In this episode I interview Stephanie Downs, the co-founder of the Material Innovation Initiative, a non-profit focused on accelerating the availability of sustainable and cruelty-free alternatives to leather, wool, fur, down, silk, and exotic skins.
Stephanie is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience founding businesses and consulting on corporate social responsibility in vegan materials.
She started her first company in 1999, an internet marketing firm which she sold in 2014.
In 2016, she co-founded and was the CEO of Good Dot, which quickly grew to be the largest plant-based meat company in India.
For almost 15 years, Stephanie has consulted for animal welfare groups on corporate outreach, working with companies such as Tesla, Duane Reade, Porsche, Ralph Lauren and others to decrease their impact on animals.
In this interview, Stephanie talks about:
• What the Material Innovation Initiative does and how it can benefit vegan entrepreneurs
• Gaps in the market for materials/fashion innovation that are ripe for opportunity
• The response from corporations and huge fashion brands to animal-free materials and products – and why this is a good thing for vegan brands
• The benefits of having a business partner and tips on what to look for
• Her predictions for the growth of vegan, sustainable, ethical materials
• And more
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Katrina Fox is an award-winning vegan journalist, publisher, speaker, PR consultant and media trainer who teaches vegan business owners, entrepreneurs and change makers how to get free publicity by sharing their stories. Katrina was a regular contributor to Forbes for a year, writing about vegan and plant-based business. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Vegan Business Media, the host of Vegan Business Talk podcast, and the author of Vegan Ventures: Start and Grow an Ethical Business. Katrina is also the creator of Vegans in the Limelight: Online PR course for Vegan Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. For more information and to hire Katrina, email her at katrina [at] veganbusinessmedia [dotcom]