As we celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day theme, #choosetochallenge, we’re highlighting women in the cannabis industry who have overcome challenges to smash glass ceilings and pave the road for the boss ladies of tomorrow.
We asked the Co-Founder and CEO of BLifted.ca, Sherri Kogan about her entrepreneurial journey, overcoming challenges, and commitment to giving way to more female voices in the cannabis industry.
Tell us about BLifted and how you came up with the idea.
BLifted was created with the goal to improve the dry herb cannabis consumer journey. When my husband and co-founder, David, was looking for a less harmful way to consume medical cannabis, the market gap in available information and resources was apparent. The buying experience was overwhelming and challenging, he spent so much time trying different vaporizers and accessories and we often found ourselves lost when we got home with the new units, realizing we didn't retain any of the information provided at purchase!
As a result, we quickly realized that this barrier was likely stopping other patients from choosing dry herb as a form of cannabis consumption. So, we created The Gibson Kit, to help simplify the buying experience and provide a support network for consumers, so they can get the most out of their devices. Another great feature we're proud of is the support we're able to provide consumers even after purchase. Our support network includes videos, FAQs and a helpline, to ensure the best vaporizer experience.
What is a dry herb vaporizer? What accessories do you recommend consumers buy, if any?
A dry herb vaporizer is one that produces vapour using ground flowers only, with no additives or concentrates. Simply put, vaporizing is the act of heating Cannabis until it produces a vapour. This method offers less opportunity for impurities and is a great choice for consumers looking for safer and more discreet consumption options.
From first-hand experience, we know consumers can spend a lot of money on tools, but there are only a handful of items you need to elevate your vaporizer experience. We generally recommend herb storage, a grinder, a locked case and cleaning supplies. Choosing the right accessories can be almost as challenging as choosing the right vaporizer, so we’re happy to provide a solution that takes away the confusion by including the things you need in one convenient product.
Through your cannabis career, what challenges as a woman have you had to overcome?
Things are evolving, but women still face a range of challenges that prevent them from joining the cannabis industry or cause them to diminish their goals. Personally, I have and continue to overcome:
- Balancing family commitments and entrepreneurship is a huge thing. Through my journey, I’ve had to fight gender stereotypes and the "superwoman persona", and learn to ask for help because there’s only so much that one can accomplish and do in a day.
- Stigma - Cannabis can be a difficult industry to be in at times. I’ve had mail services, accountants and other vendors break up with our company simply because of our industry. And, as a woman, it can be even harsher. I was worried about the “stoner’ persona and being judged poorly as a mother for my involvement in cannabis when I started. Interestingly, networking with other women in the space helped me to see I wasn't alone with these feelings. If you focus on the positives of being able to help people find relief and improve their cannabis journey, it refutes any negatives and concerns over stigma.
What kind of impact are women leaders making in the cannabis industry? What do you hope for in the future?
The time to invest in women for the future of the cannabis industry is now. There are some great women who are leading the charge in the cannabis space and opening up the doors for others. There's also great work being done by groups like Mother's Mary, who work to eliminate the stigma for mothers working in Cannabis, and SheCann who work to support medical cannabis consumption. Peoples Alliance of Cannabis in Canada is also stepping up when it comes to advocating for women and minorities in the industry. I find Women in cannabis are more open to elevating each other than ever before, which I hope continues. When one of us succeeds we all do.
What are the top 3 lessons you’ve learned since you began Blifted.ca?
- There will be challenges but it's important to look at them as speed bumps, not brick walls.
- It's okay to say ‘no’. Not every opportunity is a good fit and that's when learning to politely say no comes in handy.
- Self-care is self-preservation. Taking time for yourself should be a priority and is an investment that will make you a better boss, employee, person, and partner.
What advice would you give to other women who are just starting their cannabis business?
Besides understanding business basics, networking and self-care are essential. As women leaders in a new and changing industry, we need to support each other. While you're working away, it's also important to remember to make time for yourself. If you don’t fill the bucket you won’t have enough to give back to your company and life. But these are only one aspect of success, as much of business comes down to determination and not giving up. There will always be challenges as women - stigma, bias, inequality, but it's your mindset and grit that will help you overcome it and make you a better leader.
If you would like to get in touch with Sherri or access her kits please visit her company website HERE
Looking for a way to connect with women in weed? Register for our upcoming International Women's Day event on March 8th, 2021!