Suzanne Shpall said: “I have been fortunate to meet some truly incredible women who have been mentors, support systems, advisors, or who have lent me a generous hand and asked for nothing in return. In what is quickly becoming another male-dominated industry, I hope to see this industry-wide collaborative attitude grow.”
Describe yourself and what you do.
The daughter of a kick-ass Boomer Babe who is celebrating the elegance, wisdom, and incomparable beauty of older women through cannabis.
My mother has always been an inspiration to me. She is the woman I want to be when I grow up. She is a healthy, active, beautiful 60-year-old and an avid cannabis consumer. She is also underserved and underrepresented in the cannabis industry. Although women her age represent the fastest-growing consumer segment in cannabis, brands are not speaking to or creating products for her and her friends. My mom deserves a brand that’s as cool as she is. Highland Pantry is that brand.
What inspired you to start your company and when and how did you get started?
I originally launched Highland Pantry in 2016, however in 2018 I put the brand on pause, waiting to see how the California market would adjust to the Recreational market. In that time, I brought on a business partner, Michael Frank, got licensed, updated the branding and product offering, and prepared for a big 2019 launch.
Since we were little, Michael and I have both watched our moms fight a seemingly never-ending battle with pain. Be it chronic migraines, debilitating arthritis or sleeplessness and anxiety, our moms have been suffering, coping, and medicating to feel well enough to get through the day. But were they ever able to feel like “themselves?” Wanting to care for our moms as they have for us since we were little, we decided to stop watching from the sidelines while our moms struggled to find satisfaction with more mainstream remedies (i.e. hot baths, TOC meds, opioids, injectable pain-killers). Instead, we decided to step in.
Highland Pantry harnesses the multifaceted properties of cannabis to create a line of low dose cannabis goods that will keep you feeling cool as a cucumber (or a CBD mint).
Our help was the catalyst for positive change in our mothers’ lives. Having gotten their health back using cannabis, our moms are now happily daily consumers, using products not just for pain management, but also for fun. And their favorite product? Our mints, of course!
What Every superheroine has an origin story, how she got started on the path she is on. What is the origin story of your personal cannabis journey?
My mother suffers from debilitating migraines and I from scoliosis-related pain. After seeing the significant benefits that each of us was getting as a result of medicating with cannabis, I began to realize that there was an opportunity for low-dose, CBD-forward, healthy products in the cannabis space.
What is your Superpower?
Listening and giving advice to those I love. Also whipping up a meal from anything in my pantry.
What has been your greatest obstacle in this industry or with your business to date – and how have you overcome it – or are you still working on tackling it?
Licensing! I am naturally a slightly impatient person. When I set my mind to something, I want to see constant progress in reaching my goal. Obtaining our cannabis license has definitely put my impatience to the test. Since licensing in CA is still so new, the process of becoming a licensed, compliant cannabis manufacturer has been slow, and at times a bit confusing. Managing the process has taken persistence, diligence, and most of all patience. Luckily, we have a great support team who helped us complete our application and manage follow-up requests, and we are excited to be receiving our license soon!
What is your vision for women in this industry? What would you like women to know about entering the Cannabis industry?
I am so proud to be a female founder in this industry. There is a sense of excitement, openness, and collaboration that I think is unique to cannabis. Coming from the fashion industry, where “cattiness” and “back-stabbing” are prevalent, it is inspiring to see women not only celebrating one another’s successes but also working together and paying that success forward.
I have been fortunate to meet some truly incredible women who have been mentors, support systems, advisors, or who have lent me a generous hand and asked for nothing in return. In what is quickly becoming another male-dominated industry, I hope to see this industry-wide collaborative attitude grow. Together, we can truly do amazing things.