“I was never a regular weed smoker, but my husband’s brothers have been involved in the cannabis industry for years—long before it was cool.
Three years ago, when I was pregnant with our second child, we moved from New York, where I worked as a fashion editor, to Northern California, where my husband, Zander, grew up and his family still lives. Once we settled in, I decided I needed to figure out what my next career move would be. So I enrolled in a class on cannabis training. I wasn’t quite sure what would come of it but figured it would be good to learn about the business my husband’s family was involved in.
At the same time, I became fascinated with herbalism—wildcrafting [harvesting plants for food and medicine] and plant healing particularly interested me. So I also started taking a class. These classes opened my eyes to the many things we can turn to nature for. For every synthetic product we use, there’s a natural equivalent.
This perfect storm of information coincided with marijuana legalization. That’s when I decided to start Vertly, a clean cannabis beauty line. Zander and I had been using topical CBD cream for muscular pain for years and knew it had analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and calming benefits. I thought it could catch on if people thought of it as a vitamin and allowed small amounts to be absorbed through their skin.
That’s what inspired me to create a CBD-infused lip balm that I asked some beauty editors back in New York to review. CBD wasn’t the trendy supplement it is now. Everyone asked, ‘Will this get me high?’ But lip balm’s an innocuous enough product that they weren’t too scared to try it. The response I got was incredible.
Word spread, and now Vertly makes products like bath salts, lotion, and a workout-recovery body spray that are sold online and in stores like Neiman Marcus and Barneys.
When I first started the company, I shared lab space with a cosmetics manufacturer. Now I’ve moved into a facility that’s double the size. Still, I feel strongly that our products don’t need to be mass-produced. I love that every product is handcrafted. At a moment’s notice, I can put on my hairnet and gloves, jump on the assembly line, and help make any of the products. I feel great pride in that aspect of our company.
I don’t consider myself a nature freak, by the way. If you saw me, you’d say, ‘That girl works in fashion!’ (Although I do garden regularly and grow my own herbs—in chic garden gear.) But my appreciation for nature and what it can do for us grows day by day.”
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