This month we're talking to Laura Way, founder of vegan leather watch company Votch. We're big Votch fans here at STORY 81 HQ - they were feature in our Top 5 Instagram accounts for November 2017 (check out the blog post here). We wanted to find out more about Laura, what inspires her and what’s her secret go-to vegan spot!
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspires you?
Sure thing! I live down by the sea in the wonderful city of Brighton & Hove with my husband Simon and our little dog Rolo. We are expecting our first baby this April so we are very excited at the moment! I have to say, Rolo inspires me daily, he’s such a fierce character that doesn’t hold back and lives each second for the moment. He reminds me to pause sometimes to play and to not take everything in life so seriously!
What led you to start up your business Votch?
Three years ago I was struck down with a condition called Topical Steroid Withdrawal, a condition caused by multiple years of steroid use for my eczema. Since I was a baby I had steroid creams prescribed to me and my eczema despite the creams was always still so bad. My husband’s friend said to him, if Laura wants to get rid of her eczema, the best thing she can do is to quit the creams. And so I did, and within 4 weeks my skin had fallen off my entire body. I laid in bath tub for 20 hours a day just to alleviate the pain and this went on for months and months. During this time, I educated myself a lot on the benefits of a vegan diet and adopted this lifestyle quickly, but whilst educating myself on veganism I also came across the horrors of the leather industry. As someone who had felt the pain and suffering of losing their own skin, I vowed never to wear the skin of another being again. Then, when I got better finally and an old watch strap broke, I searched high and low for a replacement quality vegan timepiece and I couldn’t find any, so the idea for Votch was born!
What’s your key to juggling such a busy lifestyle?
Scheduling has become my friend. Things are so busy at the moment as we’re continuing to grow I literally have to map out every hour at the moment. I’m also finding by doing this I’m not worried about certain tasks as I know I’ve allocated time to work on them. Also a to do list – as soon as I’ve written it down it’s there so I don’t forget and I’m not trying to hold too much of what I need to do in my head and can instead visualise it on my list!
What are the other things you are passionate about?
Food! I am so passionate about food – being vegan I am just loving where the industry is going at the moment, there’s a substitute for everything now and the innovation behind plant based cooking really does have the WOW factor.
What is your favourite piece in the Story 81 collection and why?
I ADORE the Milan satchel! As I’m always running around I haven’t always got time to change bags, so this is the perfect day to evening bag! And of course I LOVE the fact it’s cruelty free!
Define yourself in three words?
Caring, passionate, creative.
What’s your favourite vegan place to hang out?
I love going to Vevolution events! We’ve made so many good friends from getting involved with Vevolution. I always go with my husband and we’ve always left buzzing from every event we’ve been to.
Best piece of advice you’ve received?
Don’t be so hard on yourself (easier said than done!)
Complete the following sentence: Happiness is…
Walking along the beach with my husband and Rolo.
Check out the full range of Votch watches here: www.votch.co.uk