Flying the coop
When I came to Canada in 2016 with my husband, I picked up my career where I had left off in Europe: Working in a marketing department for a company whose products I liked but ultimately had no real attachment to. Products that were mass-produced in China and then put in pretty packaging to sell to European or North American consumers.
“I was putting lipstick on a pig, and to be honest, I wasn’t very comfortable doing it anymore.”
While I was grateful to have found an engaging and challenging job immediately, I was starting to see the way our ‘global economy’ runs more and more critically. At the same time, an idea was brewing in my mind that would see me building my own business. A business that sold products I believe in. Products that were made without exploiting humans, our planet or animals.
I finally wanted to feel good about the way I earned a living. It was time for me to fly the coop.
Getting my ducks in a row
I started researching products I would want to sell and something dawned on me. If I truly wanted to sell products that don’t harm people, the environment, or animals, all of the products would ultimately have to be a) vegan & cruelty-free, b) made somewhat locally and c) made fair. From this point forward, I decided it’s time to get FAIR/SQUARE moving.
I quit my corporate job, contacted local makers and small businesses in Canada, and began building the online store you see today.
With no external investors and just our small savings, I have stocked it with products that I wholeheartedly believe in and love to use myself.
Today, I’m proud to have not only survived my first year in business but managed to continuously grow it bit by bit. My husband has been incredibly supportive and comes with me to every single vegan event I sign us up for.
betting on the right horse
Being self-employed gives me the freedom to do what I believe in on my own time. It allows me to be at home to raise our newborn daughter and it allows me to support local farm animal sanctuaries with our profits – two things that are incredibly important to me.
Looking ahead, we’re hoping to grow further and offer you, our customers, even more awesome vegan products made in Canada. We’re full of ideas and can’t wait to bring some of them to life in the near future.
When you support FAIR/SQUARE, you’re supporting not just our little family but numerous other small businesses.
Plus, you’re sticking it to the meat-based pecking order that we all know is in decline.
At FAIR/SQUARE, we believe that business is about more than just making money. Our mission is to run a business that sells responsibly made products and to show that our choices matter and can make a difference. For some, the term “fair” might seem vague. For us, it encompasses everything that we believe in.
A product can only be truly “fair” if it doesn’t exploit anyone or anything. This includes not only farmers and workers (as in fairtrade) but also our animal friends and the planet.
We also believe in leading by example. That’s why we bank with a credit union, run our webshop with a green hosting company and use only recyclable shipping materials. We also now donate 10% of our annual proceeds directly to the organizations we care about. These include local sanctuaries such as Cedar Row, Karuna Lane and Frog Hollow and animal rights organizations such as Animal Justice.
Veganism isn’t just a trend or marketing gimmick – it reflects our ethics and desire for a society without cruelty.
The use of animal-based ingredients is pervasive in today’s consumer market. It is not just the obvious steak, milk and cheese on restaurant’s menus but the many many components derived from what once was a living sentient being. We believe, that if people learned about these additives and how they came to be, a lot more people would opt for plant-based and vegan products.
We also see veganism as an important contributor to a greener and more sustainable future.
By making vegan and cruelty-free products more accessible, we can help people to transition to a more responsible and sustainable lifestyle. Our goal is to make vegan shopping as easy as possible. That’s why take great care when sourcing our products to make sure that they 100% vegan. We read the labels, so you don’t have to and can just choose from all the amazing products on our site.
There’s no doubt about it, Canada sure is a great country. But that’s not actually the reason why we focus on products made in Canada.
As great as it is that our world is so connected these days and that we can get products from all over the world, it also creates a lot of problems.
Production standards in other countries are not always what we would call ethical or sustainable. Neither is the amount of carbon emissions created to ship or fly all these products to Canada.
There are a ton of great Canadian businesses with fair and ethical business practices that make awesome products.
A lot of them also give back to local communities, the environment or whatever other things they care about. We love that and that’s why we want to support them and work with them.
We’re proud to have supported local sanctuaries, animal rights organizations like Animal Justice and vegan food banks in Toronto and London from the get go. Over the last 2 1/2 years we’ve been able to donate more than CAD $2,500 in funds and in kind donations.
Here’s an overview of the sanctuaries we’ve donated to:
get in touch
We’re always excited to hear from our customers or like-minded organizations. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.