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Erin Gore, Founder of Garden Society
It’s ironic that the very flowers that I desire the most are the ones which are the most illusive to find out east. Of course if circumstances permitted, I’m pretty sure I could find the time to taste through the line of Garden Society offerings out on the west coast if I only got out there more often! Hence the written word and the ability to create thirst out of words. When I started to dig a bit deeper, I learned that Garden Society, like the wine propagated in the region had many similarities. One of the most profound was the use of Biodynamics. My own childhood farm was for a time, Certified Biodynamic. It’s pretty stringent and Organics are another route entirely. Rudolph Steiner, the father of Biodynamics may not have used cannabis, but his theories and practices adhere to these principals in the garden with alacrity.
The way that Erin Gore has chosen is not an easy path, but this passion and that of the many women and men who also seek enlightenment, do so through simplicity. I’m eager to share with you the words of Erin Gore, Founder of Garden Society. Cheers! wb
WB: Where are you from? Why Cannabis instead of traditional business? Who was your inspiration?
EG: I’m a proud Wisconsin girl, born in the land of the cheese. After I received my degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering, I went to work for Henkel, a German CPG company for +10 years. Through this time, I had a very exciting career that was as stressful as it was steep.
I kept turning back to cannabis to help me manage my chronic pain from college basketball injuries, and then to help me manage my sleeplessness and stress from each new promotion. I was fascinated by how such a simple plant could be so complex and provide me so much relief. The more success I had with my career, the more isolated I felt in my personal life. I was in a wonderful marriage, where my husband had a great career, and we had a new wine brand launched with Constellation. However I was struggling with fertility like so many women in my same stage of life. I felt like I wasn’t succeeding anywhere in life, constantly disappointing someone and just moving one day to the next trying to figure out how to keep all the balls in the air, while trying to make time to focus on my health to have a family.
One day, my friends and I had the idea to have a “high holiday baking party” where we made edibles with a group of us. I was the “dosing queen” considering I knew the chemistry. We had some chefs in the group who could create amazing food. We had so much fun, together, talking about cannabis, experimenting, and connecting on our perils in life. These parties grew in size, with more women finding out about them and wanting to join, to the point where we outgrew my house. It was this spark I saw, where I realized I wasn’t alone in my quest for happiness and my struggles for balance, and that all these women saw something in cannabis that they wanted to learn about, try, experience, and ultimately enjoy.
Shortly after, Garden Society was born. I was excited to start a company, a movement really, where the purpose was to give women permission to choose cannabis as a way to help them find balance and joy, through education and products designed for women, or more simply put, designed for me and my friends.
WB: What is your passion? Tell me about your company? What is your specialty?
EG: My passion is helping women achieve their potential, and helping people find better health, which I think are totally connected. I really believe that through health we find love and success, and through that we build family and community.
Garden Society is a benefit corporation that offers high quality cannabis-infused confections and sun-grown flower pre-rolls that connect biodynamic farming, sustainable ingredients and strain-specific cannabis in a variety of products. Our edibles and pre-rolls are intended to be enjoyed responsibly to relieve pain, alleviate stress, and enable each of us to live our lives more fully. Our goal is to help everyone find a ‘Fresh Perspective’ in the joy that cannabis brings to our everyday lives.
OUR MANIFESTO: We are girlfriends, wives, moms, sisters, bill-payers, breadwinners, caretakers and peacemakers. We are multi-taskers, with a huge passion to pursue all this world offers. We are a sisterhood of like-minded women. We are pioneers, in search of new, more holistic ways to rejuvenate from the rigors of our daily lives. We seek new ways to regain perspective—and constantly look for ways to make the ordinary, extraordinary.
We are NOT superwomen, but we ARE amazing.
In addition to Garden Society, I am a volunteer with the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Sonoma County where we raise money to fund mental health needs and health access in our local community. I’m also locally elected as a Director of Healdsburg District Hospital, and a mentor through the Alice community, which is a digital ecosystem supporting and scaling underrepresented founders across the globe.
WB: Do you cook? If so who taught you? What is your favorite restaurant? Style of cooking?
I love to cook, but my husband is a chef in training. Growing up, it was a staple in our household that we were always together at dinner time, with a consistent rotation of spaghetti, casseroles, egg bakes, and crock-pot anythings. Since moving to wine country and falling in love with my husband, I have grown to have an appreciation for the beautiful bounty that comes from Sonoma County. He is also quite picky and doesn’t have the same fondness of Wisconsin winter food that I do. We have a farmette where we grow over 60 varieties of fruits and vegetables, and also make our own estate olive oil every year. My favorite style of cooking is simple cooking with amazing ingredients, where the flavors shine through. Every meal is best when shared with family and friends, so we are often entertaining and sharing the joy that we find from growing our own food.
WB: How do you deal with the stigmas of cannabis? What is your six month plan? One year plan?
EG: Education, education, education. That is the most important thing we do at our company. We actually have education written in to our purpose as a Benefit Corporation because it’s so critical to our work and success at Garden Society. Once we break down peoples stigmas and education them on the facts, and build trust and comfort with them, we see most of the concerns and stigmas go away.
We are currently finishing our fundraising round, and are excited to keep focusing on the growth of Garden Society by expanding our reach across the state with new dispensary partners, new products, and new education programs. In a year, we will continue pushing towards our vision of becoming one of the most positive, powerful and trusted cannabis brands for women, with quality products that matter to both consumers and partners.
WB: If you could be anywhere in the world right now where would that be? Doing what? With whom?
EG: Without a second thought, I would be right here doing this, with my co-founder Karli, and our growing team of amazing women and men. It’s exhilarating to be building this new industry, creating a business based on values, and selling products that are saving lives. It’s inspirational to realize the power we have as citizens to use our own voice to educate elected officials on how to create sensible regulations and why cannabis should exist in our communities. It’s amazing to have real influence on state and national policies to ensure that diversity and equality exist in this new industry, and compassion programs forever have a path for the most at need. It’s empowering to be a modern mom who is able to (most of the time) figure out how to balance being a mother, wife, founder, CEO, philanthropist, community volunteer, and friend.
July 2, 2019 at 11:33AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs