Jaslyn Goh, founder, Souley Green.
You could call Jaslyn Goh an accidental vegan. She cut out meat and dairy from her diet in 2015, as a last resort to fix her cystic acne. It worked – over time, her skin began to clear up. As the 23-year-old dived into more research about veganism, she became appalled by the conditions farm animals faced. So she quit buying animal products altogether – including leather, wool, and skincare that had been tested on animals.
Jaslyn, who was working in retail management at the time, began to post pictures of her transition into the vegan lifestyle on Instagram. Her posts gained traction, and she amassed around 13,000 followers in just a short time. “A lot of items imported into Singapore weren’t labelled with the vegan logo, so I’d have to study the ingredients to make sure they were vegan-friendly. I spent a lot of time googling and trawling Instagram to check out products that people in the community liked,” she says.
Many of Jaslyn's followers wanted to know where to buy the vegan cooking pastes and plant-based powders that she used, and she was constantly directing them to various vegan brands. It wasn’t a breeze either, as she bought stuff both online and from supermarkets. It was then that she decided to establish an e-commerce platform as a one-stop shop where people could buy plant-based and cruelty-free products. Jaslyn left her job in early 2016 to run Souley Green full-time.
“I started the website with about five to 10 brands, ranging from food to beauty and lifestyle products,” Jaslyn says. Currently, she stocks 26 brands on her site – totalling more than 150 products. These include meat substitutes made from jackfruit, and plant-based dessert sauces from Thailand, as well as biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes from Australia.
Souley Green’s products are sent to customers in recycled cardboard boxes, and Jaslyn is big on encouraging them to reuse or recycle the same boxes. Next up for Jaslyn: a concept store where vegans can dine and shop. “I want to change people’s perceptions of the vegan lifestyle. It isn’t just about eating salads,” she says. “By incorporating vegan items into my menu, people can learn how to use them, buy them, and try it for themselves.”