GUNAS is a luxury vegan leather brand that creates high-quality vegan handbags, shoes, clean beauty products, and many other accessories.
GUNAS was established in 2009 to raise awareness of the animal abuse, environmental detriments, and health impacts due to the manufacturing of leather products. GUNAS’ primary goal has always been to explore sustainable materials and ethical production of fashion products.
“Our products are free of any animal ingredients or animal-derived ingredients. We are the first and only vegan bag brand in the US to hold exclusive rights to Mulbtex, a 100% eco-friendly material made with mulberry plant leaves. All of our products are made ethically in a sweatshop-free environment.”
As consumers are becoming more aware of the impacts of leather production, the demand for vegan products is increasing, which comes with its fair share of fake vegan products.
PETA-approved vegan leather means that the product is truly vegan and not an actual leather product sold as a vegan one to profit. PETA products will say ‘PETA-Approved Vegan’ or feature the ‘Cruelty-Free Bunny’ logo. All of GUNAS’ products are PETA-approved.
Aside from giving back to the planet by not using leather, GUNAS also gives back to 50+ animal organizations.
“Our bags and handbags are used in Netflix shows and often endorsed by celebrities promoting veganism. To raise awareness of animal welfare, we have partnered with many animal welfare and rescue organizations.”
“We believe our efforts will one day bring a change. Instead of animal leather, we will see every consumer shift to vegan bags.”
Tell us about your brand! When did you launch, where are you headquartered, and what moved you to start your business?
“I’m Sugandh (Sue-gun-d), the founder and creative mind behind GUNAS. I started the brand out of my love for people, animals, and the planet. My goal is to fill a niche in the market where there were no luxury handbags for someone who loved fashion but didn’t want to harm animals.”
“As an industrial designer, an activist, and a fashion addict, I decided to utilize my skills and business acumen for a cause very close to my heart. Being a life-long vegetarian and now vegan, I found a deep disconnect between my eating and fashion choices.”
“Having grown up in India, a country where cows are worshiped and ironically also slaughtered for their meat and skin, I knew in my heart that I had to do something about it. So on a cold wintery night in 2009, GUNAS was born in the warmth of my studio apartment in Manhattan.”
“Intending to do everything 'right' and to make a product that was vegan and ethically made in a sweatshop-free environment, I began with a modest eight-piece collection made in NYC. Unable to maintain affordable prices, I pursued production in China.”
“Uncomfortable with the lack of transparency and the working conditions in the Chinese factories, I started a studio in India where I trained artisans and worked closely with them to make the collections.”
“Following my path of 'doing things right' has not been easy. In a practically non-existent industry, no formulas to follow, and being self-funded, I’ve had my challenges, but my drive to continue doing what I have been has not dulled even for a moment.”
“In 2014, the US government handed me my permanent residency to the United States based on my work as a fashion activist. I could now continue developing the brand and striving to achieve my “American” dream. A dream where the world is full of kindness, everyone is free to live in harmony, and our choices (whether food or fashion) don’t embody any form of cruelty towards people or animals.”
GUNAS runs on Shopify and has Fomo installed to feature authentic store data in real-time. Beyond real-time sales data, GUNAS also uses Fomo to display real-time reviews, their most recent tweets, and more. Fomo integrates with countless third-party applications so it can display data of all sorts.
What are some of your favorite apps and tools for increasing conversions?
“Fomo is a great application as it creates real-time awareness for visitors of our recent items sold, best sellers, etc. We also enjoy using text message marketing and see good conversions from it.”
What conversion-related problems were you experiencing and what other strategies did you try to address those issues before using Fomo?
“We struggled with a low click-to-checkout rate. We also used Google ads and retargeting ads on social media.”
What prompted you to move forward with installing Fomo?
“I personally thought that it was a pretty cool app as I could see myself getting influenced by the validation from what others were buying.”
The idea that shoppers can see that others are buying adds social trust and credibility to the store while at the same time promoting popular products in real-time to other shoppers.
Do you have any changes you’d like to see made with Fomo? Any ideas for the team?
“I’d like more detailed metrics and more traceable sales.”
How long have you been using Fomo?
“Over five years.”