Ellementa: A Company Dedicated to Empowering Women through Education
Ellementa is a platform designed for women to come together to discuss cannabis and health. It is the founders’ mission to make Ellementa a household name, the first brand women think of to reach the information and the reputable products and services that are out there.
Through Ellementa, women can find the high-quality brands available to them and know that they are getting quality, trusted information.
In addition to providing women with reliable resources and information, Ellementa is committed to creating a safe space to discuss the healing benefits of cannabis.
Because women are often caregivers for their families, friends and aging parents, we often put our own health on the back burner. The founders of Ellementa have made it their mission to be the most trusted women’s cannabis wellness community so that all women can make informed decisions for themselves and their loved ones.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Ellementa co-founder and CEO Aliza Sherman. She took some time to talk to Viride about her vision, how Ellementa started and where she sees this women-led company in the future.
Viride: What experiences led you to create the Ellementa network for women?
Aliza Sherman: It was a multifaceted path. The most direct one was two years ago when I explored ways of expanding my own business after a friend of mine asked, “How can I expand my PR business and where should I be reaching?” I get paid to do future trends for some of my clients and I’d seen cannabis becoming legal in more and more places, and I thought, “I bet they need marketing and PR.” I began to explore it from a business standpoint. I quickly learned why cannabis was illegal and the repercussions of it being illegal. One of the first books I read was Smoke Signals by Martin A. Lee who runs the CBD Project. My mind was completely opened in ways it hadn’t been before. I realized that I was suffering for over a year with chronic pain and chronic insomnia. I was miserable. I thought I should investigate it personally. When I got to Alaska, I got a medical card and met women who were very kind and generous with their time to explain things to me. I cried with relief the first time I slept through the night. I don’t come at this from a medical standpoint because that isn’t my background. I come at this as a woman who was suffering and is no longer in pain.
The second piece of what brought me to this was that I started the first woman-owned Internet company back in the ’90s called Cybergrrl Inc. In seeking out other women who understood the Internet and would talk to me about it, I accidentally founded Webgrrls International which became a global network of women teaching women how to use the Internet. We had 100 chapters around the world with 30,000 women participating. It was a phenomenal thing. I took that model of women teaching women, which is the basis for Ellementa. The first thing I did wasn’t to create Ellementa. I interviewed these women in the cannabis industry and put those interviews online, which was at HerCannaLife.com. In doing so, and in attending some Women Grow meetings, I realized there wasn’t a forum for me to speak about the health and wellness aspect of cannabis. It was all about business, careers, jobs, with men. Ellementa came about a year later to bring women together; to teach one another.
A: Melissa was my first business partner. I had to work on her for several months to get her to join me because cannabis was not on her radar. She was not a consumer nor was she interested. She has since changed her mind and experimented a bit. I first met her through the South by Southwest conference six years ago where she interviewed me for a documentary film she produced and directed. She is in the tech space and is very accomplished. I worked with her on several projects and liked working with her. She is a very creative person with a great attitude. She is the yin to my yang or the yang to my yin. In the process of rolling out beyond Anchorage, we started Denver, and the first person who came to mind was Ashley. We have known each other for about twelve years. I interviewed her for a miscarriage documentary that I was producing. We had both suffered miscarriages and we stayed in touch peripherally through the years. I noticed that she got into the cannabis industry, and we ended up at MJBizCon two years ago. We connected, and she was excited to organize a gathering in Denver. That is how we all got into this together.
V: Because the gatherings are held in different cities and at different times, how are the topics chosen?
A: It’s kind of a mixture. We give our leaders the options and resources to work within the editorial calendar we create. When we have these gatherings, we partner with women and split the earnings with them. It is very much based on what works for them. We have a framework and like it to be monthly, if possible. If they can only commit to every six weeks, that is fine because we want it to work with their personal lives. We are still feeling out what is interesting to women. We discovered sleep is an issue, but it wasn’t an attraction. Women weren’t flocking to hear about sleep like they were about sex. The biggest one is pain. Pain relief in the title will bring the larger crowds. It isn’t just about the topic, though. It is about bringing women together to empower one another.
V: You mentioned growing Ellementa. What strategies are you and your partners working on to achieve growth?
A: All the things you do as a startup, really. We are entering a fund-raising round and are looking for individual investors. It’s a little too early for venture capitalists. We are marketing and growing our network. We are fully engaged in that. We have thirty-five cities operating with these gatherings. I get messages from people all over the world asking when we are going to expand. We just can’t afford to fly around the country or the world so are partnering with women we know or someone knows. We have a vetting, interviewing and on-boarding process for people outside of that network so that we can continue to expand.