Welcome to Part two of our Inspiring Vegan Women Series for International Women’s Day, March 8, 2019.

These two women work tirelessly to help animals and as such, we feel they should be celebrated. Not just today, but all year round!

Elise Burgess – Head of Communications, FOUR PAWS Australia
As one of the largest international animal protection charities in the world, FOUR PAWS protects animals by implementing effective campaigns and projects that provide short- and long-term solutions for animals in needs. This includes all animals, from bears rescued from bile farms or circuses, captive big cats, orangutan orphans and more.

FOUR PAWS also works tirelessly to end the suffering of animals in fashion, including fur, down, leather and wool. Elise Burgess is head of communications for Four Paws and at the forefront of its campaigns.

SW: What is your all-time, can’t live without vegan beauty product?
EB: Hurraw lip balm in dark cherry. It adds a lovely tint to your lips while moisturising and protecting you in the Australian summer heat. I don’t go anywhere without it.

SW: What vegan hair care do you use?
EB: I’m a firm believer that being vegan is simple and affordable, just because you care about the earth doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune for good quality products.

I like to use hair products from Giovanni and Aveda. I also use Organic Care shampoo and conditioner, it is widely available and affordable.

SW: What do you think is the best vegan cosmetics?
EB: On an average day, I will use Sukin Rosehip Cream Cleanser, followed by Essano Rosehip Gentle Facial Cleansing Micellar Water.

Then for my make up, I really like Tarte products. Not all of them are vegan though so you need to check before you buy, but their face powders and eye shadows are creamy and easy-to-apply. I also really like Inika for foundation and primer, lipsticks and mascaras, and Natio’s range of nail polishes is terrific.

SW: Do you have any vegan fashion favourites?
EB: Despite being vegan for years now, I have found it difficult to find clothing and fashion brands which align with my values and that are also accessible and affordable. But things are changing!

The lack of transparency in the fashion industry is something which is of great concern for me and for FOUR PAWS Australia. We are a global animal protection group and have spent 30 years helping to end the fur trade, which is still responsible for a shocking amount of animal cruelty every year, while also extending our focus to the animal welfare issues of exotic leather, down and wool.

As part of our work, we are encouraging brands and retailers to take responsibility for the animals used in their supply chains by helping to increase and enable transparency, for the benefit of animals and shoppers.

Right now, it can be difficult to know where your clothes come from and at times whether any animals were involved. This is something we want to change, to empower brands, retailers and shoppers to know the full story behind their clothing, and to make informed and ethical decisions.

For too long, animal textiles have been hidden behind vague labels or none at all, with the treatment of these animals escaping scrutiny from the public. At FOUR PAWS Australia, we want to change that and make animals and their welfare a central part of the fashion dialogue. Our website covers this in more detail: You can see further information about this on our website.

Online shopping has made it easier to order from ethical retailers, but sometimes you just need to try something on before you commit (I have had too many cases of online shopping regret!) so searching online or with ethical fashion apps for retailers in your local area goes a long way to help find classic gorgeous fashion which is also ethical.

SW: Did you get rid of all your old leather or wool pieces when you became vegan?
EB: As I was vegetarian for about seven years before I went vegan, I didn’t have many animal products to begin with. I did have one pair of leather boots which I didn’t know what to do with, it felt wasteful to throw them out. In the end, I recycled them in the hope that they would be used instead of newly-produced leather.

I think that many people see being vegan as black and white, which is why they may consider a vegan lifestyle as ‘too hard’ and not try at all. The ‘if I can’t do everything, I won’t do anything’ mentality, but it really doesn’t have to be like that. Small steps such as buying a different animal-friendly make up or fashion brand can lead to big changes.


Julie Mathers – Founder of Flora and Fauna
Julie launched Flora and Fauna, an ethical, cruelty-free and conscious e-retailer in 2014. 100 per cent Aussie owned and operated, the company has a recycling program and also partners with animal sanctuary, Where Pigs Fly. Julie’s hope is that one day her business becomes less relevant, because it means that all global business is adopting these same practises.

SW: What is your all-time, can’t live without vegan beauty product?
JM: I’ve used Hot Tresses on my hair for a couple of years. I have a really sensitive scalp and Hot Tresses is amazing. It’s free of parabens and sulphates so doesn’t irritate my scalp. However, it’s also a great hair care range and doesn’t weigh down my fine hair.

Amor Luminis Shampoo and Conditioner bars are amazing, too. You need so little and they last a long, long time plus no plastic bottles!

I use Black Chicken Remedies Hair Om at night a couple of times a week. It’s great at nourishing and repairing my hair.

SW: What are some of your fave skincare lines for vegans?
Beautiful brands we stock at Flora and Fauna include Black Chicken Remedies, Neal’s Yard Remedies, La Mav, Acure, Dirty Hippie Cosmetics and plenty more.

SW: Do you wear perfume?
JM: I do but not all the time. Vanessa Megan’s perfumes are lovely and I really love LaVanila Vanilla Fragrance Spray. It is stunning and it gets commented on a lot.

SW: What’s your vegan fashion style?
JM: I am very casual in what I wear and the brands Torju, Tasi Travels and Etiko suit my style. I also love Matt & Nat bags; they are exceptionally well made and stylish. I have the Brave backpack, which fits my laptop and is a perfect everyday bag. The challenge I find is shoes! Finding vegan shoes that are stylish can be challenging.

SW: Did you get rid of all your old leather or wool pieces when you went vegan? What did you do with them?
JM: I didn’t really have any wool items so that wasn’t an issue. Any bags I had, which wasn’t many, I donated to charity as they could be easily used again. I’m quite a minimalist and wear the same thing pretty much every day, which is my NAE Piñatex sneakers or Etiko thongs and shorts and T-shirt. As I’ve got older, less has definitely become ‘more’ and my approach to owning ‘things’ has changed.








About the Author


After 30 years of working in Australian media, Shonagh is one of Australia’s busiest and most in-demand beauty, health, travel and lifestyle writers.

As a health and lifestyle journalist and consultant, Shonagh has worked closely with international wellness experts and icons, including Dr. Sandra Cabot, Therese Kerr and Miranda Kerr.

In other aspects of her work, she has travelled the world reviewing wellness retreats and luxe holiday destinations, and she has interviewed and written feature articles on some of the world’s best love celebrities, including Sting, Elle McPherson, Pamela Anderson, Simon Baker, Kylie Minogue, Gwen Stefani, Tina Arena, Heather Graham and many more.

She currently lives in the NSW Southern Highlands with her four dogs (three Siberian Huskies and one Maltese Cross), where she grows her own veggies and advocates ending Factory Farming and animal cruelty.

Our writers independently select all products featured on The Vegan Company. We only recommend products and services we love – and think you’ll love too. Just letting you know that when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.