Saving animals and changing the perception of vegan handbags is the mission of Rebecca Arum Littman, philanthropic entrepreneur and founder of Kind Style Shop. Rebecca is a friend of ours who left the corporate world in 2016, launching her vegan handbag company from a love of animals and strong desire to help make the world kinder. We had the chance to chat with Rebecca about the amazing things that she is doing to help make a difference in humanity and the fashion world.
Where are you from and how long have you lived in Columbus?
I was born in Madison, Wisconsin. Grew up in San Francisco and lived in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Texas before moving to Columbus 8 years ago.
What is your mission?
The big picture, to save animals. The chosen path to do so is to raise awareness that quality, fashionable vegan handbags are available. To provide products so you don’t have to decide between fashion and your love of animals. You can have style and be kind.
What kind of products do you sell?
High quality, fashionable handbags at great prices that just happen to be vegan.
What were some of the challenges you faced launching your company?
While “vegan” is a bit trendy right now, there is still a majority that when they hear the word, they think of beige, scratchy fashion or plastic-y feel. So, getting over the preconceived ideas people may have of vegan styles. Sourcing product to provide a wide range of styles and price points and ensuring that no animals were harmed in the making of the bags including the glue content.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?
Choose a business you are passionate about so when the going gets tough, you have that inner drive to keep moving forward.
Who is your greatest style influencer?
My Grandmother who lived to 101 and would sport bright lipstick, a faux fur leopard coat, and her gorgeous silver hair. In the fashion world, Stella McCartney – she made a stand for not using leather or fur in her high quality, high fashion pieces long before others and thankfully many designers are following by eliminating fur, angora, etc.
How would you describe your style?
Gucci Gal Gone Vegan. I would say, very eclectic. I love to mix it up regardless of brand or label. I love soft stretchy materials that are comfortable and don’t restrict movement. My latest obsession is anything pink. It is such a happy color.
What should customers expect when they shop at Kind Style Shop?
Usually, we hear “Wait, this bag is vegan?” or “Wow, what a great price!” We pride ourselves on exceptional customer service. Our customers will find fun fashionable quality bags from trusted brands at great prices.
When do you feel the most empowered?
When we can give back. One of the things we do are fundraisers for Farm Animal Sanctuaries where we will give 100% of the profits from sales of a specific time period to the sanctuary. When people think of animal sanctuaries, they may only think about the animals, but these sanctuaries welcome people to come and meet the animals. And something happens once you are one-on-one with a cow, chicken, pig or goat. For example, you realize there is little difference between them and your cat or dog. People who have had hardships, bond with animals that have survived hardships. There is a real shift that happens on many levels.
I started the business from a deep love of animals and a desire to make a difference. When a person’s perception about vegan fashion is changed because they saw or purchased one of our bags, it’s a huge win. I believe that every decision matters, regardless of how small and seeing people become aware that there is a kinder choice is so important.
3 words that describe you.
Passionate, Empathetic, Driven