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Why The Cannabis Industry Became A Magnet For Women and People of Color

4min read
Business

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.com

With 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.

Our newsletter that womansplains the week
3min read
Self

It’s Time for Women to Stop Worrying About Being “Too Much”

We are living in a time when women are rising to new heights which means they are regularly being confronted with the fear of being "too much". For women in business this is pervasive and costly.

A few ways women can be perceived as "too much" are:

Speaking up about their successes and achievements.

Sharing one too many photos of their cute kids.

Telling one too many people about that date night.

Looking a little too good in that swimsuit.

These can lead to being publicly attacked on social media or privately slandered which in turn leads to women dimming their light and walking on egg shells in hopes of avoiding conflict and judgement.

The minute a woman feels it's unsafe to shine she will begin to overthink, worry, and fear how she shows up in the world.

Forgetting to announce the book is done and the interview is live.

Choosing to focus on what's still on the to-do list rather than what's been checked off.

Many female entrepreneurs are subconsciously altering their behavior in an attempt to not attract too much attention to themselves, rather than focusing on allowing authenticity and magnetism to attract their ideal clients and community.

Women are afraid of being criticized, ostracized, and abandoned by other women for simply being who they are. This leads to quite the quantum when being who you are is simplest way to accelerate the growth of your business.

New research shows men are far more comfortable with self promotion than women are. Researchers found that men rate their own performance 33 percent higher than equally performing women. What we know is that self promotion pays off and this is where women are missing the boat.

The world needs more women to step into leadership roles and no longer be intimidated about creating six and seven figure careers.

Here are five ways to release the fear of being "too much":

1. Approve of yourself.

While it feels good to receive outside validation it will never be enough if you don't first appreciate yourself. The key to having a healthy support system is to make sure you are part of it. Being your biggest critic is what your mother's generation did. It's now time to be your biggest cheerleader. Becoming aware of self talk will reveal what belief is ready to be re-wired. Create a simply mantra that affirms how incredible capable you are.

2. Connect deeply to those you serve.

One powerful way to shift out of people pleasing behavior is to get clear on who actually matters to the wellbeing and success of your life and business. Leadership is not about being the most popular, instead it's a decision to be brave for those who can't be. Take a few minutes each day to visualize and meditate on those your business serves and supports. See your future clients moving toward you every time you choose to stand in your power and use your authentic voice.

3. Remember the legacy you wish to leave.

Having your life purpose and legacy in writing is one of the most transformational exercises you can do. Reading this often will keep you focused on what matters. Knowing what you wish to leave in the hearts of those you love most is incredibly grounding. You didn't come here to keep your mouth shut, dilute your truth, or dim your light-you came here to make a difference.

4. Forgive those who have been unsupportive in the past.

The past has a way of informing the future in a negative way when there is unresolved pain. Take a few minutes to get quiet and ask yourself who you have unforgiveness towards or maybe their name came to mind as you read this article. Listening to a forgiveness meditation or writing a letter to the person you are ready to forgive are both simple and effective ways to process and heal.

5. Be part a community of bright, successful women.

Meaningful relationships with others who have similar aspirations is what will keep you out of isolation and playing small. These connections can happen in a networking group, online community or a local Meetup. Thriving in every area of life is depend on you knowing where you belong and being celebrated there. Don't wait to be invited, go actively seek out people and places that support your dreams and desires.

6. Accept you can have it all.


Women have been fed a lie for generations that says, you can have love or money. Decide you can have it all and allow it to flow to you. You can have a successful career and an amazing mother. You can balance motherhood and loving marriage. Don't let anyone write the rules for you. This is the time to create the life you desire on your terms.

7. Celebrate everything!

The fastest way to leave the haters in the dust is to celebrate everything! At the end of each day lay in bed and recall the best moments. At the end of each week, publicly acknowledge and celebrate what's good in your life. Once a month, have a celebration dinner and share it with those who have helped you in the journey. If there's something good happening, talk about it with everyone who will listen!

May you be a woman who chooses to shine so that others may be reminded of all they can be and do.