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screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-9-26-26-amBy Star Noor, Features Editor

In life, we are but stories contrived of the decisions we make, and those which are made for us that propel us into what we humans call fate. Like any other human story, Kat Mendenhall’s eventual plunge into a new found career as a shoe designer with a conscious, and vegan eats guru, was like many other stories, serendipitous.

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For her, as fate would have it, her longstanding successful career as a telecommunications professional which had allowed her to raise and educate her daughter, became unfulfilling. She explains that as an empty nester, “I was finally in a position to make a change. I wasn’t exactly sure what that change would look like but I set out to find it…I was able to discover a few hidden passions that evolved into my new career. My advice for others would be: do what you have to do to pay the bills, but on the side work on the thing that sets your soul on fire. No one deserves to be stuck on an unfulfilling career path.”

This introspection, combined with extended education brought Kat to designing Western style boots, with all the flair and personality of the designer herself, and true to form she spares no detail or weight to quality. She is particular about the degree of costumer satisfaction she delivers to her clients, as she feels that is as important as the carbon footprint her company leaves while delivering high quality at comfortable prices products.

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She states, “We put a lot of effort in making our boots as sustainable as possible. The material itself is a high technology “polyurethane” and synthetic based material that contains no PVC; there is no off-gassing in the production. The USA facility where it is produced uses solar power, emissions control and energy reclamation systems, water based production, and power saver lighting. In addition to the material, our other components such as plastic or cardboard are used from recycled material. Our workshop located in El Paso, Texas is a small privately owned shop, not a production factory.”

In her business model, as well as her lifestyle she feels that:

Choosing a vegan lifestyle is also better for the environment. Factory farming is a huge contributor of waste and greenhouse gasses, which pollute our land, air, and water and contribute to climate change. Our land and trees are being destroyed solely for the sake of raising cattle. Lastly, we can no longer turn our eyes away from the unnecessary cruelty that exists towards the animals for the production of meat, dairy, and eggs. Most people have no idea about the severity of cruelty that exist and do not want to know. If they knew, then they’d have to deal with their conscious for being a contributor to such cruelty by consuming animal products. We do have a choice though, that choice is to reduce or eliminate animal products from your diet and eventually your clothes and shoes too. We know that animals are smart soulful creatures that feel pain and have friendships and companions just like humans. It doesn’t make sense to love one and eat the other.

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To some, this might be opinion hard to swallow, until Kat further explains the health reasons why her chosen path might be a better option for others as well, “Choosing a vegan lifestyle has so many positive benefits that can’t be ignored. Research has proven that consuming a diet of whole plant-based foods has tremendous health benefits. It has the ability to prevent, treat, and even reverse chronic disease such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer, which studies show can all be food-borne related.”   She goes on, “In addition, obesity is a risk factor contributing to these illnesses and studies show that people that consume a vegan diet vs. a diet in meat and dairy typically weigh less. America is getting sicker; we need to reverse our mentality to choose plants over pills.”

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Regardless of how you feel about her life motto, one thing is for certain, leaving a lower carbon footprint and consuming more sustainable materials than less is better for the world as a whole, and that includes you. Beautifully crafted and durable to last you more than one season, Kat Mendenhall boots are a stylish addition to any wardrobe coast-to-coast. These boots are made for walking!