Brittany Carbone of TONIC
With the recent cannabis legalization in Canada that happened October 17, 2018, the cannabis market is quickly becoming recognized as an admissible industry on a global scale. With this in mind, I’m curious to know what the current climate is like for women in the industry.
Thus far, my series of interviewing female CEOs has focused on the women behind various publicly traded companies. However, today’s interview highlights TONIC, a privately-owned company led by Brittany Carbone. After reading Brittany’s story in Forbes, I was drawn to both her passion for the product (CBD-based topicals and orals) as well as her drive to get women involved in all aspects of the cannabis industry.
As TONIC’s CEO, Brittany has used her knowledge as a health coach to create a powerful brand that is focused on improving wellness with the #FixYourVibe motto. Unlike many cannabis companies that provide products designed for recreational use, TONIC focuses on holistic wellness solutions by combining organically grown, hemp-derived CBD with purposeful, synergistic ingredients.
Claudia O’Neill: Hi Brittany, thanks for taking the time to do this. I want to firstly ask you a bit about TONIC. What was the inspiration behind your products?
Brittany Carbone: I created TONIC out of my own necessity. I was desperate for a way to relieve anxiety and balance my mood naturally without any risk of dependence, or a “foggy” feeling. Cannabis was one of the only things that really helped me, but I couldn’t be high at work all day, so when I learned about CBD – something that would give me the healing effects I depended on cannabis for, but without the high – I knew I had to try it. It provided amazing results and I was an instant believer. As a health coach, I was very familiar with herbal remedies and supplements, so I applied that knowledge to create plant-based combinations that worked to enhance the healing, balancing powers of CBD.
Claudia O’Neill: TONIC has a significant social media presence with close to 11,000 followers on Instagram (@tonic_cbd) and a colourful theme promoting the #FixYourVibe brand. How would you say social media has impacted your company in terms of revenue and brand recognition?
Brittany Carbone: Social media has been integral in TONIC’s growth. A majority of our website traffic originates from social media platforms like Instagram. Not only has it provided an easy way to accelerate word-of-mouth advertising (encouraging people to share their experiences and reposting them in our stories), it has allowed me to increase transparency, trust and customer loyalty which are tenets that guide every move I make as TONIC’s CEO.
Claudia O’Neill The U.S. cannabis industry is steadily growing with an increase in companies that target and promote the natural health benefits of the plant. How has this impacted your business?
Brittany Carbone: It has been fantastic because it is like I have thousands of partners that are helping me educate consumers, remove the stigma from cannabis, and make CBD a household name. The originality of TONIC’s blends ensures that we stand out from the competition, so as the public gets educated and familiar with CBD from its recent notoriety, I can put more of my focus on highlighting the other ingredients used in TONIC blends and how they work together with CBD to provide integrative, holistic, plant based wellness solutions for mind body and soul.
Claudia O’Neill: The percentage of female CEOs in public and privately-owned companies remains significantly lower than male CEOs. Can you speak to what this gender gap is like in the cannabis industry?
Brittany Carbone: There has definitely been a surge in female-owned cannabis/CBD companies on the retail side of things, but as you travel down the supply chain things remain predominantly male. Suppliers/extractors/farmers and CEOs of the multi-million dollar cannabis companies are mostly male or are funded by male investors. I believe we need more women growing the plant. The numbers are definitely increasing and it is super inspiring and encouraging but as the industry evolves, we stand to be crushed by the patriarchy once again. So, it is about garnering the power and momentum we have right now to ensure that equity and inclusion is a sustaining theme as cannabis moves further and further into the mainstream.
Claudia O’Neill: Lastly, what advice would you give women who are looking to start their own business?
Brittany Carbone: Collaboration over competition! Don’t be afraid to ask others for help – especially other women. I have found this to be one of the most wonderful things about this industry: the desire to lift each other up rather than bring each other down, because like I mentioned before we are gaining momentum and if we join together we can keep that momentum going. Also, be true to yourself and find a way to channel your passion into whatever you do. If you feel like everybody is doing something different, don’t let that cause you to second-guess yourself. Rather, let that be a sign that you are on the right track. We are all unique; we bring our own spirit, talents and experiences to the table, so embrace those and use them to create something different and authentic – not only will it make you happier as a person and business owner, but it will translate into greater trust and respect from your consumers and community.
To find out more about TONIC, visit: www.tonicvibes.com