Kat Mendenhall, Purveyor of Handmade Vegan Goods
Mending the world through whole-plant based nutrition and cruelty-free products.
FIDO Friendly magazine recently sat down with Kat Mendenhall to talk about her custom made vegan leather cowboy boots and compassionate lifestyle.
Two words you’d never expect to hear in the same sentence, cattle rancher’s daughter and vegan. Call it an oxymoron if you wish, but how I went from beef and leather to tofu and creating vegan cowboy boots is anything but. Seven years ago I embarked on a journey that I had no idea would forever change the course of my life, but it did and all for the better too.
Choosing a vegan diet to improve my overall health and fitness was not difficult. I had to learn to substitute and embrace new ingredients, but in the end I discovered a slew of great food and cuisines to keep my palate more than satisfied. In fact, I went to culinary nutrition school and was certified to help others incorporate more plant-based food into their own diets. I love helping people eat better and improve their health.
Removing leather from my life proved to be a bit trickier. For the first few years of eating vegan, I never thought about what I was putting on my body. A life-long lover of designer cowboy boots, I considered leather a by-product of the meat industry. After learning the truth at the Main Street Vegan Academy, that animals are raised solely for their skins, I made a decision to ditch leather for good.
This decision resulted in a dilemma, how could I live without my boots! It sounds a bit shallow but my boots were an extension of my personality. Worn year-round, I couldn’t imagine removing them from my life forever. A quick Internet search confirmed that was exactly what I’d have to do unless I created my own. By the time I left the Academy I had created a company name, logo and tagline. It’s since changed to incorporate my overall brand which includes coaching and cooking, but the magical experience of that moment still lives on.
The road to developing the first vegan cowboy boot and western wear has not been easy. I’ve been told no way Jose’ on multiple occasions. Yet, I continue to prove that animals do not have to suffer for fashion. By providing an alternative, I’m changing our cultural mindset. I’m giving people an option to choose consciously over cruelty without sacrificing luxury.
It’s important to me to be an ethical driven company focused on putting an end to the animal leather industry. Our materials are sourced in the USA and our shop is located in El Paso, Texas. Our boots are custom designed and handcrafted, one-by-one. My boot makers have 30 years experience in leather making and are surprised by the quality and workability of vegan leather. Our boots are indistinguishable from animal leather. Proving there’s no sacrifice when it comes to vegan fashion.
My career now involves coaching and cooking instruction, designing and growing my vegan western line, and helping animals find their furever home. This is Genevieve, one of my four. Genevieve is a serious thinker who is smart, pretty and prefers a game of fetch to friends. Protective of her momma, she has taught me the trust an animal can give. We love spending time together at Klyde Warren Park and taking long walks on the Katy Trail.
LindseyMillerPhoto-KatMendenhall Black Boots