Chonaic: Clothing Brand committed to integrity with Vegan & sweatshop-free clothing

Montreal, Canada
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Chonaic is a social enterprise that will change the way the world wears clothing. We are committed to making clothing that does not harm. That includes non-explotation of humans, not abusing animals and causing as little harm to our earth as possible.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

We can end suffering, by simply buying consciously with Chonaic?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The animal holocaust. The fact that some people in some areas in the world exploit and put themselves ahead of others. We are trying to bring back the world to be harmonious with other beings and our earth. We are trying to end sweatshops, endless consumerism, destruction of our rainforests and draining our energy. We are trying to address speciesism and the endless other "isms" and have the world realize we are one.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Be the first company that does every single thing, ethically. No animals, no human exploitation, no earth exploitation. Allow the world an easy way to consume responsibility and consciously .


We've been featured in a newspaper/ a respected online blog and are waiting to be "PETA" approved.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We source our fabric from GOTS certified cotton producers, or certified working conditions. Then when it comes into our city, Montreal, we visit the manufacturer, ensure proper working standards and then work with designers, sewers etc all here and in plain sight to ensure standards are met.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

The impact of the work to date is small in comparison to what will be the impact one day. Nonetheless, we've brought the animals suffering and human exploitation in other areas in the world into the attention of many people in our city. People aren't always aware of the atrocities currently happening. There is both cognitive dissonance and a sort of laissez-faire attitude of individualism. People tend to think that they can;t do anything, but in reality, every decision we make has implications. We've also managed to save hundreds of sheep indirectly, by selling a faux-wool (100% organic cotton sweater) in our first line. As well the first line was designed and produced in Montreal, providing local work for people in our city on a small scale.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We actually want to end carnism and speciesism. These are real goals of ours. We want to grow, and we have to act as a startup and be lean as we have entered the capitalist market. Within that, we will get to a point where we can influence the masses with the truth and provide them with a clear, sustainable alternative to old fabrics that were produced in harmful ways.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

I've personally made the initial investment with another tiny investment from an angel investor. We have to be lean, but in our industry (clothing) to do things right and ethically, that costs money. For some reason the world lives in a paradigm where to buy things that do not harm, cost more. We simply have to put all the profit made, right back into the growth of the company.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are companies out there: "Matt & Nat", "Brave Gentleman", but none have reached mass appeal. They have, although, made considerable positive impact and I'm so glad they're out there. But we want to revamp every single company. We want to make it "odd" and "unacceptable" to exploit beings in the first place. We will be that pioneer company that will take a large piece of the market and inspire the rest of it to do things ethically. A dream? Yes. will it happen? Yes.

Founding Story

The idea came around about two years ago. Living a vegan lifestyle, I could not accept wearing clothes that used to be animal skin and flesh. So I got rid of the couple of pieces I had and looked around for high quality clothing and boots that were vegan. Now what I found was very cheap synthetics or extremely expensive companies with good quality vegan fabric, but that weren't very stylish. The idea was born. But the idea wasn't just to have an alternative, it was really, with a for profit company, to cause a paradigm shift and have the new expectation to have clothing - that does not harm. Seems that should have been ages ago, but it will come and I have a plan to get there.


The roles are simple at this stage. There is myself, Shane, the founder of Chonaic and I run everything internally for the moment. I have one investor who pitches in some advice now and then. I also am lucky enough to get help and direction from someone who has had a high-end boutique in Montreal for 15 years. I've had offers from people wanting to join in various capacities. But this is how I see us growing. Someone for very small stock will come in to handle the technology & another person will do the same for Style Direction. It may look a little like this in 1-2 months: Founder & Director: Shane Thompson Finance: George L. (Has been director of finance for various groups, finance degree) Marketing: Sophie G. (Has had her own company, marketing degree) Style: Sean Millroy Technology: TBD Investors: George P. / Tim T. (Tim T. has invested millions in startups and is very well versed, it would be wonderful to have him on our side) I don't feel necessary to give titles as that will be to come. The team that I bring on will be entirely inspired and in love with changing the world for the better, otherwise we won't bring them on.
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Business Mentor

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder & Director

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Zero Hunger, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I ran a painting company when I was 20 years old. Grossing $70,000 in sales in 5 months. I also managed a team of 12-20 people within that time. I took care of: door to door selling with my team, accounting, bookkeeping, marketing, operations etc. I managed to learn the ins and outs of a business at a very young age.
Next, I join onto a startup, Flatbook who were 12 people when I got there. After 7 months when I left to start this, they were at 70. I saw massive growth, job creation and innovation. I was part of the ground floor of these changes as well. I do think differently than others. I think of ideal situations, that treat everyone well and I strive for them, no matter what denial or dissociative phrases people want to stand by. We are all beings, we deserve to not be in pain.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

I have a business mentor who referred me to Ashoka and she helps in all aspects of the business - Elizabeth Araujo

I have a strategic advisor who has owned a boutique and is an industry expert - Matt Savoie

I have a sales and marketing coach who has been in the business for 35 years - Tim Thompson

And I am always looking for more experience and intelligence to help guide me. I have so much to learn, but have no doubt that this will be successful and I'm doing it for the most vulnerable.

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