With the COVID-19 pandemic, I contemplated if we should even celebrate 4/20 at all. It’s a strange time and the rate at which the world is changing we never know what tomorrow will bring. What would have been a month-long celebration has turned into telling the Kush Queen story; one of fear, courage, commitment, and the plant we can't imagine living without.
This post will continue to be updated, if this is your first time here, start at the top :) see you at the bottom.
The Power of Being Seen
The greatest lesson I’ve learned along the journey of Kush Queen is the priceless value of being seen. This plant has allowed me to be seen and to pass it on and see others. When you experience the act of seeing others, you cannot lose. Since cannabis is an emerging industry people are worried about compliance, funding, and marketing their product. All of those things are important, but importantly are the people who use the product.
Other than the 18-35 year old white male stoner, most people’s cannabis experience has been invisible, not unlike their narrative. At Kush Queen, we see all types of people with differing beliefs and life paths seeing themselves and that’s what we’re here for.
Cannabis Is Vital
A few weeks ago, California deemed cannabis as essential and I could not imagine getting through this pandemic without cannabis, it's more than essential to me it's vital.
I have been self-isolating for weeks now, our team has been working via Zoom with our WFH team. A few of our brave employees continue to help ship orders and keep our products on the shelves of California dispensaries. Our small team has maintained and made me extremely proud on all fronts. They have continued to care for each other, the products, and our customers despite living in a crisis. They have shown something that I believe we all need to have right now, something that I believe my purpose led me to discover in myself through Kush Queen: courage.
Kush Queen Cannabis Was Born
It’s not every day that people start companies with $0 and pipe dreams, yet that's how it all started. From our family kitchen and garage, we developed our first CBD products. At the time, our business was called The Crystal Cult where we made Swarovski crystal vape pens. Even though we experienced early success, something was missing. We wanted to create a more accessible wellness-focused products and share our family’s passion for cannabis.
Our namesake, Kush Queen was born from a community favorite vape - The Kush Queen and our unwavering commitment to our community has never changed. You guide us.
The Flagship - Cannabis Bath Bombs
At this time, I had been working in the cannabis industry for a while and didn’t see many topical cannabis products that spoke to me. Weird textures, dense oils, the wellness element was missing and I kept thinking, where is the intersection of Lush-like quality and cannabis.
That thought track led to what you experience today with Kush Queen Bath Bombs. Since day one, my mom and I worked and reworked the blends and processes until they were high-quality and potent. And like any good mother-daughter team, my mom would not allow me to take credit for the formulations of our flagship product, cannabis-infused bath bombs. I can admit it, she did all the heavy lifting.
The two most important elements we wanted to use in our formulas were high-quality ingredients and the entourage effect. Those two qualities will always be found in Kush Queen Bath Bombs.
One Part Fear, Three Parts Courage
It’s one thing to make something that you love and a completely different experience to sell it. I will never forget the first few sales because they were truly unnerving and exhilarating.
From the products to the marketing I was constantly making a creative statement and putting my view of what I thought cannabis could be for people out there. Naysayers? I’ve heard it all from I’m ruining my life to I’m going to hell BUT I believed deep down in my soul and heart that what I had to say mattered. That a cannabis brand from my perspective would be a vital part of the movement towards legalization, the social acceptance of cannabis globally, and hopefully eventually the end of the war on drugs.
Over the years, we’ve faced every type of shut down from selling CBD online to violating Instagram’s TOS policies and legal weed. Another hill would be climbed, all would be well and then POOF, at any given moment we would be shut down.
With every bit of growth, my gratitude was frequently met with fear, because you never really knew if it all would come crashing down.
We have weathered many storms personally and professionally from bank account shutdowns to my mom’s unexpected brain surgery. Through it, all Kush Queen has kept me going and I’ve always continued to get up despite feeling like quitting many times.
Brene Brown sums it up well in Daring Greatly, “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” It wasn’t until recently that I realized what the journey of Kush Queen has taught me. Now I know it's courage.
Evolution and Innovation
As the popularity of our cannabis infused bath bombs grew, so did our team and capabilities. During this time, Michael Sawyer, my fiancé and business partner, was working behind the scenes to create a scalable process for making cannabis oil water soluble and transdermal.
This technology would eventually fuel the development of our nano topical products.
Let’s take it back to 2017. Michael is passionate about infusing beverages of all kinds and understood the limitations to cannabis oil. After all, we are talking about actual oil. Even just 2 years ago, drinks on the market in California were dosed with THC and CBD oil which resulted in the cannabinoids floating on top of the liquid, pretty gross.
Delivery Methods Are Key
More than the strange oil element, edibles were not a choice for a lot of people. You see, when you eat cannabis oil your body processes it through the stomach and liver. For the average person this process takes at least an hour, which often results in people being unable to get their dose right or consistent. Moreover, your liver converts the THC to 11-hydroxy-THC, which scientifically is a completely different, more potent molecule.
At this point Michael has been in the lab non-stop. When he finally achieved his nano particle water soluble cannabis technology we knew Kush Queen would have more effective topicals and more freedom in formulas.
I had long wondered why every cannabis infused topical was either a salve or oil. It was because the science tech didn’t exist and cannabis oil needed a carrier. With Michael’s nano technology, for Kush Queen that was no longer an issue.
The First Test - Getting High In The Shower
One night I was struggling to sleep and having lung problems at the same time so I couldn’t smoke. Michael was up to the challenge of trying to help me and dosed some nano THC into our body wash. I jumped in the shower and lathered up with excitement as I am always ecstatic to be his guinea pig.
As I lifted my head up from drying off my lower body, I felt it hit. I was high...from a shower gel. You cannot imagine my excitement as I walked in the bedroom baked like a fresh cookie. Red eyes and giggly, Michael was ecstatic - it really worked. 15 minutes later, I was asleep.
Development began on Kush Queen Topicals
The next day we started working on what would be our cannabis infused nano topicals: Soaked Shower Gel, Melt Relief Lotion, and Kush Queen Lubricant.
I had been using cannabis topicals for about 10+ years at this point and knew all the things I disliked: coconut oil in everything, people selling infused oil as a lube, salve blends that didn’t work on my pain. And most importantly the fact that so many of these products were not actually delivering the cannabis directly into my bloodstream.
We knew the ingredients had to be clean and we wanted to use doses that could really transform your daily bathroom experience.
Soaked CBD Shower Gel was the first to be born. A lightweight, clean body wash with a transdermal dose of CBD. Scented with citrus, parbean, phthalate, and free of any harmful ingredients.
Melt CBD Pain Lotion was the second of the Kush Queen nano topicals family, an instant hit because of its organic icy hot feel. Melt doesn’t just take the pain away, it helps it stay away.
Kush Queen Lubricant was a response to the most popular cannabis lubricant on the market being coconut oil based and not an actual lubricant. That lube took 1 hour plus to work and was not latex safe (ew). Creating an inclusive lube for the v, the b, and the p, that was latex free, toy-safe and made with the most sensitive skin in mind was our goal. Fast forward 2 years and KQ Lube is now our number 2 best selling product.
Sometimes You’re A Little Early
At this point, our excitement around launching Kush Queen topicals is high. We go to market and realize the topicals category is a joke to the cannabis industry. Looking back on the experience, 2 things came into play here. It was 2017, the wellness element and importance of delivery methods in cannabis was nowhere near what it is today and second, most people that had tried topicals had the same unsatisfying experiences we had.
That’s when the Kush Queen promise was created. Given we had an uphill battle to convince people that our topicals really worked and were better for your body, we wanted to be transparent and educate our community on why and how our topicals were effective. On all product packaging and product pages, we inform the community about our nano tech and how Kush Queen ensures all of our products have the best delivery method possible for quick absorption.
When it comes down to it, we understand and take the responsibility of being innovative in the cannabis industry.
You can rely on the Kush Queen promise - All products are handmade in the USA, we never test on animals, we always disclose the full ingredients list and type of cannabis, we will continue to seek innovation in all aspects of our company, and most important to us, we are committed to using our platform and voice for the highest good.
Over the last 4 weeks, Kush Queen has grown in ways we could have never imagined when starting this company. Within weeks of reaching our fourth birthday, we are exactly where we want to be, sharing our vision of daily wellness with our community.
Given the times, living with this new shared perspective for a little over a month really got us reflecting, tuning in and connecting with Kush Queens everywhere. Part 3 of our story shares the lessons we’ve learned along the way.
You, Our Community Shares Our Vision
Kush Queen started with a vision to create a space for all types of people in cannabis, in particular, those who didn’t feel like they had a place. Over the last 4 years, we’ve grown into a community of over 22,000 with a shared view of using cannabis in everyday wellness.
The Kush Queen Promise
Mid-last year, we committed to bringing the Kush Queen promise to life in every aspect of our company. With each promise, we want you to know that we are real people on the other side of the products that we love so so much.
- Handmade in the USA. All of our products are handmade in our Southern California facility. Our small team has production down to a science. Through the recent pandemic events, we’ve never been more proud of seeing the Kush Queen team work together, take care of one another and go the extra mile for customers.
- Never test on animals. We think doggos should be running things anyway. Animals reign supreme at KQ HQ.
- Transparency. We hope you can feel this when you choose our products. You knowing exactly what’s in each Kush Queen product is very important to us. We’ve also started sharing more behind the scenes of Kush Queen. We are a small womxn-owned, family-run company. Your support truly means the world to us.
- Innovation. To us, that means relentless innovation with cannabis molecules. If you read Parts 1 and 2, you know that each of our product lines delivers some type of innovation from the delivery method to nano CBD. Constant improvement is our love language.
- Social Responsibility. If innovation is our love language, social responsibility is our soapbox. We will never spot fighting for and supporting those facing inequalities. Kush Queen is committed to using our platform and our voice for the highest good. You will always be seen, represented and given space.
Innovation is leading us to the next chapter of Kush Queen, just like it always does. We are beyond excited to launch Kindgm THC Primer next week in California. Following the primer launch will be expanding Kingdm with an infused foundation.
Last month, we delivered our first minor cannabinoid focused products with the expansion of Gummies Rx Bliss and Sleep. Look forward to more minor cannabinoid products. Our team was in the lab, as recently as last night testing new blends for effectiveness, potency and exploring benefits.
While a lot has changed since we first started, it's you and this amazing community of wellness-minded people that keep us going.
We hope everyone stays safe and healthy throughout these challenging times.
We love you! - Team KQ