“I gather inspiration from a lot of different places. Art, music, community, fashion, friends, myself,” says Jacky Wasserman of founder BEETxBEET.
Wasserman grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta and graduated from The Art Institute of Atlanta in 2005 with a BFA in Graphic Design. With a little luck and confidence she took a chance and moved to Los Angeles in Aug 2013. Within a few months she was hired as a graphic designer for the socially-conscious clothing company Alternative Apparel and launched her company BEETxBEET in Sept the following year. “I wanted to make shirts that I would want buy and wear. BEETxBEET is an apparel company supports healthy lifestyles and vegan culture through fun, inspiring t-shirt graphics,” said Wasserman.
Now for a quick review of BEETxBEET: If you are looking for a great comfortable shirt, that is fun and fashionable with a positive message then look no more BEETxBEET is the line for you. Each shirt is beautifully designed by Jacky Wasserman on a soft tee that feels like you have been wearing it for years. Although we love all the shirts in this line the two that got the most attention were “Not You” and “Hell No GMO” both shirts received many compliments and served as great conversation starters.
Global Looking Glass had the pleasure to ask Jacky Wasserman a few questions.
Tell me a little about your background?
I work full time as a graphic designer for Alternative Apparel on top of running BxB. I have been vegan for 3 years and I am very passionate about the way I live my life as well as music, I DJ for fun. I love to cook and dance too. Those are other creative outlets and ways to decompress for me.
What inspired you to go into fashion design?
Shepard Fairey who started OBEY. I had won a t-shirt design contest for OBEY back in 2008 and that launched me into the t-shirt graphics and apparel industry. I have been doing it ever since. He has always been an inspiration to me and street art has always been a love of mine. Coming from a skate/punk background as well, the self-empowerment message behind OBEY to think about our surroundings and question the purpose, I connected really well with it.
What inspires the designs for your t-shirts?
I gather inspiration from a lot of different places. Art, music, community, fashion, friends, myself. I love Jeff Sheldon who owns a clothing brand called Ugmonk. He is also a graphic designer and has a very simplistic and minimal style which is nice. I really connect with his views on entrepreneurship as well. I try to think about what I would want to wear and what I think other people would too. What is popular in fashion and in graphic design, what are popular trends happening now and hot topics. What are important messages I feel need to be seen. These are things I ask myself as I’m brainstorming for ideas.
I have pages of ideas for t-shirt designs. I can’t do them all at once so I have to be very selective with what I choose to produce. Sometimes I come up with new designs on the fly that trump the ones I’ve already come up with. Things that are popular in fashion right now are triangles and unicorns so I chose to do designs around that. I knew I wanted to introduce designs that have the words “plant based” in them since I didn’t have that yet. As far as a favorite, I love the In Plants We Trust. It’s a pretty diverse design I think and can cater to people who are not vegan as well.
What inspired you to go vegan?
Never in a million years did I think I would go vegan. I had all of the negative stereotypes attached to it like most people. I loved my pepperoni pizza and Kraft mac n’ cheese. I actually thought I was eating healthy. But I wasn’t really thinking about food and where it comes from.
At the time, my partner had been vegetarian for majority of her life so I slowly ate less and less meat but then like a lot of people, I came across some documentaries on Netflix. Forks Over Knives was my tipping point. I was just so shocked and appalled at what was really happening and how we’ve been brainwashed and I felt taken advantage of and outraged that not enough people knew about this and weren’t doing much to fix the problem. So living a vegan lifestyle made sense to me. I wanted to live a healthy and compassionate life. I got Rip Esselstyn’s book Engine 2 Diet and researched religiously. I fell in love with vegan bloggers Oh She Glows and Fettle Vegan to start. I also started taking vegan cooking classes at my local Whole Foods through their Health Starts Here program. It’s been one of the best things to happen to me.
Veganism is my life. It’s such an important part of me. It’s family, community, compassion, love, support, awareness, positivity, strength, health, connection. I am a spiritual person so I think being able to live this lifestyle really connects you to all facets of the universe in the purest form possible because you are respecting mother earth and the creation of everything around you from the soil, environment, animals and even people. God, that’s sounds sooooo hippy. LOL!
What inspired your company’s name?
So I am a HUGE music lover and grew up in the EDM scene in Atlanta. I DJ for fun. I had brainstormed a whole big list of names trying to mash up different ones and weird obscure things but it finally made sense. What I am trying to do is help people become more aware with this brand. All it takes is one step at a time to make healthier choices. Or maybe one beat at a time. So incorporating music and food together I came out with BEETxBEET as a play on words.
What are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced?
Choosing which designs to produce, having the capitol to hold inventory and do events and all the cool things i’d love to do with this brand since it’s just me funding it, it’s going to take some time to get there. Money aside, i’d say being just one person and not having enough time in the day to get things done. I think it would help to have a partner or someone to share this wild ride with. It’s been really fun so far though, I do love challenges!
I am always amazed at the vegan community and their support for one another. Especially out here in LA. I have met so many wonderful vegans who all support each other which is really powerful and inspiring. People are happy to help out and spread the word.
What vegans would you say have influenced you and why?
Rip Esselstyn – His books really taught me a lot when I first got into being vegan and I love his story. Very positive message and helps people transition into the lifestyle.
Kim Barnouin – Her Skinny Bitch In The Kitch cookbook helped me get started in vegan cooking and learn more about food in general.
Moby – Not only for his music but for his activism. He is very well spoken and knowledgeable. Gene Baur- I think it’s amazing that he has been vegan since 1985. The work he does to protect and rescue Factory Farm animals is paramount. I’m hoping to visit the farm very soon in LA.
Ruby Roth – I fell in love when I heard her speak. She is so well spoken and has a calm nature. Knows how to handle criticism, it’s brilliant and gets me all fired up. I love that she is an artist as well. Her work is so important in teaching children and as they are the future generations that will have an effect on animal rights in the future.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau – She has wonderful information and educational videos as well as great recipes. Hearing her speak is inspiring.
Since i also am an activist and my brand is about awareness as well I want to include some influential people on that subject who are not vegan…
Vananda Shiva, Naomi Klein, Carol Van Strum, and Shepard Fairey of course
All of these leaders play an important part in my journey with my company and I constantly learn from them all the time. We should all be so grateful to have these influential activists and advocates on our team.
I’ve hung onto this really old t-shirt I picked up in London back in 2004 at a record shop called Black Market Records. It’s an old Drum n’ Bass label. It’s black with white print on a black tee. It is very simple with just the words “Black Market Records” and a little star inside of a circle on the front left chest and bigger on the back. I cut the sleeves off of it and the print is super cracked and worn in so it has a true vintage look. The color of the shirt is really faded too. I wear it when I go to dance to DnB or to sleep. It holds some sentimental value for sure.
What is your favorite vegan guilty pleasure?
Have you had the Eat Pastry Cookie Dough? omg
Kind Kreme, DONUTS, and the brownie cake at Erin McKenna’s Bakery.
Tell me a little bit about being a Vegan DJ?
Well I started DJing when I was 16 playing at raves in Atlanta in the early 2000s. I did it for a few years and then quit. Moving out to LA sparked my interest in it again after meeting my best friend here who shares a mutual love for Drum n’ Bass music. We spin together a lot but just for fun. I haven’t played out in clubs here, just at friends houses or parties. I recently got a new set up so i’m super stoked to be able to play more. The genres I play most are DnB and House music but I love to play 80s, 90s, and current stuff too! I still have all my old vinyl too, precious gems. I don’t use a laptop with serrato or traktor just good ol’ vinyl and CDJs. I suppose I’ll have to catch up with the times at some point.
Courtesy Image: BEETxBEET