April 26, 2009
Interview with Megan Halprin, co-owner of Snowflake Furs:
(What’s funny is that Megan wouldn’t give me her name and wanted to be referred to as “someone from Snowflake”. Why doesn’t Megan want to stand behind her views?)
This is a summary of Megan Halprin’s answers, because after initially agreeing to be on camera she then refused. Megan’s feathers were clearly ruffled when I entered the store as she tried to identify who I was. She asked who I was with and I replied that I was there as an individual (my pins and stickers barely concealed). She asked what my opinion was on the protest and I said it didn’t matter because I was here to collect her opinions – here they are:
- What is your opinion on the protesting happening outside your store right now? I think it’s uncalled for and hypocritical. Fur is no different than leather or silk. They are targeting us when many other retailers sell animal products and they themselves are not entirely free of using any animal products.
- Why do you think there is such a backlash against fur over other animal-derived clothing? Because people don’t have cows, goats, and sheep as pets. They see the small, furry animals as cuter, more relatable.
- Have the protesters had any negative impact on your relationship with Fairmont Hotels? No. They have had no media attention. We have been with Fairmont for thirty years.
- Except for me. No offense, but you’re not really media.
- Right. I’m small press, but several hundred people read this blog (update* over 1000 a day)
- Do you wear fur? Yes. I don’t think we’re doing anything wrong. We’re not trying to cover up what we’re selling (though Snowflake no longer displays any fur in their windows). We don’t say we’re selling fake fur and have it mixed with real fur. We don’t sell dog fur, or fur from endangered species, or seal fur.
- Would you consider selling seal fur? Seal fur has been worn in this country for a long time. When the native cultures hunt it they use the entire animal.
- Are you aware that in Canada’s commercial seal hunt, where 300 000 seals are killed every year, the seals are killed for their skins and then simply discarded? That’s called culling. If they didn’t do this, the marine life would be off balance.
- The protests have been going on for along time now. Are they affecting you? I just think that people have the right to make up their own minds. Everyone has the right to choose for themselves. If they want to wear fur and shop here, that’s their decision. It’s their right to make their own choice.
- But then (the protesters) also have the right to stand in the street and protest, right? They don’t have the right to yell at people and berate our store. The way they’re acting is harassment.
- I think the reason they’re behaving in a harassing fashion is because they feel that the animals are being subjected to even more harassing practices. How would you feel if people kept harassing you at work, calling and hanging up and trying to ruin your business?
- I think if I was working in a store in which I may have overlooked something about the product I was selling, I might be open to what the callers were trying to say. I haven’t overlooked anything. I don’t think it’s okay to call a person’s store and hang up, or affect the business of Griffin’s Restaurant beside us – they don’t have anything to do with this. (The Shac Model in action!) People have the right to get information, but the protesters are distorting the facts. They don’t know who our suppliers are. They don’t know where our fur comes from.
- I think they’re trying to express that all fur production is inhumane…
(I decided to end the interview here.)
Some self-insight from Snowflake:
“What will the future bring? Rokie is trying to spend less and less time in the office and is hoping to leave more and more of the day-to-day running of the company to the Head Office Team. She is still President and CEO, and continues to hold the overall vision of the company. Megan Halprin sits in the chair as CFO. With the support of our suppliers, agents, and staff we will continue to grow and thrive. Simply the best in great Canadian design has been our catch phrase for over a decade. We will continue to grow into it.”
So the questions become: Who are Snowflake’s suppliers? Who are its agents? Its staff? And would these people take their business elsewhere if they were persistently faced with the stress of being reminded of the moral implications behind the products they are selling?