In August 2014, having suffered from eczema all of my life, I decided to stop using the steroid creams I'd been prescribed by my doctor since a baby; having been introduced to a condition called Topical Steroid Withdrawal. After 20 years of steroid use my skin had become addicted to steroids like a drug. It simply didn’t know how to cope or function like skin when I stopped using them.
The next year or so was nothing short of hell: my skin fell off my entire body; I was hospitalised, and had to live in a bath tub for up to 20 hours a day just for some relief. I couldn’t sleep, and I felt like I was on fire, literally all of the time.
Whilst bathtub bound, I propped up the laptop and viewed many animal welfare documentaries, an issue I had always felt very strongly about. As a long time vegetarian, going vegan was a no brainer for me and I quickly began viewing dairy and leather in the same way I had always viewed meat and fur.
I knew when I was better I had to do something worthwhile – I couldn’t go back to my life making TV commercials when my eyes had been open to so much cruelty.
When an old watch strap broke and I couldn’t find a vegan leather replacement anywhere, the idea for Votch was born – a vegan leather watch company that gives back to a different charity every 3 months. I had spent a lot of time with very little skin, and I knew I didn’t want to be responsible for wearing anyone else’s.
I feel better than ever now as a vegan! My eczema has gone, my day-to-day job and life focuses on something I am passionate about, and being part of a growing movement inspires me as I am forever meeting passionate and compassionate individuals who want to make a change, not only for the animals, but for our planet too.
Oh, and the food is INCREDIBLE, I’ve not had to cut out pizza, ice cream, burgers etc…there are heaps of alternatives that are actually far better (and tastier) for you than meat based ones! Cooking is an absolute joy, I’m forever whizzing up cashew nut cheese, cacao smoothies, or enough guacamole to feed a small country.
Votch launches in August 2016 at votch.co.uk and the first charity we will be partnering with is Viva where 10% of the profits will be donated.