Cruelty-Free Feather Earrings and Hair Accessories (Barrettes, Clips, Etc.)
In 2009 I began an Etsy shop. I'd been making purchases off of Etsy for a while and already had the username ursusarctosana, but decided to call my store "The Lucy Goose" after my goose Lucy, of course. She was, after, the CEO and listed as such on the business cards.
I had begun stockpiling beads and making earrings from charms and semi-precious stones. I don't remember why I decided to do this, but it seemed more of a whim, perhaps to distract me from what I may have considered more important creative endeavors. Nonetheless, The Lucy Goose, over time, proved that feather earrings were more successful than the bead earrings, though these still sold sometimes. Furthermore, I realized I had a niche, because other feather earring shops used dyed, commercial feathers purchased (probably wholesale) from places we all know are not cruelty-free, but selling remnants of factory farms and/or goose down and fly-tying suppliers.
At one point I attempted to join an Etsy group that was cruelty-free, but was rejected because feather earrings contain feathers, which, according to some definitions, are not entirely cruelty-free because the very act of owning a feather may encourage other people to kill a bird in order to get a similar feather. My philosophy is a different. I think people will get what they want no matter what. That's why there's poaching and why the more rare an animal, the more money, the more prized it is to obtain and sell. For people who want feather earrings, etc., from a source that is kind to animals, I offer just that!
The feathers I used are naturally molted from my pet ducks and geese--all of the ones you will find here on my blog in videos, photos and writing. They are my babies as I've raised most of them from ducklings/goslings, raised them as best I could as a human pretending to be a mother waterfowl. They each have names and personalities. They receive veterinary care and personalized attention when they are ill. I will do whatever I have to do, whatever I can, to make sure they are content and safe.
I find I get a lot of first-time buyers on Etsy, people who haven't purchased anything before and their first purchase is a pair of cruelty-free feather earrings from my shop. This happens often and I am pleased that they were inspired enough and committed enough to choose my cruelty-free designs. Since I use only feathers from my own pets, and feathers from the organic Running Bug Farm, I have limited supply. I am unable to post a pair of elaborate earrings containing a mix of exotic feathers and state that they are "made to order". Each pair of earrings I make is special, one-of-a-kind, or OOAK, as it is referred to on Etsy.
Proceeds from the sale of these earrings are cycled back through to care for the flock. The ducks must be fed, supplies must be bought, veterinary bills paid, etc. One day, perhaps, it will evolve into an actual business, but for now it is not self-sustaining. I will continue the commitment to cruelty-free feather earrings and accessories, because I believe there ought to be an alternative.