Chrystin Bunion launched her CBD wellness lifestyle brand Sweets Flower Shop to provide a holistic alternative path to healing that encourages a healthy and balanced life. Created in 2020 for communities of color that have been over-criminalized for the use and distribution of the plant, Bunion believes that everyone should have access to affordable and high-quality cannabis products and safe communal consumption experiences.
“Sweets Flower Shop came about when I was looking for holistic alternatives to help manage the pain of my menstrual cycle and help my loved one manage anxiety after being released from the prison system,” the cannabis entrepreneur shares. “We both were looking for a healthy and legal way to deal with pain, insomnia and stress. After extensive research, CBD came to mind, and coincidentally, I had a close friend who had connections with a few cannabis farmers.”
Bunion tried CBD flowers in a smokable form, and her mind was blown by the immediate relief she felt. She knew something so positively impactful needed to be shared with the community.
Though known for its various benefits, she points out that cannabis affects different people in different ways. The most well-studied benefits of cannabis are pain relief, reduced inflammation, improved sleep, reduced nausea and vomiting, improved appetite, anxiety relief, increased libido and increased creative thinking.
“THC is responsible for the ‘high’ that many associate with cannabis. CBD is a non-intoxicating, non-euphoric component, which you may have seen in the form of oils, gummies, drinks and other products for medical purposes. A few puffs or bites of our CBD for me unlock my creative ability and productivity, whereas for my partner, it induces his relaxation and encourages rest,” shares Bunion.
Sweets Flowers Shop offers high-grade CBD edibles and flowers sourced from expert growers nationwide. Its flavorful, premium gummies contain 50 mg of CBG in each dragon fruit, guava, or wild berry gummy, while the full-spectrum CBD pre-rolls are available in five signature strains. Bunion’s favorite product in the line, however, is the CBD-infused raw honey.
“It’s a beautiful collaboration between two of mother nature's power players and offers holistic benefits while being incredibly versatile,” Bunion says. “I use it on everything, seriously! From a sweetener in my tea and drinks to a drizzle over snacks and dinner, and sometimes as a moisturizing agent in my face masks, our infused honey is a unique and versatile addition to my health routine.”
Though several Black entrepreneurs have managed to build successful enterprises, the cannabis industry is still largely lacking in diversity. More than 80% of businesses are white-owned, with only 10% being owned by Blacks or Hispanics.
The CBD lifestyle brand founder says this lack of diversity is largely due to barriers to entry minorities face, including the lack of access to capital and resources to create, legally sell, and market a cannabis brand.
“The primary funding sources for cannabis companies are wealthy individuals, family offices and private equity and venture capital firms willing to take the risk. Historically, those are the types of capital that people of color cannot access. As the roll-out continues, we must acknowledge minority populations across the industry, as there are still a lot of stigmas and fear around the plant and its association with Black and Brown communities. Since these populations have borne the brunt of cannabis prohibition and the decades-long ‘war on drugs’ while the economic benefits of legalization have mainly gone to white men, internal diversity, equity and inclusion task forces need to be put in place and legislation to bring balance to this pain point.”
Despite the existing barriers, people of color continue to make their way–albeit in small numbers–in the white-dominated industry. If you are interested in breaking into it and starting a cannabis business of your own, consider these five tips from the Sweets Flower Shop founder.
Do your research
In this growing mass market, information is vital, and it is imperative that you educate yourself and continue to learn and stay abreast.
“The more you learn about the different kinds of opportunities, cannabis and what you’re interested in, the sooner you know what direction to take, and the sooner you can be proactive in gaining experience,” explains Bunion.
Network and attend cannabis events
In addition to conducting thorough research, it’s essential to establish relationships with others who are also growing in this space.
“Meeting and networking allow you to find people who can work with you and expose you to opportunities and resources that could propel your vision forward and provide you with a greater perspective on how to grow in the market,” shares the Sweets Flowers Shop founder.
Identify your market
As with any new business, you must first identify your market and consider its consumer preferences.
“Identifying the market you’d like to serve enables you to get clear on your offerings, marketing strategy and placement," advises Bunion. "This is very beneficial in producing products that cater to your market specifically, tailoring them to include your consumer preferences and desired experience.”
Creativity is every entrepreneur's or leader's opportunity to breathe new energy and set a new tone in this emerging industry.
According to Bunion, “Prioritizing innovation, collaborations and authenticity in vision will permanently set the brands that resonate with the community and market apart from others that lack it.”
Quality over quantity
As the industry defines itself, many enthusiasts promote interest in financial gain over providing consumers with high-grade products or services. Avoid this and strive to keep the consumer experience at the forefront.
“Being a brand that prioritizes quality will enable consumers to trust that your company does the work and research behind producing quality products and services that they can always trust will put their best interest and overall health first,” says the CBD entrepreneur.