With a company name that’s as charming as it is impossible to forget, Meow Meow Tweet was founded in Brooklyn in 2009 by Tara Pelletier and Jeff Kurosaki. We caught up with them to find out why they started their vegan skincare line and the challenges of finding a work-life balance.
How did you come up with the brand name and what has been your general response to it?
Meow Meow Tweet was named for our two cats and a bird. From the get-go, we wanted a name that had personality, was fun and would raise eyebrows. We’d say that it’s done all of the above!
Did you always have the vision to create a specifically handmade, vegan apothecary?
The path Meow Meow Tweet took wasn’t entirely intentional. We are visual artists, so in the beginning, we imagined the brand as a line of object-based design work. We created a home goods line from soaps to furniture that supported our values of sustainability and veganism. Friends and early customers played an influential role in MMT’s journey, as the demand was primarily focused on our personal care products. It was 2009 and the natural beauty sphere was much smaller, so the things we were making filled a niche. Tara also expanded her education by studying herbalism and cosmetic chemistry, so as MMT grew, so did our line of body products.
What was the first product you experimented with making?
We started off making bar soap. We bought a book and taught ourselves in our tiny Brooklyn apartment. After a day of soap making, my co-founder Tara would always exclaim, “The whole building smells like soap!”
What inspired you to go down the fun and whimsical packaging route?
The approach we took in coming up with our name was the same for our packaging. We knew that we wanted Jeff’s drawings to be the focus. We see his drawings as little stories, and they definitely make the packaging more special. There was also a homogenous aesthetic in the beauty design sphere that we were responding too. Not everyone can get on board with bright coloured packaging covered in animals doing quirky things, but we’re proud that we’ve stayed true to ourselves along the way.
Is there a product that took an extremely long time to develop or one that you’re most proud of?
Our deodorant stick took a long time to develop. It wasn’t only the formula that was challenging, the container was too! We were determined not to use the conventional plastic deodorant tube. The plastic tubes are incredibly difficult to recycle and we had found a better option that was 100% biodegradable! It wasn’t an “easy” product to create, but in the end, it was worth the extra effort and we’d do it all over again if given the chance.
How is it working alongside your partner, do you find it hard achieving a healthy balance between work and personal life?
We’re both incredibly supportive of one another and seem to be telepathically in tune on most days. While it’s challenging when the pressures of MMT keep us from decompressing after a long day, we can always count on the things we love about the business to bring positivity into our personal lives and vice versa. We also genuinely love spending time together, so often after a busy work week, we’ll still want to have a date night!