First off, I love the name Meow Meow Tweet. It’s so fun to say!
Meow meow tweet.
Meow meow tweet. (Join me!)
Meow meow tweet! (See? So fun!)
It’s tiny and adorable, just like the twee illustrations and yummy skincare products from this Brooklyn-based company. And the proprietors of Meow Meow Tweet, couple Tara Pelletier and Jeff Kurosaki, are poster children for New Brooklyn.
When I got off in Bushwick at the Morgan L subway stop to visit the Meow Meow Tweet studio (I will say that name as many times as possible, clearly) I was besieged by memories from hipster haunts House of Yes and 3rd Ward (R.I.P. both) that resided nearby. Tara welcomed me inside the industrial building, apologizing that Jeff wasn’t there as well. The Meow Meow Tweet studio is in a low-tech building housing an art gallery, art studios, and a furniture maker who uses reclaimed wood. In one corner the detritus of their other hobby, performance art, is stacked four boxes deep. Against another wall is the workstation for a jewelry maker who has taken up residence in the extra square footage. But at the back below one high, grimy window is a neatly organized workshop, with stacks of soap, rows of oils, a rack of pastel labels, and a lofted area for storage. (Would it be Brooklyn without a loft? The answer is no.)
Half of the Meow Meow Tweet products are made in this workshop, and the other half are made three blocks away, where Tara and Jeff use their personal kitchen to concoct. The rent is cheap, because they have to put up with the lovely smell from a trash processing facility. “We’ll carry boxes of soap to the studio. It’s one the few times we work out,” Tara tells me. Hey, they suffer for their art, but luckily, they are surrounded by the sweetest smells of vegan bliss.
Meow Meow Tweet’s products are not certified organic–the process is extensive and costly–but Tara says all of their ingredients that can be are organic. (Things like clay don’t come in organic flavors.) Like many organic, artisinal skincare companies, soap is a big part of what they do, but they differentiate themselves through playing with grades of exfoliation, from poppy seeds to black walnut hulls. Tara also draws on her cooking background, approaching everything as if she were making a recipes, “the way I would make a really lovely, fresh salad. In fact, some of our first recipes were inspired by dishes.” There’s grapefruit mint, and fennel orange salad, as examples.
(P.S. If you like vegan stuff, I’m a fan of VeganCuts for non-toxic and vegan beauty products in a little gift box every month!)
“My approach is either through that door, or the door of utility. A lot of the personal care things come out of necessity, to be effective and be vegan.” She hesitates, clearly not wanting to offend, before adding, “I think that a lot of vegan lines are really cheesy. The branding is either cheesy or the ingredients are awful. But there are some really awesome vegan brands out there now,” she quickly adds.
They also use nice glass containers and compostable paper packaging, which they have only recently started advertising. They never did before, “because, duh,” Tara says. They just expected it to be normal. “We’re just living in this beautiful paradise where everyone is like minded. Our friends are mostly artists. They’re more open minded.” Speaking of artists, Jeff does the little illustrations on all the packaging. And the ingredients, which are very few in number, are listed in bullet points for clarity on the other side. You’ll recognize all of them.
It is at this point of my visit to a vegan skincare company that I realize I am wearing leather pants and carrying a leather backpack and leather jacket. Tara quickly assures me she’s not judgmental, and I believe her.
Meow Meow Tweet‘s big plans include making lines more seasonal. “Every spring and summer we’ll offer select recipes specific for the season. I’m really excited because I made a recipes for tomato soap. I’m going for a vine-ripened tomato smell, which is one of the best smells. During the winter the scent profiles will be deeper, and also be better for chapped skin.”
If you’re wondering where to start, Tara says to try the deodorant. It’s a cream that you massage onto your arm pits as lovingly as you would rub cream around your eyes. I also tried the cocoa skin cream (frothy and light, leaving my skin lightly moisturized as it melted into a pleasant skin oil on contact), a rose patchouli soy wax candle (yes, it did smell nice but a little hippie, what did you expect? They have plenty of other wonderful scents), the face oil (love!), the body and face tonics (I could use them every day, and will) and the face exfoliant, which was nice, though a little messy and not a replacement for a good face cleanser, in my opinion.
I would be more than happy to replace almost my entire skin regimen with Meow Meow Tweet products, just starting with a non-toxic cleanser from another brand. Even better, grab their travel kit to keep me pampered on the road.
So anyway, the holidays require stocking stuffers. Just something to think about …