Behind the Products: Q&A with Jenn Whittingham and Andrea Cox of Three Buds Apothecary

Three Buds Apothecary

Image: Jenn Whittingham and Andrea Cox. Courtesy Three Buds Apothecary. 

Jenn Whittingham and Andrea Cox were out on a bike ride when they decided to form a company. They were two busy mothers, taking time out of their day to soak up the Vermont sun and scenery when they began to talk about their dream of creating products that helped to preserve the ecological systems of their home state, create and sustain biodiversity, and support Vermont’s communities. They also knew they wanted these products to be botanically based. So, they formed Three Buds Apothecary, a women-owned and operated company out of Waitsfield, Vermont. The first two buds represent Jenn and Andrea’s friendship, and the third bud represents the cannabis plant.

At the time, the idea of breaking into the cannabis industry seemed intimidating to them. It was (and still is) dominated by men, and the market for cannabis products was never directed at people like Jenn and Andrea – women in their thirties and forties. They began to see how cannabis could help them in their daily life. From there, they looked at how they could market it to help other women that were like them. They realized many of their peers were missing out on the benefits of CBD simply because they were overlooked in the market. Jenn and Andrea made it their goal to provide a shame-free space for people to ask questions about CBD. This would be a space where they could discuss and celebrate the changes of their bodies as they got older.

In their CBD products, Three Buds uses only USDA Certified Organic Full-Spectrum Vermont Hemp Co2 Extract. They work with certified organic Vermont hemp farmers, testing each and every batch of their products in a lab to ensure quality. They have a commitment to producing 100% cruelty-free botanical-based products to help heal the mind and body. While these products can be enjoyed by any gender, Jenn and Andrea at Three Buds are focused on creating products and having conversations that help women feel comfortable in and with their bodies. At Ceres, we carry their Recover, Bitchin’ and Zen Bath Salts, which are all 25% off through Mother’s Day, May 9, 2021. 

Leading up to our Mother’s Day promotions, we had a conversation with Jenn and Andrea about what it has been like starting a business as two busy mothers and the developments they’ve made since. Here’s what Jenn and Andrea had to say.

How do you share the responsibilities of building a cannabis business here in Vermont while maintaining a healthy work/life balance?

Jenn & Andrea: We talk…a lot. We check in with each other about our day-to-day obligations and split the list. Fortunately, we have different and complementary skill sets and strengths, so we balance each other out well. The truth is that while working for yourself is great, it takes stellar planning as well. Between us, we have five daughters ranging in ages from 11-15. That keeps us busy as moms but also inspires us to set good examples for them in the ways we work, play and care for ourselves. It’s just the two of us running this show and we’re responsible for our own success, so it is a constant challenge to balance work and personal life. However, we both appreciate and respect the enhanced creativity and productivity we gain from taking sufficient time and space to recharge.

How do your values shape Three Buds Apothecary?

J & A: We turn to nature – we start with the plant and keep our products and messaging as natural, clean and transparent as possible. Our goal for Three Buds Apothecary is simple: create botanical-based products and feel confident – and privileged – to share them with our daughters, our families, our friends, and now we’re so appreciative to add Ceres to this list. 

We love your bath salt formulations, the aroma profiles are exquisite and they definitely provide that “be still, be chill” vibe. How do you incorporate CBD/cannabis into your lifestyle?

J & A: Thank you so much. That’s really kind of you to say. We’d be hard-pressed to name an area in our life in which CBD/Cannabis isn’t integral. We pretty much use it head to toe, inside and out. The conversations we have about the myriad benefits of cannabis with our children, our families and our friends have been invaluable – and ultimately an unexpected opportunity to involve our families in this business. 

How have you seen the industry change over time? How have you adapted?

J & A: Honestly, the changes we’ve seen have been good for the industry. CBD has changed the landscape on people’s perception surrounding Cannabis. Jenn loves the day her mom said “So, Jennifer, you want me to rub the weed on my body?”  Big businesses are investing large sums of money into creating CBD/Cannabis products and we see this as a positive. They’re helping to make Cannabis more mainstream. It’s like Bud Light and Craft beer – there’s room for everyone, you just need to find your market. There are multiple verticals in which to participate and this has helped expand dialogue and opportunities. It’s not a matter of adaptation, but rather finding your niche and staying true to your voice.

What advice would you give to other women/moms that want to get involved in the cannabis industry?

J & A: Create something that is rooted in love and authenticity and people will gravitate towards that. You’ll burn out quickly if you spend your energy creating something that doesn’t bring you joy. We’ve found that women in the Cannabis Community are genuinely welcoming and willing to share knowledge. This is incredibly helpful when you encounter an obstacle or feel discouraged with how a project is going. 

What do we have to look forward to from Three Buds Apothecary?

J & A: This is a great question – we’re constantly curious and always thinking about ways to grow and evolve. We are excited about the new products in development; however, what’s really making our hearts smile are some joint ventures with other women business owners. Our mantra is collaboration over competition. Truly, there’s nothing more beautiful than women empowering women. It’s both an honor and a privilege to share and celebrate these endeavors with such amazing creatives and we are stoked to launch them.

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