Jannifer launched THE-V-SPOT as an online destination for the fashion “conscience”, offering the very best in ethical fashion and clean beauty. Every product and brand, (from apparel, shoes, bags and accessories through to skincare, makeup, hair care and fragrance), is thoughtfully curated in line with their values of supporting people and the planet, and of course, never exploiting animals.
Along with being proudly vegan, cruelty-free, ethically made, environmentally friendly, and supportive of small business and indie designers, THE-V-SPOT also runs on 100% renewable energy and carbon offsets all in-coming and out-going shipments, and reuses and recycles packaging materials.
THE-V-SPOT is committed to philanthropy, supporting charities and causes such as Street Smart Australia, Women’s Community Shelters, Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses, Beauty Bank, Where Pigs Fly Sanctuary, Humane Research Australia and Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
Naturally THE-V-SPOT has values we love – so we wanted to find out more about the woman behind the brand. Here, Jannifer shares her inspiring vegan journey and offers some wonderful insider tips on ethical fashion and beauty brands.
What was your motivation for becoming a vegan?
I was raised vegetarian, eating eggs and dairy but no meat, seafood, chicken etc. I’m fourth generation vegetarian so becoming vegan was a logical step. But the catalyst for this change was my health. I had been a chronic asthmatic and was hospitalised often as a child. I recall the doctors telling the nursing team I wasn’t to be given dairy for the duration of my stay, while on my release my mother was told she could give me dairy again. As a teenager this struck me as odd. I never actually enjoyed dairy so I decided to give it up at about age 15. This may (not) surprise you but I never suffered from asthma again. EVER! I continued eating eggs at this time, but upon learning of the shocking cruelty inflicted on battery hens, I ditched them immediately. I understood how important my vegetarianism meant to me as a youngster so the decision to not be a part of any animal cruelty was easy, immediate and without hesitation.
What have been the biggest challenges since transitioning?
Growing up as a vegetarian in the 70s, and then vegan in the early 90s, the two biggest challenges have been eating out and people’s attitudes. Lack of variety in food, cross-contamination (most people don’t consider that using the same deep-fryer oil or grill where meat is cooked, makes the vegan option non-vegan!), and generally not understanding what a vegan does and doesn’t eat. I’ve never understood why people have been so hostile to me because of my vegetarianism/veganism. I’ve been abused, ridiculed, ostracised, and even told by medical professionals that I couldn’t possibly exist without eating meat, or I would not have a safe pregnancy. Seriously! (See photo attached of my two incredibly beautiful, vegan-from-birth daughters. Proof that being vegan doesn’t impair any aspect of life!)
Is there anything you really miss?
I have never wanted to try meat. So, eww to bacon! I hold my breath when I walk past a cafe because I find the smell offensive. And as for eggs and dairy, I don’t miss them at all. I even try to avoid most vegan substitutes as I prefer whole foods over processed creations. However, I am obsessed with nut cheeses and I make the most amazing raw Cashew Alfredo Sauce!
What are your vegan kitchen cupboard and fridge staples?
How to keep this answer brief….vegetables, vegetables and vegetables. I am mad for dark leafy greens of all kinds, herbs such as dill, parsley, coriander and basil, and salad fruit and veggies. I have to buy about 30 cucumbers a week because I have a soon-to-be 8yo who is mad for them. I can’t live without onions, garlic and any type of fresh chilli. I’m obsessed with eating fresh chilli with every savoury meal including breakfast.
Cauliflower is a must – every week – every day if my family allowed me! I almost cry with joy when it’s Brussels Sprouts season (sad but true), corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, beetroot, cabbage, asparagus and zucchini’s…. seriously, I could go on! There isn’t much I don’t like when it comes to veggies!
I can’t live without avocado so when avo’s aren’t in season I die a little. I think stone fruits and berries are supreme. There’s a Mulberry tree around the corner from my place – there is nothing like picking Mulberries fresh off the tree. My pantry is full of beans and legumes of all types, nuts and seeds, tahini, peanut butter, passata, various oils, ACV, umeboshi vinegar, dried herbs, Nutritional Yeast, pasta, semolina, polenta, rice and various flours. In my fridge you will always find tofu, cultured vegan butter (Miyoko’s Cashew or Laud’s Oat Butter), miso, raw/fermented kraut, Coopers Stout, Drappier Champagne, and Booja Booja Truffles. These last three are vital. 😂 (And I realise my answer is anything but brief!)
Tell us your favourite vegan dish that you cook
Favourite dishes: Cashew Alfredo Pasta, Satay Stir-Fry with Cauliflower Rice, Paprika Rice and Potatoes (my heritage is Eastern European), a Croatian casserole called Grah full of vegetables, beans and semolina dumplings, savoury polenta, pizza, taco’s or burrito’s, falafel wraps, cauliflower Soup, rice and lentil patties, and chickpea/red lentil curry (or any curry). I cook fresh for nearly every meal so variety is key. My favourite cuisines are Middle Eastern, Mexican, Italian, Indian, Sri Lankan, and anything vegan from Eastern Europe. True comfort food.
What about fashion and beauty, what are your favourite brands?
Luckily, most of my favourite fashion and beauty brands are stocked in my store, THE-V-SPOT (thevspot.com.au). I’m an independent fan. I love indie designers and small batch makers. I love Alexandra K, Lee Coren and Canopy Verde for bags. Miakoda is the best for athleisure. And Vaute Couture made the best winter coats ever but sadly they have just closed down. When it comes to shoes, there is so much to choose from. Sydney Brown, Nicora, Kweder, Holster, Twoobs…oof, I could go on #shoefetish
I have been pretty much against mainstream (anything) my whole life with a few exceptions when it comes to clothing. Valentino is perfection. I was lucky to be in Rome last year. I didn’t even care I was shunned by the sales assistants in both his flagship store and even the factory outlet (typical Aussie when travelling – dressed for comfort and not to impress). But damn, two of his outfits that I think I would have paid literally anything to buy, were silk. 😭
I adore Stella McCartney for her innovation in textiles and dedication to improving fashion when it comes to the environment. I’ve always admired Emilio Pucci for his colourful and abstract prints. And my girls are obsessed with Gucci but not much in their collection is vegan.
CLED for jewellery (coming very soon to THE-V-SPOT). For beauty, Meow Meow Tweet, MuLondon, NOTO, Oilixia, SkinOwl, and VERED for skincare. And Au Naturale, Everyday Minerals and Gemma Vendetta for makeup. I’ve been a clean beauty advocate ever since I became vegan. I’ve never been comfortable with questionable ingredients in my skincare and my clean beauty started with discovering natural deodorant way before it was cool (and all that effective!).
How has your health/wellbeing changed since becoming vegan?
You know how people tell you, they rarely get sick? That’s me. For real. From being such a sickly child (so many close calls) I am grateful for my continued and reliable health. And my family has absolutely benefited from eating clean, vegan food. The occasional cold hits the clan but nothing ever serious or debilitating.
How did friends and family react when you told them you were becoming vegan?
Not much to see here! At the time I became vegan, no one around me gave it a second thought. It was only people I met who learnt of my veganism who were those that posed some resistance. But over the years, these nay-sayers have come around to my way of eating. They are so eager to tell me how they feel better and enjoy eating clean. I’m not saying they have become vegan but they get it. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me!
Have you found any situations particularly difficult?
There’s been nearly an entire lifetime of difficult situations! But I have always been so invested in my veg*nism I’ve weathered all the shit. What I was concerned about was blow back against my daughters. Sure, there was resistance from family about the girls being raised vegan, early on. But acceptance came quickly when they saw how the girls ate and what the girls ate.
There was an incident in my (second) daughter’s pre-school that I thought was unacceptable. They were to teach the children about where food came from. I asked them to be sensitive about her veganism, that not all kids ate meat or dairy etc… My little one came home that night adamant she was to drink cow’s milk. She was really distressed thinking she would get sick because she didn’t drink milk. I spent the evening showing her pictures of calves drinking milk from their mama’s just as she did from me. When I approached the school they dismissed my concern’s and so I pulled her out of that school.
With veganism now being mainstream attitudes have improved. My daughter’s friends go out of their way to gift birthday and Xmas gifts that are 100% animal-free! Food, skincare, handbags… And the mum’s are just as gorgeous offering to have plenty of vegan options at their own kids parties. Very sweet. Times they are a changing!
Who are your vegan role models?
I have to give a shout out to old school vegetarians Pythagoras, da Vinci, Tolstoy, Ghandi and Paul McCartney. Respect!
Entertainment – Woody Harrelson, Chrissie Hynde, and of course Joaquin Phoenix. (What an all-round wonderful human being.) Vegans chefs – Matthew Kenney, Chef Chloe, Miyoko, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, Chef Del, Douglas McNish, Angela Liddon and Joanne Stepaniak. Athletes – Rich Roll, Brendan Brazier, Carl Lewis. Health – Neal Bernard, Michael Gregor, John McDougall
Are there any documentaries, books, movies, podcasts or websites you’d recommend?
Because I’ve lived this way my whole life, I tend not to watch documentaries. I find them incredibly distressing and frustrating.
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer is an incredible dive into animal ag from various perspectives
And vegan cookbooks? These are my obsession. I have a huge collection which I don’t often use. I simply love to look through them when I get a spare 5 minutes. Must have chefs (apart from those I listed previously): Isa Chandra, Thug Kitchen, Nava Atlas, Richa Hingle, Dreena Burton, Miriam Sorrell, Lindsay S Nixon, Tess Masters, Bryant Terry, Kathy Hester…somebody stop me!
What was the last new vegan discovery that you made?
Mmmmm…I can only think of an opposite discovery. Samuel L Jackson admitting on The Late Show last year he was no longer vegan 😭 Nooooooooooooo!
If you had one message for anyone considering making the commitment to be vegan, what would it be?
I’m a militant vegan but only unto myself. But if you are considering taking the step, I say educate yourself. Knowing the truth behind the abhorrent animal ag industries should help you in your journey.
What’s the best thing about being vegan?
Knowing I’m not contributing to the enslavement, torture and slaughter of animals.
We have more interviews with inspiring vegans here.
About the Author
The Vegan Company is the go-to digital destination for luxurious, sustainable vegan fashion and beauty. Its mission is to make vegan living stylish, desirable and accessible by connecting people with an ever-growing collection of sustainable, cruelty-free vegan fashion, beauty and feel-good news.
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