The beginning of this company and my journey started in college. After graduating from CU Boulder with a degree in International Affairs and Business, I began a career at Whole Foods. I was driven to succeed and worked my way up to customer service manager at one of the larger stores. Although I appreciated the opportunity and all that I learned from working at Whole Foods, I became more and more antsy for a change. One summer, I decided to drive Lyft on the side while figuring out the next steps of my career and life. Shortly after starting my job with Lyft, one of my customers was the CEO of a cannabis tech startup. After our initial meeting and conversation during that ride, I was urged to submit my resume in hopes of joining this new startup. Soon thereafter I was called in for an interview and received an offer about three months later. I was officially out of Whole Foods and into the burgeoning cannabis industry.

My initial position was in operations and soon transitioned to business development. Being a people person, I quickly realized that I had a talent for networking, a much needed skill for a new startup. Over the next 1 ½ years, and after much hard work and long days, I developed quite a network in the industry. One day, one of my networking contacts asked if I knew where to find CBD isolate. I imagined it would be easy to find. As it turned out, however, it was not. This is where I saw a unique opportunity to create my first business, which I was able to build into a million-dollar company. 

After entering the cannabis industry, I looked for a platform that would allow me to help educate people about hemp and CBD and what this beautiful industry is all about. I decided to do this by building a lifestyles brand, which ultimately turned into Eossi. I wanted to build something that people wanted to be a part of. I wanted the brand to be more than just CBD products but a brand that would draw people in by making them feel like they could be a part of the luxury. In 2018, I utilized my vast industry network to find the right people to help me put the pieces together. After creating the brand, I needed a bank account for my distribution company, SYK Holdings. Bank of the West was openly banking with the CBD industry, so I inquired. Fortuitously, I was introduced to a wonderful woman named Rochonne who took very good care of me as a client of the bank. We met for happy hour to complete paperwork, and I shared with her my passion project. I am known to be a bit of a Chatty Cathy, so she heard an earful of other information about me as well. I left that first meeting thinking how amazing she was, and I knew we would become good friends.

Although not her job, Rochonne went above and beyond to help with any issues I had. During one of our subsequent meetings, she asked if I would want a partner for the brand I was working on. I was incredulous that she wanted to work with me. I felt honored to have her even consider it. We decided to both think it through and meet again. However, I knew immediately that it was a yes for me and, ultimately, it was for her as well. I was still at the beginning stages of developing the brand, so having her join me on this journey seemed like a no brainer. We have gone through many ups and downs, including trademark, website and manufacturing issues. However, we have done it together, and we have learned and grown together. We have built a product and a brand we both believe in. Every day is a new adventure. We could not be happier to share Eossi with the world.

By Shannon Kaygi

Learn more about the founders on our ABOUT THE FOUNDERS page.

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