Ellementa-I love the name, feminine and fierce feeling. How was this brand name created? What inspired you to create this business?
Ellementa was first called Her Canna Life after the website of the same name that I published featuring women in the cannabis industry. (http://hercannalife.com) Some of my advisors suggested that if we want to build a mainstream cannabis brand, we shouldn’t use “canna” in the name. So my business partner Melissa Pierce and I went through a long branding exercise choosing words that were meaningful and translating them into many different languages to try to find the right name.
Eventually, we did a mashup of “Elle” which is French for “Her” and “Mente” which is Spanish for “Mind” – Her Mind.
Ellementa produces quality content about cannabis for health and wellness, particularly to dispel myths and correct the misinformation that is out there about cannabis. We set out to break stereotypes about cannabis consumers and disseminate more female-focused content around this ancient medicinal, healing plant.
With all the noise and information overload online, we thought women would appreciate coming to in-person meetings where they could gather with other women and with learn from experts and brands.
An Ellementa Gathering is more Women’s Circle than networking meeting, class or workshop. We keep them smaller and intimate so women feel comfortable speaking openly about their personal health and share their experiences with cannabis and CBD without fear of being looked at sideways or be misunderstood.
What does Ellementa mean to you and who do you hope to attract?
Ellementa is about opening women’s minds to a natural remedy used for centuries by women. We provide women – who are not only often primary caregivers in families but also the major decision makers of healthcare purchases – with better information about cannabis. Our main audience would be women 35-plus, especially in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Women over 35 are experiencing major life transitions and physical changes – and cannabis can help ease these transitions.
When we talked, you told me about two other business partners, tell us more about them and how were you all connected before created Ellementa?
I’ve known Melissa Pierce since she interviewed me about six years ago at SXSW for her documentary film project Life in Perpetual Beta. She launched the first luxury handbag with an iPhone charging system called Everpurse. She also founded Pitch Refinery Conference to help new women entrepreneurs practice framing and pitching new ideas. And she founded the Chicago Women Developers group, a community for women in computer programming, one of the largest such groups in the country. It took me a while to convince her to join me on the Ellementa journey because cannabis wasn’t really on her radar, but I love her energy and creativity and finally convinced her!
I’ve known Ashley Kingsley for over 12 years. I met her initially when I was filming a documentary about miscarriage. She and I took similar paths – tech startups, digital marketing, cannabis industry. She founded Daily Deals for Moms in 2010, grew it into 27 markets and then sold it in 2012. Ashley started out as our Denver Organizer and very soonafter her first event, we invited her to join Ellementa. She’s a master connector.
What can someone expect coming to a gathering (for their first time)?
Ellementa Gatherings are intimate meet ups bringing women together for conversation and learning. We bring experts and brands into the mix to provide quality content, products and services for health and wellness.
How does Ellementa differ from other cannabis gatherings?
Ellementa Gatherings are not about consumption, and they are not about professional networking. Women usually sit in a circle and discuss their personal health issues as well as things they are dealing with in life where cannabis could be an option for relief – from pain, insomnia, anxiety, and more. We’ve been told often that Ellementa Gatherings are not like anything else out there – and are much needed, especially by women looking for better information about the medicinal benefits of cannabis. There is space enough for many different types of cannabis events. Ours is meant to be empowering and inspiring while also being educational.
What is the process of becoming a host for Ellementa?
Any woman interested in becoming an Ellementa Organizer can fill out an application that we provide. Then we interview them and make sure it is a fit for both of us. If so, we contract with them and share revenues from each Gathering.
you are launching in Toronto, Canada. Do you feel this will spread to many other areas in Canada!?
We don’t yet have a confirmed date for launching in Toronto but it is happening soon! We believe women in Canada will appreciate the empowering nature of Ellementa Gatherings and the focus on health and wellness. We look forward to expanding across Canada and bring women together to share information and resources.
You’re in Alaska! Tell us more about Alaska-I know I have never been there nor do I know anyone that lives or has been there. Also, what are the laws and stigma like for Cannabis?
Alaska is a legal state – one of nine in the United States. Also, cannabis was essentially “decriminalized” back in 1975. There is some stigma around cannabis but, in general, Alaska is a “live and let live” kind of state. People are very much into individual freedom and do not appreciate government interference.
Alaska began regulating cannabis for a legal industry in October 2016. To date, the cannabis industry in Alaska has generated almost $7.5 million in tax revenue to date. Alaska is a very entrepreneurial state, and legal cannabis businesses are thriving.
Your personal journey to cannabis, is a great story. Can you share this with our tribe?
While I first started exploring cannabis as an industry, at the same time I was personally experiencing chronic pain and insomnia. The more I researched cannabis for business, the more I learned about the history of the plant, it’s medicinal properties, and why it was banned in the first place. I ended up moving to a state where cannabis was legal for adult use and was able to access and try it as an anti-inflammatory and sleep aid.
I’ve always been open to alternative medicine and the power of plants. I love aromatherapy, especially lavender. I’ve had great success with homeopathy since the 80s. As a child of the 80s – “Just Say No” and “War on Drugs” – reconciling seeking out relief through cannabis was challenging for me. But once I experienced pain relief and was able to address my own insomnia, I realized that other women could benefit from cannabis.
So I set out to research and product better information about cannabis and how and why it works. So much of the information out there can be confusing, inaccurate or irrelevant for women who are looking to heal and feel better or to care for their loved ones. I realized there was a gap in the market that needed to be filled. By doing so, Ellementa could truly help a lot of people at the same time it was becoming a viable business.
You were a writer and had other businesses before creating Ellementa. Briefly share with us, a little about your “life before”?
I’ve had a lot of different careers, from working in the music business in the early 1990s with musical acts such as Metallica and Def Leppard to running a nonprofit organization on domestic abuse awareness. In 1995, I started the first woman-owned Internet company – Cybergrrl, Inc. – and the first organization for women to learn about the Internet from other women – Webgrrls International. Ellementa is based on Webgrrls and the power of women helping women.
I’m also a writer and have published 11 books including The Happy Healthy Nonprofit; Mom, Incorporated; and Social Media Engagement for Dummies. I love writing, public speaking and…karaoke. Yes, it’s true.
What are your intentions with Ellementa? Where and how do you see this growing and unfolding for the future (personally and as a whole)?
Our vision is that Ellementa will be a household name and the first brand women encounter or think of when she is seeking better information about cannabis for health and wellness. We are excited about expanding internationally and empowering more women.
Our wider vision is that cannabis will be in every medicine chest alongside ibuprofen, ointments, and supplements. True medicine.
Any final tips, words, info, etc you would like to share. Also, what’s the best way to follow Ellementa and to reach you?
Learn as much as you can about cannabis before passing judgement. Speak with other women who have benefited from the plant. Keep an open mind. You deserve to feel better, to live a healthier life. Wellness is an intention. Cannabis is an instrument of health and wellness for all humans.
Best way to reach us: @EllementaWoman on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook