It’s Women’s History Month, and to celebrate, all month long we’re highlighting some of the women that are creating the history of CBD. To continue our month-long celebration of women, we sat down with Cara Felleman, founder of Grateful Chocolates.
WLM: Tell us about what got you started with CBD?
CF: I started using CBD about a year ago because a friend recommended I try it for my chronic headaches. I have suffered from headaches and migraines since I was a child and have tried every medication under the sun. I used to take Advil or Excedrin like it was candy, and although I knew that was not the best for my health, I had no choice. As soon as I heard CBD could help alleviate my headaches, I started educating myself about CBD and experimented with different brands and dosages.
WLM: Did you use CBD religiously before starting your own company?
CF: Of course. I truly believe in order to create a product that will grow and become successful, you must not only use the product but have a passion and know your “why”. My “why” is simple. CBD oil is something I use for two main reasons in my life, first, for my headaches as discussed earlier, but as any millennial working in the hospitality startup space and co-founding Grateful Chocolates, my mind naturally wanders at night. I replaced taking melatonin at night with a form of CBD, sometimes as a tincture I apply sublingually, or sometimes indulging in one of my Grateful Chocolate truffles as a late-night treat.
WLM: How has CBD helped your day-to-day life?
CF: CBD has honestly been a game changer in my day-to-day life, which I know sounds silly to say but it is true! For the first time in my life, I scored in the lowest bracket on the Migraine Disability Assessment, I have decreased my intake of drugs like Advil and Excedrin, and since replacing melatonin with CBD at night, I have had a much easier time getting up in the morning.
WLM: What makes your CBD company unique?
CF: Not only is Grateful Chocolates founded by two women, my partner Aditi and I, we are committed to providing the highest quality truffles for which your body will be thankful. We pride ourselves in our ability to create a truly special truffle. Our chocolates are handmade in small artisan batches in New York City. Everyone can enjoy our truffles as we do not use dairy or nuts in our production. Grateful Chocolates is the only CBD truffle company in the market today offering high-dose dairy-free CBD chocolate. I also want to note the name of the brand, Grateful. Gratitude is something I think about often. Grateful means more than that to me. It is a nod to my father’s favorite band, Grateful Dead, so it is a way to honor him and the teal color is in honor of my mother, who died of ovarian cancer when I was a teen. Eventually we plan to have a portion of the sales donated to cancer organizations.
WLM: What is the best advice you were given when starting your CBD business?
CF: The first thing I was told was to have fun with it and see where things go. It is important to know your “why” and make sure there is joy and passion in the business you are building.
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?
CF: The seller in me should say, try a Grateful Chocolate truffle for the first time, however, the most important thing I would recommend is to make sure you trust the brand you are buying from. Unfortunately, there are a lot of products on the market that lack quality. I would recommend buying CBD oil in the form of a tincture for your first time. I found it extremely educational to speak with someone when buying to better understand the dosage and use cases. If you can go in person, great, if not use the power of social media to connect with brands.
WLM: What do you have planned for your company in the next year and 5 years in terms of new developments, products, expansion?
CF: Grateful Chocolates just launched February 2019, so we are actually very early on in our brand development. We are learning from our amazing customers every day and even my partner and I get together and brainstorm new ideas weekly. We are always working on new ways to evolve the truffle brand. We have many exciting ideas but one I can share includes launching “Grateful On The Go” in the next week or so. These smaller packs will initially come in three of our most popular flavors, match, mint and speculoos.
WLM: If you had to pick one flavor of yours, what would it be?
CF: That is a tough question! It really depends on my mood but if I had to pick one, I would pick our speculoos truffle since you can’t find it anywhere else.
WLM: How many of your chocolates do you need to eat before starting to feel the effects of CBD?
CF: Grateful Chocolates actually has one of the higher doses on the market when it comes to chocolates, at 20mg per truffle, so I would recommend one to start.
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?
CF: I truly believe it all comes down to having a voice in the workplace. Stand up for yourself, speak up when it may be uncomfortable, and don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. Don’t forget, your voice is just as valuable and respected, people simply need to hear it.
WLM: Have you experienced any barriers as a female in terms of leadership? If it has affected you, how did you overcome those barriers?
CF: I am grateful to say I have not. As a female leader in my full-time job, I am lucky to say I am empowered and embraced for who I am. Unfortunately, I know many women who don’t feel that way, and I hope that every woman has the opportunity to feel the way I do in my workplace.
WLM: Who are your female role models?
CF: I have always admired both Kendra Scott and Sara Blakely, self-made entrepreneurs, who are strong independent women, who worked hard and figured out what it took to become beyond successful, starting with limited resources.
WLM: What keeps you up at night?
CF: Honestly, myself. I am always thinking about what more I could have done in the day and what I have to look forward to in the next few days.
WLM: What keeps you going during the day?
CF: I am very much a people person and know the people around me not only motivate me but energize me to be my best self.
WLM: What advice do you give women who are trying to get ahead in their careers?
CF: I would recommend two things. First, network like crazy, all the time. You will be surprised how eager everyone is to help you succeed in the workforce. Hands down, I would not have been able to start Grateful Chocolates if it wasn’t for my incredible network. The next thing I would recommend is to take risks and be okay if you fail. You will learn so much from these two choices that it will set you up for the future in ways you could never imagine.
WLM: Thank you so much for your insights and your leadership in our industry. Before we wrap up, would you strike the #balanceforbetter pose?