Meow Meow Tweet: Personal Care Rooted in Purpose w/ Co-Founder Tara Pelletier
Meet Tara Pelletier
Tara is the Co-Founder of Meow Meow Tweet, a vegan, ethical, low-waste, and handmade personal care company. Tara is also a maker, musician, visual artist, researcher, chef, herbalist, and more!
Tara uses her passions and curiosity to concoct beautifully unique and vegan personal care offerings for Meow Meow Tweet alongside Jeff Kurosaki, Tara’s partner in business and in life.
Learn more about Tara by visiting the link below.
Meow Meow Tweet is a vegan personal care company made for every body! From the top of your head to the tips of your toes – Co-Founders Tara Pelletier and Jeff Kurosaki have created a beautifully crafted apothecary of handmade items to soothe and nourish your body, all while sticking to their values of remaining vegan, ethical, low-waste, & cruelty-free at every step of the way.
Today you’ll hear from one half of the dynamic duo, Tara. As we discuss how Tara’s background as a chef and herbalist contributes to the goods Meow Meow Tweet develops, and how this collaborative team thoughtfully fuses their values into their work from creation to production to make the whimsically designed and absolutely inspired products that land at your doorstep.
Starting out in their kitchen in Brooklyn, Tara and Jeff created Meow Meow Tweet in 2009 as a reflection of their values. They wanted to create products that were healthy for all bodies, the earth, and animals – aptly naming their company after their two cats and bird.
Tara’s background as a visual artist, musician, chef, and herbalist all lead to the creation of their thoughtfully crafted repertoire of products. Tara says being a chef during the height of the farm-to-table slow food movement inspired an appreciation for unrefined ingredients. This translated into the vegan, unrefined products you see at Meow Meow Tweet today.
As their products started out small-batch, and still are made by hand, the company is relatively small in size but large in inspirational impact.
“We would make like maybe one hundred of something. And that really has no impact on the world. I mean, it has an impact, but it’s not as much of an impact. And I would say we’re still not big enough that we’re actually making an impact. But I think that now we’re seeing that some of the things that we do have an inspirational impact…it’s been over 10 years we’ve been doing this. And so much has come to light in terms of plastic use waste, like sourcing of ingredients and how that impacts climate and things like that. And we’re not static. I think any good brand isn’t static. You can’t just start off being one thing and not kind of like take influence from what is actually happening in the world. Well, you can do that. But for us, that doesn’t work because we’re researchers and we’re impacted by the world as it is.”
Rooted in purpose
Tara and Jeff make sure they stick to their values by asking themselves a series of questions including if the product is needed in the world. They want to make sure that each product has a purpose and that purpose is well thought out. Tara sees the creation of these products as a problem-solving solution.
And they want to make sure they’re creating in the least harmful way, considering sourcing, the physical craftsmanship by their makers, materials, representation, and more.
“We’re vegan in our approach to the world. So, like, it’s about harm reduction for us. So, like, we try to see how we can kind of like navigate the world and putting things out into the world and the least harmful way and being vegan also means like considering harm toward other humans. It’s not just about animals.”
They want to make sure that what they’re doing is uplifting and highlighting the “other” that may not be represented in the beauty industry currently.
Meow Meow Tweet is a Vegan, Low Waste, Ethical company, but Tara says they can always improve behind the scenes. They’re currently digging deeper into their sourcing so they can make sure that their people at every stage of the process are taken care of as well. The thought and care that goes into their work, and that may never be seen by the end-user, makes this brand a shining gem. But exclusivity is not in their vocabulary when discussing the work their brand is doing in relation to others.
“I’m actually hoping that there’s some kind of like co-operative experience that can come out of networking, and mutual inspiration and mutual goals and stuff like that. Whether it’s like sharing sources of things or going in on like drums of Bulgarian rosewater from direct from a farm so that we can all afford it…But that’s the thing is like making friends who are like-minded within the industry. We can start to work in this cooperative way. And that’s where it starts to be like the most exciting to me.”
Made with Spirit
Everything at Meow Meow Tweet is handmade with spirit, and they aren’t interested in falling into society’s expectations of success and growth. Tara discusses their move to sell products in Target and the effects that that growth has had on them personally and professionally.
“So this idea of growing big is like all well and good if you want to like. Tap into that like capitalist paradigm, you know, but at the end of the day, does it make every day feel mostly good? And I mean, that’s what I’m going for, is like most days feel mostly good.”
Tara and Jeff want to make their employees feel mostly good as well. Tara mentions that Meow Meow Tweet has held training in nonviolent communications and that everyone knows what their values are from the beginning. Meetings involve everyone at the company, no matter what their role is.
“Jeff and I try to like verbally connect what everyone’s roles mean because everything is connected. I learned that in restaurants, too. So like, if you go in for a shift and you’re the chef, every chef knows that they’re only as good as the dishwasher that’s there. If the dishwasher doesn’t show up, the whole restaurant just implodes“
They want to make sure that the physical labor that comes with handcrafted products is addressed and that their people are taken care of.
“Now we’re like, “Hey, how did it go today? How are you feeling? How is your body feeling like?” And that in particular, if someone gets really good at making something and they make something beautiful, there are people who make beautiful lip bombs, and you just want to put them on lip bombs every day, but you can’t do it. Burnout is a real thing“
The Meow Meow Tweet way
When someone comes to Jeff or Tara with an idea, they don’t shoot it down. They roll their sleeves up and get to the kitchen even if they know it’s not a product they’re interested in selling. Their unique powdered shampoo was even a fun project that Tara didn’t intend on selling when it was originally crafted.
Similar to the rest of their products it came from a problem. Living in upstate New York, their water was too hard to allow a bar of soap to lather up. Tara started making a hair mask, now iterated as their powdered shampoo, to give to their team and customers who weren’t happy with the bar soaps. People loved it. That’s when the ball started rolling for production.
Meow Meow Tweet has systems in place for making sure the product is sustainable and ethical along the way. They consider how the product is packaged and if it will make their team happy to make it. They find sourcing for their materials, like the Marshmallow Root that Tara is so passionate about, that is aligned with their values – making sure that is available, ethical, and environmentally sound.
They are also certified plastic negative meaning that Meow Meow Tweet removes twice as much plastic from the environment as they produce. They now weigh their garbage every week and make sure that every piece of necessary plastic is offset.
“So it’s actionable. It’s not just like throwing money out somewhere. You’re linked up with an actual waste removal company, which is exciting to me because it’s like, oh, it’s not just like this, like pretty standard and that marketing thing, like there’s actually stuff going being taken out of the environment. And that is cool because every piece of plastic that is used to make our product and to for our product to exist gets offset.”
At the end of the day, all of their hard work goes back to sticking to their values.
“Being people that want to make things and wanting to do it in the most responsible way that we can. So even if we’re not making – we aren’t making a huge impact on the world – at least we can feel good about that little thing that we put out there. “
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