Growing up with traditional Asian immigrant parents, Christine Yi and Felicity Chen never thought they’d wind up with a cannabis brand. Despite their families’ affinity towards plant-based holistic wellness, there was a cultural stigma attached to cannabis. But the two, who were matched as roommates during their freshman year at Boston University, saw that there was a hole in the edible market for low dose products that customers could use daily. They decided to start up Potli, a line of infused honey, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and hot sauce.
Read on to hear about how they use cannabis in their daily lives, how they funded the brand, and what advice they’d give other women starting out in the field.
On how the funny way they got funding: We put our entire life savings (or as much as two, 23 year olds had at the time) into the business. Since then we've had some amazing angel investors to help — including hitting up ex-boyfriends! Neither relationships nor businesses are fail-proof but endings can provide for new beginnings. We don’t have venture backing but we’re lean, efficient, and quick to make decisions.
On their first experience with cannabis: Felicity and I randomly met as paired roommates during freshman year. Our friends would order pizza with our student dining points and make gravity bongs out of the soda bottles. We definitely had the munchies and some terrible edible trips from sketchy brownies. It led to fear and anxiety and has really shaped the ethos of Potli: being empowered, instead of disempowered, by edibles.
On how Christine uses cannabis now: I use it every day. In the mornings I’ll add a spoonful of our honey to my coffee or matcha. It provides focus and reduces anxiety while I tackle the work of being a small business owner. At the end of the day I'll light a pre-roll to start my "me time".
On their favorite munchies snack: Christine loves getting high and letting her creativity roam. She’ll blend highbrow and lowbrow foods to make ultimate munchies, like deep fried oreos made with ceremonial-grade matcha batter. Or if she can’t operate a fryer, it’s microwaved kettle corn and dried fruit — it’s random but the concentrated flavor and texture is delicious.
On their advice to women starting out in the cannabis field: Lead by your own needs: As women we need to be working to create products, content, services that meet our own unique needs and answer our own challenges. Think deeply about the change you wish to see and then be it!