Weed has gotten a major makeover. From weed weddings to body care聽products infused with cannabidiol AKA CBD (which won鈥檛 get you high), there鈥檚 been an uptick in using the pot plant for more than just puffing. Millennial women are turning to weed for self-care to reduce anxiety and stress, and as the cannabis industry grows, so do female entrepreneurs getting into the ganja game. In this week鈥檚 entry in the How to Quit Your Day Job series, four boss ladies who run successful cannabis-based brands share how they built their companies from the ground up.

Meet Hope Wiseman, Founder and COO of Mary & Main

After graduating from Spelman College in Atlanta, Hope Wiseman sold stock research to fund managers and was on track to become an investment banker. Nine months later, she lost her job and decided to start a business of her own. She convinced her mother Dr. Octavia Simkins-Wiseman to join her in opening a marijuana dispensary in Capitol Heights, Maryland. They applied for a dispensary license in 2016, securing the license at the end of that year. Wiseman and her mother are opening the doors on Mary & Main in August 2018. As the youngest black dispensary owner, Wiseman hopes to welcome a diverse community to her new shop.

Brit + Co: What鈥檚 your morning routine?

Hope Wiseman: I wake up between 6 and 7am. I pray and thank God for waking me up. I take a shot of apple cider vinegar and get something light to eat. I head to the gym for more than an hour, and then I鈥檓 ready to start my day.

B+C: What inspired you to start your company?

HW: At first, I was inspired by the economic opportunity that cannabis presented. Once I really got into it, I became even more inspired by the medicinal and social justice aspect of the industry. Although Caucasians are more likely to consume cannabis, black and brown people are convicted at four times the rate of whites for possession. For this reason, I strongly believe that minorities should benefit from the legalization of this medicine, and I am proud to contribute to that effort.

B+C: What does your typical workday look like?

HW: My days are anything but typical. The past three years have been spent mainly in front of a computer screen, developing policies, procedures, and other operational planning. The past year has been much more active. I may be in New Jersey speaking at an event, or in Annapolis, Maryland testifying at a bill hearing, or back in the store helping with our contractors. Now that the store is nearing our open date, my schedule should become a little more normal. Key word: 鈥渟hould鈥 鈥 but I am not making any promises!

B+C: What is something that people don鈥檛 know about your work that you wish they did?

HW: I think that oftentimes people look at the cannabis industry as though it does not require a high level of professionalism. This industry is one of the fastest growing industries that my generation will ever see. In order to become successful in this industry, you must have a high level of business acumen and even higher level of creativity. Cannabis entrepreneurs deal with a constantly shifting regulatory climate; high barriers to entry; local, state and national governing bodies; sustainability concerns; and much more. I wish that more people understood the level of commitment that 鈥渃annapreneurs鈥 must have when diving into this industry.

B+C: What鈥檚 the best advice you鈥檝e ever gotten?

HW: 鈥淎ppreciate each loss, because there is a blessing or a lesson behind it.鈥 I have not gotten to where I am today without taking my fair share of losses. I have learned to take those losses and look at what I have learned in the process. I apply that lesson to my life, and, bam, good things always follow.

B+C: What do you love about your job?

HW: I love that the cannabis industry is still evolving. Although stressful, waking up to new headlines that change my daily operations gives me so much excitement. I am blessed to have been able to get my foot in the door early enough that the possibilities for me and my company, Mary & Main, are endless.

B+C: How do you see women鈥檚 role in the cannabis industry evolving and changing?

HW: Luckily the cannabis industry has been extremely inclusive of women. In fact, my first introduction to many of my colleagues in cannabis was through a networking organization called Women Grow. I see more women using this industry to build wealth and legacy for their families, and I think it is beautiful!

Meet Jane West, CEO of Jane West

When Colorado became the first state to legalize the sale of marijuana, Colorado-based working mom Jane West started hosting cannabis events that were more like sophisticated dinner parties. Prior to starting Jane West, she was a corporate event planner and was fired after her employer spotted her vaping on CNBC. After that incident, she founded Women Grow, the cannabis industry鈥檚 largest professional networking organization, and is now the CEO of the eponymous cannabis lifestyle brand Jane West.

Brit + Co: What鈥檚 your morning routine?

Jane West: The first thing I do is grind whole-bean CBD coffee. I love the smell of the coffee when you freshly grind it. I make breakfast for my two grade-school boys and drop them off at school. Then I do yoga or Jazzercise with my 72-year-old mother. That鈥檚 when I think through the rest of my day and plan the most important tasks I need to complete. I鈥檓 back home by 9:30am. I make my to-do list and get going on world domination!

B+C: What inspired you to start your company?

JW: At one point in 2015, I asked myself, 鈥淲hat would my dream job be?鈥 The answer was to go around the country and find my favorite growers and my favorite flower. I wanted to work with awesome people and be in control of who I partner with and why. I wanted to make the world of cannabis better and easier and more relatable for people, because I truly believe in the power of the plant. Those realizations helped this company take shape.

Launching the cannabis events company Edible Events and also founding Women Grow helped me build the confidence I needed to become the CEO of Jane West. When I first started in the industry, I told myself, 鈥淚 am not a CEO.鈥 I honestly never thought of myself like that. But over time I watched all these other CEOs manage their businesses, and that inspired me. I realized if I was going to develop all of the products I wanted to bring into existence through my company, it would have to be my responsibility as CEO to work up the business relationships and figure out the designs and start selling the products. Now it seems obvious that my title should be CEO, but it鈥檚 all about finding your confidence.

B+C: What does your typical workday look like?

JW: I have six to eight clipboards that detail the projects I am working on at a given time. I find that if I have more projects than that, it鈥檚 too much. I list the most important tasks for each project on a different clipboard. Whenever I need to work on one of the projects or get something to the finish line, I reach for the corresponding clipboard. My typical workday involves me working at my home office at my standing desk, tackling these various clipboards. When I am not on a call, I am usually listening to music on my wireless headphones. Then I get my kids after school and spend some quality down time with them. Then I hit the desk again once they go to bed to work on more long-term, detailed projects that require my undivided attention.

B+C: What is something that people don鈥檛 know about your work that you wish they did?

JW: I think people imagine I work with a major team at Jane West. But we are a very lean company. We are still in startup mode. It鈥檚 easy to assume you need all of this support and a big office to run a company, and that can be daunting for many people. When you manage your own schedule and are in control of your company, you end up accomplishing so much more. Anyone can do this through focused, passionate effort.

B+C: What鈥檚 the best advice you鈥檝e ever gotten?

JW: 鈥淛ust go in there and act like you own the place.鈥 It鈥檚 the perfect way to face your fears.

B+C: What do you love about your job?

JW: I love cannabis and being surrounded by it. It鈥檚 true that in so many corporate environments there is alcohol everywhere. I love that now cannabis can be your substance of choice for relaxing and hanging out with your colleagues. But what I also love about my job is I still don鈥檛 know what is going to happen with my company. I know what I want to accomplish, I know what we are trying to do and why, but every single day I wake up and I don鈥檛 know what is going to happen. There is nothing boring about it. I tend to thrive in high-risk environments. I am operating from a place of confidence. I feel like I have arrived.

B+C: How do you see women鈥檚 role in the cannabis industry evolving and changing?

JW: As far as I am concerned, the answer is up to everyone in the industry right now. The industry is changing so quickly, and it鈥檚 up to every single person to establish a new corporate culture. We are deciding what is acceptable and not acceptable, how we speak to each other, how we delegate authority, and how we bring our visions to reality. Every single person participating in the industry is part of the answer and part of the solution.

Meet Carla Baumgartner, Founder & COO of Ganjarunner

A lifelong lover of cannabis, which she calls a 鈥渕iracle plant,鈥 Baumgartner started Ganjarunner, an LA-based cannabis delivery company that offers service throughout the state of California. As the founder, Baumgartner is deeply involved with customer care, emphasizing that many clients are simply managing pain from various diseases by smoking pot. She also works with a hospice center to help provide relief for patients 鈥 for Baumgartner, Ganjarunner is a personal and professional endeavor.

Brit + Co: What鈥檚 your morning routine?

Carla Baumgartner: My days begin at 5:30am. I microdose with a CBD/THC oil; turn on some deep relaxing, OM, or Theta music; and meditate. I sip green tea matcha as I prepare for a yoga class or simple walk. I may spend some time in the garden if time permits, followed by a shower, then suiting up for the battles of the day, and off to work!

B+C: What inspired you to start your company?

CB: Cannabis has helped overcome my anxiety and helps with overall balance while [keeping me] focused, sharp, and very aware. I鈥檝e always known the healing benefits of this plant and chose this path rather than receiving prescribed narcotics. I feel it鈥檚 a much better alternative to Big Pharma and felt it was my mission to get the product in the hands of persons of all ages who truly want to heal alternatively through cannabis. Following a successful career in real estate, my life鈥檚 journey has shifted to pursuing my passion full-time through Ganjarunner, offering super service, education, selection, and realism.

B+C: What does your typical workday look like?

CB: My day is quite challenging as a business owner navigating through new cannabis regulations, often absurd laws, and burdensome taxation. Once that hat is momentarily off, I help guide our team, ensuring the highest quality customer care is continually offered to our customers. Our customers are the most important component of our business. Every person that we service is on their own personal journey, and I feel compelled helping them, often interacting with customers seven days per week. I want to make sure they know we care and they are on the right path. Along with interacting with members and staff, a good deal of my time is spent with compliance, legalities, procuring quality product, and developing relationships with distributors, manufacturers, and cultivators.

B+C: What is something that people don鈥檛 know about your work that you wish they did?

CB: I wish people would realize how many people with ailments and illnesses are honestly helped by medicating with cannabis. Many lives have been positively affected through the use of cannabis for ailments such as pain management, use during chemotherapy/radiation, Parkinson鈥檚 disease, insomnia, menopause, back pain, anxiety, and more.

B+C: What鈥檚 the best advice you鈥檝e ever gotten?

CB: Someone told me, 鈥淚f you can鈥檛 find the sun, be the sun,鈥 during a very sad time in my life, with the passing of my mom. It helps me.

B+C: What do you love about your job?

CB: Working with our customers and bringing joy and healing into their lives.

B+C: How do you see women鈥檚 role in the cannabis industry evolving and changing?

CB: It is a known fact that more and more women are holding leadership roles in the cannabis industry. Women are nurturing by nature. And combining women in the cannabis workplace makes sense to me. I am grateful and inspired every day. This is just the beginning. For all women, the sky is the limit.

Meet Kat Donatello, Founder of Austin and Kat

As a triathlete, Kat Donatello knew the importance of staying healthy, both mentally and physically, with exercise and eating healthy. Brady, a 14-year-old retriever who was her constant companion, was slowing down, and Donatello wanted to help him feel better. She asked her veterinarian about the benefits of CBD for dogs, and he said that he had heard there were interesting developments. Through trial and error, Donatello developed homemade CBD-based biscuits for Brady. She started giving biscuits to friends, and soon, she was known about town in Maine for making CBD dog treats.

Brit + Co: What鈥檚 your morning routine?

Kat Donatello: I鈥檓 up by 5am every day. I鈥檒l start with some brief meditation, using the Headspace app and a gratitude journal, and then I am off. No matter the day, weather, or my attitude, every morning has an exercise component. For me, exercising jump-starts my day. I鈥檓 either running with my dog Austin, biking, or taking a Pilates class. Then it鈥檚 back to the office, where I鈥檒l grab a cup of decaf, a bowl of granola, and fresh fruit, and it鈥檚 on to emails, checking in with my team, and planning out the day鈥檚 agenda.

B+C: What inspired you to start your company?

KD: In 2014, Austin and Kat was founded in my home kitchen in Maine. I started baking CBD biscuits to help my aging dog, Brady, and young pup, Austin, never thinking it would become a business. My small kitchen became a hive of activity over the next few months, and it smelled delicious as different batches of biscuits cooled. Friends popped over to grab some for their dogs, and before long I couldn鈥檛 walk through town without someone stopping me, wanting some for their dog. Based on all the feedback from friends, I knew that the treats were making a positive difference, and after some encouragement, I decided to take a leap of faith and started A&K. In building my brand, it was important to continue doing what worked at home. Thus, my biscuits (and now oils) are made from scratch with natural and locally sourced ingredients. Made by hand, in small batches, my team is passionate about using real food 鈥 no junk or fillers. A good diet is a key to happy and healthy pets.

B+C: What does your typical workday look like?

KD: I鈥檝e got an office and the bakery, so I鈥檓 in one of those two places. What鈥檚 awesome about owning a dog-based business is that Austin can be by my side (unless I鈥檓 actually baking) each day. I start the day with emails always. The first ones I read are always from the customers. Each month, I meet with my business coach, and we outline what must get done in the month, quarter, and year. That helps me stay on track for every day.

B+C: What is something that people don鈥檛 know about your work that you wish they did?

KD: I personally try to answer every customer鈥檚 email. It鈥檚 not always possible, but people care very deeply for their pets. I personally know the struggle someone is going through when their pet is suffering, and I want to be able to help so much. Some days, my team and I will be in tears, especially when we鈥檝e become so intertwined in our customers鈥 pets鈥 lives.

B+C: What鈥檚 the best advice you鈥檝e ever gotten?

KD: Don鈥檛 be afraid to ask questions. It shows true confidence in who you are when you can be honest and say, 鈥淚 don鈥檛 know the answer to that.鈥 No BS 鈥 be honest and be true, and that鈥檚 when you are at your most authentic.

B+C: What do you love about your job?

KD: Having the opportunity to help people鈥檚 pets. It鈥檚 why I open customer emails first thing every morning. How can that not feel amazing every day?

B+C: How do you see women鈥檚 role in the cannabis industry evolving and changing?

KD: The exponential growth of the cannabis industry is amazing, and while there are many women involved in the space, there鈥檚 room for even more. Women have the ability to have thoughtful conversations surrounding cannabis that are non-threatening, mainstream, and educational. I loved seeing the article in Oprah鈥檚 magazine about the mainstream movement of cannabis. Women are empowered by this. I can have a candid conversation with my 86-year-old dad (who was in law enforcement his entire life) about the legalization of cannabis. This would not have happened 20 years ago.

What鈥檚 your dream career? Tweet us @BritandCo to let us know, and we could feature it in the next column!

(Mary & Main interior photos via Marco Kay Photography; Hope Wiseman photos via Mary & Main; Jane West photos via Jason Travis; Ganjarunner photos via Jason Gloria; Austin and Kat product photos via Lindsay Gatz; Kat Donatello photo via David Lasky)