Lizette is the 27 year-old founder of The Vegan Haven online marketplace, and L D A Y, a clothing brand with a conscious. She joined us in our San Francisco office to tell us about her story, and how her passion drives her businesses, as well as her life.
Born in Mexico, and immigrating to the Unites States at 7 years-old, Lizette was always inspired by the hard work her mother demonstrated. “She picked tomatoes in a field when we first arrived, she worked so hard. I knew I could never be satisfied with a 9 to 5 job, I had to have passion”. These early years in a new country encouraged Lizette to develop a sense of conscious consumerism, and to be very aware of how businesses should promote fair wage, making good materials, and making products in an ethical way.
She received her undergrad at The University of California, Santa Cruz in community studies, and continued her schooling at Berkeley, where she learned her love for mixing business with societal change. She told us, “people often think capitalism is bad, the end. For me, I want to have a creative approach. I think we can have both business and ethics”. Her studies also encouraged her to persue other passions such as environmental studies, art and design.
Her first project began while she was still in school. L D A Y is a clothing brand of apparel that not only looks great, but does good too. The designs are nature inspired from her surroundings in Santa Cruz including the lines of the trees and the colors of the sea. Her brand and identity developed further when she bought herself a one way ticket to Europe. There, she discovered different approaches to art, design, consumerism, and life overall. After Europe she decided to embrace an upcycled approach to her clothing brand- also implementing some of the bold colors and graphic lines inspired from her travels.
After her return to the states, she began to work at various offices, startups, and everything in between. She described however, no matter what she did she “always had her projects”. When her boyfriend was told he may have cancer, a personal project began to form, “we thought ‘we’re going to do whatever we can”. Inspired by her Europe trip once again, she decided to try a lifestyle she became more aware of during her time spent in Berlin- veganism. She had heard about the benefits of veganism in bettering or helping cure cancer and other diseases, and decided the shift would be beneficial to implement for her and her boyfriend. “He didn’t end up having cancer, but the changes we made stuck,” and those shifts she said, are what lead her to her latest endeavor.
“I had been peskatarian for a long time, but I’ve always been a foodie,” she told us. She said so much of the frustration transitioning to a vegan lifestyle came from having to pick out vegan items. She would go to farmer’s markets (her two favorite are in Sonoma and Marin counties), and whenever she would try a new delicious product, she would want to tell as many people as she could- this is how The Vegan Haven began.
“We wanted to expose people to all of these different items. It's part of our culture in California, we have all of these interesting products- twists on classic things. So much of our goal was about highlighting these artisans- they're so passionate and their entire lives revolve around their business. It's tough when you see someone pouring their hearts and souls into what they make, but they can't find the right audience."
“I have a great feeling about the Vegan Haven,” she gushed. Her newest undertaking is all about creating a space for people to discover new and exciting products. While it's still growing, they are hoping to one day include food, apparel, home decor, and more- everything across the board. “We want it to be an experience, it’s not just a product- it’s a story,” Lizette said, “ we want to highlight high quality products that are hand crafted and long lasting”.
Lizette wants to making becoming vegan as simple and enjoyable for people, avoiding the scare tactics of many modern brands. She is tempted to tell people “everybody be vegan!” but she knows it is not that easy. At a health conference she recently attended they said, “one very big impact on our health is social connection”. And she thinks that this is key to why The Vegan Haven is relevant. We need transparency- to know where our products are coming from, to know the ingredients, but also to make this process easier for the consumers.