Inder Bedi has often told the story of how he built a handbag empire on compassion. The 37-year-old founder of Matt & Nat vegan accessories was asked at age 18 by a Hare Krishna priest to go vegetarian for 30 days:
"And it changed my whole life," he says.
Almost 20 years later, Bedi's Via Vegan company is thriving, although he
won't provide numbers. His faux leather bags, belts and wallets under the Matt &
Nat label are sold in Canada, the U.S., U.K., Italy, Germany, France and
elsewhere -in perhaps thousands of shops, Bedi allowed.
"I think she's entitled to her opinion,'' he said. "When people are hired, they are made aware of the meatless policy on the premises."