I love everything about the cannabis space. I love the efficacy of it, I love the business of it, I love the smell of it, but more importantly, I love the opportunity of it. And it's a BIG ONE. I'm not the first person to quote stats about the growth of the space by 2025, something like 25 billion dollars, right? Women are flocking to it at a 92% growth over the last few years and all kinds of brands are popping up to capitalize on the CPG (consumer packaged goods) opportunity. I've seen everything from coffee to shampoo with CBD and apparently there are now more dispensaries in Colorado than Starbucks. I sniff a partnership soon between the two.
Why not, grab a scone and some CBD infused coffee on your way to class or work. Sounds merrily to me. I have seen so many types of CBD brands, from the well thought-out companies with pretty packaging to the low-rent marijuana leaf boxes that look like Grandma helped label in the kitchen. This is my favorite part of this gold or ahem 'green rush' is that everyone can have a real shot at the dream. Granted, by next Q1 and Q2 most of these brands won't be around but at least they were able to give it the old college try with some friends and make some money. The reason I was originally attracted to the space was the fact that the plant not only has so many benefits but I saw so many women and people of color getting in on the action.
Victoria Flores, Co-founder of Lux Beauty ClubPhoto by Cody Jacob codyjacobsstories.comWith my previous company it was always so difficult to raise money from all the white men in VC who for the most part back their 'bros' or white women who went to Harvard or other Ivy League schools. Time and time again, I would see these male founders raise huge rounds, blow up these businesses (not in a good way) and then simply go back and get more funding. Out the window went the rational reasoning of actually building a profitable business and getting real paying customers. "Let's put a lemonade stand on Mars!"…"Yes, yes, billion dollar opportunity, here's 2 million dollars pre-seed!" Ok, ok, maybe not that dumb but felt pretty close to that. Nothing was more frustrating than seeing the men get all the capital to launch women-focused products or brands. You mean to tell me, not one woman came to you with this same idea. Not one? Yeah, exactly. Which brings me to why I love the cannabis space.
Weed doesn't see color. Weed doesn't care if you're black, brown, yellow, Snoop Dog or Martha Stewart. Weed is simply the vehicle to make money, and lots of it. From the farms, to the supply chain to the shelves at Sephora. Weed and everything about it is here to stay. I, for one, can't wait for the Napa of Weed to fully develop in Humboldt county in the next few years. It will easily be a top tourist destination, and all those growers and OGs (Original Growers) who have gone legal can truly profit from it without hiding in the shadows. I also love the cannabis space because it's not tech, it's not fintech, it's not travel, it's not SAAS, it's plain ole grass. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of VC money going into the opportunity but it's not the usual suspects of founders and investors. The people flocking to it are mostly scrappy folks with no VC connections or family money, they're simple folks with good ideas and making them work. We are people that don't fit the mold by any means. We didn't go to the fancy schools, we didn't do the VC rounds, we simply got to work, put our heads down and created incredible products that work and that people want.
Weed doesn't see color. Weed doesn't care if you're black, brown, yellow, Snoop Dog or Martha Stewart.
To be frank, although I had a successful career on Wall Street, I never truly felt accepted by the venture capitalists giving. They would often turn their noses up at me, especially since I wasn't the textbook founder with the pedigree. I wasn't under 35, single, on my 3rd startup or with an Ivy League degree. In the cannabis space I feel truly accepted and valued for the work I have put in and it feels right. And my team, well, it's mostly brown people. Our Chief Scientist, George, is Mexican, my Head of Licensing, Richard, is Venezuelan and the majority of our sales team is also Latino. We are building our company, Lux Beauty Club, on our own terms and scaling rapidly through mostly wholesale distribution since we are still not allowed to advertise on Facebook or Instagram. Why is this great? Because it's cheaper to build real relationships with buyers and wholesalers than spending millions on CA (Customer Acquisition) online. Because we can't advertise online, we've had to go back to basics and battle it on the ground. It's a land grab and most of these snooty dudes have no clue how to do this. All they know is how to spend millions chasing customers online. They don't know how to pick up the phone and make connections or even know which trade shows to attend. Never underestimate the power of face to face sales. It's been our secret weapon on scaling our business fast and furious. These are products that people want to test and try and people want to buy from people they like and trust. You can't always get that from an online website. There's also still a bit of a stigma attached to the industry as a whole, so buyers are starting to get away from the products announcing what they are on the packaging. Subtlety sells. Both my grandma and mother now use our products nightly.. We are a CBD family and household. Gone are the days of the young stoners selling you nickel bags behind the dumpsters. It's a serious and lucrative business with or without THC .
The other great part of this industry is that most VCs cannot invest in this space because their LPs (limited partners) won't allow them to. VCs have LP's to answer to or even larger institutional money so it's not easy for them to invest even when they want to. So that leaves the true cannabis investors that don't care where you are from or look like, as long as you are pushing the product out as fast as possible. Even the big brands are getting in on the action through partnerships and licensing deals. It's an opportunity of a lifetime and history making. And, I, for one, want to be in the forefront of all the possibilities cannabis can bring.
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For decades, women have been unknowingly suffering from PSD and intergenerational trauma, but now Dr. Valerie Rein wants women to reclaim their power through mind, body and healing tools.
As women, no matter how many accomplishments we have or how successful we look on the outside, we all occasionally hear that nagging internal voice telling us to do more. We criticize ourselves more than anyone else and then throw ourselves into the never-ending cycle of self-care, all in effort to save ourselves from crashing into this invisible internal wall. According to psychologist, entrepreneur and author, Dr. Valerie Rein, these feelings are not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you— but chances are you definitely suffering from Patriarchy Stress Disorder.
Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD) is defined as the collective inherited trauma of oppression that forms an invisible inner barrier to women's happiness and fulfillment. The term was coined by Rein who discovered a missing link between trauma and the effects that patriarchal power structures have had on certain groups of people all throughout history up until the present day. Her life experience, in addition to research, have led Rein to develop a deeper understanding of the ways in which men and women are experiencing symptoms of trauma and stress that have been genetically passed down from previously oppressed generations.
What makes the discovery of this disorder significant is that it provides women with an answer to the stresses and trauma we feel but cannot explain or overcome. After being admitted to the ER with stroke-like symptoms one afternoon, when Rein noticed the left side of her body and face going numb, she was baffled to learn from her doctors that the results of her tests revealed that her stroke-like symptoms were caused by stress. Rein was then left to figure out what exactly she did for her clients in order for them to be able to step into the fullness of themselves that she was unable to do for herself. "What started seeping through the tears was the realization that I checked all the boxes that society told me I needed to feel happy and fulfilled, but I didn't feel happy or fulfilled and I didn't feel unhappy either. I didn't feel much of anything at all, not even stress," she stated.
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Valerie Rein
This raised the question for Rein as to what sort of hidden traumas women are suppressing without having any awareness of its presence. In her evaluation of her healing methodology, Rein realized that she was using mind, body and trauma healing tools with her clients because, while they had never experienced a traumatic event, they were showing the tell-tale symptoms of trauma which are described as a disconnect from parts of ourselves, body and emotions. In addition to her personal evaluation, research at the time had revealed that traumatic experiences are, in fact, passed down genetically throughout generations. This was Rein's lightbulb moment. The answer to a very real problem that she, and all women, have been experiencing is intergenerational trauma as a result of oppression formed under the patriarchy.
Although Rein's discovery would undoubtably change the way women experience and understand stress, it was crucial that she first broaden the definition of trauma not with the intention of catering to PSD, but to better identify the ways in which trauma presents itself in the current generation. When studying psychology from the books and diagnostic manuals written exclusively by white men, trauma was narrowly defined as a life-threatening experience. By that definition, not many people fit the bill despite showing trauma-like symptoms such as disconnections from parts of their body, emotions and self-expression. However, as the field of psychology has expanded, more voices have been joining the conversations and expanding the definition of trauma based on their lived experience. "I have broadened the definition to say that any experience that makes us feel unsafe psychically or emotionally can be traumatic," stated Rein. By redefining trauma, people across the gender spectrum are able to find validation in their experiences and begin their journey to healing these traumas not just for ourselves, but for future generations.
While PSD is not experienced by one particular gender, as women who have been one of the most historically disadvantaged and oppressed groups, we have inherited survival instructions that express themselves differently for different women. For some women, this means their nervous systems freeze when faced with something that has been historically dangerous for women such as stepping into their power, speaking out, being visible or making a lot of money. Then there are women who go into fight or flight mode. Although they are able to stand in the spotlight, they pay a high price for it when their nervous system begins to work in a constant state of hyper vigilance in order to keep them safe. These women often find themselves having trouble with anxiety, intimacy, sleeping or relaxing without a glass of wine or a pill. Because of this, adrenaline fatigue has become an epidemic among high achieving women that is resulting in heightened levels of stress and anxiety.
"For the first time, it makes sense that we are not broken or making this up, and we have gained this understanding by looking through the lens of a shared trauma. All of these things have been either forbidden or impossible for women. A woman's power has always been a punishable offense throughout history," stated Rein.
Although the idea of having a disorder may be scary to some and even potentially contribute to a victim mentality, Rein wants people to be empowered by PSD and to see it as a diagnosis meant to validate your experience by giving it a name, making it real and giving you a means to heal yourself. "There are still experiences in our lives that are triggering PSD and the more layers we heal, the more power we claim, the more resilience we have and more ability we have in staying plugged into our power and happiness. These triggers affect us less and less the more we heal," emphasized Rein. While the task of breaking intergenerational transmission of trauma seems intimidating, the author has flipped the negative approach to the healing journey from a game of survival to the game of how good can it get.
In her new book, Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Barrier to Women's Happiness and Fulfillment, Rein details an easy system for healing that includes the necessary tools she has sourced over 20 years on her healing exploration with the pioneers of mind, body and trauma resolution. Her 5-step system serves to help "Jailbreakers" escape the inner prison of PSD and other hidden trauma through the process of Waking Up in Prison, Meeting the Prison Guards, Turning the Prison Guards into Body Guards, Digging the Tunnel to Freedom and Savoring Freedom. Readers can also find free tools on Rein's website to help aid in their healing journey and exploration.
"I think of the book coming out as the birth of a movement. Healing is not women against men– it's women, men and people across the gender spectrum, coming together in a shared understanding that we all have trauma and we can all heal."