In the United States, March is International Women’s Month. The history behind the month dates as far back as 1911, when the first International Women’s Day was held. International Women’s Month became official in 1987; it is a nationally recognized celebration of women and their struggles and triumphs over the past 100+ years in this country. During the month of March communities, schools, organizations, and even political offices celebrate the history of women in America. This month is particualry special to Healthy Roots Hemp because we are a certified Women Owned Business (WBENC). As a female in the cannabis industry, I have my own experiences, and like many others have had to deal with the temaltuous business landscape that COVID-19 has presented over the past year.
As a female entrepreneur three years into business, I would say that COVID-19 definitely caught our buisness off guard. This pandemic has not left much room for newly formed small businesses to create sufficient cash flow or save for investments. This is a challenge for women who are mothers, especially single mothers. Where many men have the luxury of networking, and focusing solely on building, we have to dedicate so much of our time to domestic duties. This becomes even more challenging when you don’t come from money, or are not surrounded by people who are financially stable or willing to invest in you or your business. I’ve found it hard to pave this path with no family support, financial assistance, or coaching, and feel that I am constantly encountering people who see you as competition.
There need to be more avenues created for female entrepreneurs to access resources that provide real results, without preying on our inexperience and lack of knowledge as small business owners.
Due to the CBD industry not being regulated, this opens the doors to products that are not safe for the marketplace. This creates an unstable market, regardless of COVID-19. Folks are sceptical about products that are made to help them not hurt them. There is a saturation of CBD brands that have large pools of investors. They ultimately have the lead-way due to funds that can be used for clinical studies, testing equipment, expansion, and qualified employees.
As a CBD manufacturer, I wanted to put research, development and formulation a priority to my consumers. We have accomplished our gmp’s, batch record keeping, standard operating procedures, recall plans, food safety plans, and are active in the pet membership programs that focus on making CBD safe. Now that we have accomplished all the paperwork and compliance, now it’s time to bring a complaint product to the marketplace. Sad, to say we are a little late. Many buyers are already set on their brands, and now I am another CBD brand trying to pitch them my products.
B2B has also been a challenge this year. As a small business, we sell to other small businesses. Many of them either went out of business or closed for over 6 months due to the virus. Many store owners have faced crippling losses due to the COVID-19 government shutdowns. Women in this industry face many challenges; I feel the most push back is due to the unregulated industry. There is no guidance, or foundation when it comes to packaging, testing, or even the opportunity to expand with big box retailers. As a woman entrepreneur, I feel like this COVID-19 experience has helped me grow, and these days I am much more conscious of supporting other women owned businesses.
Even though this past year has been challenging, and at times discouraging, I am still very grateful for the opportunity to spend my days running this business and spreading the Healthy Roots difference. I believe it’s important to discuss and reflect on challenges to move forward and learn what you can from them.