I’m so thrilled you’re tuning into this episode today with Olivia Alexander - the Founder of Kush Queen.
Since 2015, Kush Queen has been committed to providing the finest cannabis, wellness, and lifestyle products. Under Olivia’s direction, Kush Queen has grown to become the premier female-focused cannabis lifestyle brand and has catapulted into a multi-million dollar company, distributed to 1000+ accounts, stocked in the likes of Urban Outfitters and partners with incredible brands like Alice and Olivia.
In this episode we cover:
Why it’s important to build your email and SMS database over social media: and spoiler alert it’s because she learned the hard way when she lost an Instagram account with 3 million followers.
The marketing risks she took that quantum leaped her forward.
How she overcomes the challenges that inherently come with working in this industry.
Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
Speaker2: So I am technically the founder and CEO of Kush Queen. We are a luxury CBD and cannabis company out in California. I founded the company over six years ago in my parents garage and I've grown it into a multi million dollar operation over the last few years. We have over 70 Skewes. We sell products online in retailers like Urban Outfitters and then we also sell cannabis products in the compliant and regulated market in California.
Speaker1: Love it. Love it. It's crazy to think like when you started something from your parents garage that you could get to where you are today in just six years. It's kind of quick.
Speaker2: Yeah, I did have a leg up. I started technically in this industry before it was an industry. Twelve years ago, I worked at the most entry level job you could have in cannabis at the time, which was a bud tender. So I had some friends. They said, my friends are opening up a dispensary. I was like, whoa, I want to work at a dispensary that sells really cool. And so I did. And it was from that moment that I fell in love with the plant and the people that use it. And I knew that there was going to be a whole world that was going to be built around people who were not stoners. Because I wasn't a stoner, I just used cannabis and I had no idea what I was going to do. I just knew this is it for me forever. I love it. I love connecting with people. I was excited about it and everything else sort of just had to fall into place. So when I started Khush Queen, I had been working in the industry as well for many, many years, and I was able to use my experience as a form of capital when it came to starting my business and chasing my dream totally.
Speaker1: What was the point when you were working in the dispensary and in the industry that you thought, hey, there's actually a business for me to start here and I'm going to stop going on this entrepreneurial path?
Speaker2: Honestly, right away, I started a company called Sky High Treats when I worked at the dispensary when I was 18 and it totally failed, but I had the instinct. It really spoke to me and my gut. I'm an entrepreneur who really believes in training yourself to learn how to listen to intuition. Believe it or not, you can train yourself in meditation. And so I've always been listening. I didn't have my AHA moment and chase it until about twenty thirteen. So many years later in a manifestation period, I was really doing a lot of meditation, a lot of yoga. I knew I wanted to start a business. I knew I wanted it to be something that would give me a lot of freedom in life, but also allow me to make money. And there was a week that I would say is the most important week of my life. It was summer of twenty thirteen. I had gone to a little premiere party for a friend of mine, Harvey Gillion, who's now a big actor on what we do in the shadows on effects. And I put my hands up like this and I ended up on the glamour dotcom beauty blog and it said Celebrity Olivia Alexander's nail art. And I'm like, that's funny. And then a couple days later, I was in a store and I had purchased a pen battery and I had crystallized it with Swarovski crystals. And the owner wanted to buy some. And I was like, huh? And then the moment happened. And I said, this is what I have been waiting for. This is what I've been trying to manifest.
Speaker2: This is my opportunity. So I went to my dad and I said, hey, I need you to give me some money to start a crystal vape pen business and a nail art business. And I'm going to also sell sunglasses. This is my plan. And my dad gave me seven hundred bucks. I know like what a week amount of money to ask for. And I made six dollars in the first month and it was really, truly off to the races from there. And I really just let the community that I had found speak to me because Instagram really just exploded for me. It was very obviously early on and Instagram still. And I just was posting images of the products, posting images of myself, really showing people a luxury cannabis lifestyle long before this was even socially acceptable. I mean, I had so many people tell me you're ruining your life. Why would you post yourself smoking on the Internet? You're never going to have a job. And I was like, well, I'm making a lot of money now. I was not making money like this before. So the money kind of had people settled down with the stigma very quickly and then just a lot of organic natural support developed for Crystal Hold. And what I was doing, Miley Cyrus tweeted a photo of herself wearing the sunglasses and a friend had brought them to a video shoot and was just like, oh, I think you might like these. And I just really called in a lot of favors. I had been in the entertainment industry my whole life, so I was able to ask a lot of friends who are actors, young Hollywood kind of people, hey, can you throw me a tag? Can I get you to put these on and let me take a picture and share it on my social? And it just builds and builds and builds.
Speaker2: And then a girl showed me an attachment for the pin and you could actually use cannabis with the battery. And I created one for her and I said, well, I should just sell them. I use cannabis. And basically I called the queen and then I really opened up Pandora's box. My business just like exploded again. And it was because of these two words, Kush Queen and how I self-identified, how I showed you a really beautiful joint rolling set up with blue batons and how I was just creating this world, showing this lifestyle. And then it just built and built and built. And one day I met who is now my fiancee, but he was a cultivator. He had a huge grow operation. And I said to him, I said, you know, it's really my dream to make a cannabis brand for everybody else. I'm not a stoner kush queen, is it? We have to just make beautiful, amazing products that speak to people in a way that is wellness and that isn't just about getting high. And it didn't happen immediately because he basically really got me a lot of clients in cannabis at this point. I was doing creative work, social media. I was really just hustling nonstop, running Cristol cold.
Speaker2: I had clients. I was really just living this wild life. And I built a huge network on Instagram, over three million followers at this point. Why? Yeah, and cannabis and CBD inherently violates the terms of service of almost every major social media app. Something really important for people to know it's censored. They do not want you promoting these kinds of things. So I started to have a lot of problems. I lost a million and a half followers in one day during the summer of twenty fifteen. My biggest pages were deleted and taken away from me by Instagram and never given back. And in that moment I had my real dream right in front of me, which was Queen, and I took it as a great aha moment to focus on what I truly wanted and not be distracted by all of these cannabis clients and all of this social media advertising. Basically, I was doing I had my moment to really put my name on something that I always dreamed of and we really reformulated the products we pretty much seized. Being crystal cold at this time went all the way into Khush Queen and it was a wild ride. So I did that. And within a few months, well, I guess not a few months. Within two years, we were approached by a nail salon chain called Belchers, who wanted to do a KBD mani pedi. And we were supposed to just give three hundred services of products. And all those years later, it's still one of the best selling services they have at the salon.
Speaker2: They have like seven of them, I think. And it went viral. It was just this huge moment. And we got to be a part of ushering in CBD into the mainstream, in the media. And we really saw this incredible growth with our business where all these amazing women mainly and men were going into nail salons. They were getting to experience the service that they had tried 70 times in their life with CBD. And they felt a difference. They felt it and they would go home and they would buy our products. Then they would go back and get the character again and again and again. And it was just explosive. And then we rode this wild ride of being one of the only brands in the beginning with Lord Jones and a couple other people in this space. And then I had one warehouse, then I had two warehouses within a month, and then I had three warehouses within a year from that. And then now we have a seven thousand square foot operation in Orange County. We manufacturing another twenty thousand square foot building with our cannabis products. In twenty nineteen. Alice and Olivia reached out to me on LinkedIn and said, Stacey wants you to make Alison Olivia CBD products. I got to go to New York Fashion Week and I've really just been on this incredible wild ride that really just started because there was nothing for me and there was nothing for my people. And I had the courage to make it and just chase it every single day relentlessly.
Speaker1: That is so crazy. And if that's not seeing and spotting a gap in the market, I do not know what is that is like. Unbelievable. Oh, my God. Love that for you. So cool. Thank you. I want to go back because I have a few thoughts on different questions. When Instagram decided to deactivate your account, three million followers or you lose a million followers and then your accounts are gone, what is the actual reaction that you have in that moment? What do you do? What's the day after?
Speaker2: My life was like on fire, you know, I would say, like I built my home on somebody else's land and they evicted me. And I was beyond upset, I was depressed, I felt like I was literally free falling because I had an agency that was making mid six figures. We were having a lot of growth. We had a lot going on. It was a really great ride for me. But what I really needed was to lose everything in a certain aspect because it wasn't what I really wanted. I was just making a good living and I was very distracted and I was building other people's businesses with my community that I had built with all of these followers. And it really was terrifying, traumatizing. I still have PTSD from it. But the truth is it set me up for having a lot more roadblocks because the truth was I hadn't even seen the start of the roadblocks. I hadn't even seen the beginning of what I would face as a CBD and cannabis business. I had so many challenges ahead of me and it really helped me get some good battle armor. And that is really how I look back on it. And I, I look back on it and I say thank the universe that happened to me. I know when people hear the story, they're like, wow, that sounds awful. And it's like it was. But I've never, ever been the kind of person who stops. I never stop with forward motion. And for me, I just said, this is leading me to my real dream. Khush Queen was always my real dream and I actually sold the remaining pages that I had and really use that capital to put into the new queen and to help keep up with the sales. I had sales going, but you can make money, but you really do need cash for the cash flow. And I definitely had a lot of you know, I had a lot of learning to do. And twenty, fifteen to twenty seventeen was like my business school, if you will.
Speaker1: Love that. I always love to ask about the money piece to paint that picture of how much capital you need to start a business and what it really entails. Are you able to share what kind of costs to have in the beginning or what kind of capital you needed to have to fund your first ortez?
Speaker2: My dad gave me the original seven hundred, which I turned into six thousand, and then with Khush Queen in that period, I think we maybe were able to scrounge up maybe 10, 20 thousand dollars. It was very nominal. I really did start with Kinko's packaging, like it was like a paper strip that I wrapped around the farm and we would custom fit these very basic shrink shrinkwrap and we would shrink wrap them by hand. I started with absolutely nothing and I just built it a little bit over time and really did it sort of the opposite way. People call it bootstrapping, but that is really what we did. And I think that what's important is that people have a plan and know what they want. I think for me, I at least had a plan and I knew what I wanted. I didn't have much money, but I knew I had my experience and I knew that I had worked behind the scenes that all of these cannabis companies and I had seen the pitfalls. I had seen what was wrong with the products. And like I said earlier, I use my experience capital. So I may have started with very little if to most people in this CBD and cannabis space, it's nothing but for me, my rich experience all the years I had been in cannabis, that was my capital. And that is really, truly what allowed me to elevate my business and then our plan. You know, if you have a very clear plan and clear goals and you stay consistent on the plan and on those goals, you can't really lose. Sure, you have bumps. Things don't go the way that you think they're going to go. But you can always go back to the plan that you set and stay focused on that. And I really think that's where you build momentum. And then all of a sudden there's a tipping point and it really all comes together.
Speaker1: Like you said earlier, you built a house on someone else's land. Does that mean that when you came into Quish Clean, you focused more on building your own email database and owning those relationships versus focusing too much on social media? And what was the kind of thinking there?
Speaker2: Yeah, I mean, I one hundred percent use social media to get eyeballs and to get the initial traffic. But as I was deleted, I was like, what's having three million followers? They're not my followers. They're not my users. They're Instagram users. And at this point, I had also spread myself onto a lot of platforms, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat. If it was a free platform to market myself, I was on it. I was creating content for it. And I was always posting there at least a few posts a day. And then when the deletion happens, that's when I became heavy on email marketing, collecting emails. I started a club with Khush Clean that was really brilliant and it was called the Kush Queen crowning program. And we crowned Kush Queens and Women and they got a 50 percent off discount. They got their own codes. They got like some free stuff. But I didn't even really have a lot of money at the time to do anything other than offer steep discounts and let them belong. And I think we got over a thousand people to sign up. And those initial people really helped bridge that moment of, oh, my, I've lost these pages to a great email list, a solid SMS approach, and really helped me lay the foundation. So again, I had no other option, but I knew in that moment I had to start collecting emails and I knew that if I had my list and I had my people, I was always going to be OK. And so I focused on that probably for a year or two in the early days while I kind of figured everything else out.
Speaker1: Mm. That is so genius. I love that crowning women. Oh bliss. How did you find those women and what was the, the mechanics of being like. You need to do X to become a crowned queen.
Speaker2: Well we did salvage the Queen Instagram page, which at the time predominantly just posted women who shared themselves using cannabis in some way or made some type of female driven cannabis content. We posted Meems, we posted artwork from artists. We posted a lot of selfies, and I was able to salvage that page and begin to source the invites from there and then use that page as a tool. Because a lot of people do want to shout out. A lot of people do want to be seen on a bigger page. I think the page had like thirty to eighty thousand followers somewhere along those lines. I can't quite remember. And we really use that as. A tool to have them be seen, to continue to share our messaging of breaking the stigma around this planet and also to show other people that we saw them. So we built a criteria that made it feel like an even exchange. I think that's also a huge thing that people don't do is build community. You know, if you build community, if you build something that is an even exchange of energy between maybe your business or your project and the community that you're building, everyone can win. And I think that that's really what we did was built it where it was a no brainer.
Speaker2: It was very cost effective for our company. It gave people huge discounts and shout outs on social media, and then they got to proudly be a queen and belong to something that signified something so much more than CBD, bath bombs and products. It signified taking a stand, supporting this plan, being seen in an industry that didn't see women the way that we were seeing ourselves. And it really was using nothing and turning it into something. And I can't believe sometimes when I look back on the genius that was the queen crowning program, but I think that I didn't have abundance. I was not in abundance with my business. I had not raised any money. I was really just running off of the sales I had and the energy that I could create. And without abundance, sometimes survival does drive us to a certain level of brilliance. And I think a lot of my early decisions, I can't say they were incredibly intentional. They were just me trying to survive and me trying to rub two sticks together and create a fire. And I really felt like that's kind of what we did.
Speaker1: Gosh, that's amazing. So amazing, at what point did it start to really snowball and, you know, evolve with your marketing and evolve with that big growth?
Speaker2: I would say from the time we really said, OK, Khush Queen, is it it was about six months we grinded in a manner those first six months that I don't recommend for anyone's mental health. It was quite all consuming. We called in every favor. We called in every person that we ever worked for. We called in and took meetings with just about every relationship. We had to let people know this is what we're doing. If there's any way we can work together, if there's any way you can support us, just getting the products and a lot of dispensaries. And then that's when essentially we started to see a lot of growth and really see everything scale. And then twenty, seventeen, again, pivotal moment, not just for CBD, but for cannabis. That was an election year for us. And then in twenty eighteen, you saw us vote to legalize cannabis statewide in California. And that also was a timing thing where I was already in the market. People already knew me, people already knew my brand. And I had relationships that I was able to use in order to stay in this regulated system, which is really, truly set up to push out small business owners and smaller businesses because it's highly regulated. I think it's important for people to know, especially if they're getting into CBD or interested in maybe starting a cannabis business, that if you are selling certain molecules, you are entering a highly regulated business that is predominately set up for large corporations, that the bread and butter of it is mergers and acquisitions and not bootstrapping and starting organic brands.
Speaker2: But at the same time, I did it. And if I did it and a few other people did it, it is possible. And I think that's what is important for people to know is just being an entrepreneur is so challenging. It really is. You're really setting yourself up everyday for constant challenges. But you can either look at it as a challenge or you can look at it as an opportunity. And we just got so used to being beat down and having so many problems and issues because of the space we were in and it being an emerging industry that we've gotten really good at taking every challenge and turning it into an opportunity. It's not to say that we don't have bad days. Trust me, we do, but we hold on to each other, especially my C suite, my team, my upper group. We are like family and we also look at the business like a human. And I know that's a strange thing. What do you mean? We call her she and we think of her as a child that we birthed the child, that I heard people say, when are you going to have kids? And I say, already have a kid. Her name is clean and my company is five, six years old.
Speaker2: I think of her like she's going to kindergarten. And I think of all these years that I was growing her and fighting for her and calling in all my favors as the time that I had a baby and I needed help. And so I think looking at the company like a living, breathing human also has allowed to bring a lot of empathy into my business, especially when it's come to work life balance, when it's come to culture. And just because we're a smaller company that was a startup doesn't mean we can't have culture, doesn't mean that we can't value the people that work at our company and doesn't mean that we can't bring a new I call it unicorn energy to the it's a different kind of unicorn energy. It's when you you feel like you're a unicorn already and you stand in that and you say, oh, our day is coming, where will be a traditional unicorn. But until then, we stand in a billion dollar space, which is all about energy and the vibe and feeling like we have everything we need. Even though you don't. You just say we've got this, we've got this. We can't afford that. Let's think creatively about how we can. And it also gives you the confidence to take risks and act a little wild, which is also something I've done that I'm very proud of. As far as marketing goes,
Speaker1: Can you elaborate on this of marketing while the unicorn energy? I want to hear about it.
Speaker2: So we have to go back to summer of twenty nineteen. CVT has exploded in the US and everyone is trying to start a CBD business. But one of the big things people don't know is that CBD processing online transactions, accepting credit cards is considered high risk and is actually very hard to acquire because of the popularity of CBD company by the name of the 11 and merchant processing company decided that CBD was getting too popular and they were no longer going to process CBD transactions. And they shut down pretty much. Entire industry, so one day I am at a show, I'm at a convention called Cauliflowers, I'm in my booth, I'm talking to buyers, I look down at my phone and something is very, very wrong. I cannot accept one credit card transaction on my site. I am completely effed. And that summer was a really challenging summer where we had to fight constantly for merchant processing, where we had to follow up with people like Square every single day to convince them to move forward with their beta program. And ironically, it was around the time that I was trying to launch my CBD cosmetics and I wanted to go to Beauty Con. I didn't even know if CBD companies or cannabis companies could participate in Beauty Con, because that's another thing that you learn along the way of trying to market your brand. You're shocked at how many people actually closed the door in your face because of what you sell and you really do feel the stigma of it when you're a business owner because of banking and because of these legal things. And the law does not like a grey area.
Speaker2: The law likes black and white. This is legal. This is it. And it's still very hairy when it comes to banking and processing, especially at this time. But I really wanted to go to Beauty Con and they told us one month before, I'm assuming they had some empty booth spaces that they were going to allow CBD companies. And so I committed with less than a month, I scraped together the money because a convention like that is not cheap. I is it ish? I spent like thirty thousand dollars all in with the ability to have the booth, the ability to have the team there. But I knew that Beauty Con was a community that I wanted to be a part of. I know that some of the products we make or personal care and beauty and wellness is a space for all of it. And I knew that they had a huge population of people who came out of town for it. And what I focus on in marketing push clean is finding the people who don't use CBD. People who use CBD have heard of us. It's about everybody else. I also heavily focus on something we like to call just disrupting. But it's not disrupting our own industry. It's disrupting and replacing products that people have been using forever. Personal care products. I don't care about competing with another CBD company. I want to compete with Dove. I want to compete with Lush. I want to compete with people who have mainstream products and a mainstream customer. And I want to convince the world why it's important to replace that product with the CBD or cannabis product.
Speaker2: So we scraped our pennies together, we pulled it together and we got out to Beauty Con. And it was one of the biggest risks I ever took because at the time the business was like barely hanging on with the processing, which is really our bread and butter. And we put together an incredible activation. We literally brought in real cannabis plants. We had a huge live wall of plants, Hollywood and Jackie came by, holiday came by. We had like two hundred person line the entire time. We gave out over five thousand of these sample packs called CBD one to one. And we really focused on collecting emails and finding people who didn't use CBD and we didn't really focus on selling. Naturally, when you go to a convention where people are on their feet all day and you tell them when you get home and you're hurting, soak your feet in this bath bomb and then rub this lotion on your feet, you will come back and buy the products the next day at the convention, which is exactly what happened. And I think we saw over seven thousand people at our booth. We actually broke even on the investment, which was not expected. And we really found what our lifelong customers and then got tons of media. And there was a period where my team was literally like, what if no one, a beauty cares about Queen? And I was like, they're going to care. I know it because they're my people. And I just had to go along with my gut like I always did and take it from there.
Speaker1: Oh, my God. Pretty good risk. That turned out real good.
Speaker2: Yeah, well, I never saw myself as a risk taker because I never did like heights, roller coasters, anything like I'm a wuss when it comes to, like, those types of adventurous things, when it comes to my business and when it comes to my dream and when it comes to my passion, I do realize that I'm a risk taker. And I do think that there is a way to make calculated risks, and especially for entrepreneurs who are just starting. I really think that they need to be empowered to know that those moments may come and you should bet on yourself. You should really bet on you, and that's what I always did, I bet on me, I bet on what I knew, I bet on my experience and I bet on my passion. And that, to me, is what led me to really being successful.
Speaker1: Mm hmm. Absolutely. Oh, my God. Amazing. Amazing. Where is the business today and what can you shout about and tell us that super exciting. That's coming up. I know before you mentioned for 20 day is coming up. Yeah. Tell me about all the fun things.
Speaker2: So we are really excited. We're entering what is considered for 20 months for 20 is the global holiday for celebrating cannabis. And so we have a huge 50 percent off sale. Normally we have what is like a Black Friday style event and we're launching some amazing new products like S.V., which is a new minor cannabinoid that I think is really incredible when it comes to appetite suppression. Cannabis molecules are known for giving people the munchies, but this molecule inherently has the opposite effect. And I've lost over 15 pounds of my covid weight using this tincture. And that's something that we're really passionate about. I Khush Queen is celebrating the science, celebrating minor cannabinoids. So we have a huge month coming up. Another big thing that's happening that we didn't expect is we're growing globally and seeing the hemp market evolve globally. I don't have a business development department and I don't have people out there banging down doors. It's just not our style of business. We're still trying to tap five million. And that is something that we have said is our goal before we do a huge round and really raise money. I know that people are really hot in cannabis and CBD to raise, but we really believe that approaching this small approaching it in a way that is manageable and approaching it in a way that will never leave us being a company that actually doesn't have the sales for our valuation.
Speaker2: The tech industry has sort of created this whole idea that you can endlessly lose money on a business and then one day you're going to make so much that all those losses won't matter. And unfortunately, that is a way to approach business, but it's not for a lot of people and it doesn't work in every industry. That's why you see people like massive cannabis companies going under or having stock that's worth nothing because they spent too much before they could really make it. And because this is an emerging industry, you can crunch all the numbers you want. It doesn't mean the consumer is going to be there. It doesn't mean that the demand is going to be there. And so we've really wanted to mind that approach. But we weren't ready for the global market to open up for CBD. So now our products are in South Africa. We're working with Dr Canaris at all beauty. She has a bunch of our bath bombs and our gums, which is just like South Africa, really. Wow. Hong Kong, we have a number of retailers, Japan, and we've really gone through this incredible process. To me that makes me feel like a pioneer, working with customs, working with their local laws, working with them on the products themselves to make sure that we can get the extracts into the country, making sure that the extracts themselves are deemed legal within their rules.
Speaker2: And it's really just been this incredible ride for us to see the business expand globally. And then we're going to be also going state to state here in the US with our cannabis products. Just because we have legal cannabis in California doesn't mean that we can ship our products even to a state up north or next to us. You can't you have to make it in that state and have a whole operation there. So it brings up a lot of challenges or brings up a lot of licensing deals with brands. And as a person who work with brands who did licensing deals, I saw what can happen if you license the product to someone who can't make it at the same standard or who can create it with consistency. And I know that a lot of people have this preconceived notion that you just dump CBD into products and it works that way. But it really isn't. It's much more sophisticated, especially when you're talking about dosing a bath bomb that's handmade by two human hands in California. Our regulations require us to have only a 10 percent margin of error. The FDA allows twenty to twenty five percent. So it's a very slim margin of error that we've had to follow. But again, it's made our business better. I know our team can make accurately dose CBD products in their sleep. And so it's really exciting for us to expand state to state, open up access for some of our THC products and really just continue to grow.
Speaker2: I mean, we fight off. Acquisitions all day, we fight off people who want to come by us, mainly because we're not ready. I know that day will come. We'll have that success story. I'll not need to work forever if I don't want to. But Khush Queen is about so much more than money, and I will not give up my baby until I'm ready or until I feel that I've taken her as far as I can take her and I have it. So I just stay focused on my goals and not these wild offers that people give us. And I just let it all happen and I just try to also take care of myself in the process. You have to put yourself first as a founder. It all starts with you. And there was a period where my mental health was really suffering because of the success of the business, because I was not putting myself first in my wellness first. And I really believe that the people who are on your team will mirror you and reflect you and having a culture that puts self care first, having a culture that says you need a mental health day, take it like during covid, we had a number of covid outbreaks. I paid my team every single day.
Speaker2: They sat at home. No one missed any money because of it. And that's not something that our government gave us money for. I made that choice myself. And I think that all those things also matter when you're building a business. And it also really helps to have people on your team who share your same passion. And because of the way I take care of people, because of the way I take care of myself, it really is a ripple effect. And I believe that they bring more to their positions and they really, truly believe in the company the same way that I do. And that is really, really a form of capital that no one talks about. Because when people believe that working for your company is their purpose to prove, look out, look out, you are going to see magic, you are going to see brilliant ideas. You're going to see teamwork. You're going to see people coming together in a way that unfortunately no one really writes about, because it's so much easier to write a negative story. It's so much easier to write about CEOs who don't take care of their people. It's so easy to write negative versus positive. But it really, truly is something that took Khush Queen to the stratosphere when we had absolutely nothing to take us there. Wall had no big money when we didn't have the endless budget to market in everybody's face.
Speaker1: Totally sounds like that really sparkly wild unicorn energy that you were talking about. I love it. Love it. Sounds like such a fun team.
Speaker2: Yeah, we also call itself and I know I'm silly, but we all have XLF tattoos. A number of us have the word XLF in a different way and we really believe in XLF. It's the combination of wealth, health and stealth. And the thing is, we just have so much fun and really make up our own silly things that carry us through the hard days. I sound so corny because I'm like I love my team, I love my team, but like, I would literally do anything for these people. And I think, again, there just isn't enough people out there giving people advice on how to build the team. And especially when you start with one person, you know, I used to do every job or I would make my family do the job. You know,
Speaker1: I read that you hired your mom.
Speaker2: Oh, yeah. Right away. My mom was my first employee. She is the real cook queen. She used to come out to cannabis events with me. People knew me as the girl who was out there with her mom and also as the girl whose mom would say, I'm the real queen. But she taught me everything. And I think also having that energy as my first employee really taught me a lot about taking care of people and just about the fact that it is about the work, but it's about so much more than that to, you know.
Speaker1: Yeah, it's the impact that you're leaving on the world. It's the impact you're leaving on these people's lives that show up to your door every day to help you build something for sure. Yeah, crazy. Love it. Oh, gosh. I feel like I could just listen to all day. Honestly, I'm just, like, loving this. You're amazing.
Speaker2: Thank you. I wish I felt like when I when I saw your podcast, I was like, wow, this is my people, you know, because I've had a truly unique experience, especially for our space, especially for cannabis. I have definitely taken the road less traveled, but I'm so proud of it. And I just want other people, especially women, especially women, to know that their ideas are important, that their businesses are worth pursuing, and that it really is something that even if you fail, I just don't believe failure exists. And the journey of it all is just. There are no words to describe it. There are no words to describe the feeling of my brain getting a call from Urban Outfitters saying we want to carry your products. You're going to be one of the first TV companies we launch with. There is no feeling like going from being in the cannabis industry to being on the red carpet at an Alice and Olivia fashion show, standing there with Stacey, this woman who runs the three hundred million dollar a year company. It's not even about that. There's also the little moments being able to go and buy myself a dream car. There are so many moments, highs and lows, and they really have made my life so rich. And I just know that there are so many women who have great ideas who think like, oh, maybe, maybe. But. And it's like, no, you should go after it. Because the world is still predominantly run by men and most businesses are, too. And I think women just want the experience of other women. I think that there's something that you know differently than a man. And I think that it's a huge, huge benefit. And I just really want to inspire other people to chase their dreams because I chase mine and I'm like, who? I did that, you know.
Speaker1: Totally, absolutely. I feel like this is a great segue into my last question before we do this, quick questions. What is your key piece of advice for women who have a big idea and want to start their own business?
Speaker2: My biggest key piece of advice is also my mantra, my daily mantra every single day, which is they can't stop you if you don't stop. And that, to me, is really, truly the greatest less than I've ever had is Bill forward? Don't stop, keep going. Keep letting it develop. A dear friend of mine, his mother created the company. Stature and stature started as something else. It became the sustainable ziplock. And then she sold it to Ziploc. But it wasn't even the first business that she started. She failed. She never stopped. She pursued it for many, many years. And I think that that's really where the magic lies. It's just in believing in yourself and knowing that as long as you go for it, everything else is going to fall into place for you.
Speaker1: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Love it. Love it. I'm going to borrow that mantra from now on. I'm going to be my mentor, too.
Speaker2: I tell it to myself, you know, some days I'm telling it to myself, they can't stop you if you don't stop. Some days I'm saying more. They can't stop you if you don't stop. But it's just something that I constantly had to tell myself because I ran into so many bumps in the road. I ran into so many times where they literally tried to stop me, stop my processing, stop my Instagram pages, stop this dream I had. And I just thought the only thing that's going to make this fail is if I quit. That's it.
Speaker1: I love it. I love it. OK, we are up to the six quick questions, part of the episode, some of it we've covered. So you can zoom through it if we've covered already. Question number one is what's your why why do you do what you do?
Speaker2: I do what I do because I love cannabis, the plant and the people that use the product, and it's brought so much healing into my life, we didn't really get into my mental health story. But I've been diagnosed bipolar since I was twenty two. I come from a family with a lot of genetic mental illness, and the products truly aren't just my business. They are my salvation. They are my healing and they put my self care first. And I really believe that when you care for yourself, you can actually go out and care for your community and be your best self and then change the world.
Speaker1: So that's my wife. Mazing. Question number two is what's been the number one marketing moment that made the business pop?
Speaker2: I'm definitely the manicure, the manicure was our big viral moment, it was unlike anything I've ever experienced before from like being on the local news. People were like, were you on the news? And I'm like, yeah, it's weird. It was wild. And I cherish that time in my heart. And I don't think I'll ever experienced anything like that ever again because it was new. It was a new thing. It was so wild. And I just have never experienced anything like that rocket ship to Mars that I got on called the Kanika
Speaker1: Love a rocket ship to Mars. Love the name two, by the way. I love it. Question number three is where do you hang out to get smarter? What are you reading or listening to or subscribing to that others could benefit from listening to or reading? Subscribing to?
Speaker2: Interesting. Well, I am a huge fan of coaching in general and personal development. I think it's a huge part of being an entrepreneur. Is staying committed to your own personal growth. I've always been a huge fan of Malcolm Gladwell and all of his books. I also really, truly just enjoy sitting in on a lot of clubhouse rooms. Clubhouse is really giving me a way to connect with a lot of people outside of my space. I'm a huge fan of a doctor named Dr. Molly. She's a Stanford wellness doctor and she really posts a lot of really interesting content about stress, about the human body, about sort of those types of things. I would say she's a really worthy follow. I'm just hard on my coaching. Like, I believe that if you have the money to afford a life coach or a business coach, you really should get one in general. That was probably the best decision I ever made that day that I got the call to be in Urban Outfitters. Three days later, my mom fell out in my front yard and had a brain tumor. And I think that the one thing that people can't quite ever comprehend is what happens to the rest of your life when you're successful and being ready for that and how to move through that and how to also be a great leader and then care for myself.
Speaker2: And what I was going through in my personal life, I think really led me to coaching in a lot of people that are successful that I hang out with all have coaches. It's less of a secret now, but I think there was a period where, like, people didn't talk about CEOs having coaches. People didn't talk about these CEOs. Are you supposed to know everything and do everything? And you're supposed to be on this pedestal and it's like, no, you're like a professional athlete. A professional athlete has seven coaches. You know that golfers have a swing coach and an endurance coach. And this coach like you need that, too. So I really just recommend that when you have the budget, find yourself a coach, find it through word of mouth, find people that they've really helped through referral and really give yourself that time. If I didn't check in with my coach, I don't know how I would handle the journey.
Speaker1: I'm totally gosh, I want a business coach that's on my list of things to do. It was already on my list of things to do before today, but it's jogged it into my mind that I'm like, I need to get on the. Question number four is, how do you win the day? What are your a.m. opinion rituals that keep you feeling happy and successful and motivated?
Speaker2: I love it. This is such a good question. I wake up and I try to get up early. I try to wake up between five and six a.m. I immediately go outside and I walk my dog. I stay off my phone for at least a good hour. I also avoid caffeine for at least an hour and normally drink tea or water. I try to drink a lot of water and then of course I take CBG and CBD in the mornings I exercise. I have a treadmill that I have to get on around like eight a.m. and I also do a lot of like burning of sage incense. I really find the smell like resets my body. I do work with meditation. I can't say that I'm like some super perfect meditator, but I do at least put on relaxing music. And then my life coach is really got me calling in my day. Call it in. I am going to have a beautiful day filled with abundance. I am calling on the universe to conspire for my greater good. I am going to experience bliss and joy and then I call out what I don't want. But I say at the same time, if I have to have a problem, it's meant to be. And please give me the strength to overcome it. And then I really just get to work. I try to do yoga three days a week. I really think breathing is something entrepreneurs struggle with, at least myself. I hold my breath throughout the day and then feed yourself. I know a lot of entrepreneurs who live that life and they eat when the work is done. And I try to feed myself throughout the day and then keep a good ritual at night where I definitely go to sleep early.
Speaker2: I'm known as kind of a non partier for being in cannabis. I'm kind of an old lady, but I like to go to bed nine, ten o'clock, really get a lot of sleep. And then the same thing called all of the boys away. You know, at the end of the day, it's really important I shake it off and I don't just go to sleep with it and then really just minding this device and not allowing it to suck my soul away and knowing that my phone is not getting into bed with me. I think it's important to keep the phone away from your bed for a good night's rest and really managing the screen time in general is the tough one to weigh because we're busy. But it's really important because like you really do develop like these crazy marks on your hands. And I have one. Yeah. Do you have it on the pinky? Yeah. Like the lady and the gosh. Well, you have one just like me too. She rubs on it and she tries and she says, I'm worried about you. You're going to have some huge growth on your hand by the time you're like fifty. And I said no, they'll implant it into our hands before then we'll have like an implant and it'll just pop out like in all of the movies and stuff. And she looks at me like I'm crazy, but I'm ready for that to bring up bring it on and help me manage all of this because I'm ready.
Speaker1: Totally. I love that you mentioned the breathing and the sage and the incense and everything and the meditation. I've been starting this meditation in the last week or two, and it's really I can't remember the name of the guy, but it's about abundance. And I've been reading this book, I think it's called Get Rich, Lucky Bitch. But it's also manifesting an abundance. And it's so funny because in this call, you've mentioned abundance a couple of times. And I feel like it's a word that I wasn't using ever. But now I've started meditating to it and now it's popping up in my life and I'm like, that's pretty cool.
Speaker2: I know it's woo woo. Like for some people it really is. And some people are like, Oh, you're happy. And I'm like, I'm really not. But it really is important. It's the foundation of how to cope with everything. And I really, truly am a testament to calling in abundance. And when you call it in and when you really focus on that time with meditation and breathing and just laying the foundation, it really does make a huge difference. I mean, I can't even say that I was like am to go to coaching in the early days. I wasn't I was like, how is this going to make me more money? How is this going to fix my business? And she's like, well, we got to fix you first. And then she asked me, who are you? And I rattled off a bunch of accomplishments. And she's like, no, that's not who you are. Who are you? And I like, sunk down into the couch. And I thought, oh, my goodness, this lady is about to change my life. And she did. So really, I tell people, call it in especially abundance. I love the word abundance. I love visualizing abundance, especially in capitalism and entrepreneurship. You can feel not abundant. You can look at what other people have and say, oh, they have so much, I don't have that. And you can't stand in that energy. You have to stand in the energy of I have what I ever did. We need and not what I want and just let it flow from there, so
Speaker1: Love that, love that, I need to do more of it. OK, question number five, if you only had a thousand dollars left in your business bank account, where would you spend it?
Speaker2: Oh, really tough email marketing or SMS
Speaker2: Got it. We get 10x return on our SMS and I really believe in build your list, acquire those emails, acquire those phone numbers. They will never, ever not be there if you really engage with them in a meaningful way.
Speaker1: Mm hmm. Love that. And last question. Question number six is how do you deal with failure? What's your mindset and approach?
Speaker2: Just keep going and not ever frame it like failure Freeman, as that wasn't meant for me, you really the mind is powerful and you can reframe. I reframed losing everything as the best thing that ever happened to me because I got to start Khush Queen and the same with my mom's brain tumor, the same with my personal struggles reframe and just never give up because they can't stop you if you don't stop
Speaker1: One hundred percent. How is your mom, by the way?
Speaker2: My mom as well. She underwent a brain surgery. It's been kind of a hairy journey. It's not cancer. So we have that and she's not symptomatic. But we're definitely going to be gearing up for some more procedures because her tumor is growing. But at the end of the day, all we can really do is practice preventative wellness, really, truly practice what we preach. Because Queen, which we do, she uses a ton of plant medicine and she lives an incredible life. And I'm sure she's at the facility right now and she's grindin like she does. And she's the same type of woman who never gives up. So thank you for asking, but she's going to be fine. Know.
Speaker1: Amazing love to hear it. Yeah, I said it before, and I just have to say it again, I could listen to you for ever. It feels you are just so interesting and your energy is absolutely contagious. And I'm going to be such a big cheerleader of you. And I hope you come to London. And thank you so much.
Speaker2: I'm coming. So we'll definitely have to hang out. And thank you so much for having me and holding the space because it's so important. I wish I had had this podcast when I was getting started. So thank you.