Celebrating Women's History in the Making : Conversation 11

March is women’s history month, and to celebrate, all month long we’ve been highlighting some of the women that are creating the history of CBD. We’ll be talking to CBD producers and advocates. To continue our month-long celebration of women, we sat down with Kim Brechin, Founder of Allay and her partner and Chief Sciene Officer Dr. Kellie Raydon, Naturopathic Physician, Licensed Acupuncturist.


WLM:  Tell us about what got you started with CBD?

KB:  I have rheumatoid arthritis. I was diagnosed when my last child was an infant and I was tired of taking medicine to manage the disease. I had a massage therapist who gave me a massage with a cream that had CBD in it. The next morning, after I had a restful night’s sleep, I ran down the stairs and realized I needed to create something like this. For me, I was able to ween off all the pharmaceuticals and leaned on CBD for my cure.

Dr. KR:  I have a Master’s degree in Oriental Medicine. Here I am doing academic work on natural medicine and cannabis has been used for centuries. It’s used in ancient Chinese medicine. I was asked to do some scientific advisory work about five years ago by Gold Leaf Holdings and I went beyond the little info that was provided to me and found this is one of the most incredible medical treatments in society. The national library of health has thousands of articles about CBD and how it’s able to help. 

WLM:  Did you use CBD religiously before starting your own company? 

KB:  I had never tried it before my massage therapist gave me a CBD massage. I came to it very experientially. From that moment, I decided to do research and my business unfolded.

WLM:  How has CBD helped your day-to-day life? 

KB:  Personally, I just went through a transition with doctors to bring up my endocannabinoid system to rid myself of all the rheumatoid arthritis drugs I had been taking for years. It affects organs, joints, etc. But for me, it manifests in my whole body. 

WLM:  What makes your CBD company unique? 

ALLAY, CBD Body Butter, $59

ALLAY, CBD Body Butter, $59

KB:  We are Oregon based! Our mission is to educate people first and then bring them to our product. We are committed to use organic products and source our CBD from East Fork. My background is helping luxury beauty brands come to market. I wanted to make this a small batch, light weight, hand crafted product and each batch has uniqueness to it. We source ethical products and rely on our supply chain to deliver high quality, ethical, no harm products. We create as little packaging as possible. 

Dr. KR:  The CBD is derived from the highest quality hemp sourced locally and it’s artisan. 

WLM:  What is the best advice you were given when starting your CBD business? 

KB:  Hire an expert like Dr. Kellie! My husband is my partner and he’s a physicist as well so that’s super helpful. In general, align yourself with the best growers, scientists, and medical individuals as you can. It’s ok to make mistakes because that’s how you learn. I’d worked with pharmaceutical companies and I knew I didn’t want to create green and black packaging that said weedy-mc’weedy. I wanted to create the La Mer of CBD products. The stereotype was hard to overcome but it was worth it. 

Dr. KR: I wanted to provide clarity and overcome the stigma some might have about cannabis. I have a doctorate in Botanical Education and it should be brought forth with the integrity it deserves. 

WLM:  What’s your recommendation for using CBD for the first time? What advice would you give new users on how to dose and what to expect? 

Dr. KR:  There is a study from a few years back called The Quest for Therapeutic Targets. The dosing for the article ranges from 10mg to 1500mg! With ALS and MS and other disorders, they are using higher dosages to help patients sleep better at night. It’s not possible to overdose on CBD like how you would on an opiate. At Allay, we recommend starting at a low dose like 5mg to 10mg and going up to 40mg. Because we have an endocannabinoid system, our body is already accustomed to the receptor sites. CBD is non-intoxicating and you will see the therapeutic benefits you’re trying to see over time. People in the west are accustomed to a “quick fix” and you should “discontinue” it if you don’t feel it immediately. Think of CBD as a marathon, not a sprint. To see results, you need to give it time. It’s tinkering with what your body wants.

WLM:  What do you have planned for your company in the next year and 5 years in terms of new developments, products, expansion? 

KB:  We are coming out with a muscle recovery rub on the topical side which has a different smell. It’s for muscle recovery and athletic needs. We are also launching a lip balm. Our goal is to launch the supplements Dr. Kellie has designed. We also want to do a summit and get real life feedback. 

WLM:  This is Women's Month and the theme is the better the balance, the better the world. #balanceforbetter. What tips would you give fellow women to help them achieve more prominent roles in the workplace? 

KB:  My mom always said stick to your knitting. Keep manifesting, block out the noise, and our goals will come. Be fearless! Surround yourself with inspiring people. Challenge yourself. 

Dr. KR:  Stand in your power, follow your interests. If you are inspired and you have ideas, act on them, and joy and satisfaction comes from that. 

WLM:  Have you experienced any barriers as a female in terms of leadership? If it has affected you, how did you overcome those barriers? 

KB:  I have been passed over for jobs, money, and men. I realized I can do anything including same pay, respect, etc. At one point in my career, I was pegged as difficult! My background is also in investment banking and capital markets. I remember walking into a meeting during a merger and I sat down and this gentleman from the other company said “hey honey can you get me a cup of coffee” so I left and wrote my own path. I have also experienced women on women hate. We all need to support each other. The cannabis plant is female and the CBD market is aiming to be one of the first billion dollar industries. My company would not be where it is now without women. 

Dr. KR: One passion of mine is supporting adolescent girls in health care. On the institutional level I have experienced oppression and getting healthcare needs met for women. Let’s join hands together and not tare each other down. 

WLM:  What women do you want to have lunch with? 

Dr. KR:  Bell Hooks, Angela Davis, Gloria Steinman. 

KB:  Oprah, Diane Von Furstenberg, Hilary Clinton, Madeline Albright, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, MY daughters, Kellie, and you Chloe! 

WLM:  What keeps you up at night? 

Dr. KR:  Anything related to the environment. If we are doing irreversible damage to our environment that keeps me up.

KB:  The rights of girls are being taken away and federal judges.

WLM:  What keeps you going during the day? 

KB:  CBD. It’s hard to do a start-up and what keeps me going is not to make a decision from 6pm on Fridays to 9am on Mondays to digitally detox and not answer emails but this weekend I got a text that said: “I tried your product and I can’t believe how it helped me sleep”. Feedback from people saying it worked is what drives me to keep making good products. 

Dr. KR:  The 1:1 with women and hearing their stories keeps me going and projects I believe in that spark my inspiration. 

WLM:   What products of yours are your favorite?

KB:  The muscle recovery balm and lip balm that are about to launch are my favorite.

WLM:  Thank you both so much for your time. We are so thankful for your leadership in our industry.