Everyone at Voes & Co shares an unshakeable philosophy: Standing for love and the rethinking of fashion. The company is 100% committed to not using leather, suede, or other animal-based materials in its designs. 

Desiree Dupuis, Voes & Co, Kove Ocean, Vegan, footwear, Luxury fashion, Vancouver, Canada, Helen Siwak, portfolio, yvr

Through intention, Voes & Co seeks to contribute to creating a world based on love, kindness and compassion for the planet, animals, and all living beings through creativity and designer fashion. 

A purpose of advocating for kind, compassionate, conscious living through ethically sourced, sustainable, 100% vegan (plant-based) designer footwear, and a mission to help pioneer the use of next-generation materials to help eliminate the use of plastic in the vegan fashion industry. 

Founder Desiree Dupuis is at the helm and feels the momentum is growing as the demand for vegan options in fashion, food, and lifestyle explodes. 


“I was not entrepreneurial when I was young; I was always taught that the path was to go to university, get an education and get a good job with benefits. 

“So, when I was a teenager, I loved watching Ally McBeal, and I wanted to be a career woman; I wanted to be a lawyer. I went to UVIC and completed a Bachelor of Commerce in International Business. The funny thing is that the program had two options: International Business or Entrepreneurship. 

“At the time, I thought, “I will never be an entrepreneur,” so I chose International Business. [Now, I am an entrepreneur building a global international brand.] 

“Then, at 27, while climbing the corporate ladder, I realized that no matter how high I climbed, I would constantly be reporting to somebody, working under someone else’s agenda, being dispensable at some point if and when there was any financial turbulence, and still not having job security. I realized that the only way to enjoy absolute freedom and job security was to be my own boss and entirely responsible for myself. 

“I had an epiphany working in marketing for a national wine company; I quit my job instantaneously and got a job as a server while figuring out what I would do. I barely made it past my training shifts when I realized I did not want to serve people food and drinks while they were out with their friends, plus I wasn’t any good at it! 

“I quit that job right after I spilled a large tray of drinks on a table of guests. My best friend Kelly Strongitharm was self-employed as an insurance agent, so I decided to go into business with her.

“We were the perfect pair. As an extrovert, I would handle all outside sales, lead generation, and marketing. As an introvert, Kelly would meet 1:1 with clients and have deep conversations, following up with personal planning. 

“I was so excited to launch this business and become an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur meant I would be free to work less and make a lot more money. In my first year, I made $12,000 and realized that as an entrepreneur, I would never actually be ‘off’ work and would be working all of the time. 

“It took about three years to finally start making the same income I made in my previous full-time marketing job. Although I wasn’t getting rich, I did feel extremely wealthy regarding the freedom I felt managing my own time and schedule, the relationships I was building, and the meaningful work I was doing. “I invested so much of my time in networking, which included many learning opportunities, and my personal growth journey soared at that time, as did my database. 

“As of the five-year mark, we continued to enjoy financial success. In 2018, after a decade in the industry, my business partner and I decided we did not see ourselves spending our lives as insurance agents

Desiree Dupuis, Voes & Co, Kove Ocean, Vegan, footwear, Luxury fashion, Vancouver, Canada, Helen Siwak, portfolio, yvr

“Our business had grown significantly, and we had recurring revenue, which meant we would be able to get a 2-3x return on our annual revenue by selling our book of business. We decided to sell and invest our time into Ruben’s Shoes Society, an NGO we had started five years earlier. 

“My life did not change much during the ten years I ran Three Sixty Financial Group (Insurance) and Ruben’s Shoes. I moved from Kitsilano to Port Moody and spent almost a decade there building up my network in the Tri-Cities area. 

“All the while, I continued to enjoy personal growth, developing a stronger mindset, becoming laser-focused on business and doubling down on my health. 

“Then, out of the blue, I received a text from one of my mentors, Carlo Zarrillo, saying he had an opportunity for me that aligned with all of my values. When I spoke with him, I learned that it was an opportunity to join as a founding partner of a seaweed company based on Vancouver Island to launch a food brand. As a vegan marketing person with a love for branding and the environment, this opportunity aligned with my values and felt like a dream come true. 

“The following two years, I worked as VP Sales of Marketing to launch a food brand for Cascadia Seaweed. That brand became Kove Ocean Foods, and in the fall of 2022, I left Cascadia and took over full ownership of Kove. In the spring of 2023, I brought on three partners to help manage Kove in Vancouver while I was living overseas. 

“In 2016, after eight years of following a vegan lifestyle, I realized how frustrated I was with the lack of designer footwear that was not made of leather, suede, or other synthetic petroleum-based products. From that frustration and desire came the vision for my brand, Voes & Co

“You may ask why I would go to such lengths for footwear, and to that, I say  I love animals like they are our friends and want to do everything in my power to help take care of them and advocate for their well-being. Also, I and all the vegans I know are frankly really tired of having to sacrifice style and sustainability with synthetic, cheap, petroleum-based products. We love this incredible planet and have the privilege of calling it home. We want to do what we can to lead the industry to more ethical options that would make Mother Nature proud.

“This idea continued to percolate for two years when, in 2018, came the launch of plant-based leathers such as pineapple leather from Pinatex and cactus leather from Desserto; at that point, I decided to start looking for a manufacturer that could make Chelsea boots with cactus leather and in February of 2020 I invested in creating a prototype with a private label factory in midtown Manhattan to start to bring my passion project developing vegan footwear to life. 

“Within a matter of days, the production of my first boot was put on hold due to the pandemic, and I waited until the factory reopened its doors in the early summer. 

Desiree Dupuis, Voes & Co, Kove Ocean, Vegan, footwear, Luxury fashion, Vancouver, Canada, Helen Siwak, portfolio, yvr

“With a prototype in hand, I took it to Kickstarter with the help of my friend and filmmaker Andrew Santos to raise a bit of capital and drum up some pre-orders. The Kickstarter was the pre-launch of the brand, and through the pandemic, I had to overcome several hurdles with the manufacturing of my first 100 pairs of boots

“By 2022, after months of frustration working with the manufacturer in New York, I found a new, fully vegan manufacturer based in Brazil. I decided to move forward with a full production run with them. 

“In 2023, after being freed from my full-time job and with production underway, I focused all of my time, money and energy on the official public launch of Voes & Co at the Vegan Woman Summit in New York

“During this time, I also began working with a publicist, Vikki Lenola of Lenola PR, and we began to get some impactful coverage in Forbes, Cosmo, and, most recently, Vogue. “After a year of building the brand at events in person and online, Footwear Magazine recognized us as the Vegan Brand of the Year, and I am currently working on building the collection with a new casual sneaker. I am grateful to work with a manufacturer that aligns with my values. 

“In 2024, with Kove, we have launched at Whole Foods along with Sobeys (Thrifty’s, Safeway) and are working to secure some other significant retail partners. Having worked together at Vega, my business partners have outstanding relationships in the food industry. We have excellent sales and distribution partners and the best merchandising team at Hive Naturals. 

“We will continue with store activations and placement to increase sales, brand awareness, and customer loyalty. We know that once people get Kove Sea Spice into their homes, it will become a daily staple, enhancing their meals. 

“I am currently Chair of the board for Ruben’s Shoes Society, an NGO that, since its inception in 2013, has sent 100,000 pairs of shoes worldwide to help children access education. We now fund and operate an elementary and secondary school with over 550 students in the Dominican Republic

“By the end of 2024, I see both brands having achieved key milestone moments of success, with Kove being available nationally and entering the USA. I see us making a mark for the brand online via Amazon and receiving rave reviews, making waves as a unique product positioned as a vegan, gluten-free, low-sodium furikake

“And definitely see Voes & Co. launching with a key retail partner and having a few sales partners in South America. “I see us heading into 2025 with a solid and ambitious plan to build in Europe and launch another one to two styles!”

Author Profile

Helen Siwak, Luxury Lifestyle Observer
Helen Siwak, Luxury Lifestyle Observer
Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, PORTFOLIOY.YVR Business & Entrepreneurs Magazine, and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at helen@ecoluxluv.com.
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