Part 1 of 4: Kyra’s SHEA MEDleys
As always we feel that it is necessary to start off any Shea Med blog post with some education first. Cannabis or “cannabis sativa” is a herbaceous flowering plant said to be indigenous of eastern Asia. It has been cultivated for over 50,000 years for industrial purposes including food, fiber for clothing, rope/housing materials, beauty care, recreational uses, and medicine. Hemp and marijuana are two species or derivatives of the cannabis plant. CBD (cannabidiol, the stuff that is anti-psychoactive) and THC (tetrahydrocannabidiol, the psychoactive stuff that gets you high) are 2 of 113 phytocannabinoids found in cannabis. Here are the ratios:
Generally, CBD products that contain less than 0.3% THC are simply classified as hemp under federal law according to the 2014 Farm Bill, making it legal to possess and distribute. Currently, 47 of the 50 USA states, as well as the District of Columbia, have legalized the sale and use of hemp-derived CBD products. It is not yet legal in Nebraska, South Dakota, and Idaho.
Thankfully, CBD is not the sole ingredient but an added one in our Better Medleys, which are meant for topical use only. And since we do not sell marijuana or the CBD extract (with THC) itself, we are not required to possess the specific license needed to do such things. We are not drug dealers and we are still taxed like a normal cosmetic beauty company, which we are! Shea by KSM is short for Shea Med by Kyra’s Shea Medleys, our natural beauty line. Therefore, OUR PRODUCTS ARE LEGAL TO USE!
NOW, HERE IS OUR BACKGROUND STORY…
Kyra’s Shea Medleys is all about creating multipurpose, natural beauty products that are SHE-approved (Safe, Healthy, and Effective). We had some significant success as our brand was featured on Good Morning America in 2014 and we just got accepted into a localization program to sell our products in Target stores in Los Angeles in 2015. We were so happy that many were loving our products. We received amazing reviews about how our beauty products not only helped with adding the needed moisture and shine to their hair and skin, but our products helped with their eczema, acne, hair thinning, hair loss, improved appearance of dark spots, and did not break them out as many products with chemicals do. Our vegan and cruelty-free Medleys were making differences in the lives of our customers and their families.
Some of those customers started asking us for “other” beauty products that could help with pain because the prescription medicine and painkillers their doctors gave them had side effects that included balding, bruising easily, hallucinations, breakouts of rashes, and so much more. Those drugs simply made them worse. While reluctant, finding a way to help our customers was way more important, so we got to work. We used our Rejuvenation Butter Cream with cocoa, kokum, and peppermint as a base and began adding and removing ingredients until we found the perfect recipe that would feature hemp-derived CBD, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Turmeric, all ingredients with both amazing beauty and healing properties. In 2016 our Better Butter was born.
To stay under the radar, we only sold products directly to those few customers to try and we honestly had no idea that it would become so popular through word of mouth. However, we were also too afraid to make it an official product via our Kyra’s Shea Medleys brand and website due to the negative stigmas around cannabis in communities of color as well as the extremely difficult process of being legally approved to sell products with hemp/cannabis in them. As black-owned business owners and entrepreneurs, we already knew and experienced first-hand the lack of resources, networks, mentors, and access to capital with KSM. Cannabis would be another beast.
DECIDING TO TRY ANYWAY..
Rejection is something that every business will face at some point or another, so this was actually the least of our worries. The same as when Kyra’s Shea Medleys applied for and was launched into that Target program, we just wanted to know what needed to be done at the minimum to get our foot (Shea Med’s foot) into the door. The answer we got offended us and the process demonstrated exactly how small (especially minority-owned) businesses can easily be shut out of an industry by big companies. “Damn, really? What in the hell happened?” Thank you for asking, I am glad to share.
This is Part 1 of 4 of our "Behind Shea Med" blog post series. Go to Part 2 now.