Asian-American women—including those with vegan brands—are making their presence known in the business world. According to the 2016 American Express State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, “[T]here are an estimated 922,700 Asian-American women-owned firms … generating $170.4 billion in revenues.”
These innovative Asian-American/Pacific Islander vegan business owners inspire and influence us with their ambition, mission, and merchandise:
Aubry Walch, The Herbivorous Butcher
Aubry Walch was 13 years old when her family moved from Guam to Minnesota. Now, along with her younger brother, Kale, she owns a vegan butcher shop in Minneapolis.
After successfully setting up at the farmers’ market with their plant-based meat brand, The Herbivorous Butcher, Aubry and Kale raised enough money through a Kickstarter campaign to open up their own vegan deli and restaurant.
Bianca Moran, SUSI Studio
Bianca Moran founded SUSI Studio, a Los Angeles‒based vegan footwear company. In Filipino, susi means “key,” which represents her goal of unlocking ethical approaches to fashion and style. Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus have been photographed wearing her designs.
Each pair of shoes is mindfully designed and made with sustainable, natural, and ethically sources fibers such as hemp and canvas, as well as with polyurethane from recycled plastic bottles.
Miyoko Schinner, Miyoko’s Kitchen
Miyoko Schinner was on a mission to recreate the flavors and textures of the dairy cheeses that she ate before becoming vegan. Years of experimentation eventually led to the publication of her influential book, Artisan Vegan Cheese. As successful as it was, people often urged her to sell the already made “cheeses” from the recipes.
After assembling a team of passionate vegans, she launched Miyoko’s Kitchen. Her brand’s plant-based cultured nut cheese, butter, and even fresh mozzarella-style cheese can be found at grocery stores across the country, including Trader Joe’s. Countless cows have been spared, thanks to Miyoko’s delicious artisan creations.
Nikki Duong Koenig, Cykochik Custom Handbags
Cykochik Custom Handbags founder Nikki Duong Koenig started her brand in 2003 in her dorm room at Southern Methodist University. What started out as a creative outlet for her art and designs soon snowballed into the vegan custom-handbags company that it is today.
On the 10th anniversary of Cykochik’s creation, Nikki launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to take her brand to the next level. Her designs are saving the lives of animals used for their skins in the fashion industry.
Queenie Scherer, ahimsa Essentials
ahimsa Essentials was established by husband-and-wife team Sean and Queenie Scherer. After they learned about the harmful chemicals found in conventional and even “natural” skincare goods, they set out to create a cruelty-free and vegan skincare company with items that contain—at most—five ingredients and no artificial ingredients, preservatives, or synthetic fragrances. Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word meaning “nonviolence.”
Queenie is also an engineer, but she can be found selling ahimsa Essentials products at local farmers’ markets in the Phoenix area.
Asian-American/Pacific Islander vegan business owners are changing the face of the animal rights movement one cruelty-free and vegan item at a time. Purchasing their products not only supports their businesses but also enhances our quality of life, benefits the environment, and—of course—saves animals’ lives.
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