MY ROUTE TO WRAPS

(Jan's Journey)

Well, here's my mugshot!  (I know, terrible joke, but hey...)
Can you tell I hate having my photo taken?  I know it's ridiculous, but I really hate it!   You'd think that as a former trainer and current exhibitor at various events I'd have no qualms about it - but I have!  I've absolutely no problem presenting to a room full of people, but put a lens on me and I freeze. 
Anyway, I'm Jan - nice to meet you.  
Scouser, born and bred - I live in one of south Liverpool's leafy suburbs with my husband, Mike and daughter, Sophie.
Not really much else to say, apart from if you come across me at an event, I promise I'm way more friendly than I look in this pic and I won't have a mug stuck to my face!

My Why...

Are you trying to rid your kitchen of clingfilm and plastic food bags?
"I couldn't possibly do without them," I hear you cry.
Yes, I was of exactly the same mind-set - I had them in my store cupboard and reached for them probably every day to wrap sandwiches, left-overs etc and then tossed them in the bin after one use.  That was before I woke up to what is happening in our oceans. Marine life should be living in beautifully clear waters, not in the now plastic-infested dumping grounds we've seen on TV and online broadcasts. 
I decided I had to do something to help combat the damage we're doing to the planet... enter stage left V-Eco Food Wraps.

Montage of 6 differenrt waxed wraps in various fabric designs,  alongside food including grapes, cheese, tomatoes on the vine and salad.

Vegan Or Non-Vegan?

This may seem like an odd question for someone selling vegan wraps.  It is if you go on the assumption that I'm vegan -  I'm not. There, I've said it.  It's out there.  I am much further along on my vegan journey than when I first set up this business, but I'm not there yet.
 Why am I telling you this?  I simply believe it's best to be up-front from the start.  If you're a vegan reading this, I hope, if nothing else, you'll appreciate my honesty.
Having travelled from full-on carni, I'm now moving every day towards a plant-based way of life.  As I said, I'm not there yet, but I'm so happy to have made the move - why didn't I do it sooner?! Having been conditioned to live in a meat-eating world, it hasn't been easy, but I'm thoroughly enjoying the new experiences and interesting dishes in our life.  
So, why did I choose vegan wraps rather than beeswax wraps?  The answer is so simple - for the health of my daughter.......

Where It All Started...

When I first started my vegan journey, I actually had no idea it would be a journey towards veganism. The sole purpose was to simply source and use more eco-friendly items in my home.  As a result, I came across beeswax wraps which seemed to be the go-to alternative for cling film and sandwich bags.  So I did my research, tested lots of permutations and after an awful lot of hit and miss attempts, finally came up with a blend that I was happy with.  I started production and was really excited with how things were progressing - the pics looked great - the website was almost finished - the social media was all in place - all I had to do was hit the button and we'd go live.  That was until my daughter decided she'd like a piece of cheese... 

A block of cheese on a waxed food wrap with a floral design
That little slab of chesse...
V-Eco Food Wraps, CutleryCaddy - waxed fabric pouch with bamboo cutlery
CutleryCaddy™ - waxed fabric pouch with bamboo cutlery

...Yes, something as simple as that. I know, sounds bizarre doesn't it?  How could a piece of cheese stop a new product going to market?   Well, it did.  As I said, I'd done a whole lot of research which included the fact that some people may have an allergic reaction to propolis which naturally occurs in beeswax.  I'd never heard of such a thing and thought nothing of it, until our daughter, Sophie, ate some of the cheese we'd been photographing. We know she has a reaction to nuts, but beeswax wraps?!?
Luckily the reaction wasn't severe, but it made me question what I was doing. If what I was producing harmed my daughter, I certainly wasn't going to put others in the same position and so it was back to the drawing board.
More research, more testing, more time, more money. It was a pain starting from scratch and a worry that finances wouldn't stretch, but I knew I couldn't progress with a product I didn't have total confidence in; and so the vegan option was explored - and what an eye-opener that was! 
This will sound ridiculously ignorant to vegans reading this, but among the many things I learned on my journey is that beeswax is off limits as it's an animal by-product - I had no idea! To be perfectly honest, I'd never thought about such things before! I obviously wasn't alone as I've since seen other wrap producers claim their wraps are vegan - even though they make them using beeswax.  I'm so glad not to be making that faux pas - all thanks to a bit of cheese!  

To Stick Or Not To Stick, That Is The Question..

My initial wraps were of the sticky kind. I'd perfected the vegan wax infusion and set off on my quest to rid kitchens of single use plastic.  Attending my first vegan events was both exciting and terrifying in equal measure - would people, "get" what my wraps were about? I needn't have worried, my wraps sold really well - to be honest, I couldn't believe that I'd hit on something so popular!  People loved them and as I did more vegan events I started having people who'd previously bought my wraps, come up and tell me (and potential customers at my stand) they loved using them. What a fantastic feeling that was!!  If you were one of those people, thank you so much!!

I still attend a range of vegan, eco and food events - you can catch me here, over the next few months.

V-Eco Food Wraps at St George's Hall in Liverpool
One of my first vegan events - in St George's Hall, Liverpool
V-Eco  Home - handmade wax infusion being stirred in metal bowl
My non-sticky handmade wax being prepared

As the months went on and I was using my sticky wraps daily, covering all sorts of food, dishes, plates I began to notice the stickiness was starting to go. After more research it seemed that refresher blocks were what other sellers were advertising as a way round this. 
Now, I know business is about gaining repeat custom, but that just didn't sit right with me.  I didn't want my customers having to re-wax their wraps!
Another thing I discovered (and continue to be told to this day) when talking to people at food fairs and vegan events, was that people weren't so fond of the feel of the sticky wraps , nor the residue they left on crockery and glassware.

Never one to follow the crowd, I decided I wanted to produce a wrap that kept food fresh without having to be sticky,  didn't rely on re-waxing and was a better purchase for my customers in terms of quality, ease of use and value for money. And so the non-sticky  WrapRound™ was born, followed shortly after by the WindRound™, which is the big sister to the ButtyWrap™.  

V-Eco Food Wraps at St George's Hall in Liverpool
Different from all other wraps? No, surely not?
V-Eco  Food Wraps,  sheep print fabric
Sorry, just not into being a sheep

Following The Flock Can Be OK But...

...sometimes it's best not to be a sheep.

Going by the great testimonials and repeat orders I've had, I think I did the right thing by not continuing to make sticky wraps.  I didn't want to do what all the other wrap makers were doing - I wanted to produce a quality product rather than gain a fast buck.

It was scary putting a new product out there, that went against the grain of all the other waxed wraps available -  but if you don't try you'll never know.

Have a read of what my customers say and see what you think.

So Where Am I Now?

What started off as an intention to try to do my bit to help the planet has now become a concerted effort towards veganism. The more I've learned on this journey, the more I'm troubled.  Don't worry, I've not become a tub thumping evangelist - if you're not vegan and meet me at an event I'll not force feed you hummous until you give in! I'm still in the process of replacing old habits - dairy is proving to be the most difficult.  I never stopped to think of how much cheese is consumed in our house before I began this journey!
Regarding my wraps, if you've followed my business from the beginning, you'll see that V-Eco Food Wraps has morphed into V-Eco Home, to accommodate my new range of products, V-Eco Pamper Packs. You can read V-Eco's new chapter here  

V-Eco  Home - woman reading map
Where To From Here?
V-Eco Home, 3 plants in plant pots which each has a different coloured V-Eco daisy logo

You may see new products pop up from time to time, but you can rest assured I'll always:

  • infuse my waxed products with vegan wax,  

 

  • design and produce reusable alternative to disposables,

 

  • offer you a premium product that will help you on your journey to finding alternatives to single use plastic.
V-Eco Home, trio of daisy logos with Thank You underneath

A massive thank you first and foremost to my customers.  Your support has been amazing.  Thank you so much for placing your trust in me.  Thank you also for your repeat orders - I'm so happy that you're spreading the word to others by buying my wraps as gifts for all occassions - Christmas, New Home, Engagement, Students moving to Uni and even as a "Thinking Of You" gift to grandchildren on the other side of the world, during this pandemic..  

A special thank you goes to all those vegans I've met who've totally understood my journey and not been at all judgemental - and continue to support me.  So many of you have told me that you started out like me and know what it's like.  When I first started trading at Vegan events, I was terrified!  "What will they say when they find out there's an interloper in their presence?  What will they do?!"  I had no need to worry - your encouragement and support has helped me enormously.  Thank you.

I know this is turning into an Oscars speech, but I can't not thank the most important pieces in this jigsaw - my hubby, Mike and daughter Sophie.  When I embarked on finding an alternative to single use kitchen plastic, they never envisaged (and certainly didn't sign up for) a life leading to veganism. But that's how it's turning out and at each step of the way, they've supported me by joining me in trying new things.

I know I've only scratched the surface, but I also know that each day I'm now consciously making changes that make a difference.  

Join me on my journey - let's see where it takes us......
Jan xx