Lo Friesen said: “This industry is not for the faint of heart, but, if you have something to offer it, do it!”
Describe yourself and what you do.
I am a chemist with a passion for science, cannabis, wellness, education, and transparency. I am grateful that I’ve been able to merge my passions with my career. I am growing a company built on education and transparency to help connect consumers with the perfect product, which starts with understanding cannabis and all that it has to offer.
When did you get started working with cannabis? What is your vision for your creative endeavors?
My career shifted from western medicine to cannabis and botanicals in late 2014 when I realized I could use my chemistry background in the cannabis space. I moved to Seattle, Washington and began working for Eden Labs in 2015 to better understand botanical extraction. After learning about the Washington cannabis market, I could clearly see that a portion of cannabis consumers were not being served. I love and respect this plant, the medical potential it has, and the number of ways that it can enhance our lives. Heylo products are here to serve those looking for high quality medicine and a wide array of experiences, but Heylo is also here to move this industry forward through education, transparency, and community.
What is your personal cannabis origin story?
My college experience was jam packed with intense courses – I attended Northwestern University, which is known for its rigorous chemistry program. I used cannabis to help with my anxiety. Although, at the time and even today, access to cannabis research was very difficult so I never truly understood why it helped me. After graduating from Northwestern, I had access to more medical research than ever before and started reading the research that was available. At the same time, my father – a retired physician – and my mother recognized the emerging science and business potential of cannabis as states began loosening their laws around 2012. We began having conversations around what it would be like to change my career path from medical school to the cannabis industry. They encouraged me to pursue this opportunity and I’m so grateful they did! Without their support and the support of my husband, it would have been even scarier than it was to take this leap of faith and enter this wild industry.
What is your Superpower?
Recognizing my weaknesses and surrounding myself with incredible people to fill those gaps – we’re stronger together! My mother taught me a long time ago that helpers need help too.
What has been your greatest obstacle in this industry or with your business to date?
This legal challenge, which felt like a death blow, was a blessing in disguise. We were forced to rethink our DNA and what value we would bring to market in Washington. In the end, we re-launched as “Heylo” in August 2017. The reception of the new brand has been tremendous and I am proud of the way we recovered from this challenge through perseverance, creativity, and grit.
Heylo products are here to serve those looking for high quality medicine and a wide array of experiences, but Heylo is also here to move this industry forward through education, transparency, and community.
What is your advice for women in the cannabis industry?
I have encountered more female leaders in this industry than ever before. I am grateful to have grown up in a family that taught me equality among all people – so I’ve walked through life not letting anyone hold me back. Not everyone is as fortunate. This industry is not for the faint of heart, but, if you have something to offer it, do it! I hope that more women feel confident enough to enter this industry – we’re starting from the ground up here. Let’s disrupt the world and take it by storm!
Connect with Lo Friesen:
Instagram: @heylocannabis and @gethigh_getlo