CannaSmack is Educating the World About the Many Benefits of Hemp

An interview with Kenia Taylor, the Marketing Director of CannaSmack

CannaSmack founder Suzanne Hoggan decided early on she wanted to embark on a journey to create her own lip balm.

As an aesthetician, she is familiar with skin care and what it takes to keep skin healthy. In 2012, she lost her brother to prescription drug abuse and this life altering experience had her looking toward alternative medicine, which was when she happened upon hemp and cannabis.

In 2014, Suzanne alongside her business partner Kenia Taylor created CannaSmack. CannaSmack’s lip balms and body lotions contain Cannabis Sativa (hemp seed oil) as the main ingredient. Their goal was to shed a positive light on the cannabis plant and all of the products proudly display the plant in bright and loud colors. CannaSmack products are available online as well as in many stores all over the United States. Earlier this week, VIRIDE spoke to Kenia Taylor to gain more insight about the company culture behind the hemp infused beauty products.

In February of this year, CannaSmack launched #FreeTheLeaf to educate people about the cannabis plant and hemp products. Has this effort been able to shine a more positive light on the cannabis plant and its benefits?

I think so. We had a very fun and successful campaign during Earth Week, in which we incorporated our #FreeTheLeaf campaign by asking people to share hemp facts with every entry. We had a lot of positive feedback from it because they had to go online and share those hemp facts. We weren’t just giving them the free product until after they’d gone online and shared. They looked it up and did some research. Everyone was really excited about it and learned a lot from each other. I have to admit, being two women running this business, I think we have to do a whole lot more. We started ramping it up by scheduling content, planning a lot more events. One of the main things that we have been focused on since launching #FreeTheLeaf is getting people to talk about hemp or about cannabis by using CannaSmack almost as an introduction. We have been hearing a lot of really great stories. We’ve put it out to our Instagram audience and we are planning on publishing those stories here soon, so that people know that it is something that can be done. The lip balm is so small and so fun and people always like lip balm. It’s almost like a starting point for them to talk about hemp or talk about cannabis or break even a little bit of the stereotype and the #FreeTheLeaf campaign has really been helping with that. We are definitely ramping it up and we have seen some really positive feedback from the community. We have seen members of our community start using it on their social media accounts and creating content with it. It wasn’t something that was meant to be used by just CannaSmack. We really hope that people will embrace it and create their own #FreeTheLeaf content. We are happy with it so far and I think it has definitely moved in a positive direction.

The founder of CannaSmack is from and operates her business out of Utah. Working in one of the toughest and notably most conservative states in America, do you feel as though the company would be more successful elsewhere?

Oh, where is the fun in that? We are so proud to be operating out of one of the most conservative states in America. When we founded CannaSmack, it wasn’t just about making money, it was about making a difference. It was about breaking those stereotypes, helping to normalize cannabis. And if we can do that in the state of Utah, then I think we can pretty much do it anywhere. We are living proof that in Utah there are stores that carry CannaSmack. There are tons of people who use CannaSmack and promote it. We have so many stories where CannaSmack has helped to raise awareness and bridge that gap. We are here to help open their minds, even if it is only to hemp because ultimately, hemp is cannabis. It is just a different variety. So, even if you think about it that way, it is helping to make a difference and that is what we are all about.

CannaSmack can be purchased online from anywhere in the world as well as in numerous stores across the US. Do you see the company opening hubs in other states, particularly those states that have already passed laws allowing both recreational and medicinal marijuana?

We’ve talked about it. Logistically, we don’t see a need for it at the moment. I think that because we are a manufacturer, I don’t know that we ever want to be in the same realm as like a Bath and Body Works where they have their own specialized shops like in malls and places like that. A lot of stores are embracing it every day and that alone is really, really good. It will also help keep our overhead low, which keeps our product cost low. It keeps it affordable and allows us to keep it at a certain price point that is not outrageous and something that everyone can afford.

Hemp has a lot of ingredients that are great for skincare and has numerous internal health benefits. Out of curiosity, was there any lab testing done when the company decided to add anti-aging products to its line?

Yes, of course. All our products are made in quality controlled, FDA registered laboratories. Clinical trials are required in order for us to stay compliant and ensure customer safety. Suzanne is a registered aesthetician and without testing, she wouldn’t put something on her skin or market it for customers. We are also very big on making sure that everything is cruelty free, so we request that all the testing is done through human trials, which is very important to us as well. After the laboratory tests, Suzanne and I are CannaSmack’s first guinea pigs. We test everything ourselves for an extended period of time. We do this primarily because both of us have incredibly sensitive skin, so if anyone was going to experience an adverse reaction, it would be us. Once we are done testing, we have friends and family eager to test the product as well. It goes through a lot of trials. Between the clinical trials, Suzanne and I, and then our family, there are many tests done before a new CannaSmack product is introduced to the public. My daughter is always very excited when a new CannaSmack product is introduced and she tries it as soon as she can get her hands on it. If it wasn’t good enough for Suzanne, me and our families, we wouldn’t sell it to our fans.

Does CannaSmack have any intention of expanding into the marijuana industry in the future?

We have certainly discussed it. How cool would it be to have our own strain?! A CannaSmack strain that we could pair with our flavors would be amazing. Yes, the discussions have been had and we have talked about it at great length. At this moment, we feel we can make a difference on a much larger scale by sticking to hemp because our product can go anywhere. We recently formed a partnership with a very big distributor in Canada, so CannaSmack is now in Canada. We are in talks of going to Sweden and so that is really, really exciting for us and that is something we couldn’t do if we medicated it. We can reach so many more people and we can help bridge that gap so much more by simply sticking to hemp. Hemp is just amazing. It is a really great product for your skin and for your health. I don’t think it will happen any time soon, but it is something we are keeping an open mind about.

Will we be seeing anything new from CannaSmack soon?

We have a lot of products in the works at the moment. We tend to be a little slower to release because of all the testing we do, making sure that everything is safe for our customers is important to us. Our vegan line is also expanding and we are adding a couple more flavors there, which is also exciting because it is important to us to not leave out our vegan friends. We are also working on a few different angles for our charity that we like to give back to. We are taking a look at who we are going to be supporting and finding ways to continue to give back to the community. Right now, we donate to PETA. Believe it or not, we had several non-profit organizations reject our offer because of our association with hemp, even though there is no THC or anything illegal about our product. We donate one dollar from every vegan product sold back to PETA. We do have a new Orange Lip Scrub that we are very excited about! It’s a part of our expanding Luxe Skin Care line.