Copyright MalikaSabaa


To find more items by MalikaSabaa, visit When Modern Was, located between Castro and Noe street in San Francisco.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Recently, I have had the good fortune of joining the SF Etsy team and in the process of joining some of us decided to do a sort-of blog interview swap. I was matched with Roni Seabury who has two lovely shops on ETSY and as you will learn, she has a great passion for vegan-ism. I hope you enjoy!!!!

Q: What interested you or how did you get interested in producing vegan materials?

I'll start from the beginning when I turned vegetarian. It was 1984, I was in high school and the Biology teacher was showing us a film on worms. They talked about getting worms from under cooked meat among many other topics. They even showed a woman pulling a worm out of her skin, I was so freaked out by that, that I could not eat my lunch that day or my dinner when I got home from school. And that ended my red meat eating days. I still ate chicken and fish but after about 3 months of that, I started to realize exactly what it was that I was eating—a living creature with a heart and feelings just like me. I always had a strong love for animals but never made the connection when they showed up on my plate. I was a vegetarian from 1984 to 2007.

In 2007, I started to learn about the cruel practices of factory farming. Since this question you asked is not asking about the specifics of factory farming I won't go into them, but as soon as I learned the cruelty many animals are going through in this world, I decided to turn vegan. Vegan means I do not consume or use any animal by-products at all. And vegans try to avoid buying from companies that do animal testing. A lot of jewelry is constructed with or by leather, feathers, silk and pearls and bath & body products are often produced with goat's milk, honey, beeswax, tallow etc; therefore, I decided to start making my own products. In making my own products, I know where the ingredients come from and I know it is vegan. When you are nascent in process of becoming a vegan, you don't always know where to find vegan products. So I decided to make them myself. I also started to make vegan inspired necklaces by hand stamping the words, “I Love Vegan” or “Veggie Girl” so that I could promote a cruelty free world.

Q: You are obviously multi-talented so did you study any type of science or go through any specific art training in order to create your items?

Well from my poor Biology experience, I never did well in science….LOL. I did, however, take many classes on how to make lotions, soap, perfume etc. There is so much to learn for example, what essential oils are safe to use, how & when to combine them. Safety is so important with bath & body products so I did study very much before I actually started to sell them.

My whole family is artistic. My mom used to play guitar and do knitting, cross-stitching etc. My Dad used to draw and do engraving and was able to make all kinds of things out of wood; he is quite a craftsman. Both my brothers played instruments and my younger brother likes to make candles and do wood work. I inherited talents from my parents except the drawing part. I don't know what happened there, maybe I was dropped as a baby….LOL, joking. I really can't draw a straight line. I have only taken two jewelry classes, and after I learned the basics, off I went creating.

Q: Your shop is mixed with vegan bath and body products, and I wondered what inspired you to create each individual item--soaps, scents, etc.?

I want to show people that you don't need products that encompass the cruelty of animals. So I thought about things I use everyday like makeup, lotions, soap, perfume and I set out to make all of these things for people who want to be cruelty free.

Creating perfume scents is one of my most favorite things to do. These would be found in my signature line:

I learned which essential oils were top, middle and base notes and combined what I thought were beautiful scents. I have to say I have mastered the smell of cat pee in my experiments; live and learn and if you fail, keep trying.

Q: How are you inspired to create your jewelry?

Veganism and being "Green" inspires me when I make my hand-stamped pendant necklaces like this one:

As far as my beaded jewelry goes, I just close my eyes and visions come. I surround myself with my beads in my studio and colors and shapes just start forming in my head. I can't draw worth a darn, as you know, so I have to go by memory of my thoughts. I really don't get inspired by looking at other peoples’ jewelry or even by nature like some people do. My creations just come to me naturally and if I'm not in the mood to make jewelry, visions do not come. I don't do very complicated metalsmith type jewelry, it's mostly beaded and I think it's elegant with a touch of fun. More of my necklaces can be found on my other Etsy websites here:

Q: Do you use any of your soaps, make-up or lip balms? If so, explain the differences you see /feel within your products versus what’s currently out in the market?

I love my lip balm and I get compliments on it all the time. It lasts for a long time and smells so good.

My soaps were the biggest difference I noticed compared to store bought brands. When I switched from brands like Dial, I hadn't realized how chemically smelling they were. My soaps are made with natural oils and natural preservatives. Store bought brands made my skin feel dry. My soaps moisturize and have a thick lather. They smell great!!!!

As for my make-up, when I used store bought, it always felt heavy to me and they clogged my pores. When I started making mineral makeup, my face felt so much better. And yes, I do wear my own makeup. I can't go back to anything else!

Check out Roni's blog: