Veganuary Q&A with Co-Founder Claire

Celebrate Veganuary with us!

Ready to switch your beauty products to go Vegan? We’re here for you! Find out from our co-founder Claire about why creating Umberto Giannini as one of the first high street vegan haircare brands was so close to her heart…


Firstly, Tell us about your own vegan journey. 
I became vegetarian at a very young age and have remained vegetarian and vegan throughout my life. 

What made you want to become vegan? Was there a specific moment? 
At the heart of my vegan beliefs is that animals are our friends not our food! I can remember very clearly the realisation as a child of connecting the lambs in the field with the food on a plate and the wave of disbelief and questioning that followed. 

What does veganism mean for you? 
I prefer to talk about respecting animals and their welfare than being tribal and judgemental of others choices. I believe that many, many more people would consider their choices if the true meat production story was known.

What motivates you to be a vegan? 
For me not eating any meat at all is a fundamental way of life, no more motivation needed! Although the amazing vegan recipes out there now are certainly an inspiration!

Why was it important for you to launch a brand that was Vegan back in 1998 when there were no high-street brands doing this? 
It seemed just as crazy to me that animals could be harmed and used in the making of beauty products. It was a no-brainer that UG would lead the way here, so from the very start our range of haircare products should be 100% vegan and cruelty free. I am hugely inspired by people that stick to their beliefs and convictions despite profits and trends and align with this belief personally. 

What would you recommend to someone starting their vegan journey? 
There are so many choices now in Beauty that going vegan with your skin, hair and make-up routines is relatively easy and if your favourite brand isn’t outwardly declaring vegan status, they may still have vegan friendly products so just ask. In terms of diet everyone is different and our nutritional needs change throughout our life. I have always been interested in alternative ways of eating, medicating, and developing so ask questions, listen to podcasts, read books and immerse yourself in the wonders of a different way of viewing the world and how we need to protect it and ourselves. 

Benefits of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle.
Cheaper shopping, good Karma, look good and feel great! 

Your favourite vegan brands?
Stella McCartney is an inspiration in so many ways, Kure Bazaar for nails, Bamford Spa for vegan skincare

Are there any famous vegans you're inspired by?
Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop, though not vegan, her work on eliminating animal testing back in the 70’s has been instrumental in changing the face of the industry. 

How do you see the vegan beauty market evolving?
I am so delighted that vegan beauty is becoming so mainstream, the tipping point comes when the big brands get on board, and we are seeing that now. 

How do you ensure that the products are cruelty free and sustainably sourced? 
I was so proud to receive our B Corp certification in 2021 which was years in the making and ensures we are achieving the highest standards. We only work with the best like-minded manufacturers in the UK who are either already B Corp or working within these principles, they are our friends and colleagues, and we regularly visit the factories and the people making UG.
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