Introducing The Vegan Accessories Line You'll Actually Want to Wear
We talked to the founder and designer of Doshi, an uber-chic accessories line geared toward the eco-friendly fashionista.
Why should carrying chic and functional accessories mean you have to sacrifice your eco-friendly practices? Short answer: It shouldn't.
For so long, it seemed like this was a completely untapped –– and unattainable, if not unreachable –– sector of the fashion industry. But more and more recently, this formerly-untapped and hard-won part of the industry is now thriving, and we couldn't be happier about it.
That's why I was so excited to hear about Doshi, a PETA-approved vegan accessories line that's helping to change that. Not only does Doshi offer a collection of uber-stylish but also functional accessories, backpacks, and more, but it chooses quality materials and operates in clean factories.
The brand even created a program entitled First Five For The World, in which the first 5% of all profitable sales are donated to various non-profits benefiting animals and the environment. I was super excited to tap the brand's founder and designer, Paras Doshi, to learn more.
Livingly: Can you tell us about how Doshi got its start?
Paras Doshi: A long, long time ago in a galaxy far away... just kidding! I've been a tie and slacks wearing professional for 15 years. Early on, I looked for quality vegan goods that looked sharp and were sold for a reasonable price. I never found them.
In 2006, I did a feasibility study on creating a vegan footwear and accessories company while in business school but I came away unsure about the prospects.
Then about 5 years ago, the idea came back to me at a point in my life when I wanted to do something meaningful, do something creative, and do something in business. Doshi is a manifestation of those desires.
What does the name "Doshi" mean, and what is its significance?
PD: Doshi is my family name. I noticed that a number of established brands put their name behind their goods. To me, it symbolizes culture, heritage and pride (in their products). I want Doshi to be the same.
I also stayed away from calling the brand "vegan bags" or something similar because I didn't want to alienate people who are not vegan or vegetarian. We're building quality, fashionable products. You don't have to be vegan to buy them. Buy them because you like the fashion, quality and price. Buy them because you're going to use them. Buy them to support our First Five For The World initiative.
Did you face setbacks when launching a high fashion vegan accessories line? How did you overcome them?
PD: Absolutely. There's more than I can mention here but I'll name a few:
1) Not knowing where to start,
2) Not finding the right manufacturers,
3) Starting a business at night while working a full time job.
Overcoming obstacles is a combination of perseverance and talking to people. Somewhere along the way, life opens up a door for you. Some call it luck.
Proudest moment of your career so far?
PD: Getting admitted to USC for their MBA program was great, but I think the proudest moment is yet to come. When Doshi makes its mark, makes a difference, changes the world, that will be my proudest moment . . . and then that moment will pass and we'll strive for more.
What are some easy but important steps you think people should take, right now, to be more environmentally conscious?
PD: There has been so much research recently about how animal based diets are the largest contributor to pollution in the environment. Consider being vegan or vegetarian or at least try and reduce your consumption of animal products. It's good for you, good for the environment and good for the animals. It's a win-win-win. That and let's reduce our usage of plastic. It's everywhere and it's scary.
Anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
PD: I want Doshi to create beautiful products and do things that benefit animals, people and the environment –– this latter part through our First Five For The World initiative. Doshi donates five percent of revenue to responsible non-profits and this isn’t at the expense of overcharging customers for a product. We sell quality products at an honest price. If we're fortunate, we'll have the chance to take on special projects that make a difference in the world.