Brittney West owns and operates a unique business in Corvallis, Plant Posse. Brittney’s business offers art objects, and jewelry focused entirely on plants. Her cute, Avocado earrings caught our eye at a local boutique last year, and we finally tracked her down for a chat.
WL: How did you arrive at your current plant-based existence?
BW: I worked for three years in a meat and cheese department at a food coop which led me to research where even the most “sustainable” or “humane” meats come from. I dove into documentaries and research that provided me with enough evidence to be convinced that eating animals and their by-products is not only unnecessary and harmful to the animals, but also to our health and devastating on our vulnerable environment. I have always been interested in reducing as much unnecessary suffering as I can, and this was the greatest way I could contribute, at least 3 meals a day.
WL: How long have you been vegan?
BW: I have been strictly vegan for 8 years and dabbled for 2 years prior.
WL: When you were a kid, what did you eat at home?
BW: In high school, I recall sitting at the dinner table eating a steak one night when it finally clicked. I turned to my parents and said, “Oh my God–there’s a cow rolling around in my mouth!” I said I wanted to stop eating animals, but was met with resistance, and I couldn’t fully become vegetarian until I moved out of my home and I could cook for myself.
WL: Is your vegan lifestyle born of a love of animals, or for health reasons, or a desire to decrease your carbon footprint… or all three, or something else?
BW: My initial and main reason for the vegan lifestyle is full-heartedly to reduce unnecessary suffering for animals. The second reason was for urgent environmental reasons, since research proves being vegan is the greatest way to individually combat climate change. Lastly, for health reasons, after I found out a vegan diet is the greatest way to either prevent, reverse or cure the most common diseases. It seemed like a win-win-win choice knowing it would help benefit animals, the environment and my health.
WL: Do you have any “go-to” meals you prepare?
BW: I’m one of those avocado toast every morning and for every snack kind of gals, only I like adding Miyoko’s smoked mozzarella cheese, fresh dill and Umami powder. I could eat this every meal. Aside from that, I eat a well-balanced meal with lots of greens, rice & bean bowls and veggie stir fries.
WL: What sparked the idea to create your vejewelry, if I may coin a word?
BW: I love that you called it “vejewelry!” I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oregon with a focus in fine arts–namely painting and drawing. I spent many years working in the produce department at a local food coop as well as the Farmer’s Market for a local farm. I became enthralled with the unique beauty, healing power and diversity of the plant and fungi kingdoms. This work experience, the art background and my growing love for all things plant-based since entering the world of veganism became the catalyst for starting my own business. Wanting to meld my passions and incorporate this giddiness into decor and wearable art, I started Plant Posse two and a half years ago with help from some of my most supportive, close friends. Plant Posse is a posse of plant-powered people producing jewelry & art promoting plant pride. All our work is inspired by plants, produce & fungi. Our jewelry is each uniquely hand-sculpted and hand-painted and our stickers and Eco-prints are derived from my original paintings.
WL: What’s your best seller?
BW: Our best seller is hands down the avocado earrings, which happen to be the first product we made. In fact, we started selling at First Alternative Co-op with nothing but avocado earrings and were tickled by how happy people were about avocado earrings. From there, we tried to introduce new items seasonally, as their plant and fungi counterparts were ready to harvest.
WL: You also paint too right? Any other artistic endeavors?
BW: I am also a painter–painting both through Plant Posse and independently. Most of my artistic endeavors are through my business now, creating original paintings through our CSA program. A Plant Posse CSA stands for Community Supported Art and is a spin on farm CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture). Farm CSA’s provide customers with surprise subscription boxes of local, seasonal produce, whereas our art boxes provide people with fresh art featuring seasonal (and mostly local) plants, produce and fungi. It’s a quarterly subscription where you can choose from 5 different boxes at varying price points ranging from $15 to $100. It includes anything from eco-prints, to stickers, handmade jewelry, original paintings, needlepoint, sculpture, ceramics and more. These CSA boxes are a great way to collect original art for yourself or to give as gifts.
Browse and purchase Plant Posse art & jewelry at www.plantposseart.com.