Tara Pelletier: Ethical Entrepreneur
Interviewee: Tara Pelletier
Artist and chef turned co-founder of the vegan skincare brand Meow Meow Tweet, Tara is a big believer in creating organic skincare products without the luxury price tag. Accessibility and sustainability are core tenants of her company’s ethos. From sourcing their ingredients to the biodegradable packaging, everything was thoroughly thought out to ensure their company wasn’t compromising its mission over profit mentality. Beyond running Meow Meow Tweet with her partner, Jeff Kurosaki, Tara enjoys playing her guitar, walking in the woods with her kiddo and studying Northeastern plants.
PP: How did you first discover plant-based medicine?
I guess you could say that my introduction to plant-based medicine was generational. My grandmother used to love drinking cold beer in the Summer but would get drunk off a whole bottle, so she’d drink half and then we’d put the other half in our hair. She was the queen of kitchen skin and hair care. I remember sitting between her knees and watching The Sound of Music, as she brushed a mayonnaise hair mask through my hair.
All of these “home remedies” were things that she and her four sisters had learned from her mother. They grew up in poverty in post-depression era Virginia and had to be creative about caring for themselves. My grandmother was also a proponent of naturopathic medicine. She was a reiki master and a reflexologist. I suppose that I learned about the expansiveness of taking care of one’s self through holistic means, first from her.
PP: What is one of your key plant-based medicine rituals?
TP: I drink my own digestive, blood cleansing tea blend every morning. It’s spicy and chock full of nutrients. It wakes me up, keeps me regular and I think it’s half-responsible for my skin looking good. It’s a basic masala spice mix with a ton of black pepper, caffeine-free rooibos, nettle leaves, and dandelion root. We drink it with a touch of maple syrup and nut milk.
PP: Do you have a cultural or ancestral connection to any plants?
TP: I don’t. My generational connection to plants doesn’t come out of a long ancestry but rather a place in time and the solutions that the women in my family created to get what they needed.
PP: What is the one plant/herb you can’t live without and why (what do you see as the medicinal benefit of it)?
TP: As a daily plant, I love citrus. I think that people are hyped on fancier plants these days, but the dietary and aromatherapy effects of citrus are so incredible. I eat a lot of oranges when they’re in season and love drinking lime and lemon water. My body craves acidity. I talk about digestion a lot, but I think that the key to my ongoing health is my relationship to good food and good elimination. Citrus is great for that.
I’m also very very sensitive to scent and just a whiff of lemon, grapefruit or orange can make my mind feel breezy and less uptight. Those plants are also a few of the essential oil scents that don’t give me headaches!
PP: Can you share your favorite self-care practice?
TP: Sleeping, Cannabis, and Pooping!
SLEEPING: I don’t think I realized how important sleep is to me until I started experiencing stress and hormone-induced insomnia. And then I had a baby. The worst feeling is laying awake next to my snoring toddler with my mind racing when it should be sleeping. I’m a completely different person with a good night of sleep.
CANNABIS: A close second, and related to this, would be cannabis. I don’t like to smoke it because I don’t like to get high. Before I had my kid, I used to microdose a few times a week to help “soften my edges,” which is a nice way of saying reduce my stress. I’ve missed it since I started breastfeeding and fully intend to take it up again once my little one and I have weaned. I know, I also should probably address my stress, but it’s a moving target when you run your own business.
POOPING: I think everyone would agree that this is something they love. I take my bowel movements as a time to check-in and see how my body is working. Am I eating enough fiber? Drinking enough water? Do I need to chill out? My poo tells me all of this and I’m so into it. I see my BM’s as an important factor in being super in touch with my body.
PP: What is one organization you think people should know about and support?
TP: I think that people should support organizations that deeply move them, and that’s going to be different for everyone. On an ongoing basis, I am very moved by Trans Lifeline because I believe strongly that all people should be wholeheartedly supported in their identities. I am also very moved by animal safety (longtime vegan here) and I look to farm sanctuaries as a sustainable option for helping animals escape abuse, and also for community-level action and education about animal rights.