Bossbabe April Worley of Mender shares her cannabis journey with Oov.
Oov: What did you do before you got involved in the cannabis industry?
April: I am a marketer by trade, agency work mostly, but I have a masters in Political Science and a background in analysis and writing – so I have several side hustles where I can work that left-brain-right-brain thing. I have also waited tables, taught Montessori school, ran a local artist’s collective, and write a parenting blog . Like Janet of Crave, I too had another company that dissolved; a t-shirt company that featured illustrations of badass women throughout history.
Oov: How did you get into cannabis? Where did it all start?
April: My first real marketing mentor was a guy who ran a cult wine brand agency called Proof Wine Collective. Proof designed nearly all those cool Trader Joe’s labels you see; Fadeaway, Liberté, Pancake and others. He fed me books by Seth Godin and Marty Neumeier and the more I got into it – the more I fell in love with the concept of brands. How to create a beautiful brand is to delight and unite the world. So… inspired by the way cult wine brands disrupted the snooty wine scene with their incredible artwork and accessible tasting notes, I joined forces with two of the designers from Proof to delight and unite the new era of cannabis connoisseurs.
Oov: What would you say has been the most difficult aspect of being in this industry? What are some roadblocks?
April: We have been going back and forth with whether or not Mender will touch flower in terms of procuring a manufacturing licence, simply because we are in a very conservative county (San Luis Obispo) and so much is still up in the air. It is incredibly challenging to put a business plan together when the future is so uncertain. It is teaching me a lot about agility, intuition and patience.
Oov: What motivates you to be a leader?
April: I love this question. One of the things I love so much about the prospect of Mender growing to the point where we can quit our day jobs, is being given the opportunity to lead, unfettered, by the confines of someone else’s corporate structure. I have worked for companies that force you to separate your humanity from your work identity and that never works for me. I deeply reject how many businesses say they have systems in place to protect and support employees. Often times, these structures create hidden spaces where rudeness and harassment can hide, leaving employees to feel uncared for as humans.
I love my Mender design team so much, and I tell them that – that I love them – because I do. We are in startup mode, it’s a labor of love putting all this sweat equity into a new endeavor. Without that love and trust, it can just feel like labor, or worse, exploitation. I am honored to lead my team, it’s a gift; to create a culture of creativity while creating space for each other’s spirits and strengths. I can’t wait to grow so I can bring more talented and lovely humans into the Mender tribe.
Oov: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to break into the industry?
April: I’ll let you know when I feel like we have broken in! We are still scraping the surface. Something I do know; it is always best to know what you are good at, and put that to use. That’s what we’re doing – we’ll let you know if it works out or not. 😉
Oov: If you are a parent, how do talk to your kids about cannabis?
April: My husband is a permaculture and native plant warrior so we have been playing with our legal limit of personal plants at home in our greenhouse. Growing was a great introduction to our ten year-old son. Here are the seeds, here is the plant. Living in wine country makes it easy – wine comes from grapes, cannabis comes from a plant – both for conscious adult use, in moderation.
Oov: Tell us about your first experience with cannabis.
April: I went to junior high and high school in a really small beach town just south of Big Sur. We would have big bonfires on the beach and smoke really incredible Nor Cal bud. I was at a bonfire party when I smoked for the first time, I must have been 15 or so. I remember feeling like the moon was speaking to me as we passed the joint around the circle. Then, the sand began to quake and all of these sand crabs made a mass exodus into the sea. I guess it was the fire heating the sand. I felt so connected, so grounded. In that moment, I knew that it was strong medicine.
Oov: Favorite strain/product on the market right now and why?
April: Honestly, I love just smoking the sativa hybrids we grow – currently Amnesia. I also make micro-dosed homemade edibles. That is just the culture that I came up in – pure, simple. We have chickens and grow veggies and fruit, so the whole farm-to-bong thing works for us.
You can find Mender on Instagram as well at @mendershop