I’m a botanical business coach, a clinically-trained herbalist, CBD entrepreneur, and founder of CannaBotanicals.
I’m also a former solo hitchhiker, vagabond farmer, grad school drop out, and a queer, femme, anticapitalist witch who’s always liked to shake things up and question the status quo.
I use she/her pronouns, and currently live and work on N’Dakinna, the traditional and unceded territory of the Abenaki in beautiful central Vermont.
I believe in the potential of plant-based entrepreneurship to not only transform our personal lives, but also to radically shift how we collectively do business.
What brought me to the plants...
I wasn’t always a plant person. Because deep down I’m actually a total nerd, I ended up spending a long time in academia, eventually landing me in a soul-draining, body-destroying PhD program in sociology, until my inner rebel couldn’t take it anymore and ran away to California to WWOOF (volunteering on organic farms).
At the time I was really excited about food politics and wanting to learn about farming vegetables and ethically raising animals, and that happened, but what also happened serendipitously was a found myself on a Cannabis farm in Mendocino County filled with anarchists and herbalists, and something inside me opened up that had been desperately wanting to come out.
From this experience I knew that working with medicinal plants was where I was meant to be, and I followed that trail of bread crumbs to the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism, as well as a job at one of the first cannabis dispensaries in Vermont.
When this happened, I realized that I had discovered a livelihood that allowed me to bring my whole self into it, body, mind, and spirit. That allowed me to harness my inner rebel. Something that never felt possible in any other work I had done, or things I had studied.
But something still wasn’t right. At the dispensary I got to work with medicinal plants, including my rebellious ally, Cannabis, but the work culture there was toxic, and increasingly pharmaceutical and corporate. It felt like it was sucking the life out of my love for plant medicine, and it was starting to feel like any other job I had ever held — menial and extractive, and not fully utilizing my abilities or allowing me to feel fulfilled.
Luckily, I’d also always had a keen interest in running a business (many in my family have been self-employed, including my dad who was an antique dealer), and I’d had a number of side hustles throughout the year. So when I had yet another “I can’t take anymore” moment, even though it was absolutely terrifying, I decided this was it. This could be my ticket out of wage work. I took the leap to start CannaBotanicals and I never looked back.
What brought me to business coaching...
When I first started out, I made products and I offered herbal consultations and eventually wellness coaching, and I was happy and business was going well, but something still felt a bit off. I started to realize that the clients I liked working with the most were the ones who were entrepreneurs like me, and that was actually a lot more excited to help them in their businesses than I was with providing them with herbal formulas.
I began to realize that this was actually my true passion. That I had learned a ton along the way about running a business, as well as how to be a good clinician and coach, and that what I really wanted to be doing was helping other herbal and hemp entrepreneurs make their visions a reality.
Becoming self employed and having an herbal business is one of the most transformative experiences I’ve gone through in my life, and it has changed my life in countless positive ways. I make more money now than I ever have, I have more free time with my family, my stress levels are exponentially lower, and I know that what I’m doing makes a difference for other people.
And I want that for everybody. I want you all to feel like your work in the world is aligned with your passions and your purpose, that it helps to create the world you want to live in, AND that you are able to be financially supported by that work, not just to survive but to thrive.
And because I’ve been through it, I know that while it is worth every second, it’s by no means an easy journey. And I spent too much of my time early on trying to do everything myself because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. I DIY’d and googled everything, and had many rude awakenings when I realized sometimes years after the fact that I had been making some pretty glaring mistakes in my labeling, or my marketing, or even my formulation. Not only that, but I struggled needlessly for years with inner blocks, fears, and limiting beliefs about myself and the world that consistently got in the way of my business (and myself) reaching its full potential.
So I wanted to be the coach that I desperately needed in those early years. To guide folks not only in the complicated external reality of growing an herbal or cannabis business, but also to plumb the depths of the inner work necessary to push oneself beyond the familiar, and into the extraordinary possibilities that lie beyond those edges.
Over the years I’ve studied with and learned from a number of amazing folks who have deeply informed how I approach plant medicine, coaching, and business.
I am indebted to my herbal teachers at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism and beyond, including Larken Bunce, Guido Mase, Betzy Bancroft, Julie Mitchell, and Laura Litchfield, as well as the fairy godmother herself, Rosemary Gladstar. I also credit Mandana Boushee and Amanda David of Rootwork Herbals with helping me understand how to bring more diversity, equity, and inclusion to the herbal industry.
I also want to acknowledge those who have taught me about the land, first and foremost being the land itself — including The Plants (all of them) and the Landscapes of the Gulf of Maine, Northeast Woodlands, Pacific Coast, and Western Desert bioregions. I am also indebted to Lisa Fernandes, who taught me how to do ecological design, and to the writings of Robin Wall Kimmerer, Annie Dillard, and Mary Oliver.
My coaching mentors include several of my own coaches, including Britt Bolnick who modeled group facilitation and taught me how to integrate magic into my business, and Joanna Lindenbaum, who taught me how to coach in deep and powerful ways that actually create meaningful transformation.
Finally, I am incredibly indebted to the many courageous folks who are on the cutting edge of developing innovative, non-oppressive, consensual, and anti-capitalist business practices. I have learned an immense amount from Bear Hebert, Toi Marie, George Kao, Kelly Diels, and the faculty of Chantel Chapman’s Trauma of Money program.
Others deserving credit for their influence on my life and work include: Amanda Franz for teaching me trauma-informed re-embodiment, Kristina Wolff for planting in me the seeds of justice and trust in the possibility of new worlds, and the writings of Joanna Macy, adrienne maree brown, Chani Nicholas, Edgar Villanueva, and Charles Eisenstein for continuing to nourish my attempts to co-create another more beautiful world with you all.
The cannabis industry is booming right now, in large part due to decades of racism, classism, prohibition, and mass incarceration. Services and opportunities within this industry, however, are often made inaccessible for many people, often the same groups who have been most harmed by the war on drugs.
The herbal industry also mirrors this same trend, with it being much easier for those with privilege to navigate the creation and growth of an herbal business, despite the fact that herbs historically and currently have been the medicine of the less privileged.
While it falls far short of addressing the root of these larger systemic problems, I offer shame-free, partial scholarships on all my courses and programs to marginalized folks with financial need. With no applications to be verified or conditions to be met, it relies on trust, self-reflection, and honesty – qualities that we are being increasingly called on to cultivate as we build a more just and sustainable world.
Context: Setting prices for things is not something we are taught how to do, and is difficult to do without understanding the relative privilege of both parties involved. So some context: I am a white, cisgender, able-bodied, neurotypical, pansexual witch as well as a mother of a six-year old. I grew up low-income and was the first in my family to graduate from college. As I had access to need-based scholarships, I have less college debt than most people. Last year (2020) I took home $43,000 from my business, which is admittedly the most money I’ve ever made in my life. Combined with my partner’s modest income we use this money to support our daughter and our community, as well as to care for extended family members who are unable to work.
Guidance: In setting your price, I ask that you consider your racial privilege, relative earning potential, and access to financial support from your family/network, even if you currently have financial need. If you are able to pay the suggested price or higher, I ask that you do so, as these funds enable those who cannot pay full price to continue to have access to my offerings.