Celebrating Women’s History in the Making : Conversation 2

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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. We’ll be talking to CBD producers and advocates. We’re also talking to our featured women about the #balanceisbetter movement and what it means to them. 

To continue our month-long celebration of women, we sat down with Christine Smith, founder of Grön.

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

CS:       What got me started is with the company creating a micro-dose chocolate for a market that wasn’t traditionally cannabis users, like mothers. That was in 2015. We quickly realized there is a booming market for CBD products that didn’t include THC. There was no place for education either, so in 2017 we were just playing with it in CO2 form. As a team, we decided we were going to launch a separate company so we could educate people independently. We took all of our proceeds from our little THC chocolate company and started Grön CBD with no THC. They are two separate entities. 

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

CS:       I didn’t use CBD before because CBD didn’t really exist at the time. It wasn’t something people were able to isolate, test and measure up until a couple of years ago. It was always available in plants but you didn’t start to see the CBD market separated from the cannabis market until 2017. So being able to find it and have the resources to bring that product to market has been such a remarkable experience.

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

CS:       I have one broken knee and I used to competitively jump horses and now that I’m in my 40s my body doesn’t respond the same way it used to! I use it for pain management and to help me sleep at night. It just makes my body work better. 

WLM:   What makes your CBD company unique? 

CS:       We are fully committed to being a small batch craft product with an emphasis on bringing a quality product to market. We have partnered with East Fork as our CBD source and they are fair trade and organic certified. We are committed to employing women and minorities and those things are important. Grön is about holistic living and being a better you. 

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

CS:       To focus on why we are doing this and not how big or how fast we can grow. The industry is growing and estimated to be a $22 billion industry within the next few years and the pressure is there to go big as fast as you can. It takes self-restraint to not do that so we take a deep breath and do what is right and not get lost on the way! 

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

CS:       My recommendation is to start with a small amount, 10mg to 15mg, and if you aren’t feeling anything then try more! It’s far less impactful than a melatonin. Give it time and try it for a week so it gets in your system. Everyone is different so play around with that works for you. I recommend keeping a journal for a week and jot down what you took so you can go back to see if you feel different. Taking it in the morning might be different than the evening. 

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

CS:       Expanding our body line to eye cream and face cream and hair mask. We have a line of confections, our body line is expanding and we are launching a pet line! All are the same premise in being organic, natural, fair trade. All sourced from organic hemp grown in Oregon and we are excited to bring products to people and their furry friends that they can eat, drink and apply. 

WLM:   This is Woman's Month and the theme for many 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? 

CS:       Surround yourself with other amazing women. Women create great support teams for other women. We take care of each other and we understand and support each other and that’s been the main difference from moving from corporate America. It’s rewarding to be coming from a company where women are recognized and supported.

Christine smith, with team members: jenna rice (left) and jana oppenheimer (right)

Christine smith, with team members: jenna rice (left) and jana oppenheimer (right)

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

CS:       Yes, almost 20 years in the construction industry, I constantly was pushed up against the glass. I was passed up for promotions because I put my family first and it was exceptionally difficult because I didn’t feel like I was doing anything “well”. The cannabis industry has allowed women to come in and build their companies without a preconceived perception. 

WLM:   Who are your female role models? 

CS:       My mother for giving me the view that I can succeed and no man can tell me no. Hillary Clinton because she’s broken ceilings and pushed up against the resistance.

WLM:   What keeps you up at night? 

CS:       I am. Am I doing the best I can? What can I do more to help my people? And what is next? We are constantly innovating and improving and the mission of this company is how can we do better? 

WLM:   What keeps you going during the day? 

CS:       My team keeps me going, I love my team, the energy, the creativeness and that we are able to create something that helps people enhance their lives. We are making a difference and that is the most rewarding thing in the world. 

WLM:   What advice do you give women who are trying to get ahead in their career? 

CS:       Men are really going for it. They are good at saying “we are going to make it big” and because of societal standards, women have to push really hard to get ahead. We have to be ok with taking risks and thinking bigger and knowing it’s okay. 

WLM:   Does CBD work instantly? 

CS:       CBD isn’t supposed to “hit” you and get you “high”.  If you take aspirin when you don’t have a headache it’s not going to do anything for you either. It just kind of helps it go away if you do have a headache! Same thing for CBD, you can use it to help with pain or anxiety so there are different ways in which you can apply or consume it. 

WLM:   What are your favorite products? 

CS:       My favorite products right now are the new eye cream and hair mask! The dark chocolate bar and the caramel sauce and the face mask, too. I love all our products! 

WLM:   You started making a name for yourself by selling chocolate. Why did you add the body care line?

CS:       It started in chocolate and we expanded into the body line because of requests! We were using the same CBD in the chocolate that we were in the skin products! Whether you eat it, drink it, or apply it we are all about making people feel better. 

WLM:   If you had to say one thing to the people reading this interview, what would it be? 

CS:       The one thing I would say is to find your equilibrium and feel you. Whether you have arthritis, are stressed or engaged in social media, our lives are super stressful and society is pushing pharmaceuticals to make things better and there are natural alternatives to help your life. Take care of your body, take care of your mind, spend time with family and friends. We are providing a natural alternative to find a better you. 

WLM:   Christine, thank you so much for taking the time to provide these insights. We truly appreciate your leadership in our industry. And, as you know, we are obsessed with your products and use them all the time. 

One last thing,  would you quickly strike the #BalanceForBetter pose