Since VHFC became a thing, back in August 2016, it has morphed between different entities. It started out as a shop, then when my pal told me she wanted to start a Facebook group in 2019, I had started feeling a bit lacklustre about the whole making products thing and so I suggested she use Vegan High Five Club as the name, which also had a small fan base to start off with, and here we are almost 3000 members later.
Really, Vegan High Five Club is just a place for vegans to be friends with other vegans. It’s not about where the best seitan is, or how many dogs someone has rescued. Being vegan isn’t a competition even though instagram can make it appear that way.
The Vegan Society’s formal definition is: “Veganism is a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.” I think people forget this and turn it into a competition.
To me, this basically means “do your best”. Which is how I try to live my life anyway.
I’ll hold my hands up and say I don’t recycle every piece of plastic I come across, and I have on the occasion bought cheap shoes from China (hey, it’s hard to find non-animal trainers that aren’t white or €300); but I’m doing my best, and I’m encouraging others to do the same without shame.
Back to the point, we want a place for everyone else who is like this, to have fun together, find new friends locally and globally, come to meet ups when it’s safe to hang out with humans again, share skills, sell, barter and trade, and support one another; essentially – be a community and do our best to be good people.
I’d like to make this some kind of directory for humans and organisations, so people can link up with other likeminded beings, or find small businesses, or volunteer locally, but people are so firmly set to using Facebook as the default way to connect with people and buying everything from Amazon. I’m not really sure what the solution is. There’s no point in even trying to compete with any site like that. Your man’s actually gone to space because folk are just that keen.
We did have a small social media type site set up on our domain but it wasn’t really being used. It was both too similar and less useful than Facebook, and I guess that was our problem. I don’t think this should be a replacement for Facebook (although the less time I spend on that site the better) but something nicer. Something where we aren’t receiving a ban for telling racists off, and can actually have a nice time.
A few of my thoughts for this site include:
- Multi Vendor Selling Portal – this would allow approved people to sell on vhfc.com. A small commission would be charged to cover running costs, but this isn’t any different from ebay or etsy.
- Database similar to Happy Cow but somehow different. There’s no point in trying to copy an already popular site, Happy Cow is great, I have the paid-for app on my phone, but the community side of it is a bit quiet. I would like to be able to let people link up based on their location or interests, but there are all sorts of privacy and safety issues with that.
- Add your Ad – a page full of self-submitted adverts, either for personal profiles, online businesses or anything vaguely relevant. Fill out a form, submit your ad, wait for it to be approved and then it’ll add it to the top of the page above all the other ads which stay on the screen.
I’ve been really enjoying browsing some of my old websites from 2003, and I have a feeling that style of website might make a comeback in some way. Hopefully in the way we networked, which I’ll write about next time.
What do you think would be worth our time trying out? This is all done in my spare time, and the time of anyone helping voluntarily but the site exists and has been paid for so let’s use it!
Ping me a message below to get involved!