Tara Pelletier and Jeff Kurosaki met in the sculpture department of art school, never thinking their creative proclivities would later turn into a business. After receiving a bar of soap from a family friend’s goat farm, curiosity sparked. Having always been interested in natural beauty and urban homesteading (even having a container garden and a worm compost at home) they set out to make their own soaps using all natural, vegan ingredients. Soon after, Meow Meow Tweet — and a whole host of personal care products — was born.
Darling Magazine: What inspired you to create MMT?
Jeff: We received some handmade soap from Tara’s grandmother after having never tried anything but commercial soap. We were instant converts and didn’t think twice about trying to make it ourselves. After making soap for a while, and with the prompting of our friends and family, we thought, what if the soap could support our lifestyle? We developed more products because it was difficult for us to find things that were effective, vegan and had an ingredient list that was straightforward and understandable. We wanted each product to read like a menu in a restaurant. We would never order something with a bunch of weird scientific names we’d never seen in actual existence. But something that could grow in our backyard… totally!
DM: We know you love all your products, but personally, which one is your favorite and why?
Tara: This is impossible! I have a special place in my heart for the deodorant cream. The development of that recipe was a long period of trial and error, and before that I had tried every natural brand on the market, but with no success. I still get excited when I put the deo on in the morning, I love applying with my finger, it feels ceremonious.
Jeff: This may be cheating a bit, but my favorite right now is our facial kit, which includes our exfoliant, body tonic and face oil. It’s become a part of my post-shower regiment to exfoliate, tone and moisturize my face with our kit.
DM: What is the significance of your company name?
Tara: Meow Meow Tweet is inspired by our two cats and one bird (the bird lives with Jeff”s parents in Hawaii). We also LOVE animals.
DM: As a couple collaborating together, what do you appreciate about the other’s work ethic?
Tara: I appreciate that Jeff’s ideals permeate his approach to the simplest tasks. From the way he packs a box with reused materials to his determination to find the most efficient way to produce the products. He gets so excited about little changes that yield bigger and better results, and it cracks me up. I love that he sweats the small stuff.
Jeff: Tara is always cooking up new recipes in her head for new products or variations on the ones already on the shelves. For Halloween, she whipped up an all-natural vegan green face mask colored with chlorella powder! The last two summers, she made me my very own sun-screen because I was having difficulty finding a brand that was right for me. It’s pretty amazing to watch her perfect a recipe.
DM: In starting up your business from scratch, what was the most difficult trial in the process? How did this ultimately turn into a positive experience for you?
Tara: I don’t think we realized how many hats we would wear. We started off a bit naively. As we got further into the business, I realized, “oh, we’re not just going to be making soap all day, we’re going to be doing customer service, packing and distribution, PR, bookkeeping, as well as a myriad of other tasks.” Making a living off of your hand crafted goods is so much more then what is produced with your hands.
Jeff: We always talk about being professional plate spinners. It’s a challenge when stores or customers are under the impression that they are dealing with a much larger company than we actually are. We take pride in being the ones that are behind the making, correspondence and shipping of our product. Sometimes it can get overwhelming, but I’m fortunate to have an amazing partner to keep the plates spinning with.
DM: What would be the most important aspect about your company you would want the public to walk away with?
Tara & Jeff: That our brand isn’t just a story, it’s a reflection of the people who are behind the brand and their ideals (ours!).
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Images via Danny Rico