When I met Karli Warner of the very successful California edibles brand Garden Society, I expected someone unlike myself who would intimidate me with her vast knowledge of cannabis and give me the latest pitch of why her product is the best. After all, this is the emerging cannabis market—growing at a rapid pace and proving quickly that the savviest, most creative, and best backed brands are rising to the top.
But Warner and I found plenty of common ground as we talked about our kids, the pressures of owning a business, and why we are so fortunate to have patient partners. Only later did I learn that Warner was married to a cancer survivor, a detail that explains her laid-back demeanor and vested interest in wellness; she’s witnessed its healing properties.
Warner and her Garden Society co-founder, Erin Gore, have created a gourmet chocolate edibles brand with women in mind, making a sort of sisterhood in chocolate and cannabis. It’s safe to say they have succeeded, and we are ready to be duly initiated members.
Sweet Jane caught up with Warner this summer, and our conversation picked up right where we left off at our first meeting.
SWEET JANE: Why were you inspired to create Garden Society, and what did that mean for you as a mother?
I became co-founder of Garden Society in 2016 shortly after having my daughter, Cece. Becoming a mom was a difficult journey for me, and once I had my healthy baby I couldn’t imagine going back to work—I was fulfilled with motherhood. But life had different plans for me. When Erin shared her vision of starting Garden Society, I knew I had to be involved. I understood the medical value of cannabis, having watched my uncle battle the HIV virus and my husband through his fight (and win) against lymphoma. I also knew that cannabis helps me daily with anxiety and stress. The opportunity to create and grow a company that helps like-minded women became my mission all while I was learning how to become a mom.
Why do you, as a woman, mother and cannabis entrepreneur/advocate, see cannabis as a valuable component to everyday lives?
Cannabis is key in helping me stay mindful and tuned-in as a mom, wife, and entrepreneur. Also, from my experiences with family illness, I have seen firsthand the role cannabis has in aiding symptoms of greater problems.
That all said, I have personally experienced the stigma around cannabis use among women. Putting myself out there to be a mom and a cannabis entrepreneur was scary, but by pushing through the judgment I have discovered a new sense of confidence and a belief in myself.
I understand the value this plant brings to so many women’s lives—helping us to be better moms, leaders, friends. I want women to know how important it is to grant yourself permission to use cannabis in bringing joy to your day.
If you had one piece of advice for working moms, what would it be?
That’s a tough one—I’ve learned so much over the past three years. If I had to pick one, I’d say at the end of the day your success as both a mom and at work comes down to respecting yourself and surrounding yourself with people who return that respect as well.
Let yourself make mistakes, don’t be afraid to ask for help, know that no one is really doing it all. For me, life has not been short of the highs and lows of growing a family and a career. Every day should include joy, and no matter how you find that—whether it be through cannabis, an hour unplugged, a long shower or a glass of wine—give yourself permission to bring whatever that happiness may be into your life!
Your manifesto is LOVE! Why is it important that you share this with consumers?
For me it’s all about building a community of like-minded women and helping them give themselves permission to do what they need to make life happy, fun and joy-filled. That can be a difficult task as we are all trying to be good moms, wives, friends, partners, family members, doers in our communities. There is a lot of pressure we put on ourselves as women, in addition to the pressure from societal norms, such as women can multitask, wear many hats, do-it-all. Sure, we can, but it can be stressful at times. We want Garden Society to be relatable while also being aspirational. I feel like that is why our manifesto resonates with our community.
What messages do we need to share to create mainstream acceptance?
There are many ways cannabis can bring positivity to your daily life and you have options. Whether it’s edibles, tinctures, pre-rolls, CBD vs. THC–The key to moving toward mainstream cannabis acceptance is education. In order to truly understand the benefits cannabis can bring to your life, consumers need to be educated on their options–products, strains, doses–what works best for their individual needs. Cannabis is so much more than getting high and it’s our responsibility as an industry to educate the canna-curious on these many life changing benefits.
What’s in store for the future?
It’s an exciting time to be a woman in the cannabis industry–women are the fastest-growing segment of cannabis consumers, and many of us are working together to rewrite the script around the plant and shatter the stigma of cannabis use, especially among women.
At Garden Society, we have an incredible team that is working hard to take the company to the next level. We’re launching lots of new products–our High CBD Rosette mini pre-rolls are back in stock, we are coming out with new Fruit Gelees in High CBD and THC, and preparing for statewide delivery from our online shop. We are also continuing to take our “Garden Party” program to new California markets as a way to meet, interact, and educate fellow canna-curious women.