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March 06, 2020
The Herbalists Who Built a Brand Based on the Power of Plants

As longtime herbalists with over 25 years of experience, Susan Cleverdon and Gillian Levy find power in plant-based healing. Starting a cannabis brand was a natural extension of their philosophy and the two saw a need for low dose products that didn’t require smoking or contain a ton of sugar. Cleverdon and Levy created Humboldt Apothecary, which gets its name from Humboldt County, where they source the high-quality flower that serves as the basis for their tinctures and topicals. The line addresses ailments like insomnia, anxiety, stress, and more.

Read on to hear about how their biggest struggle in the cannabis industry, their best advice for women in the field, and their approach to plant-based healing.

On funding the brand: The biggest challenge as a woman in the cannabis space is that it’s harder to raise capital. Statistics show that men are much more likely to receive funding. So we started this business with a small amount of savings and a whole lot of love and belief in herbal medicine. We’ve worked very hard to accomplish big goals with very little resources — it’s amazing where we’ve been able to take this! 

On their best piece of advice to women starting out in the field: Surround yourself with a highly competent team of people! Navigating regulations, competition, and all of the other challenges that come with legal cannabis can be tricky. There are a lot of people out there claiming to be an "expert" but you need to be selective — not all of them are worth their price tag.

On why Susan uses cannabis: I started experiencing insomnia when I was a senior in high school. In my late 20's and early 30's, I realized that cannabis could help me sleep, once I learned which strains were more relaxing and sedating. What a great discovery! I also love using it topically for aches and pains — it feels like a miracle how quickly it works.

On Susan’s first cannabis experience: I was a teenager at a bonfire where my friends were passing around a joint. I was really curious so I hit it several times but didn't feel anything. I was disappointed to say the least! Obviously, I gave it another shot and experienced success.

On Susan’s favorite munchies snack: Honestly, I'm not a huge snacker but if I'm going to munch on something, it would be chocolate.

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