If you live in LA, you hear and see the words “CBD” all the time. But if you were to ask someone what it does — they might shrug their shoulders and assume that it’s just something that’ll get you high. There’s been a lack of education and frequent misconceptions about cannabis, but these two ladies (who we recently fell in love with), are changing the way we think about cannabis.
Meet Ashley Lewis and Meredith Schroeder: a two-person powerhouse team, working out of Ashley’s mother’s house, and working non-stop to change the way we think, use, and talk about cannabis. The duo left goop to co-found Fleur Marché, a carefully curated online marketplace housing a collection of high-end wellness and beauty cannabis products. Their mission is simple, yet profound: educate people on the wellness benefits of CBD. The site is incredibly cannabis-beginner friendly, educational, and filled with quality brands that we got to try and love. Whether you’re looking to CBD to help you sleep better, curb your anxiety, manage your aches and pains, or even to calm your pets’ nerves — Fleur Marché has got you (and your pets) covered.
Ashley and Meredith are just getting started, and we can guarantee you that we’ll be along for the ride. Take a moment to read through our interview with the duo and don’t forget to swing by their site for all the CBD goods you can imagine.
We are such big fans of everything the two of you have created with Fleur Marché! Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey and how you came to start Fleur Marché.
We worked together at goop, where we became fast friends and trusted advisors (with trips to the local coffee shop multiple times/day), aka “work wives.” But we each realized the need for something like Fleur Marché on our own.
Ashley: While at goop, I ran the wellness business, which entailed launching goop’s own-branded products and overseeing the 3rd party merchandising business. During that time, I was exposed to so many women who were so dedicated to their wellness routines and will to spend a great deal of time and resources in service of their self-care. But, while these women were open to experimenting with new, alternative, and progressive modes of healing (think: Ashwagandha, crystals, Reiki, etc.), when you said the word “cannabis” to them, they almost immediately shut down, convinced that cannabis wasn’t aligned with their goals, beliefs, or lifestyle. It became clear to me that cannabis was in desperate need of a rebrand. With CBD specifically, there was a clear opportunity to introduce women to a wellness tool that could really make a difference in their lives – one that they largely weren’t aware of OR weren’t recognizing as wellness. And that was because the industry has historically been male-dominated and focused on the recreational benefits of cannabis (getting high). Women, specifically, needed a trusted place to learn about, explore, and ultimately come to appreciate CBD as something that can make you feel better. And that’s what really motivated me to launch Fleur Marché.
Meredith: It’s been the scariest and most exciting thing I’ve ever ventured to do all at once. For me, the journey was organic and personal in terms of developing a strong passion for cannabis. Yet, while I was personally invested in cannabis as a wellness tool that did more than get you high, it was very apparent to me that the retail landscape (specifically for women) was subpar. I’m a life-long merchant, and I saw a very clear opportunity to create a chic and enriching retail experience for a category that desperately needed a female tilt. When I realized my work wife and very good friend had equal passion for the category, it felt like a no brainer to team up and brave this category in a totally new way, once we left our previous jobs. We had a pretty strong collective vision for what we knew we wanted to create and both have such deep conviction in what we are doing at Fleur Marché that there was never really any looking back once we started. It’s hard to believe that was 6 months ago!
As you’ve stated in your company mission, there is so much education to be done around CBD. What have you found to be the biggest misconception about CBD and what are you doing to help?
Ashley: More than misconceptions, what we generally deal with are questions or fears about how CBD works and what it does. Women are often afraid it will get them high or unsure about how/when to use it. Our approach to tackling this is to provide clear, well-researched, and easily digestible answers for the key questions women have when considering CBD (or any other wellness or beauty product, for that matter): what is this, what will it do for me, is it safe, how do I use it?
With very specific strategies around the content we create and the information we share on the site, our goal is to create a trustworthy, transparent and non-intimidating platform where women know they can find accurate, data-based answers to their most pressing questions. We work hard to break down the information in a way that’s comprehensive, but also fun and easy to understand.
Quality is one of the most important pillars for Fleur Marche. How do you curate your offerings?
Great question! We pride ourselves on our curation and vetting process at Fleur Marché. First, we are CBD obsessed, so we are pretty much always searching for newbs to add to the shop, or brands that are really doing things right. Below is a breakdown of our process
What’s it like being a female in the cannabis industry?
Meredith: We’ve actually found it to be heartening to see the amount of women in the space. Our vendor matrix for Fleur Marché is comprised of mostly female founders, and there is a certain level of camaraderie among us all to really improve the way things are done. We say this a lot, but we feel that rising tide raises all ships, and it’s clear our female peers in the space very much feel the same way, especially in CBD specifically.
What advice or tips do you have for women interested in working in the cannabis industry?
Ashley: I don’t know that the advice is that different from advice I’d give a woman starting a business in any industry, but I’d say: play to your strengths. I think we as women (present company included) can doubt our instincts, question our approach or way of thinking about things, and that’s so off. It’s like not raising your hand in class because you think your answer could be wrong, and then watching someone else give the same answer, which was right. Go with your gut, don’t worry too much about how other people are doing something, because what will be unique about your company is the unique way in which you approach it. But the other side of this is knowing when you don’t know what you’re doing and being honest with yourself about it. Ask for help. Ask as many people as you can. You get no extra points for trying to figure things out on your own.
Any general advice for someone looking to start their own business?
Meredith: I’ve really enjoyed doing this with a partner, so if you can find a partner, I certainly think that’s a great strategy on the outset to keep things balanced. Co-founding a business comes with challenges as well but I truly cannot imagine braving this world on my own. We pick each other up, balance our strength and weaknesses, and genuinely enjoy working together. That, and hiring a good legal team, especially in cannabis, would be my recommendations.
What have been some of the biggest challenges and obstacles you’ve faced thus far?
Ashley: The ever-changing regulatory landscape of the cannabis world definitely keeps you on your toes. It feels like there’s a new rule or a change to an existing rule every week. We’ve had to stay nimble, calm and pragmatic as we deal with new legal issues, regulatory issues, partners who do, and then don’t, want to be part of the cannabis craze, and more. One of the biggest issues we deal with is payment processing. Making sure that we’re working with merchant processors who support CBD, and who are willing to support long term, has been shockingly difficult.
What are five things you can’t live without right now?
What’s a daily ritual you can’t live without?
Ashley: I have a skincare regimen that I try to do every morning – it includes mixing True Botanicals Vitamin C powder with their Renew Serum. I love how it feels on my skin and how it smells. And there’s something about having to mix it up that makes me feel like I’ve already accomplished something for the day.
Meredith: Very simple. Coffee.
What’s next for Fleur Marche?
Ashley: The plan right now is really to grow the brand to become the trusted cannabis resource for women. Ideally, we become a household name and the first place women think to go (or recommend their friends go) when looking to explore how cannabis can support their wellness routines. Hint hint: that likely entails a lot more IRL activations and retail experiments…
Meredith: In a broader / loftier sense: US expansion. We truly want to create the Sephora of cannabis. We want women to understand the benefits of cannabis / CBD, to shed their stigmas about the category, and to delightfully access all things cannabis in a beautifully curated and intuitive way, across the country.