Joline Rivera said: “I think sometimes people are so busy saying ‘go women’ they forget to actually do something. But really…my vision is that we can stop talking about being ‘women in the industry’ and just be really awesome at what we’re doing.”
Describe yourself and what you do.
I’m the founder and creative director of Kitchen Toke Inc. We’re the first media /lifestyle brand teaching people about culinary cannabis for health and wellness. I spend most of my days working on bigger picture events, collaborations, company operations, and every quarter help drive the creativity behind our printed publication.
When did you get started working with cannabis? What is your vision for your professional cannabis endeavors?
I started planning and considering the launch of Kitchen Toke in 2016 when my friend/co-worker’s father lost his battle with cancer. I had given him infused chocolates to help with his discomfort before he passed. I was able to see firsthand how much and how quickly cannabis helped him. It was life-changing. With Kitchen Toke, we are creating the most friendly, inviting entry point for canna-curious consumers. We inspire and teach people how to enjoy culinary cannabis while using it to achieve health and wellness.
What is your personal cannabis origin story?
I’ve always been on the lookout for things I can create that would really help people. I’ve spent my life making pretty magazines…and at some level I always just looked at them as really pretty junk mail. But when my friend’s dad became ill and I saw what cannabis could do for someone in that amount of pain, I started to wonder what it could do for everyday aches, pains, and inflammation. When people think of cannabis, I think the first thing they think of is getting high. I’m really interested in everything but that. We all know you can get high, but what else can we do? I urge people to think about the half-way point. What if you could consume cannabis every morning, be highly functional, experience all the benefits of cannabis compounds without ever being high? I really want people to think about cannabis as food, food as medicine, and taking just enough to reset your cannabinoid system and feel good every day, and experience 8+ good hours of sleep every night.
What is your Superpower?
Spotting trends. It’s how I got here. I’m constantly looking at what’s around me. In 2016, I knew cannabis in food would be a big deal. I started planning and writing the brief on Kitchen Toke. We put our first magazine on shelves by early fall of 2017. In November 2018, Forbes came out with the “Top 5 Trends of 2019” listing infused food, cooking at home, and vegan diets to be three of the strongest 2019 trends…it’s pretty cool when I can be ahead of the curve. Anyone can cook with cannabis, and anyone can talk about food, but Kitchen Toke knows the food trends…we know what’s coming down the pike, what people want, and we merge that with the latest in cannabis. It’s so much fun.
What has been your greatest obstacle in this industry or with your business to date?
The greatest obstacle is getting mainstream to recognize what we’re doing is more than getting high. It’s become easier since CBD blew up this past year. We stay true to what we do best, we tell stories. We make sure to feature or film personal cannabis stories and hear users’ experiences. I think when you listen to people tell their story it reminds us of all the people we know who might benefit or relate to it. We’ve also aligned our brand with other mainstream influencers…like it or not, if people of influence share what you’re doing, it’ll get others to consider it.
“When people think of cannabis, I think the first thing they think of is getting high. I’m really interested in everything but that. We all know you can get high, but what else can we do?”
What is your advice for women in the cannabis industry?
That we do more than just give a good fist pump hooray for women…that we actually DO SOMETHING to help others. I think sometimes people are so busy saying “go women” they forget to actually do something. But really…my vision is that we can stop talking about being “women in the industry” and just be really awesome at what we’re doing.
I’ve been asked that before. “What’s it like to be a woman in cannabis?” I don’t really have an answer. I spent 20 years running my creative agency before Kitchen Toke and no one asked me what it was like to be a women creative director. It’s not something I focus on. I know it’s suppose to be a thing…but I’m too busy running my company. I really just focus on doing things right, treating others well, building a team of happy people, being really creative, having fun and creating excellence for Kitchen Toke and the partners we work with.
Connect with Joline Rivera:
Instagram: @KITCHENTOKE and @JOLINERIVERA