Women cannabis entrepreneurs in a time of Covid-19

We spoke to women who have launched CBD-infused products and are using social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram to facilitate sales and marketing. BY LING SHEPHERD

Nabielah  @mothernaturesa on IG

 In 2019 Nabielah discovered she has familial hypercholesterolemia, a disorder that is passed down genetically. It causes LDL (bad) cholesterol levels to be very high. She was prescribed medication that caused more complications; pain in her joints especially. It led her to start researching natural remedies, something that got to the root of the problem – Not a temporary fix traditional medication gave. “We tend to not read the side-effects inserts and overlook the effects,” she says. Naturally curious about what she puts into her body she started researching alternative medical treatments. Nabielah believes you have the right to make decisions for yourself about what treatments you use. Trust your physician, but question and probe as your right to. So MotherNature SA started on a personal level. 

Nabielah’s research centred on pain management, and how to diminish her cholesterol. She began making the turmeric and collagen gummies, after researching how it can eliminate joint pain with its high anti-inflammatory properties. Her condition is hereditary so being a mom of four, and the possibility of passing the disorder down to her kids was another reason for her starting her business. She started sharing the gummies with friends and family and slowly started to build a client base. 

Nabielah moved onto CBD infused gummies once lockdown started. Borne out of her own anxiety about the state of the world and the pandemic we are still in; her sleep patterns became disrupted. She delved again into researching natural remedies and not wanting to rely on a tablet to sleep. One of Nabielah’s best customers has completely weaned herself off of a very popular but dangerous pain powder; and the cannabis gummies help her sleep soundly with no adverse side-effects.

MotherNature SA uses pure CBD oil, and the dosage and packaging comes with full explanations. The gummies are also so cost-effective. CBD oil prices currently range between 500 rand and 1000 rand for 30ml. Her gummies are 100 rand for 15 gummies; keeping it affordable as possible. The impetus was to help people, and also empower everyone around her to start asking questions about treatments. It has evolved into a side-hustle she can manage on her own time along with her family life. She is not here to just make money, but to help others. In keeping her business small she can take better care to the details, and add personal touches and attention to her customer base.

 Mother Nature has been perfecting a CBD cookie of late, a little bit of a higher dosage in a snack. It is a sweet treat and relaxant all in one. We have tried both the cookies and gummies and can recommend it especially if you are looking for an alternative that is organic. It helps with stress and anxiety, and from the nap I had recently definitely a sleeping aid.

Nabielah takes orders for the turmeric and collagen gummies nationwide, CBD gummies are only available in Cape Town for now. Slide into her DMs at @mothernaturesa on IG.

Stoney on twitter at  That Good Good Brownies

Stoney had been making edible brownies for years. She immersed herself into YouTube tutorials and learnt most importantly Decarboxylation. Decarboxylation or decarbing activates compounds in cannabis such as THC via a heating process. Decarbing provides a high once sufficiently heated. Brownies are usually the first thing that you learn to make, and so that Good Good was born. Starting as a side-hustle and sharing amongst family and friends, is now well on its way to being a full-time gig. The idea had been baking for a year and a half. Covid-19 freeing up so much time in her life, and that’s when the leap to sell was made. 

Many folks prefer edibles over smoking. Brownies are easy to distribute. Sales are done on social media via twitter. Orders are done there and WhatsApp, making customer care immediate and convenient. That Good Good is a family affair with Stoney’s father couriering, and her sister processing orders and packaging. The family support allows her to bake and take care of administration, and provide safe edibles.

That Good Good Brownies is a passion project, as she is an avid supporter of the Cannabis industry. It can create jobs and empower people. She is concerned at the slow pace of the law in passing the necessary regulations, and the arrests for minimal cannabis possession.  The goal is to run full time and expand the product range with Dabs. Weed dabs are a type of marijuana concentrate; extracted dry herb you smoke or vaporize. South Africa is behind on cannabis research, and other psychedelics with medicinal properties. Licensing to farm with cannabis costs around 21000 rand. This is not accessible to previously disadvantaged people. The more information out there, the less stigma there will be. There is a seat at the table for everyone she explained further.

DM Stoney on twitter at  That Good Good Brownies

Tumi  iCanna

“Cannabis is a dynamic plant that has always had a bad rep,” Tumi tells me as we chatted about her business iCanna; selling CBD infused products including baked goods and teas. Matekwane; a Sotho and Tswana word that the elders called weed Tumi says –  giving it bad connotation.  Women like Tumi and their businesses are here to challenge the typical cannabis stereotypes, showing us its benefits not only for health but in job creation and innovation.

Tumi had been working in the television industry for the past few years. She had worked on the River, Lockdown and most recently Black is King.

The national lockdown affected all productions, and with this newfound free time Tumi decided to conceptualise iCanna; having always loved making edibles for her family and friends.

She was able to combine her fondness for the kitchen with listening to her favourite crime podcasts and as a creative she has never wanted to be stuck in a 9-5 scenario, so it was a natural fit. Tumi immediately got legal advice regarding the regulations for her business. It moved at such a fast pace –  which was so opposite to the initial pace of how long the days felt at the beginning of Lockdown. Having formalised her business initially, iCanna is now a full-time gig. Tumi was subtitling for a production but couldn’t keep up with orders and is now solely focused on iCanna. Demand became so high, with 600 orders in three months. There have been sleepless nights as the business grows, but it has been worth it. ICanna employs women to help with packaging and the social media.

Expansion plans are always floating around for iCanna, just recently Tumi has been experimenting with a Cannabis Kombucha. So right now it’s all about product development, and the possibilities with being able to infuse almost anything with Cannabis.  Another exciting development has been set aside to start in October; Cannabis picnics. These picnics will be small intimate events, in accordance with social distancing measures. Each month it will be held at different venues, and people can hang out. It will showcase different cannabis suppliers and their innovative cannabis products. There are so many people doing incredible things within the cannabis market, so these events will be a showcase for them.  ICanna picnics are not an expo, it will be informal and casual and still have everyone selling their products.

 Visit i-canna.co.za for Tumi’s full range. 

 Featured image via Wikicommons