Remember Cabbage Patch Kids? Here’s my most visceral memory of that fad, circa 1983: I wanted one so badly that I couldn’t sleep. At that time, you could get one custom-made, so, after much begging, my mom gifted me one with red hair (because Grandma had — still has — red hair) and green eyes. Oddly, I named her “Casey” after Casey Kasem (who, coincidentally, is a vegan). Oh how I loved my Casey. But I still to this day have no idea what prompted me to cut off all of her beautiful red stringy hair. Maybe it was an early-on butch thing?
Regardless of my reasonings for craving a vinyl-headed, soft-bodied dollie, I am now reminded of my unrelenting yearning. That’s because of my most current craving: a button maker. And I want one real bad. Like, Cabbage Patch bad.
During my recent trip to Portland for the Let Live Conference, I met the folks at Buttonmakers.net, and I became obsessed. Because they were sponsors of the conference, I had heard their name before. And because they had a table set up at the conference, I became a frequent visitor, and soon, a button-making aficionado.
At first, I didn’t put two and two together: Why would a button making company be tabling at an animal rights conference? But then I noticed the ethical messaging on the buttons by the people at the table, and I thought: Aha! They’re vegan!
Rex Ray and Rebecca Bolte, the couple — and couple of activists — behind Buttonmakers.net, are vegans with a cause — hence their sponsoring of Let Live.
Face it: Your button collection of today could rival my Cabbage Patch Kids collection of the early 1980’s (and my subsequent Garbage Pail Kids trading cards collection of the mid-80’s). That’s because you’re vegan, and with your ethics, come buttons. So imagine if you had your very own button maker to make all those “go vegan” pins?
Or maybe you have a vegan business, or a non-profit, or even just a slogan that you really want to wear… Wouldn’t it be great to advertise the vegan message on your own self-made button? Especially for those of you who are in the market to make hundreds of these little gems, getting a button maker from Buttonmakers.net could save you money — and boredom, too, since, as I learned recently, making buttons is fun and delivers immediate satisfaction.
According to Anika Lehde (remember her? from Vegan Score?) who recently blogged on the button making duo:
“Now if you are going into the button-making business, run a non-profit, or are involved in activism or campaigns, then the investment in a button maker (starting around $215) […] is a very smart investment. The parts to make the buttons only cost about $.06 or .07 per button (depending on size and how many you are making). […] Plus button making is good team building for your volunteers. Word.”
And if, like Anika, you’re lucky enough to reside in Seattle, and are selfless enough to advocate for a good cause, you might even be able to rent a machine or barter for a rental.
As if it weren’t already evident, this sums up some of the reasons I love Buttonmakers.net:
- The owners, Rex and Rebecca, are vegan — so by supporting them, you are supporting vegans. And keeping it in the family is a good thing.
- Rex and Rebecca have creatively used their interests to speak up for social justice causes, and they have turned that into a for-profit business. There’s a lesson here.
- With that for-profit business, they are very supportive of the vegan community, doing things like sponsoring animal rights conferences and being extra generous and kind to vegan activists who want buttons and button makers.
- Button-making can easily be turned into a volunteer party activity, which can build community morale.
- If you purchase a button maker to suit your vegan needs, you can quickly make your investment back by selling buttons for a reasonable cost.
Plus, buttons are a lot cooler than Cabbage Patch Kids, and you don’t have to worry about stupidly cutting off the string hair of a button maker, since button makers don’t have any hair at all.
OH — And if you happen to reside in NYC and you find yourself with a button maker, give me a shout. Because I really want to be your friend.