Shaya’s Vegan Collection is Leading the Way
This eco-friendly update to the brand’s Italian-made walking kit is as notable as the celebrities who have been spotted rocking it.
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Shaya was not born out of a lightbulb moment. Instead, it was a gradual reaction to a need that wasn’t being met in the market — plus some solid mom advice. “While attending UCLA, I took my dog Baby G to classes, lunches, dinners, and everywhere in between. I was carrying her around in a tacky pet carrier (think: lots of colors), and my Persian mom told me I could no longer be seen using it,” says Davina Farahi, CEO & founder of Shaya.
After a few years of development, the brand came to fruition and released its signature Shaya Carrier before quickly expanding to other luxury items — many of which feature genuine Italian leather. “We decided to work with our factory in Italy after seeing not only their beautiful craftsmanship, but also the way the team interacts with each other. They are truly family and care about everything they create together,” says Farahi.
The leashes, collars, and purses that followed would quickly become popular owning not only to their unique design — the leashes boast a chic, circular, bamboo or tortoise shell-pattered handles that look more like sculptural bangles — but also their functionality. “The idea came from my love of the bamboo and acrylic-handled bags I was wearing, and I realized it was a design that could be applied to the pet space,” says Farahi. “We launched our Susan Leashes (acrylic handles) and Sasha Leashes (bamboo handles) using byproduct leather that can handle the little love bite and scratches they’ll receive from your best furry friends.”
Shaya could have comfortably survived for years with these products, but the brand doesn’t shy away from adapting with the times. Given many of the environmental issues regarding pet products, Shaya didn’t wait to act on what will likely become the future of the market — releasing an entirely vegan collection. But it was not without its challenges. “To be honest, it’s very hard to find vegan alternatives that don’t cause more damage to the environment than leather. And since byproduct leather is helping to reduce waste and it is biodegradable, we were committed to finding a vegan alternative that had similar properties,” Farahi admits.
After eight months of searching, they finally found eco-friendly materials without sacrificing their signature aesthetic. Made with cotton and minimal plastic, these products mimic the look and feel of Saffiano leather. And like all Shaya’s products, its water and scratch-resistant canvas is hand-stitched, edge painted, and assembled in Italy. The response has been successful, to say the least, as the Susan Leash in vegan leather is now Shaya’s second best-selling leash. It’s become so popular, several celebrities have been spotted walking their pups with them including Kendall Jenner, Maeve Reilly, and Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas.
“We really love that celebrities are wearing Shaya to take their daily walks or complete their fully styled looks, but truly nothing beats seeing our community members use Shaya accessories to connect more with their pets.” So this spring, Shaya is giving back: For every photo and story shared on Instagram (tell Farahi how becoming a pet parent changed your life using #myshaya and tagging @shayapets), the brand will donate $2 to Disco’s Dogs. The nonprofit, in partnership with Freedom Service Dogs of America, adopts rescue dogs and trains them to be service dogs for children with autism and other developmental disabilities.
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Sean Zucker is an editor at The Wildest whose work has also been featured in Points In Case, The Daily Drunk, Posty, and WellWell. He recently adopted a Pit Bull named Banshee whose work has been featured on the kitchen floor and behavioral issues rival his own.