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10 Questions with Sarah Peltier, Founder of NYC’s Vegan Shop-Up!

Vegan Shop-Up

Happy, attractive people flock to the Vegan Shop-Up! (Photo courtesy of VeganShopUp.com)

We’re excitedly counting down the days until we can shop with abandon at the February 12th Vegan Shop-Up at Pine Box Rock Shop in Brooklyn! To take our minds off how to balance being in our favorite bar in such close proximity to sweets, savories, wearables, washables and other assorted odds and ends, we sent Sarah Peltier, the founder of Vegan Shop-Up, our ten most pressing questions! In turn, Sarah sent us her ten best answers! Feel free to read out loud to your loved one(s).

Deborah Diamant: You’re a year old! How does a vegan pop-up shop celebrate this achievement?
Sarah Peltier: We plan to celebrate our first birthday with lots of freebies for everyone! Some of the best vegan-friendly companies around have donated treats: VegNews, Babycakes, Terri, MooShoes, Foodswings, and Babeland.

DD: Why do you think pop-up shops have gotten so popular the last year or so?
SP: They’re the perfect low-risk venue for companies without a regular location to reach the public. They’re an enticing shopping experience and a great way for smaller businesses to get noticed.

DD: How many vendors were at your first shop-up, and how many do you expect this weekend?
SP: We had a whopping five vendors at the very first Shop-Up last February, and now we are at 32! It grows more and more each time around.

DD: The rumor is that you keep Pine Box Rock Shop really packed during your event. Do you have plans to move to a bigger space?
SP: Perhaps if the right space came along we’d consider it. But, of course, we’d hate to leave Pine Box Rock Shop, which we really love and appreciate. It’s a possibility we could span the event over two days next time, too. Our eyes and ears are open!

DD: Are vendors vetted in any way? What do you require from your vendors? Have you had to turn any vendors away?
SP: Vendors have to be local and produce quality vegan products. We shy away from having too many of one thing and love variety. We’ve been turning vendors away from a lack of space! The next Shop-Up is in April and we will have a better approach to accommodating all of our vendors.

DD: Do you yourself operate as a vendor during the Shop-Up? What’s your business?
SP: I have been selling for my own business as well, though it’s getting harder and harder each time as there is just more to do at the events now. I’ve had Woodside Bakehouse since 2009, and this Sunday we will be selling handmade organic vanilla extract and Peanutella, plus our signature El Conejo granola bars.

DD: Are there any success stories from the Shop-Up? Like, has anyone been able to quit their soul-sucking graphic design day job yet?
SP: Hmm, not that I’ve heard of, but I’m excited to see the day! There are a few vendors that sold with us early on but now are just too busy with their rocketing business to take part anymore. Sprout Skincare and Barry’s Tempeh are a few!

DD: Can you gauge what percentage of the items for sale are fair trade, organic and/or recycled?
SP: I’d say a good 70 percent are – it’s definitely a majority!

DD: I know you’re gonna tell me you don’t play favorites, but what vendors are you most excited for this weekend?
SP: YES, no favorites. Very important. Each and every vendor is worthy of your time and money, that’s why it’s so great! On that note: CakeBites (gluten-free cake truffles), Scintilla Microconfections (homemade sprinkles, etc.), Fresh to Death (nut mylk blends), Kitty Jones (handmade catnip mice), Clementine Bakery (soon to open vegan Bed-Stuy bakery)…

DD: Let’s close with a really hard question: What’s your favorite cocktail on the Pine Box Rock Shop menu?
SP: Spicy Virgin Mary! [Ed. note: We can't get enough of the "Sam in a Sweater" ourselves.]

Vegan Shop-Up is happening this Sunday, February 12th from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Pine Box Rock Shop, 12 Grattan Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn.

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