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Meet 3 Women Surviving and Thriving in the CBD Industry

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Meet 3 Women Surviving and Thriving in the CBD Industry

Women of all kinds are calling upon CBD for hope and healing, and for some, CBD offers a path toward entrepreneurship. Despite being designed, marketed and branded nearly solely to women, there’s an alarming lack of data found on women-owned CBD businesses. However, with CBD estimated to reach $3.5 billion in sales in 2021, women who started a CBD business deserve their fair share of the market. 

We talked to three women who started a CBD business each with a uniquely different business journey, yet all sharing a passion to help others heal! You’ll hear from Cat Major of ​​Blissful Stoner Body Essentials, Andrea Wightwick of Hapsy, and Rachel Grano from Mother’s Hemp. These woman-owned and operated CBD company founders discuss funding disparities, social media, being a woman in the CBD industry, and how their brands have been affected by COVID-19.

women-owned cbd

1. Cat Major | Blissful Stoner Body Essentials 

How has the dramatic increase in CBD sales since COVID began affected your business?

At the beginning of the pandemic, during the Summer of 2020, B.S.B.E did very well, peaking in November. However, direct to consumer sales have since declined, unfortunately. I think due to the uncertainty of things and using extra income for self care sort of takes the back seat when you are saving for potential medical/emergency expenses.

How has the use, reach, or challenges of social media influenced your business?

Social media is definitely a great marketing tool, especially for small businesses. It is easy to get your products or brand in front of your particular audience. But unfortunately, cannabis and social media marketing almost don’t exist. There are so many laws and policies surrounding what you can and can’t promote that it seems impossible to get around the red tape unless you have the funds to hire a team of individuals to help. We’ve pretty much had to rely on organic growth to boost our online presence.

What does it mean to be “woman-owned and operated” in the world of Hemp and Cannabis?

It means a great deal to be women owned and operated and an even greater deal to be a Black woman owned and operated CBD company because this field is dominated by cisgender white men. There are so many barriers to entry for women alone, adding in race complicates things even further. It’s been a struggle to stay afloat but I am determined!

What are the most challenging barriers to being a women-owned CBD brand? 

Access to capital and finding investors has been the most challenging for me. Because my background is different, I look different, literally everything about me is contrary to what society deems as a success story, I find that people aren’t willing to take the risk on me and my dreams. It’s frustrating to have to do everything on my own simply because I can’t afford to hire someone to do it for me.

2. Andrea Wightwick | Hapsy

How has the dramatic increase in CBD sales since COVID began affected your business?

Hapsy launched during the pandemic. We experienced a quick adoption rate among our customers too. Many people who have tried the Daily Drop have come back to repurchase. We are grateful to hear many stories about how we are making life easier during this especially difficult time. In August, we saw a 68% increase in our Daily Drop, which we found interesting given the rise of the Delta variant. 

How has the use, reach, or challenges of social media influenced your business?

Social media has given us a safe way to be together and discuss self-care and self-prioritization while surviving this pandemic. There’s a lot of noise on social media, so trying to break through to your audience in an authentic way can be challenging. Lastly, between the lack of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) limits on this category, there is an added layer of complexity to openly discuss the key benefits of adding CBD to your everyday routine.

What does it mean to be “woman-owned and operated” in the world of Hemp?

As a woman-owned business in hemp, I get to set the tone for my team, vendors and agency, and I am keenly aware of this opportunity. I have the opportunity to employ and uplift many other small businesses, most of which happen to also be woman-owned.

What are the most challenging barriers to being a woman-owned CBD brand?

As with many other industries, funding for women-owned companies in CBD is still a very small piece of the pie. Despite driving 70-80% of all consumer purchasing, women are still incredibly underfunded for businesses compared to their male counterparts. Research has shown time and again that when you invest in a woman-owned business, she in return invests back into her community, which uplifts everyone.

3. Rachel Grano | Mother’s Hemp

How has the dramatic increase in CBD sales since COVID began affected you as a woman who started a CBD business?

As there has been an increase in CBD sales as an industry statistic, that has unfortunately not been my experience these past 18 months during Covid. A big part of my business sales and networking was at in person events at festivals and markets and as we all know many of those have not happened like they used to. I have sustained my online sales, but without being out there getting a chance to connect with people, it has definitely slowed down the growth of my business.

How has the use, reach, or challenges of social media influenced your business?

The limitations that social media places on CBD and cannabis companies has definitely been a huge challenge for Mother’s Hemp and for most all of us in the industry. I have spent hours working on creating content for Mother’s Hemp,  just to have it flagged and removed. It’s very discouraging to say the least, as it severely limits our reach in an otherwise fruitful way to advertise to our audience. 

What does it mean to be “woman-owned and operated” in the world of Hemp and Cannabis?  

It means you’ve got to be tough! This is a male-dominated industry and even though there is lots of talk around supporting women, it is not always the case as I’ve seen it. I would love to see more support in our industry for any person that identifies as female and especially women of color.

What are the most challenging barriers to being a women-owned CBD business?

I don’t know that these barriers are special to the CBD industry, as I see this happen in both businesses that I own. We are amongst a generation of men that still fail to see women as equals. When I designed Mother’s Hemp I had women in mind, with mother’s to be exact. Being a stay-at-home mom has been the biggest blessing in my life, but the need for help with childcare has been a huge hurdle for me as a woman. Since Covid began, I’ve been homeschooling my daughter and that limits me to what I can do in a day.  I know since the pandemic a lot of the burden has been placed on women to stay home with their kids. The greatest part though is I know we are raising a generation of strong women of the future in what we are teaching our kids. 

Now that you’ve learned about these women-owned CBD businesses, you can enjoy exploring their products and offerings. Additionally, finding out more about women who started CBD businesses can help bring awareness to the women who are smashing barriers and changing the industry. To learn more about cannabis-based businesses and more, be sure to check out an upcoming CannaCon conference!

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