Happy fall y’all!
Today I welcome Los Angeles designer & founder of the vegan apparel brand, BEETxBEET, Jacky Wasserman to my monthly interview series. I met Jacky a few years ago while she was working her booth selling her fashion-forward t-shirt designs at a vegan festival in Southern California. I’m thrilled to have Jacky here to share a bit about how she started her company, why she became vegan, some of her hobbies and more! Read on to learn more about Jacky and to see some of her awesome t-shirt designs. Thanks for being with us today Jacky!
Cowgirls & Collard Greens: I like to start by asking all of my guests to share their vegan story. Why and when did you become vegan?
Jacky: At the time my partner was vegetarian and I had negative stigmas attached to vegetarians or vegans and didn’t understand it all, but by default, I was eating less meat influenced by my partner. One day I looked into juicing and gluten free diets then decided to watch Fat Sick & Nearly Dead on Netflix. That lead me to watching Forks Over Knives and once I saw that film I could not go back. It was very powerful and changed my life forever. That was 5 years ago. When non-vegans ask me this question now I say for the animals and the rest is a bonus!
C&CG: What’s the best part about being vegan?
Jacky: There are so many amazing things about being vegan it’s hard to pick just one! You know, a lot of folks think by being vegan you are deprived of things or missing out on something and the truth is, I can still eat the favorite dishes I used to eat prior to being vegan and let me tell you, the pizzas, mac n’cheese, ice creams, BLT’s, burgers, etc. all taste way better than they ever have before! The added benefit is that no animals have to be harmed to make food you know and love.
C&CG: What gave you the idea to open your vegan apparel company, BEETxBEET?
Jacky: When I moved to Los Angeles I was looking for freelance work and one day was online searching for a vegan t-shirt. I didn’t see anything that fit my style personally and at that point there wasn’t much to choose from. I suddenly had all these thoughts race through my mind of how with my experience and design skills I could come up with a company that catered to the style I love with a vegan message. I began working on the idea immediately!
C&CG: Have you always had a love of fashion and/or design?
Jacky: Yes! I remember as a kid loving to doodle and draw all the time. In middle school I would draw my friends names in graffiti style art on paper. Growing up in the skateboarding, punk and rave cultures I was always drawn to street fashion as well as the design aesthetics of those cultures. During my senior year of high school I experimented in Photoshop on my own making fake Rave flyers and knew that I wanted to go to college for graphic design. In college I created various projects centered around fashion and streetwear.
C&CG: Do you create all of your own designs? Where are your products made?
Jacky: Yes, I create all the designs myself. Most of them are hand drawn. We source our blanks from reputable companies who don’t use sweatshops and are mostly made in Los Angeles. Our screen printer is also in Los Angeles, women owned and use vegan-friendly inks. We are currently working on a plan to move into the more organic and sustainable space as well. Currently, we offer a few 100% organic styles but our goal is to have everything be made completely sustainable and from environmentally friendly materials in the future.
C&CG: Besides selling your vegan t-shirts, pants, pins and hats online on your online shop, where else can people find your products?
Jacky: A select few of our products can be found in MooShoes stores in LA and NYC. You can also check our Events page on our website to see where our pop up shops will be so you can see us in person. We participate in a lot of vegan events around the US as well as Canada. We are hoping to attend events overseas in the future.
C&CG: What is your most popular clothing item that you sell?
Jacky: Right now it would be our 90’s style Reversible Tee. It is made with a custom low-impact dyed Black Mineral Wash on a super lightweight 100% cotton crew neck. The front design features a distressed Nirvana looking font that says “Vegan” and you can turn it inside out to reveal the inside print which is a Ying Yang with the words “Plant Based”. It’s a great buy because essentially you are getting two shirts in one! It comes in a full length tee as well as a crop top.
C&CG: Outside of creating vegan clothing and spreading the vegan message, what other passions and hobbies do you have?
Jacky: I love music. I DJ for fun and love going to Drum n’ Bass shows where I can dance and let off some steam. I have been getting into yoga lately as well.
C&CG: Do you have any advice for folks who are interested in going vegan or trying to stay vegan?
Jacky: I think it’s important to go at your own pace and transition into it. If you feel like you can’t give up cheese right away then start with the other stuff. Whatever you think you can do, do it. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You will get there. It’s a lifestyle change and it takes commitment and work. We have been brainwashed pretty much our whole lives to believe there is one way to get our protein source and told what foods we are supposed to be eating but that’s by industries who aren’t concerned about your health and more concerned about profits. It’s up to you to take control and vote with your dollar. It helps to start by taking your favorite meals or things you eat regularly and learn how to veganize them. It’s super fun to get in the kitchen and experiment. Broaden your horizons and don’t be afraid to try new types of veggies. Your taste buds will change and once you start eating more plants you will crave more plants.
C&CG: What motivates you to stay vegan?
Jacky: Having participated in pig vigils where you bear witness to pigs on trucks going into slaughter, seeing footage of what actually happens to farmed animals and all animals used in all types of exploitation is very disturbing, heartbreaking and emotionally overwhelming. Knowing that, by me taking control of my choices everyday helps to prevent the suffering of innocent beings motivates me. Having a community that is rooted in compassion and support motivates me. Watching films like Cowspiracy and What The Health motivates me. Seeing the positive impact that is created on the environment and my health motivates me. Hearing from BEETxBEET customers of how the shirts help them discuss sensitive topics more easily motivates me. Trying out new vegan restaurants and the new vegan products that hit the grocery stores constantly motivates me. Seeing vegan athletes, celebrities, musicians speak out and share their stories motivates me. Seeing the incredible work that non-profit organizations like Mercy For Animals, Animal Equality, Farm Sanctuary and many others do for the animals motivates me. Getting emails, texts and messages from friends asking how to go vegan motivates me. And most of all, the animals motivate me. We are the voice for the voiceless and they need us to stay motivated to work toward their liberation and freedom on this planet. I always say I wish I had gone vegan a long time ago because it’s the best thing that has happened to me.
Jacky Wasserman is a Los Angeles-based graphic designer, DJ, and owner of the vegan apparel brand BEETxBEET. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, her apparel career was launched in 2008 when she won the t-shirt design contest for Obey Clothing+Metro Park, which brought her talents to stores nationwide. After being vegan for two years, in 2014 Jacky felt inspired to create BEETxBEET, a minimalist clothing brand which combines her love of food, music, and streetwear fashion with positive vegan messages. Jacky uses her company to collaborate and give back by donating a portion of proceeds to animal rights and social justice organizations, including Mercy for Animals and Planned Parenthood. You can find her online via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and at most major vegan festivals.