One of the best pieces of advice I keep hearing over and over again for entrepreneurs looking to get into cannabis is, “Take what you do and apply it to the industry”. Gillian of Humboldt Apothecary
did just that. Her background was a direct entry point to creating her own line of infused tinctures. I honestly can’t think of a single person I would prefer concocting a cannabis product!
We got together last week to talk about her company, motherhood, and all things in between. Gillian welcomed the idea of being on our new weekly Instagram show “The Oov Sesh
” which we do LIVE by the way! We are just testing things out right now, but Gillian did not skip a beat and was up for the challenge The edited video is below if you’d like to take a look!
Oov: What did you do prior to moving into the cannabis industry?
Gillian: Prior to moving into the cannabis industry, I was working as a botanist and an environmental consultant in the private sector. My business partner had been a high school English teacher and then she devoted several years to studying herbal medicine and became an herbalist. In my younger days, I also studied with several herbalists, so our love for cannabis and other medicinal plants was our common ground and the focus of our business from the start.
Oov: What was your motivation to develop your products?
Gillian: As herbalists, we believe very strongly in whole plant medicine. And we were always very interested in the therapeutic uses of cannabis before it was wiped out of use in the American pharmacy. Historically, cannabis has been blended with other herbs and spices to optimize its therapeutic use, and that really appealed to us. We spent some time researching old medical texts and the ways in which cannabis was used for various ailments and treatments. That inspired our line with herbal blends. We were able to combine our knowledge and passion and develop formulas that drew on eclectic uses in an updated context.
Oov: What has been a challenge over the past four years and how did you overcome it or working on overcoming it?
Gillian: Initially, we were very overwhelmed with the size of the growing industry and the magnitude of wealth and resources that we were up against in developing a product line. We were so excited to just be a part of it, but we wanted to bring the best possible product to the market. Some things were out of our reach so we adopted a philosophy of doing the best we could with what we had to work with. We also developed an informal “wish list” of goals that we wanted to meet and a timeline to implement them. The wish list is continuously growing but we foster the same vision of baby steps forward. That way we can grow our company carefully, with love, and in a very organic way. I guess that our challenges have become part of what defines our brand in the sense that it has been a very personal journey and we hope that the love for what we do is evident in the quality and authenticity of our products.
Oov: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to break into the cannabis space?
Gillian: My advice for anyone that wants to enter the cannabis space is to believe in your dreams and go for it! There is a lot of room to contribute your passions and talent. Also, do not be deterred when someone tells you that your dream isn’t viable or practical. It is so important to believe in yourself and then to stay focused and work hard for what you want. Many successful entrepreneurs have faced rejection and failure, and simply worked through those obstacles to find success. That kind of determination is so valuable!
Oov: As a parent, how do you talk to your children about cannabis?
Gillian: My kids were not particularly happy when I started a cannabis business. They had a lot of judgement and concern. However, they have really come around and I think they are proud of me now. I have shared so many testimonials from people that are benefitting profoundly from cannabis use and our tinctures. They see that it is such a valuable medicine for so many individuals. We have had the same conversation about cannabis that we have had about alcohol and other substances. I personally believe that it is best for kids to wait until their brains are fully developed to experiment with any psychoactive substances if there is not an inherent need for them to medicate. That being said, if either of my kids suffered from a condition that could clearly be benefited with cannabis use, I would have no hesitations about giving it to them.
Oov: What are some of your concerns as legalization continues to spread?
Gillian: As legalization continues to spread, my largest concern is for the small farms in California. It is becoming increasingly more difficult for them to survive due to the prohibitively high costs of permits and licenses. Small farmers keep the quality of the product very high and they have always had a place in this industry. It is an important part of the culture as well as the connection that we all have to the plant. I hope that consumers keep that in mind when choosing products and that the boutique, farm to table appeal is a priority in this industry, much like it is in the culinary and alcoholic beverage industries.
Oov: What are your favorite products/strains right now?
Gillian: I’m a huge fan of the KIVA mints and blueberries. I keep them in my purse to medicate with and share around! My favorite vape pen is a 1:1 made by Wildseed. Their extracts are really top notch, the flavor is amazing, and the high is so balanced.