The first time I ever spoke to Brittany of TONIC, Bardo, and Tricolla Farms, I think I had been booted from another bank for being a legal CBD company, and I was in a bind. We had emailed before, back when she and her mom were labeling their CBD elixirs at their kitchen table, and we at Mender were steaming up an outbuilding in my yard infusing herbs for our salves. So I felt an immediate kinship with this woman.
In the beginning, a shared love
Brittany was looking to CBD as a remedy to help those with anxiety and stress, a passion borne from her personal experience. I was obsessed with the possibility that the plant I grew up with on the coast of California could relieve the pain I had in my body from old motorcycle mishaps and a martial arts injury. Both of us were impassioned to elevate the plant's perception to its proper place through beautiful design and the best possible ingredients we could find to pair with her (CBD).
On the call, I was pulled over on the side of the road, an envelope full of cash with nowhere to put it and a few checks I suddenly couldn't cash. Brittany gave me a couple of names of banks and, as always, shared a brief but productive *eye-roll* on the ridiculousness of our industry before signing off.
Parters in perseverance
There was so much to *eye-roll* about. Tech bros were rolling in with stacks of cash and, with access to banking and credit card processing without the high-risk fees that the rest of us were beholden to, launching trendy brands with PR budgets for days. Regulations that varied from state to state made packaging a 'plug your nose and jump in' situation all the while making sure you had plenty of label paper for the last-minute switch-up. Having shipments seized and destroyed by one company and switching to another hoping their terms were up with the times.
The moral of the story, the CBD space for bootstrapped startups is an adventure—and I am so excited to announce that finally, Brittany's and I's adventures have converged.
More than an ingredient
Beginning this month, we are proud to be featuring Tricolla Farms' CBD in all of Mender's products moving forward. She and her husband Erik grow the hemp and manufacture the CBD at their lab—Bardo. This partnership brings a serious level-up for Mender. We have always sought the best organic CBD we could find, but now our CBD is exceptional—single-source, potent, clean, and grown and produced by a family farm. It's everything we have ever wanted: good CBD, good people, good stewards of the earth.
We are also working with the Tricolla / TONIC team on repping a selection of Mender products. While discussing the details of the partnership, Brittany said, "We are at an inflection point in this industry," where mergers and acquisitions are going to start boiling down the CBD space. So instead of buy-outs, we talked about the power of partnerships. Overlapping sales channels while maintaining ownership of our own companies, creating space to thrive, and collaborating where we can to build market-share as a collective.
With the relative newness of the CBD and cannabis space at large, we have this huge opportunity to draw attention to equity, the pitfalls of take-all capitalism, and the power of the collective. But, of course, the current of the "old ways" is strong, which is why we must be steadfast in continuing forward with passion and creativity.