to make her handbags more sustainable (and always leather-free) as she aims to support a vibrant and peaceful planet. Omshala instills these virtues in everything it does, with the intention of encouraging conscious living.

Brenda Hyre, Rejuva Minerals

Brenda Hyre has always been an advocate for health and wellness, and she created Rejuva Minerals to offer natural, safe, and animal test–free beauty products that achieve an all-over radiant glow.

Barbara and Ada Polla, Alchimie Forever

Barbara and Ada Polla founded their family business in the belief that your skin is the mirror of your soul and that taking care of your skin—daily, effectively, gently—is essential to your self-care. Ada set out to launch her family’s Swiss-based line in the U.S., using her family’s knowledge and passion for the science of anti-aging skincare.

Sloane Ortel, Invest Vegan

Sloane Ortel wanted a structured, sophisticated way to invest in companies that are taking tangible steps toward a more compassionate, cleaner world. She found that many firms lacked an authentic point of view on moral issues, so Invest Vegan was born.

Valérie Grandury, Odacité

Born and raised in Paris, now living in Los Angeles, Valérie Grandury founded Odacité after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Following this major wake-up call, she quit her job, went back to school to become a health and wellness coach, and focused on wellness and removing toxins from her life.

Nathalie Ascolese and Maria Vogeli, Skinblossom

Mother-daughter team Nathalie Ascolese and Maria Vogeli founded Skinblossom to create ethical skincare products, which of course means they’re cruelty-free!

Alice Kim, Elizabeth Mott

Alice Kim turned her passion for beauty into a career and ever since has been devoted to infusing high-performance, animal test–free makeup and skincare formulas with all the fun of Korean beauty.

Vanita Badlani, LaBante

Vanita Badlani believed there was a gap in the fashion industry to make high-quality products that were not only beautiful but also animal-friendly, sustainable, and accessible. LaBante was born out of a love for animals, fashion, and the planet.

vanita badlani founder of labante

Margaret Tomaszewicz, WODA

Margaret Tomaszewicz believes that everyone deserves to look and feel beautiful. She created a hydration-focused skincare line called WODA, which means “water” in Polish. Its products are based on scientific research, made with organic and natural ingredients, and never tested on animals.

Suzanne Gardner and Deborah Lechter, Poochy Pawz

Longtime friends Suzanne Gardner and Deborah Lechter founded Poochy Pawz because they were concerned with how hot pavement can harm dogs’ paws. It offers breathable, comfortable dog booties to help keep your animal companion’s paws safe during the summer months.

Julissa Prado, Rizos Curls

Julissa Prado was determined to one day create the very best product for curly-haired girls like herself. After spending years creating the perfect formula, she made a product with quality and natural ingredients that could celebrate all curl types—from coiled strands to loose waves.

Liz Dee, Smarties Candy Co.

Dee is co-president of vegan Smarties Candy Co., and she launched Vegan Ladyboss, an online community that aimed to “support and empower vegan women to change the world.” Sounds good to us!

Cayla Mackey, Unicorn Goods

Unicorn Goods online vegan marketplace is Mackey’s brainchild. The shop began taking shape when she became aware of how many animal-derived materials make their way into everyday objects. The popular shop sells clothing and accessories for men and women, books, athletic equipment, travel products, and much more.

Brook Harvey-Taylor, Pacifica Beauty

From the beginning, cofounder Harvey-Taylor (with her husband, Billy Taylor) has been on a personal mission to improve the perception of natural beauty products. You could say that they’ve more than accomplished this goal, as Pacifica is now a high-quality, compassionate brand available at drugstores, big-box stores, and health-food stores. This multimillion-dollar brand with 110 employees proves that you can be kind to animals and still “kill it.”

Nina Curtis, Director & Executive Chef, Vitaliz Café and Culinary Arts

Vegan chef Curtis quite literally brings her extensive experience to the table. A vegan of 18 years, her background extends to multiple hotels and restaurants.

Katrina Fox, Journalist and Author

This British-born journalist focuses on vegan news and trends for the business publication Forbes. Her column and books, including Vegan Ventures: Start and Grow an Ethical Business, inspire entrepreneurs to change their minds and veganize their current businesses.

Chloe Coscarelli, Author and Restaurateur

Coscarelli’s cookbook, Chloe Flavor, was released to high praise from foodies everywhere. For over a decade, she’s been a powerhouse in the vegan revolution. The author of four cookbooks, she was the first vegan to win a Food Network cooking competition when she took first prize in Cupcake Wars, and her prowess has even landed her a spot on the Forbes 2017 “30 Under 30” list.

Victoria Moran, Main Street Vegan Academy

Vegan for over 33 years, Moran has written 14 books, and she founded the Main Street Vegan Academy to train and certify compassionate-lifestyle coaches. Did we mention that she was also named PETA’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50 in 2016?

Jen Martin, Pipsnacks

Martin and her older brother Jeff started Pipsnacks with hardly any money in the bank. After receiving a windfall of funding on an episode of Shark Tank, their healthy popcorn brand exploded. Pipcorn is now available in flavors like rosemary and sea salt, and it doesn’t need butter or other animal-derived ingredients to be delicious. (Available at Whole Foods, Target, and elsewhere.)

Jessica Cruz, Los Angeles Vegan Street Fair

Cruz came to Los Angeles by way of New York and connected with her new city by becoming involved in the local vegan community. Fast-forward a few years, and her event, the Vegan Street Fair, sees over 35,000 people annually walking the street, eating scrumptious vegan food. Cruz explains that at this largest single-day vegan event in the world,[N]ew businesses enjoy the immense exposure of such a turnout, both via social media and at the event itself. What sets us apart from others is that we are really a boutique, family run business dedicated to getting all of the pieces right.”

Suzanne Ericsson, Plant Based Foods, Inc.

Plant Based Foods offers up delicious vegan caviar and dairy-free cheeses made from rice. Swedish-born Ericsson believes that it’s important to show the public that there are vegan versions of every animal-derived food on the market. Plant Based Foods, Inc., began when she became aware of the injustices committed against animals in so many areas and decided to do what she could to help reduce their suffering. She has this to say about vegan business: “It is exciting that cruelty-free businesses are on the rise. If you have a great idea and the passion to support it, now is a very good time to get into market!”

Deborah DiMare, VeganDesign.org and DiMare Design

If you’re in need of a professional interior design touch, Deborah DiMare of DiMare Design is a PETA-approved vegan home interior consultant. She also began a website devoted to compassionate design: VeganDesign.org. There, you can peruse a “dictionary” of vegan fabrics, read current consumer trends and industry statistics, and so much more.

Nikki Koenig, Cykochik

Combining her love for art, fashion, animals, nature, and humanity, Koenig designs fun purses, clothing, and home decor items. Over five years ago, she decided to leave her corporate marketing career “to dedicate 100 [percent] of [her] time to growing Cykochik and to help make this world a better place for all.” And she’s doing just that!

Kat Mendenhall

Kat Mendenhall’s leather-free boots are gorgeous and artistic. She boasts that hers are “the first 100% vegan true Texas style cowboy boots on the market.” In making them, Mendenhall is saving countless cows, pigs, goats, and sheep. She’s even helping to save dogs and cats slaughtered for their meat and skin in China, which exports those skins around the world. When you buy leather, you may never know whose skin you’re really wearing.

Monica Klausner, Veestro

Klausner is the cofounder of Veestro meal delivery service with her brother, Mark. The Costa Rica–raised siblings grew up eating fresh fruits and vegetables, but when the duo attended college in Texas, the on-the-go eating style that they followed there began to take its toll. After going vegan, they developed Veestro—a vegan meal-delivery service that will bring delicious meals straight to your door anywhere in the U.S.

Jacqueline Harris and Charna Zucker, i love tyler madison

This sister team named their vegan clothing line after their rescued dogs, Tyler and Madison. Devoted animal rights activists, Harris and Zucker have focused on wardrobe staples that make every body type look great.

Karen Halo, Absolute Green

Halo conceived of a natural cleaning-product line after suffering from an allergy-induced asthma attack during a home improvement. Absolute Green products are made with 100 percent natural, animal-free ingredients like pure essential oils. Read more about what the terms “cruelty-free” and “vegan” mean (as applied to cosmetics and personal-care and cleaning products).

Brenda Carey, Vegan Health & Fitness Magazine

Carey has come a long way from her first blog, FemaleVeganBodybuilder.com, to become founder and editor-in-chief of the “first and only internationally distributed magazine with the word ‘vegan’ in the title.” Carey’s mission is simply to “make the world a healthier, more compassionate place.”

Claudia Pievani, Miomojo

If you’re in search of an organic, eco-sustainable bag or backpack, you’ll want to check out Miomojo. Italian Pievani started her company with the goal of supporting animals in need through business. “Through beautiful and do-good design, we will create together a kinder, cruelty-free world!”


JL Fields, Author, Vegan Consultant, and Coach

We love Fields’ cookbooks, including The Vegan Air Fryer and Vegan Pressure Cooking. She is also a vegan consultant and coaches career-minded people who want to work in the vegan field or turn their nonvegan business into a compassionate one. And you can check out her weekly podcast, Easy Vegan.

Rebecca Campora, 7 A.M. Enfant

As a mother, designer, and entrepreneur, Campora sees her brand as a means to advance the values and social movements that she believes in. The clothing brand specializes in outerwear and baby accessories made with vegan, fashion-forward fabrics.

Tina Stokes, Vegan Stokes Cheese

The vegan cheese company founder has this to say about dairy: “Learning of the dairy industry practices made it clear that the word ‘dairy’ which we all once thought of as ‘wholesome,’ ‘natural’ and even ‘necessary’ is actually none of these things.” Stokes founded Vegan Stokes out of her “passion for compassion,” and the rest is herstory. Every product made by the small, family-operated facility is handcrafted in small batches and hand-wrapped.

These are just a few of the amazing women who work hard for animals every day. Intersectional activism is coming to the fore as people realize that sexism, speciesism, and other oppressive institutions are connected and almost always overlap with each other. You too can work toward animal rights by making ethical choices about what you eat, wear, and the companies you support. Also try our ‘Vegan Feminist’ shirt on for size!

Some of these companies are PETA Business Friends. See all of the companies that support PETA through this innovative partnership at PETAMall.com.

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