Franny Tacy 0:00
If you see it No, you just got to stand up and I’ve done it time and time again. Even in that Ted Talk. We hadn’t even opened our first dispensary. I was just talking about how much I love the plant and I was dedicated to it. So it’s come a long way and my voice would get shaky and I have had to work on my voice. We all have a voice
Y ou’re listening to To be blunt, be podcast for cannabis marketers. Were your host Shayda Torabi and her guests are trailblazing the path to marketing educating and professionalizing cannabis light one up and listen up. Here’s your host Shayda Torabi.
Shayda Torabi 0:53
Welcome back to the show. Just kidding. What am I really saying the introduction to every episode y’all probably get annoyed, but hopefully a quick little laugh. Hello everybody. My name is Shayda Torabi, I am the host of To be blunt. And today’s guest is Franny Tacy. She’s the owner of Franny’s farmacy and is the first female hemp farmer in North Carolina in over 75 years. Wow. Franny is one of the preeminent experts of all things hemp, she participates in the hemp research trials with North Carolina State University. She has a TEDx speech on hemp and is the founder of a nonprofit women in hemp. She has degrees and work experience in forestry and education, and worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over a decade prior to transitioning into the cannabis space. This conversation truly was a hoot to have frannie is such a powerful voice and a woman in action that this episode shines a light on and I’m honored to welcome her to the show. So let’s dive in and say hello to Franny.
Unknown Speaker 1:54
Well, my name is Franny Tacy also famously known as the hippie in high heels. And I am the founder first female farmer hemp farmer in North Carolina, first person in the country do a TED talk on him. So I am a huge advocate for all things hemp, and have developed over the past three years, a vertically integrated business based out of Asheville, North Carolina, called Franny’s farmacy. And that’s an FA RM, putting the farmer back in pharmacy. So, came from pharmaceuticals. I always had farming as a passion and has always been my hobby my whole life. And my dad was a farmer. And so we now have farms that are in our network, as well as manufacturing, processing, distribution, corporate stores and eight franchises across four states now. There we go. Brandy jc freydis. barn brandies.
Shayda Torabi 2:56
That’s a lot. How do you do that? How do you go from working in pharmaceuticals to actually founding the farm and maybe kind of walk us through the farm today? I know you have multiple locations, like you said, but surely you didn’t start with multiple locations. So what is that journey of going from
Unknown Speaker 3:14
A to Z? It always starts with a thought or an inspiration. And 30 years ago, when I was in forestry school in Flagstaff, Arizona, I read the Emperor wears no clothes. Well, that took the blinders off decades ago. And I’ve always been an advocate for cannabis. And really, you know, thank cannabis for getting me through college with the 4.0 and all these other things. So I always wanted a farm. And so while I was in pharmaceuticals, we were entrepreneurs, as well had built up this real estate Empire and everything just came crashing down. And I’d always wanted a farm. I said, this is the time, our son’s 15 can drive. It’s the time so got the farm in 2012 and built that out again, a vision. And I was everybody in pharmaceuticals knew it’s called pharma to farm was my story. It took three years before I was able to exit corporate America. In those last couple of years, I was even teaching business affirming classes because I started my farm. And I saw a local guy with a camp, make camp legal. Let farmers grow him. And I walked up and I was like, tell me about this What’s going on? And that’s began, they were like we needed to raise $200,000 in our state, get 100,000 signatures, get a university involved and develop a hip commission in order to because it was federally illegal. So there was no planting? Yeah, unless we came up with this criteria. So I was like, great, I signed the petition, got on the newsletter. And just as a hobby, again, I started building that Well, my network will help make all of those things happen. And so it had been going through legislation and been declined five times, we didn’t think anything was going to happen once again, and at 1158. One evening, it passed. So the next day was about three weeks before we should have had hemp in the ground. And a bunch of us said, Oh, my goodness, it happened. So we just leapt jumped off the cliff to figure it out, had to source seed from Italy, because it was federally illegal. We couldn’t do it in the US. And so that’s how it all started. And that was the heart and soul. We planted that first year for food and fiber, because again, I was like an advocate for him. And so at the end of the year, donated it all back, got researchers involved. That’s how we now collaborate. We have a started a women and hemp nonprofit that’s funding a researcher because nobody can get educational grants for this business. So we’re involved with NC State research, all sorts of geneticists now. And our farm has a hemp history tour, you can visit the farm and stay there. And we’re involved in research. I’m definitely a science geek. But farming has always just been my passion and my hobby. So yes, I’m still a hippie in high heels. I think that’s a beautiful story, though, to highlight for people who are listening. So many people aspire to be in the industry, but aren’t really, you know, aware of all the different pieces that, frankly, don’t exist, and they’re looking for someone who’s maybe come before them who’s already done it. However, what you’re expressing is nobody has done it before you nobody has really done it before us. And I think the way that your state was operating and really how the federal landscape of hemp and cannabis in general is operating is very siloed and isolated. And so to just kind of have that dream and that passion, and to blindly jump into the green pool as it is and really just be passionate about the plant and also trying to push the boundaries for what I think is where you found this magical mix of creating Franny’s farmacy. And so another question I have is, you know, kind of maybe a two part Did you just grow hemp on your farm or you grew other crops? And when it comes to hemp, do you You said you’re growing it for more food, but like At what point did you transition maybe to growing for hemp products? CBD products is really where I’m getting at, like, when did that distinction come along? We only were one year for food and fiber. And like he said, there was no body in the industry. And that’s why we’re vertically integrated. It’s not the best way to get involved in the industry. But every single person that has a skill has got a place in this industry, you just got to figure out what your interest is. So the first year was food and fiber and then we immediately switch to CBD. Because we knew that is where the business was going to be and it needed to be profitable. But when we bought the farm in 2012, I have a sustainable ag forestry science degree and I love land management. So we had already built the farm before hemp ever came along as a regenerative Ag Center. So I was doing lots of education. We’ve got animals, we do goat yoga, we were on vice TV, we have lodging we did music festivals. I mean our farm is thriving heartbeat. That is the brand behind what we are. So that’s what gave I mean it really ties a lot into the branding. I’m still a huge advocate in the food and fiber, where hemp every day I went carry a hemp briefcase. I eat him every single day. But the business opportunity was in the CBD market. And so that’s where we needed to go we actually sold seven acres of our farm to open our first dispensary and from there and funded the second dispensary, which funded distribution and and we’ll get into some of the marketing and finance and how we were able to build that because we were the first people in the country to do a public crowdfunding for a business that’s regulated by sec, FDIC, all the regulations. Tons of attorneys and all this stuff are the first people in the country to do that. So instead of going out and getting outside investors and getting wrapped up in hemp fever and you know every man jumping out of the off the farm and out of their corporate offices and trucks to claim themselves as an expert in a new industry when there are no experts. were like, I’m not getting involved with those people. I stand alone as a woman at almost every place I’m involved. Unless I have these opportunities will present themselves more and more. As the CEO of a multimillion dollar company. People are saying what women we need women to step up. And I have no fear. So just risk,
Shayda Torabi 10:04
I can see that you’re fearless and you’re boldly going into this, this unknown so confidently. And I don’t think that it’s confident that you’re not going to fail. It’s just confident because you’re passionate about it. And there’s this excitement around what you’re building and what you’re producing. And I love to tie in really quickly to kind of the history of the farm, especially when you touched on, you know, you created this environment for festivals and people to launch at the farm and this educational experience of getting, you know, in front of animals and kind of connecting the dots of you know, what is a farm experience to a consumer, but then you layer on cannabis, and I can’t imagine that cannabis is favored, you know, positively throughout North Carolina, maybe you can share some of you know, that experience of what it was like, you know, having this public space and you’re building this brand, and people are coming to you because they’re having these great experiences. And then you start to kind of introduce them into CBD. Was it a welcome transition for your brand? Do you feel like because you already had the brand, you had that trust for your community? And so when you started introducing the CBD educational piece, or the hemp rather educational piece that people were more comfortable with it, or what was that experience? Like?
Unknown Speaker 11:15
It was so wild and absolutely just wonderful. I just, I just love it. So the first year, because I was the first and I had involved two research stations with this, the DEA flying over and the first year was for food and fiber. It’s so close, I could have identified him in a lineup. But you know, we have the farm for five solid years. And I had built Yes, Facebook following and social media and trust within our community, our farming community. So it definitely helps. I mean, because people say like, they know I am a hard working woman of integrity with strict boundaries. And I’m going to stand up for what’s right. I mean, I was a teacher, I’ve coached half this community’s kids growing up. So they’re like, She’s crazy, but might be onto something. So it definitely helped. I mean, the news in the media picked it up so fast, because I stand out from other brands. I mean, we’re a brand. We were a brand as we started this, that’s why it was Franny’s farm and brandies, pharmacy. So we definitely helped. But also, I mean, I ended up that year, having to shut our farm down to the public, we used to be a lot more open, where people would come out and actually even picnic and do self guided tours, and you pick blueberries, that doesn’t work anymore. because too many people were curious. So there were, you know, people that had walked in my house, we had to put up security systems everywhere. And, and you know, it’s now kind of calm down, because that’s when him fever hooks. I mean, everybody was like, what I’m gonna make millions, I’ve just found out how to save the farm or how the kids will get into the farm. So those first couple of years, because there was nobody in farming. My dad was a farmer, my passion is my farm. I spoke to 10s of thousands of farmers. So again, mostly all men, I always said, Don’t spend a penny you can’t afford to lose. This is a new industry. There is nobody experts, but I promise I will be honest, because I’m figuring it out. And I’m very, very big into mentoring and finding mentors. So Kentucky had paved the way they were the first, not too far from us here in North Carolina, don’t think I wasn’t knocking on the door. I’m like, Hey, everybody, I’m your new best friend, and we are in the hell after these years. So it definitely helped. But that does not mean that we did not also see the exact contrast of people that, you know, in this is part of the one thing too, they want to discredit you or I came from pharmaceuticals I worked with, you know, surgeons slash gods, whatever. Anybody? Anybody insults me, I always consider it a term of endearment. So, no matter what you say, it’s always good for me. So yes, that has a lot to do with why we’ve had the press we have. Because marketing, we start talking about marketing, you have to be able to market your business to be successful in business. And we have challenges in cannabis that no industry. No other industry that I’m aware of has these challenges, and to be a billion dollar industry globally.
Shayda Torabi 14:42
It definitely makes the conversation of marketing that much more interesting. You have to get creative and look to other type of tactics. And I also think it’s a really beautiful opportunity because I think you’re seeing the industry and therefore the brands get pushed in different areas. interesting ways that it just encourages everybody to grow. So I know you know, there’s this hard sentiment around not being able to advertise on, you know, Instagram or Facebook, for example. And I’m not minimizing the pains, I know you’ve gone through them to have having your website shut down because you’re on the wrong platform or your Instagram account shut down because you posted the wrong thing. But something that I would rather highlight that I think that you’ve exceeded in is really building that personal brand through yourself, as well as building out your pharmacy as its own brand, and going and getting the press that you’ve gotten. And so I think the media is a really interesting area, because they’re, you know, sometimes supposed to be the mediator between the right and the wrong. And I think also when you layer on earned media, you’re trying to go out there and get pressed for your brand. And I think, personally speaking, I’ll share a little quick story. We were maybe like a three month old brands, this is two years ago, and we got a call by a local television station who wanted to do some story on CBD. Now I’ll caveat this with I majored in PR and marketing. I did corporate tech marketing. I’m very familiar with how the media works. But for some reason, in this moment, they were calling and I said, I would like media on my CBD business and brand like, Yes, let’s do that. And they came out like literally it happened in like the span of four hours. They were on the phone, they wanted to interview us, we were so excited that somebody called us wanted to interview our brand. We were like, Oh my gosh, this is it. This is how you get exposure. The whole angle was about CBD for pets. They come in, they do the segment. And then they leave and I’m thinking Oh, great. You know, we brought our family dog we had a pet line, or we still have a pet line. But we had just launched our pet line. So I was like, great. This is gonna be a really good story about giving pet CBD. We turn the news on that night and it was actually like a investigative piece like, would you give your pet CBD? Like dun dun dun and then they had asked the consumers a poll and it was like luckily people were like, you know what I would give my pet CBD. So the poll was more in favor of CBD. But the way that they had positioned it was would you give your pet CBD question, question question. And I remember watching it thinking, Oh my gosh, they could have totally slammed my brand, in this instance. And I think it was just a really real experience of I was so excited to get pressed for our brand, because that’s what I’m trying to do in this industry is get creative and get my story out there but not realizing how the media was potentially going to taint the effect of what CBD or cannabis really could be or the potential of it. And so it caught us in a weird, you know, position, it ended up being in our favor. And that story has brought us a lot of business even many years later, because people are curious, and they want to know about CBD and they want to know brands that they can connect to who can give them honest information and quality products. And just be a friendly face. And I love that you highlighted to how active you are in your community. Like we’re so active in our Austin Community as austinites and I think when when we launched and getting those media coverages, it’s like, oh, it’s it’s shade our Oh, it’s frania Yeah, right. And so you’ve gotten a lot of press back to you’ve gotten a lot of press around your brand. I’m just curious. All positive, has some scared you do you secure all the PR yourself. Like let’s dive into it.
Unknown Speaker 18:25
It’s everywhere, everywhere. So we had the citizen times, which is a part of the Janette media publication, which is papers, came out and did a publication and I was on the cover of the paper and they have my hands and you know, I have very distinctive custom like a Buddhist spoon ring from India for me. All this stuff. Well, they own the photography. So I’ve been on the cover of New York Times. No shout out. No credit to brandy JC for Andy’s farm brandies, pharmacy, I’ve been on the cover of the Chicago Tribune. They own that piece. So I have used my hands my farm and pieces of me not the face. But shadows of me have been in national press all over the US that never returned anything. So I see it and I’ll be like, those are my hands. Look, you know, so that’s one where you’re like, well, that’s interesting. And then we had PBS I mean, I’m a key. I don’t even watch TV. But if I do, it’s like PBS or they were out and that was a very interesting spin too, because it did bring up a whole bunch of controversy. And you know, I interviewed with them and had pictures for two days. And it comes out at the end. There’s like, you know, I don’t know 95 seconds. I got the power beautiful. Oh frannie is going to inspire everybody to get in this hemp industry. It’s so great. It was kind of the one thing like I would not suggest anybody leave the look. And so I really thought that press was a bit in the media and on the news like more than 60 times, I can’t even keep up with it. And there’s not any one silver bullet. That’s what building a brand. This is what farming This is what life is, this is why my farm is the base of all this connection to source. When we plant anything, you have to grow the roots. And so that’s what we even do in this business. It’s the person it’s the farm, it’s the foundation. And there are certain things we’ve had to pull back in and median some other way so that we didn’t grow too fast. Are we just staying true? So I’m just so grateful, so blessed, so blessed, I have to pat myself on the back all the time, for having the intestinal fortitude and a wicked sense of humor. I laugh somebody tells me though, I’m like, Oh, you don’t know me very well. Like that. So any brass is good brass. But you know, to be on every NBC, ABC, Fox, PBS vice. There’s not been anything that’s like, Oh, she’s That’s it? It’s because of the way the rest of the marketing works. And we’ve had our Facebook shut down so many times, Instagram, websites, banking, with that PayPal has $20,000 they kept from us, you know, and they did that 16,000 from our nonprofit women in him. People just steal money. And they say, Well, sorry, sue us if you want it back. It’s cannabis. So you know, just knowing and that’s what’s part of the beauty. I mean, I just know I work for a goddess people said when you’re the CEO, who do you turn to for advice? Well, I’ve got amazing, amazing mentors. And I work for a goddess plants. So it’s, you know, I have a boss,
Shayda Torabi 21:55
oh, your North Star is. And I think that you captured something that I personally believe in really well. And it’s, you know, the kind of one to one approach, it’s Yes, if I can make this one person in front of me feel more comfortable with the plant more confident, more understanding, whether it’s someone who walks into my retail store, or someone who interacts with me on social media, all the way through every media opportunity that has happened, you know, it’s just being able to be confident and know that you are helping advocate and, you know, make somebody else, a steward of that plant. And so it’s something that I don’t take lightly, it sounds like you don’t take lightly either. But you also know that it’s not, you know, the one massive bucket that does anything, it’s those little drops that build the bucket up.
Unknown Speaker 22:47
Yep. And when I originally started, I had that opportunity to really meet and interact with people and, you know, groups of 300 to 1000, which is a pretty intimate group, and especially this year, haven’t really had that same opportunity. So it’s really, really important for anybody in here that has a voice to continue and make sure that we are educating because they’ve done surveys. And even for people in the industry, we have these great conversations, people that are familiar with cannabis, and even within the industry still can’t quite differentiate what hemp is. And it’s just important that this dialogue continue in every aspect of
Shayda Torabi 23:34
our business. And I couldn’t agree more, which is really why I wanted to create this podcast, this is a small corner of the universe that I get to exist in and both selfishly and also, you know altruistically help the community by bringing together people who are experts or educators rather and like let’s just talk about things and try to get on the same page. I love kind of when you highlighted, you’re not always maybe the smartest person or you’re not always there’s no expert but like you become the expert or you become in a position of having expertise, the more that you lean in, the more conversations you have, the more that you show up. I think if you just sit back and you’re the recipient of the law, the regulations the industry, the market, then you’re being reactive instead of being proactive and when we first launched the brand and then really going to my first few hemp conferences. I remember looking around and listening to other people and thinking I mean, you’re talking about most people in the industry don’t really fully understand where hemp fits in with cannabis or compared to, you know, marijuana and that was something that just when you said that it took me back to that feeling of shit. I don’t know if I know these things, what are the other What are other people saying, you know, what did that person say in that podcast or where that person saying that panel or Oh, you know, when Franny say when she got quoted in that article, and, and I think for me, that’s where I started being able to accumulate, okay, this is a consistent thing. We’re all talking kind of from this Angola we’re using these words. And that really helped me build up confidence. And so I just strive to continue to place myself in those positions and educating myself. And I think especially in this day and age where I found a gap of not being able to go network, obviously in person, yeah, I can’t go to my conferences, I can’t go to my cannabis events. But we were kind of talking, you know, prior to recording like LinkedIn, for me has been a huge treasure trove of a platform that has allowed me to continue building my business. And so I think when you look at marketing, there’s obviously the consumer facing, but then there’s also the you know, where do I get the information that I then present to the consumers and so for me, it’s creating that great feedback loop of where am I hanging out who are my you know, mentors or peers or thought leaders and then how do I create content output that for consumers a
Shayda Torabi 25:54
quick break to say thank you to restart CBD for sponsoring this podcast, restart. CBD is a brand my sisters and I founded in our hometown in Austin, Texas, we operate a retail location as well as an e commerce store. And you can browse our wide range of CBD products at restart CBD calm. Again, thank you to restart for allowing me the time and resources to put on to be blunt, I hope you’ll check them out for your CBD needs. Let’s go back to the episode.
Unknown Speaker 26:25
So what people think of as experts is somebody that knows everything and can tell you exactly what to do. And this is why I say there are no experts, because a lot of what I offer, I’ve got more expertise in the industry than almost anybody in every aspect of it. But that comes from being able to tell you what not to do. Because this is a new industry. And it’s not business as usual. That’s why I say there’s not really experts, it takes people like us having conversations, as we move through legislation, and we continue to evolve. And it’s just been amazing how all of this has shifted, I was going to be on the road. Speaking it all across the country, I was only gonna be in town 13 days out of two months and then go to China for the International hemp supposing for three weeks, my farm wasn’t ready. The pharmacy wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. We’re learning new ways to connect. And it’s really, really important. So shout out. I’m so glad that you’re doing what you do. Thanks.
Shayda Torabi 27:25
I mean, if the feeling is mutual, like I just feel so privileged to get to sit in this position. And I think that’s a sentiment that’s come through with every conversation I’ve been able to have both on the podcast and just send my regular day to day life as a cannabis brand business owner. It’s wow like I’m in. I’m in Austin, Texas. I’m in Texas, I’m in America, you know, however you slice it, and I get to be in this industry. I want to be a good steward of this plant. I love that you say that you you know work for this goddess plant. I think that it really is a healing plant. Most people I know I shared with you my story before we recorded most people do know that I was in this car accident. And while I loved cannabis and the psychoactivity of it. And the recreation of it I really wasn’t in tune with the medicinal aspect. And then of course getting into hemp. It was a rabbit hole. Now you look at I think you quoted in your TED Talk 25,000 reported uses, I’ve heard you know, up to 50,000 uses and we really only talk about CBD oil. And so I asked somebody who’s in this industry. And while I operate a CBD brand, I’m like, this is a really cool plant, whether you want the psychoactivity whether you want the hemp fiber, hempcrete hemp, whatever the product is, it’s just like, how do you connect those two worlds? Going from, you know, the version of Shayda, who was you know, 17 at a rock concert in Austin, Texas lighting up a joint, ya know, let’s say maybe Willie Nelson, compared to now being able to say, Hey, you know, cannabis can have this fun recreational aspect to it. But look at all these other uses of this plant. I mean, the plants, regenerative restorative, it sucks up toxins, like you just you start reading about it, and you’re like, Wait, what? And then I want to just tell everybody, I’m like shaking people, not really. But I’m like,
Unknown Speaker 29:13
do you know that this is this plant? And this is what the plant does? I
Shayda Torabi 29:16
mean, the Presidents you know, who were requiring us to be growing it when they were immigrating, and then you can pay your taxes with it. Yes. And it’s like, whoa, wait, what, whoa, how did we get here and then you of course, look into media. And then I think media being one of those pillars of like, it controls so much of the narrative. It does. And so I think brands like ourselves have to go and then you know, kind of like, work backwards, but it’s just like, again to punctuate like such a privilege. I’m so like, energized to be able to have these conversations. And it is fun getting to talk to women like yourself who are clearly smart and educated but also are doing it because you’re just passionate about it.
Unknown Speaker 29:53
Well, and when it comes from people and not the media, you get that passion, that belief itself. Really, really powerful to be able to connect and educate people because this is not just connecting with people this is connecting to source. We were created with an endocannabinoid system. This plant was created before us thousands of years before us. It all existed as part of us in the way we’re supposed to live harmoniously, within our bodies. And in our environment, its connection to source. And I always say CBD. For me, I tell people, it’s like a hug. It’s like giving yourself a hug. you’re feeding your system. There’s no vitamin A receptors in your body, they work to attach an attractive, synthesize everything else you put in your body. But we have receptors designed just for that. That’s how we were created. And every single one of us and all mammals. I love telling women you know, they say milk drunk, no, no, no, honey milk, hi, we don’t produce alcohol in our breast. But we do produce cannabinoids cannabis for our babies. That’s how we’re feeding our infants. It is connection, connection, connection,
Shayda Torabi 31:11
on connection to bring it up. Again, another point that I really want to further dig into with you is just your brand. And it’s kind of maybe a hard question for me to articulate because I get asked this question a lot as somebody who’s really involved in branding, and how do you do it? How did you wake up one day and kind of like, come up with the brand? And then how do you further evolve that brand over time? What are those activities? What guides you? Because for me, I feel like I know what a personal brand is, it’s me, I’m Shayda. And I show up as myself and I advocate articulate and it’s easy, I think when you’re involving yourself, but if you’re not somebody who’s good at personal branding, I think that that can be hard. And so I’m just curious, Have you always been this comfortable? Personally, branding? And obviously bringing that personal brand into your brand? Or do you have separations between the two? And how do you? How do you find confidence in that? Um, that’s a pretty
Unknown Speaker 32:11
deep and in depth question. Because I get, you know, blast of inspiration. And I call it you know, my higher voice all of a sudden will be like, Hey, I feel like it’s a whisper or a shout out to myself, and Hey, did you think about this, there is room in this industry, for everybody, no matter what they are. I am living and being true to who I am, which farming has always been my passion. I went to forestry, sustainable ag school in college in the late 80s. And early 90s. I was in pharmaceuticals, my master’s is in education. So I’m just being me. And that translates into our farm and to me and to our pharmacy into the brand. But any and everybody to be successful, you have to be true to yourself. And so I’ve always been organic. I haven’t been to a doctor, medical doctor for a health condition ever since I had sinus surgery. And you know, I had allergies. You know, I’ve always eaten organic, I’ve always plant a garden. So it’s very authentic. And so I think with him fever, when we saw a lot of people come in and claim to be experts and their business is already gone. There. They’re missing the authenticity to that. We need attorneys, we need accountants, we need PR people, we need executive secretaries, we need bud tenders people to get to learn about this plant in the everyday people in retail, any and everybody, whatever you’re good at. If you love cannabis, there is a space for you. So, with the big complicated question for me, that’s all I can think about. It’s just be authentic. And I stand up and it is not always easy and not always comfortable. Because I am oftentimes, almost always the majority them in the minority. And the majority is, is I’m around white males. It’s a white male dominated industry. So my words and my voice may not be as long and exhausted. But I will always make my presence known only by adding value. And so that’s what we all need to do. You got to stand up any PC at NOAA, you just got to stand up and I’ve done it time and time again. Even in that TED talk. I we hadn’t even opened our first dispensary. I was just talking about how much I love the plant and I was dedicated to it. So it’s come a long way and my voice would get shaky and I was like I have had to work on my voice. We all have a voice.
Shayda Torabi 34:51
I think that was the best way that you could have answered the question. I think it’s not meant to be complicated, right. But I think we as humans, overcomplicate things and I think you’ve touched on it multiple times of, and I usually refer to it this way, you know, people have, you know, green in their eyes, they see an opportunity, they see cannabis as this cash cow. And obviously you and I are smart business owners and business women and leaders and so to not acknowledge that there’s a business opportunity with this plant is just not accurate. However, to your point of being authentic to yourself, and I do, you know, I see that a lot, I see a lot of brands popping up even just in my own circle here in Austin, who you don’t know who they are, you don’t know what they believe in, you don’t know anything about them. And I don’t think that you explicitly always have to have brands that are as transparent perhaps, as you and I. But I do think as the market shifts, and this industry shifts, I think consumers do want to have some sort of connection to the person who they’re buying from, or the people that they’re purchasing from. And so I do think that right now, it is something that if people aren’t honest with themselves about what they’re doing, or why they’re doing it, that’s I think, where people get tripped up, it’s like, why isn’t my brand working, I just, you know, got X amount of funding and I went and launched or I invested X amount of money, I went in launch and nobody’s buying my product, it’s like, well, you’re Mr. or Mrs. CBD brand of, you know, thousands, and you have to cut through, you have to cut through and so I’m not saying you know, don’t get excited or inspired to get in the industry perhaps in CBD. But hopefully these conversations can open up one the many other uses of both hemp and you know, just the cannabis plant, but to really get people to think beyond their why why they want to be in this industry. Why are they showing up every day? Like what is that important piece to them. And I, I resonate with this conversation because I like you just really love this plan. It’s changed my life so much. And I didn’t get into this industry to really start a business. I mean, I wasn’t an accident that introduced me to CBD, I just had a story. I’m a storyteller, I wanted to tell that story to my community. And that’s really the foundation for how our brand got started. And so, again, didn’t mean to punk you, I think you answered it so perfectly, because I think people need to just be true to themselves. And like you said, there’s so many different aspects like I, I just connected with somebody who is a cannabis accountant in Texas. And I love that I love seeing people take ownership of this industry and kind of blend it into these different aspects that are maybe not as popular as a CBD brand or a farm or you know, a product, maybe it is something more like you said a budtender or an accountant or a lawyer or even like, you know, some of these CBD cannabis agencies that I’ve seen pop up. So because I touched a little bit on it, and you touched about your funding. I am curious, what was that experience? Like? Because I mean, we talked about it, too. It’s hard to get funding, it’s hard to get payment merchants. It’s hard to be on a platform. So you have all these things kind of working against you. At what point are you like, you know what, let’s crowdsource this and see what happens. Like,
Unknown Speaker 38:12
how’d you get to that point? Well, back to what you were selling money is the worst motivator to get in the business. It’s got to be more than that. But money is important. And because of the regulations, you’re not going to get any funding. So we knew we wanted to scale. And with all the investors and all the investment groups and everybody with him fever, trying to come and present things we’d already learned enough to know like, though, that’s not the way to do it to bring in people with less experience. And Jeff found out about this crowdfunding and crowdsourcing for corporations that is just like you would any other type of stock. And so it’s through start engine. And we were able It was a huge success. But we were the first in the country. So we got major press ever to they’re like, Whoa, local Asheville CBD company for Amy’s pharmacy launches stock campaign. And people were like, Why? I mean, it sold out and oversubscribed, we had to renew it and refresh it and ended up raising half a million dollars within you know, a week which allowed us to send our distribution really set up the infrastructure in this distribution. And we now have extended that. And just a year later, as soon as we did that, I mean everybody is like oh my gosh, this is the way it is a way people but I still want you to know that any crowdfunding is primarily going to be your circle of influence that’s investing in you. And so we now have another campaigns we did that one, the second one when it launched it was at, you know four times the dollar value per share and now we have one in manufacturing So that we can extend that so anybody can go and invest in brainy manufacturing right now, because we want to continue to upscale. And the best way for us to do that is if we get all these other people and those low, that’s what you call low hanging fruit and marketing and sales, they want to see us succeed. And it really establishes a great connection with these people. But in a sense, every single word, I mean, it’s all public. There’s never a word behind closed doors or anything, it is all on that campaign. And so it’s very open, very transparent, and really great source. I mean, while people go through, you know, private investors and so forth. But I just want to warn you, that’s a really tricky place to be, as well, you know, because now you’re answering to somebody else.
Shayda Torabi 40:50
Yeah, not only are you answering to these investors, anytime you take investment, or, you know, responding to these investors, but I think something that I’m really curious to ask more about. And hopefully this sits well is, you know, when you go further to push yourself into the public eye, one, you’re obviously trying to grow and scale your business, you’re also trying to further advocate for the plant. But just speaking from my, you know, limited personal experience, also going through this action. Anytime you push yourself further, further, others, so you’re like, Hey, we want to grow our business. So we’re going to open this up for crowdfunding, which opens up for more media eyes. How do you kind of approach or combat perhaps the butting up against the regulatory and legal laws? And I asked that because, for example, you can’t make claims that CBD does anything. And so maybe something is hiding in one of your social media posts, a previous post, I heard even testimonials could be held in court if a consumer is saying something. And so not to get into that rabbit hole, but just really on the sentiment of as you further push and push and push. How do you manage? Who’s watching and how you’re actually protecting your brand? And your especially when
Unknown Speaker 42:15
Shayda Torabi 42:16
nobody who’s really doing it the right way? You know, you’re the example essentially.
Unknown Speaker 42:21
Oh, yeah. And don’t think for a minute, we don’t have host of attorneys all over for all sorts of things. And that’s what I always said. She’s people better than me to fight those battles. But yes, there are everything from our name to every single state we go in, you have to register every time you want to get a lease for a franchise there. Nobody. That is not something people are open and receptive to. So we’re just used to it again. I mean, I come back and said like intestinal fortitude, what can we handle? I’ve gotten, you know, praise and criticism alike. But you’re exactly right about testimonials. And, you know, the one thing that I will always openly say is, people this is legal for a reason. This is what we that people are, and especially right now, where people are in this disillusionment of what reality and elections and politics is I’m like, it’s still we the people, the government is just a huge machine. The only way to move it is we, the people and the collective. How many people before us have gone before us and been imprisoned and ridiculed for making this plan legal? So listen to the people. That’s why legal and and never make a false claim. I came from 12 years in pharmaceuticals, I’m well trained, like, you just don’t do that. That’s part of the expertise that allowed us to do manufacturing. I mean, I came from a global pharmaceutical company. Oh, yeah, those are lines we do not cross. But that doesn’t keep litigation and, you know, trouble. And that’s just part of the game. Back to intestinal fortitude and awakened sense of humor.
Shayda Torabi 44:09
I love it part of the game. It sounds like you’ve got a good group of people who are helping guide not only you as this woman who’s really behind your brand, but also your brand for any pharmacy, I think you’ve really beautifully shared your story. And I hope that it continues to be a resource for people who are looking at how they can be involved in the industry, looking at maybe perhaps their why and hopefully, you know, getting a little bit more clarity on the realities of what we go through when we exist in this space. It’s not for the faint of heart. And yeah, just also the passion, excitement that obviously exists when you’re able to really lean into your gifts and your talents. And obviously your history like you came from pharmaceuticals and this love of Ag and farming and so like those things, were all coursing you to have this money In this opportunity to be an advocate for this plant in this way that you are so I love it. I love everything that you’ve said like Sign me up, I’m a subscriber, I want to follow you be a fan girl. And I know our followers do too.
Unknown Speaker 45:11
And vice versa. And vice versa. I mean, what is so beautiful about what you’re doing and I’m doing is this is still an unregulated market. So people do say and do things, and on the back end the products, there’s so much misleading in the products when the FDA pulled 86 and only 24 had CBD in it. There is issues people need a person or brand that they can believe in now. And that is in marketing, what is preventing some people from the success, it’s part of the reason we set up franchising, because let us just take you through it, because most people can’t do what we do. There’s a lot of people that have entrepreneurial skills and the desire and then know how but they’ve got to be plugged into a system, because it’s just not business as usual. So brands like what you’re doing or what I’m doing, we’re out there, like just trust us. consumers need that. Otherwise, they’re buying on price, or whatever props up. And it’s unregulated. It’s an unregulated market, your products do not necessarily not yours in mind. But other products we have seen. We were the first not only in our state, but in the country to put the certificate of analysis with our products. Three years ago, when we started, they were like, what’s that? We’re like, that’s transparency. So you know what you’re getting? Not that they know how to read it or tell anyway. But it you know, it can be easily learned and decoded. You can see CBD and THC and delta nod and so forth. So, yeah, it’s people like us, that consumers need, he’s going to tell him the truth. He’s gonna walk the talk,
Shayda Torabi 46:59
you’re gonna walk the talk, I’m gonna walk the talk. And I I think to end it on that of I my one of my favorite quotes is your actions speak louder than your words. And so you can preach it, talk it speak it all day long. But until you actually get an action, you show up, you get involved. You put the time and you put the work in, you do make some mistakes and you lose some money. And you hopefully build a brand that people can trust. So with that said, Where can people find you on the internet? How can they connect with you after this episode, let us know how to find you.
Unknown Speaker 47:33
We’re emerged like the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, this trinity of frannie jc which is me frannie is with a Y where that is a lot about just being a woman in an industry personal insights, a lot of business stuff. I don’t just that’s a me, Franny’s farm, we are open to the public, that is a great place to find out more, you’re going to see more pictures of our hemp and what’s going on on the research. And then of course, brand is pharmacy. And that is where you can find our products. And you can learn more about our brand and you can connect with this if you’re interested in any level of business, we’re elevating the whole industry by helping people that want to private label their own brand, or wholesalers that need a reliable supply chain because that’s been disrupted during COVID. To have products to sell or franchises people that want to open a business and, you know, that’s what we’re doing. We’re elevating the industry. So Franny’s farmacy.com is really just that key place to start. We’re all over social media and everywhere so we would love to connect.
Shayda Torabi 48:49
I always get so sad when episodes end, but then I remember that there will be a new one next Monday and this one will exist for ever endeavor never on the podcast website, so please, if you didn’t get a chance to listen to other episodes, go check some of those out if you love this episode with frannie please share it with your team, share with your squad, share it with your friends, I think that these conversations are so important to have whether directly impacts you or just gives you a little nugget of information so that you can better do your job. That’s the goal. So thanks for listening. I hope you really did enjoy this interview with frannie like she said like I said please connect with us we are people and we love to hear what the community is up to. I know personally, I love hearing how this show is resonating with you guys and what you’re learning so you can follow the show on Instagram DM me at To be blunt pod. And if you’re on iTunes, please take an extra second to go leave us a review. Those reviews help make the show more visible so other people can find it as well. But thanks again for this episode. I appreciate your time and energy and until the next one. Talk to you guys later. Bye.
This episode of To be blunt. Be sure to visit the Shayda Torabi com slash to be blunt for more ways to connect new episodes come out on Mondays and for more behind the scenes follow along on Instagram at @theshaydatorabi