The CBD industry’s popularity has boomed over the last couple of years and many businesses are now thriving in the green rush. However, there is one problem many CBD businesses fall into and that is a lack of transparency about their products. Sabrina Didado, CEO of hemp business Cosmic Harvest, is making a vow to educate consumers on what they are purchasing while also getting involved in the community.

Sabrina Didado

Sabrina Didado grew up in Akron, Ohio with a sense of awe and wonder for the world. Always a curious child, she spent the majority of her time outdoors riding 4-wheelers, going on hikes, and, most importantly, studying the plants around her. Working closely with her family as they ran their own electrical company, Sabrina recalls Christmases being huge events that were as much about work as they were about family. As their family business grew into a nation wide company, Sabrina’s entrepreneurial spirit was sparked at a very early age.

What did you learn from working in the family business so early on?
Sabrina Didado riding a horse as a child
Sabrina Didado riding a horse as a child

I started working in the family business when I was 10 or 11. At that point, it was not as big as it is today. It was a local business and I remember running to people’s offices to tell them they had phone calls, taking notes, getting coffee, and highlighting important numbers. A lot of people keep their business and personal lives separate, but I always had them intertwined, especially being raised that way. So I took my upbringing as a sign that I have to follow my passion and not live two lives. If I felt strongly about one thing, it would then carry over into my personal and family life. It took me a long time to find my passion, but after 24 years I finally got it.

What was it that attracted you to launching your own business?

I was first attracted to just science in general, like chemistry and biochemistry. As a little girl, I would spend a lot of time out in the wilderness and mountains looking at plants and wondering how and why things worked. So I went to college and got a degree in biochemistry. Initially, I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon and then in college I realized that I have a strong love for the cannabis plant and saw how many benefits it provides to people. I wanted to be the one to normalize cannabis and spread the good news about it while also having a scientific background. So I graduated college and worked at a medical marijuana facility as one of their lead chemists. I was doing extractions and formulations and that led me into the CBD-cannabis-hemp world.

I wanted to start with hemp because it is easier in America, especially Ohio, to sell and produce hemp than sell or produce medical marijuana. The hemp plant has over 120 cannabinoids and CBD is only one of these. Eventually I want to expand into other aspects of the hemp plant that has been proven to help people, like terpenes and CBG. I also want to educate people on these aspects as well and normalize the use of hemp and CBD.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your hemp business?

One of the main ones was coming up with a name. There are so many different CBD companies out there that it was hard deciding on Cosmic Harvest. I’ve always had this sense of wonder and awe for the world, so I started going through different words and led with cosmic. Then Cosmic Harvest came to mind and it checked all the boxes, so that was one of the biggest challenges. Another challenge was trying to sign the land and getting it zoned correctly.

What was the process like finding a field for your business?

I have the field and I applied for my license, so I have everything I need, except it’s the end of the season. I’ll have to wait until next year to start planting, but right now we’re doing R&D, working on different products, and figuring out what we’re going to sell. I’m at the phase where I’m going to start making my product line so I’m trying to see what is shelf stable and what will get me the most return on investment. Once I have my flower grown, I’m then going to be making that into different products to decipher what I’m going to sell. When I start growing in March, I want to have a good idea of what products I will have.

How do you practice showing transparency about your products and why is that important to you?

In the CBD market, people don’t really know what they’re getting. I think one or two-thirds of CBD products are not the correct dosages. Every single product I have, I’m going to get tested. For example, if I have a lotion that says it has 10mg of CBD, consumers will see that it was lab tested and they will know what they’re buying beforehand. I also want people to buy directly from me or stores they trust. It’s almost like when you go to a hair salon and buy shampoo: that’s a trusted source. A lot of people buy CBD from Amazon or other marketplaces, but producers can easily buy the bottle and sell whatever they want inside. My plan is to get rid of that aspect and be a trusted source for people.

I also want people, especially the community of Akron, to come to my field and see what I’m growing on tours. I don’t want to keep my consumers in the dark. My desire is to give them a full vision on what my product is by incorporating social media and having educational videos.

From a business perspective, what benefits have you noticed that other entrepreneurs can gain from treating employees with respect?

It basically comes down to treat others how you want to be treated. In the workplace, I feel people get the notion of “This is work. This is not personal. It’s okay if I treat someone badly.” I believe in karma, one hundred percent. Even in a workplace environment, if you are mean to someone, it can easily come back to you. For example, if a manager is being mean to his or her coworkers, then he or she won’t be respected. So, ultimately, it comes back and makes your job harder. We work eight hours a day, so a workplace should be non-toxic. It should be a safe place to come to feel welcomed, to feel loved. I feel like a lot of workplaces are not like that today.

How do you practice showing respect to others as a leader?

It doesn’t matter what role you have or how much money you make, we’re all humans in this universe. We all wake up and go to bed every day. Even if you’re a director, janitor, tech, or lead, we’re all in this together. That’s one thing I want to stress when I build my team: we’re all equal here. We all need to help each other so we can succeed.

I’m also getting my MBA right now and what I love focusing on is business ethics and leadership. The number one thing that I focus on is the team aspect. So if I’m leading a team of three, I want to get to know each person individually. I want to know their goals and everything else about them so we can be successful. I want to ask people if they are comfortable performing certain tasks and how they’re feeling that day. Every day is different, every person is different, and I feel we should recognize that more.

What has been your most successful moment in recent years?

Straight out of college, I started working at a medical marijuana facility and I basically had no background in cannabis. Although I had a chemistry background, I had never done what I was doing before. I was hired on and eventually became the formulations lead within five months and that was a big moment for me. I was like “Wow, I’m only twenty-two years old! I’m in charge of formulations for a big company and it did this in five months.” I was proud of myself for working that hard and taking that much responsibility while learning every day and building on top of that. I’m grateful I had a boss who encouraged me to do that.

What are you most excited about for your company in the next few years?

I’m excited to be with the community and interact with my customers. There aren’t any CBD companies that do this in the way I am planning. I want to have community events and connect with people on social media to make it all about them. I’m excited to get to meet them and find out what they want.

Also, within the next twelve months, I hope to have my seeds planted, my products launched, and I hope to bring the community in. Sometime in early spring I want to have a welcome event. I’m actually in the works of finding local vendors, local jewelry shops, and local kitchens. I hope to get them all involved there and have an official prelaunch for my community.

This article originally published on GREY Journal.