Cannabis and wellness entrepreneur, Kendra Mark is considered one of the industry’s top formulators. Read more about what she’s working on now and how she set her sights on changing topical CBD and luxury wellness for good.
Q: It’s been awhile since we talked about what inspired 2Rise, can you share the beginnings?
K: I started 2Rise to have a platform to create medicinal formulas for people. I’ve had this intuitive ability and passion for making healing remedies since I was young and I felt the call to give form to this passion and step into a more legitimate role of service. CBD eased my sensitized gut after healing from an infection while in India and I knew this was going to be one of the first medicinals I would create publicly.
Q: Who do you think is someone who could see the most benefit from a brand like 2Rise?
K: Everyone. Humans have a system called the Endocannabinoid System that utilizes cannabinoids like CBD for a myriad of bodily functions. Cannabinoids are largely responsible for mitigating the inflammatory response but we are learning about so many other benefits every day.
Q: What is the main difference between the gel caps and tinctures?
K: The gel caps contain 2x the amount of CBD as the tinctures. They take longer to be absorbed into the body and tend to last longer. They are a bit easier to take and travel with.
Q: Your new brand NatureofThings has become a press obsession. Topical is debatably the most complicated because it requires a deep understanding of how products absorb into the body when not taken internally. Why did you decide that this would be your next venture?
K: I really didn’t expect to be a co-founder in another brand so quickly. The opportunity just sort of fell out of the sky and felt right so I went for it. Skincare products are definitely more challenging than CBD tinctures. I’ve had quite the learning curve in the last year of developing the product line for natureofthings. If harsh chemicals and preservatives are not used, it requires a deep knowledge of how to make a product naturally stable. Additionally, CBD is a large molecule and does not pass through the skin easily and so to avoid wasting an expensive and previous active ingredient, I had to figure out how to get it to penetrate the skin and to do so with several different formulas. This is next level alchemy from what I was doing and it’s been a lot of fun.
If harsh chemicals and preservatives are not used, it requires a deep knowledge of how to make a product naturally stable. Additionally, CBD is a large molecule and does not pass through the skin easily and so to avoid wasting an expensive and previous active ingredient, I had to figure out how to get it to penetrate the skin and to do so with several different formulas. This is next level alchemy from what I was doing and it’s been a lot of fun.-Kendra Mark, Founder of 2rise Naturals and NatureofThings
Q: I’ve heard you say [Nature] is not a cbd brand, it’s a brand with CBD. Can you explain that?
K: I wanted to create a line of products that don’t cater to the hype of the CBD industry as it stands. I knew we wouldn’t be able to get away with the traditionally simplistic formulations crafted in CBD manufacturing facilities with a very general understanding of chemistry. I knew I needed to seek out true talent when it comes to cosmetic chemistry. We spared no expense with this and found ourselves the best lab in the US to assist me in properly creating the formulas that were in my head. So, natureofthings is a poster child for the normalization of CBD as an active ingredient like so many others out there. I incorporated well over 100 other amazing botanical or mineral based ingredients to support our mission.
Q: Standards are a huge part of both brands, what are the top 3 things you would tell a customer to look at in a brand before deciding to purchase from a CBD or wellness brand?
K: Make sure the brand is transparent and provides current 3rd party lab testing on all of their products. / Look at the list of ingredients and make sure you know what is in the product. Google a weird looking ingredient and read about it to make sure you want to ingest it or apply it to your skin. / Really read the brand’s website and investigate their knowledge of what they are selling. It’s not hard to identify genuine caregivers from marketing geniuses.
Q: What do you see in the future of formulation for CBD?
K: The CBD industry and the cannabis industry in general is going through a major shift. Lots of growing pains as the FDA gets involved and statewide regulations increase. With this, I feel it will be incredibly important to implement true innovation with formulas. We have an over saturation of a lot of the same types of products and this is going to make it difficult for brands to have staying power. Efficacy, absorption, taste/feel, creativity are all going to play a huge role, they already are. I am honestly surprised by the current lack of innovation still going on in the space. Time will tell.
Q: Any advice for women in cannabis looking to pursue formulation entrepreneurship? What were the things that contributed most to your success in the industry?
K: My advice is to listen to your gut, trust your creativity and be prepared to take some big risks. Formulating can be challenging when you’re making a new consumer-facing product for the first time. I don’t know if I will ever cease to worry if the product will grow mold, test too high or too low for something, have scale up issues, or totally flop in the marketplace. There’s a fine dance between innovation and the tried and true methods. The CBD space needs more skilled formulators so I look forward to welcoming them!
Q: While building either brands, has there ever been a moment you felt “this is exactly what i am supposed to be doing with my life?”
K: Yes. I trust in life’s ability to bring me the experiences I need.
Q: Lastly , is there a part of your own personal wellness ritual you feel is extremely important to you. Fitness? Supplements? Beauty/self-care? Etc.
K: Yes! This is what I love the most. Self-care is extremely important to me and the reason I do what I do for work. I exercise 5-6 days a week. I use my infrared sauna at least once per week. I get outside in nature every day, even if it’s for 5 minutes. I eat a diet that is flexible but based in principles that support the areas in my body that are not as strong as others. I rest well. I engage in non-work related creative outlets often. I get 8+ hours of sleep 90% of the time. I’m currently really into licorice root extract and powdered cleansing polishes for my face, shilajit and Vitamin E for my body, 5,000mg of Vit. C and oregano oil for COVID-19, saying twenty things I am grateful for out loud to myself everyday, pure Violet essential oil to remind me to be lighthearted and play, and earl green tea from Rishi Tea.
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