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#GirlCrush: Madeline Of Petit Vour

Meet the boss babe that's inspired us to #beboldbekind.

When we first started talking about launching the EVOLVher Journal, we thought about what kind of value we wanted to provide to our community and how that would inform the content we create. Product and ingredient insights? Of course. Hairspo, tips, and how to's? Naturally. But beyond that, we saw it as an opportunity to feature incredible women that are making strides in the clean beauty space and to shed light on the work they do. Women who would not only inform, but inspire our readers. Women, who, quite frankly, inspire us. Women exactly like the subject of this post.
To say we're fans of Madeline of Petit Vour would be an understatement. Our products have been included in Petit Vour's expertly curated subscription boxes on numerous occasions, and each time it results in an outpouring of positive feedback (and user generated content) from their immensely engaged community. To say we make a good match would also be an understatement.
So it was only a matter of time before we tapped Madeline for a Q&A. We picked her brain about veganism, the impetus behind Petit Vour, her tips for beginning your journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle, and oh so much more. Read on at your own risk - a major girl crush is imminent.

When did you first become vegan and what inspired you to make this change?

It’s been about 11 years since I went vegan, which feels like ages ago. I had actually been thinking about veganism for a few years, ever since a Peta rep had visited my philosophy class and initiated a discussion on factory farming and animal testing. It definitely struck a chord with me and I decided right then and there, that regardless of how long it took, I was going to work towards a more compassionate lifestyle. Little by little, I made swaps and shifts in my life — and honestly, it never stops, but I’m glad to be a work in progress.

In what ways has your life changed since switching to a more sustainable lifestyle?

I’m generally just more conscious of how much waste I’m creating and energy I’m using. One of the major changes my partner and I have made has been getting a Prius Prime. We waited until our old Jetta could drive no more before we made the upgrade, but my goodness, the teensy amount of gas we now use is just amazing. Aside from that, we’ve trimmed down the amount we eat out and, when we do go out, we make sure to have our reusable straws and coffee cups on hand.

When and how did you first think of the idea for Petit Vour and what gap was it meant to fill?

We launched spring of 2013, so I’d say it was about 6 months before then that the idea came to me. Back then, people were extremely skeptical of the efficacy of natural and vegan beauty, so the beauty box was meant to offer a fun and affordable way to discover the best of everything on the market — or the creme de la cruelty-free as we call it. The name was inspired by petit fours, which are bite-sized, ornate cakes that come presented in a pretty box. I wanted our beauty box to have a similar feel and, of course, I swapped in a V for vegan to make it ours.

What has been the most challenging aspect of launching this business?

The hardest part of starting any business is following through with the plan. Many of us are perfectly capable of a good idea and even working out the business plan, but actually doing it, and doing it quickly and with potentially no reward, is not everyone’s cup of tea. Part of my doing it was cold-calling cruelty-free brands and convincing them that we offered something of value, which is tricky when you’re 25 years old with little to no business experience.

And the most rewarding?  

It’s really difficult to feel the reward when you have a business, because you’re always critiquing your work and looking ahead. From time to time, I allow myself to pause and at least acknowledge that we’ve helped many lean into a more cruelty-free lifestyle. When I think about the animals spared, in the short-term and long-term, I’m reminded why we started this insane venture and I definitely want to keep going.

Which qualities do you look for in a brand before deciding to work with them?

Our customers are always our guides, so we make sure to regularly ask them what they want to see at Petit Vour. If a brand appears to offer something unique and needed by our customer, we then take a look at the ingredients and have each team member try out the products offered to measure product quality and performance.

What changes do you hope to see in the fashion and beauty industries in the next 10 years?

It’s clear that cost is a driving factor for most consumers, so in order for sustainable fashion and beauty to hit a wider audience, things will have to become more accessible. For fashion, I think that means we’ll see more brands producing ethically overseas and emphasizing natural materials in their marketing. For beauty, I think that means a number of brands will have refill options, recycling programs, and proudly showcase their low-waste packaging and production.

What tips do you have for beginners wanting to convert to a more eco-friendly lifestyle?

1. Definitely don’t think about it as an all-or-nothing lifestyle. You don’t need to be perfect to make a difference in our world. 
2. Get excited over the positive steps you make. Finding a great swap is fun and when you discover a new love, write a review or share it with others. 
3. Continue to educate yourself and find new inspiration throughout your journey.

Why do you think so many popular brands still aren’t committed to sustainable and responsible practices?

In short, I think it’s because they’re profiting so much as it is, they don’t feel the pressure from consumers to make a change. As soon as they think they’re losing sales, they’ll change, I’m certain of that.

Lastly, what can we as consumers do to sway them for the better?

Vote with your dollar and only buy from brands you really believe in. At the same time, write to brands you’d like to see change and let them know exactly what would make you one of their customers.