One of my favorite aspects of working here at MJBI is the opportunity to speak to so many amazing and inspiring women. From stories about Erin Gore and Helene Servillon working to empower women in the industry to Kika Keith’s battle to open her dispensary, we strive to highlight the powerful women who are changing the paradigm. And as it happens, some of these women lead dynamic brands that are quickly becoming household names. So we thought it would be fun to take a look at the woman-led brands that are currently making the biggest splash.
First a few words on terminology and methodology…We define “woman-led” as any company with a woman founder, co-founder, and/or CEO. In this case “hottest” refers to brands that are currently generating the most buzz, as measured by the Pioneer Intelligence Heat Index, which monitors consumer engagement across three pillars: earned media, social media, and web traffic. More on their methodology here.
I’d also like to point out that this list is not about creating a sense of competition but rather about taking a moment to acknowledge these dynamic woman-led cannabis brands and give consumers an opportunity to choose to support brands that are owned or operated by kickass women.
Speaking of kickass women, it should surprise no one that Nancy Whiteman’s Wana is at the top of this list. For years Nancy has been challenging the notion that the cannabis industry is a boy’s club, and Wana is now one of the nation’s top-selling brands. When we asked Nancy to comment on Wana’s ranking on this list, she said, “It is always nice to have your brand called out as being the ‘No. 1’ of anything, but it is especially nice that this honor comes with recognition for the many women who are leading Wana Brands. In addition to myself, we have women leaders across the company, from the C-suite to entry-level positions and everywhere in between. In an industry where women make up less than a quarter of all leadership positions, it is a privilege to be bucking the trend.”
Another brand on this list echoes Nancy’s sentiment. Sweet Dirt, which was co-founded by Kristin Pope and her husband Hughes, also benefits from a strong base of women.
“When Hughes and I founded Sweet Dirt, we set out to grow cannabis and a company, rooted in the richness of Maine and New England, that would be welcoming and inclusive to all,” Kristin Pope told us. “We are incredibly proud to have both a board and an executive team comprised of over 60% women and to have strong representation of women across every function of the business.”
Every brand on this list is fierce and has a good story, from the Her Highness team’s long track record as woman-forward entrepreneurs (co-founders Laura Eisman founded Girlshop in 1998 and Allison Krongard founded WallCandy Arts) to Heylo making a massive jump on the general nationwide heat index (the brand was ranked #194 in Q4 of 2021 and leapt to #51 by Q1 of 2022) to Pure Beauty CEO Imelda Walavalkar’s background as a fighter for social justice.
I’m proud to be a woman in cannabis leading a publication with a 100% female staff and working for a company with 75% female executives (and a 77% female team), and this list makes me excited for our industry. Cheers, ladies!
Pioneer Intelligence leverages data to benchmark marketing performance of consumer-facing cannabis brands. Built by a group of experienced and passionate marketers and data scientists, Pioneer helps industry stakeholders better understand how communications strategies resonate with audiences. In early 2021, Pioneer launched its first products, a suite of marketing performance scorecards. These reports present actionable data across three focus areas: social media, earned media and web-related activities. More information can be found on the company’s website, https://pioneer.buzz.
Disclaimer: Pioneer currently has more than 621 brands in their active pool with hundreds more in their pipeline. (Pipeline brands require six months of data before being added to the active pool.) Lists of both active and pipeline brands can be found at pioneer.buzz/brands. If you would like to request your brand be tracked by Pioneer, please email [email protected].
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