Eco-licious is a retail store for vegans. Owned by Fiona Humphrey and Marley Claridge, it has been open in Plaza Midwood since July of last year. Fiona is vegetarian and Marley is a vegan so they personally know the plight of their customers in Charlotte. When a person wants to become a complete vegan it is difficult because it is a research intensive process in order to find out which products are free of animal products.
There are multiple restaurant options in Charlotte such as ZiZi’s Vegetarian and Luna’s Living Kitchen. However, if a vegan is looking for shampoos, toothpastes, deodorants, and other products that fit their lifestyle they have to start with the web to research. Eco-licious removes most of the research process and provides the products. Besides personal hygiene and food products they have children toys, furniture, clothing, and animal products. However Henry, the store dog, is not for sell.
This is an interview I had with Fiona to learn about their desire to support Charlotte’s vegan community, the love of the products they sell, and their support of many local crafters. This is part 1 of a two part series on Eco-licious. The second part will be about VegFest the recent event they created for vegans. After reading the interview, view our photo gallery of Eco-licious. Marley and Fiona have taken a lot care into creating a comfortable atmosphere and letting their personalities show through out their store.
- How did you come up with the idea of Eco-licious?
It was Marley’s idea. I joined in because we share similar feelings on life. This store reflects our strong views about being cruelty-free and eco-friendly. We believe in our products. Also it is a creative outlet for us such as the reselling of old furniture so that they may have a new life. The clothing and jewelry reflects our own interest in supporting the local artists.
- Where did the name come from?
One day we were trying different products before we opened and it sounded right. Eco-friendly and delicious.
- How do you choose the products you sell?
We go to a lot of craft fairs such as NoDa’s All Arts Market, received some free samples, and a lot of personal experience. We take a lot of care into finding things we like.
- Where do you think Eco-licious has made the largest impact?
In the little bit of time we have been here, we have brought some recognition to the vegan community. We are about informing others and supporting the vegan community. Many people can view the vegan community as hostile. We are here to empower people to live the lifestyle they care about. We hope to make it easier for others to think about being vegan or vegetarian.
- What has been your most difficult decision so far?
Choosing a physical location, opening the doors, and having to turn away some local vendors because we are limited by space.
- Do you ever see yourself as the hub of Charlotte vegans?
We would love to be!
- What made you choose Plaza Midwood as your location for your store?
As I said before it was a hard choice. However, Marley and I have both lived in the neighborhood before. Marley is from Charlotte. The atmosphere of the neighborhood is energetic.
- How has the local neighborhood responded?
The community has responded positively. Many people actively explore and care about their neighbors here.
- What are Eco-licious’s next plans?
We are a young. We will continue to keep learning. More importantly we hope to keep building the vegan community. There are a large number of vegans who do not know about us. We also want to continue giving new vegans and vegetarians options for their homes.