According to an article by Green Entrepreneur, more women seem to be influencing the cannabis industry as entrepreneurs and consumers. The report describes that women are also designing new products in the industry.
But it seems there is still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to having more women executives and more products that appeal to women in the cannabis world.
“When I step into an important meeting and take a look at everyone around me, I notice that most of the time, I’m the only woman in the room. When I walk into a dispensary, I notice that most of the female-leaning brands are rarely owned and operated by women. Although discouraging, it was a series of realizations like this that was the impetus of Wyllow.” shared Roistacher.
“Elevating the female consumer isn’t something cannabis flower brands are doing right now. We see companies that are focused on edibles and topicals gearing their efforts towards a female audience, but not a lot of flower brands. There is a strange underlying notion in the industry that women don’t ‘know weed,’ so we wanted to rectify that by offering high-quality strains hand-picked by a woman, for the female consumer.”
Roistacher continued, “However, being inclusive is also important to us. We didn’t want to alienate male consumers and we were a bit concerned about that in the beginning. Thankfully, we’ve noticed throughout several in-store events that men have also been purchasing the product, so we’re thrilled about that.”
Roistacher is able to bring an exclusive cannabis flower that is considered to be a high-end product (no pun intended) and dispenses her product through a distribution business she co-owns with her husband, Josh Roistacher, called Voyage Distribution in Los Angeles.
Voyage Distribution is a complete supply-chain company that houses cannabis brands, distributes products across California, and has a wholesale showroom where clients have the ability to shop for flower products in bulk from over 250 farms that span from Humboldt to the Coachella Valley.
According to a recent report by Politico, experts are forecasting a 25% spike in marijuana sales this year amid the pandemic.
In California, the cannabis industry was declared an essential business by Governor Gavin Newsom when he announced the state-wide lockdown to help stop the spread of COVID-19 earlier this year. This included the entire cannabis business supply chain — including all state-licensed marijuana businesses such as farmers, distributors, manufacturers, and testing labs. All these business in the cannabis industry were able to continue operating as long as they followed public health guidelines.
The news only strengthened Roistacher’s momentum while working to launch her new brand. She quickly pivoted business strategies to present Wyllow, despite the challenges of launching a new business during a pandemic.
“Navigating Wyllow’s launch during the pandemic was a major challenge that was eye-opening and eventful, to say the least. We couldn’t host a big party or ask our out-of-state team members to come to town to celebrate and help promote the brand. We couldn’t pull off what you’d typically have in mind for launching a cannabis brand, but for every door that closed, another weird, pandemic-friendly door opened. We brought all of our events online, inviting people to sample our flower while engaging in virtual experiences on Zoom, such as a ‘sound bath,’ a yoga class, and a DJ set. Years from now, I think people will definitely remember these virtual celebrations. Who knows if brands will host them once the pandemic is behind us, but I certainly feel they are unique and memorable experiences if done well.”
Roistacher’s flower products are grown in Coachella and Wyllow is part of a non-profit organization called The Floret Coalition — an anti-racist collective of small business in the cannabis space funding equity-oriented actions that serve a spectrum of needs in Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities.
In 2020, with a renewed passion in the country to tackle racism and inequality in all institutions, some businesses are taking this opportunity to join the conversation and support organizations fighting for racial equality in their local communities.
Roistacher wants Wyllow to be among those businesses. “Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities have played a large role in developing the cannabis culture that we all know and love, but they received the short end of the stick when it comes to being disproportionately policed or receiving jail time for cannabis-related crimes. These communities bear the deepest scars of the misguided war on drugs, and as a woman of color, I knew I wanted to do something to help.”
During a time when everyone seems to be struggling in some shape or form, signs of promising endeavors are not easy to come by as they require a new level of determination and will to take risk and build something new.
“A willow tree symbolizes growth and taking a step in the right direction, which is exactly what Wyllow intends to bring to this industry through the inclusive essence of womanhood,” says Roistacher, CEO of Wyllow.