“It excites me to change the way people think about a situation, a person, or a plant, and to see the potential and good in everything when used with the right intentions.”
Toronto is a world leader in business, tech, entertainment and culture – naturally, our city’s creative minds are a force. What we don’t often talk about is the fact that a lot of the people behind the city’s most influential businesses and brands are also cannabis users. Want to talk about doing away with the stigma around pot? The folks we profile in our High-Functioning Torontonians series embody the reason it’s just time to.
As the Founder and CEO of Evio Beauty, Brandi Leifso is on a mission to break stigmas with products that are good for your skin and the planet – with cannabis as a key part. She’s been recognized in outlets including Vogue, The New York Times and Elle for not only her forward-thinking work in the beauty and cannabis spaces, but her humble roots. Evio Beauty was born when Brandi was living in a women’s shelter, and had nothing to lose.
She shares why she’s interested in cannabis and beauty, her go-to cannabis ritual, and tips for budding entrepreneurs.
Weedbox: What’s your current favourite strain?
Brandi Leifso: I don’t consume very often. What interests me most about the plant is its versatility to lend itself to sustainability and to increase ingredient transparency in the beauty industry. Sativa seed (hemp) has helped cut down on plastic waste and eliminate animal by-products in our Evio Skin products.
When I do consume, I’m a vaper. I like Dosist’s ‘Calm’ strain. I don’t think we can get it in Canada yet though. I picked mine up on my last trip to LA.
Weedbox: What is your cannabis ritual?
Brandi: My favourite cannabis ritual is every Sunday, I have a bath to set my intentions for the week to come and I use a CBD bath bomb for extra relaxation. So relaxing.
Weedbox: What do you love most about Toronto?
Brandi: I LOVE the diversity of Toronto. It’s truly a melting pot. I love to explore the different pockets of Toronto, like Chinatown (you can actually get a great haircut for $10!), Kensington (Seven Lives, best tacos!), Roncy (Glory Hole Donuts!)
Weedbox: What helped you navigate entrepreneurship in your early days?
Brandi: Like most, I was really just figuring it out as I went (which, if we’re honest, is still the case. As an entrepreneur, no two days are the same, and there’s no road map). Given some of the lessons that I learned early on in my life – from leaving school at 14, or living in the shelter – I was able to refine skills that helped me navigate the choppy waters of entrepreneurship by focusing on what I was good at and building relationships.
Weedbox: What advice would you have for other budding entrepreneurs with a unique idea they want to realize?
Brandi:All business is, is a human to human interaction that results in a transaction. Get to know the human behind every transaction. Trust your gut. Don’t get too attached to any thing or idea. Invest in relationships and double down on those who invest in you.
Weedbox: What is beauty, to you?
Brandi: Beauty looks a lot like how kindness feels – kindness is beautiful.
Weedbox: What stigma in particular are you interested in smashing, when it comes to cannabis?
Brandi: The stigma that excites me most, not just in cannabis, is the one-track mind of good vs. bad and choosing the narrative to be one or the other. Life is complex and most things live in the grey zone. There is good and bad in everything. It is what you make of it.
For example, cannabis can cause damage if used with the wrong intentions (i.e driving high, not understanding dosing / cannabinoids, false information provided etc.) However, it can also cause a lot of good, (i.e reducing the use of plastic with hemp fibers, helping epilepsy patients, replacing animal by-products in cosmetics etc.)
It excites me to change the way people think about a situation, a person, or a plant, and to see the potential and good in everything when used with the right intentions.