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Shop Small is a bi-weekly series highlighting small business owners from diverse backgrounds. This series aims to go deeper than your typical product roundup, diving into the inspirational stories behind some of our favorite brands. By taking a behind-the-scenes look at how their shops came to be and highlighting the products they (and their shoppers!) love, we hope to put a deserving spotlight on these marginalized business owners.
In 2010, Nina Zilka and David Krause, best friends and recent graduates of the Pratt Institute, did what many aspiring fashion designers do post-grad: they started their own fashion brand. In particular, the pair was focused on using vegan materials and local manufacturing.
Business was good until everything changed one holiday season in 2011. Zilka, tired of searching in vain for skin and hair products that didn’t contain animal products, created her own personalized dry shampoo in her free time. The pair added the product to their site, expecting mild results. A week later, they had sold more than 400 bottles. Zilka and Krause continued to add personal products, such as lip balms and other apothecary items, to the site until 2015, when they decided to shut down the fashion line altogether. The friends reintroduced their brand as alder-new-york-interview%2F” data-ylk=”slk:Alder New York” class=”link “Alder New York: a vegan independent skincare line designed for all ages and ethnicities.
“Nina and I founded Alder New York because we wanted a personal care brand that we both wanted to use,” Krause says. “We wanted a brand that wasn’t hyper-gendered and one that utilized ingredients that worked for both of our skin types, and we just couldn’t