Welcome to part two of our MJ Unpacked experience! In this episode, we take some time to reflect and share some final thoughts on our trip to the MJ Unpacked conference. We’ll discuss our biggest takeaways and highlight some of our favorite moments and products.
We also have another special interview for you. Our guests today are Carrie Mapes and Patty Papas, founders of Hello Again. They have created a cannabis-powered vaginal suppository with soothing botanicals to provide relief from the physical and emotional symptoms that come with menopause. It’s a highly innovative product for women who can’t get relief in other ways, and it’s given them the opportunity to share their wisdom and support women like never before.
For those that have never experienced menopause, imagine having your hormones change while going through puberty, but dealing with those symptoms for a period of time that can be three times as long. Increased anxiety, sweatiness, lack of sleep, body pain, headaches and memory loss, these are all symptoms that women struggle with and why this product is so unique.
In today’s episode, Carrie and Patty talk about how they created a product with the medicinal benefits from cannabis, how the THC aspect works without making you feel high, and why they’re focused on helping other women continue to live vibrant lives.
- How Carrie and Patty first became interested in creating their cannabis product.
- The potential use cases for cannabis suppositories.
- The symptoms that they are trying to help alleviate for women.
- Why some women might not even realize they’re in menopause, and why there is a lack of awareness on this topic.
- How Hello Again is spreading awareness of their product.
“Well, our strongest buyers who get us realize that we are bringing women to a dispensary delivery service that haven’t been there before. And once they’re there, there are multiple markets in one.” – Carrie Mapes
“There’s also the woman that doesn’t know she’s in menopause, and that’s the one we’re really trying to reach because we don’t do a great job in this country with talking to women about what’s happening at that phase in their life.” – Patty Papas
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Rick Kiley: All right. Hello, everyone, and welcome to our wrap-up episode of the MJ Unpacked Conference. It’s part two. A little time has passed since we’ve attended. I actually went through and listened to our earlier interviews and read through some of our notes. And I’m just curious, I’m going to start, Jeffrey, with you having spent some time post the conference, do you have any final thoughts, things that you’ve been thinking about that you want to share?
Jeffrey Boedges: Well, I think we should call this the pack-up show, not the wrap-up show.
Rick Kiley: Okay.
Jeffrey Boedges: So, yes, we’re going to repack everything that we unpacked at MJ Unpacked, right? Anything that I want to share, in general, I would just say that we had some very enjoyable meetings while we’re there, met some really fun and interesting people, as we always do in this industry. I would say that unlike a lot of the other industries that we have a defined role and competence in when we go to these cannabis conferences and meet these people, they really do come from all walks of life with all types of backgrounds, but they all share this commonality, this belief really in this plant. If I had to really say the lowest common denominator, what’s the base ground? Where does everybody sort of meet? And that is with this plant. And I think, yeah, it’s going to be really fun to see how these people evolve. Most of them are in these grassroots organizations. Most of them are with start-ups of some type or another. So, it’s going to be very, I think, interesting to see having these conversations five years from now how much will change because it is changing rapidly as we speak, but I think we are still in the early, early nascent stages.
Rick Kiley: Got it. That’s good. Jeff is silencing his phone. Sorry, everybody, for the dings but we’re busy. One of the things that I was thinking about myself just going through our notes, I realized when we were talking when we were there, we talked a lot about the community feel and the lack of like a cutthroat or domination. And I think while this seemed to occur organically, I did want to take a moment to give a shoutout to George Jage, as I think like this balance of community aspect was one of the goals of him creating this event, this idea of a new type of trade show. And I think that was achieved and, frankly, to build on it, I think it was successful because like with a really good event, I wasn’t aware that that was what was happening and it just felt organic. But I have a sense that it was probably a very conscious effort to really bring the right people together who shared the same values and I just wanted to take a moment because I think that it’s probably harder than we think it is.
Jeffrey Boedges: Well, it’s harder to explain I think also because it’s how do you put it? It’s like saying it was a conference for, I’m going to speak frankly, it’s a conference for stoners where everybody wasn’t stoned all the time. But it had that feeling that, hey, it’s cool, it’s laid back. It was very well run. I didn’t see it as far as like the technical aspects go as far as like staying on schedule. There were no overruns. There were no late starts that I saw that I was aware of. So, very professionally run but like I said at the same time, you never, ever felt like you must do this or you must do that. It didn’t feel overly programmed and it didn’t feel overly rule-bound. So, it just had a good vibe.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. I think everybody there, it felt like everyone was an authentic part of the industry. There wasn’t a lot of like bullsh*t suits running around and any of that and I think that was great. So, I’ve had a little bit of time to reflect on it. I don’t think we probably talked about that enough.
Jeffrey Boedges: I didn’t even bring a sports coat. I mean, I debated it. I was like, “Well, what am I going to dress? How do I dress for this type of conference?” I can’t remember the last time I went to any conference or any kind of formal meeting where I’m meeting people for the first time, and the nicest thing I brought was a sweater.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. It was a really nice sweater too. I think it was cashmere.
Jeffrey Boedges: It was. It got ruined when I got home because I washed it.
Rick Kiley: Don’t wash cashmere, everyone. So, the one thing, you had to leave a little bit early. I stayed until the end because I couldn’t get a flight out of Vegas fast enough. Jeff, you beat me. But it did allow me to attend the seminar where Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi were there presenting and talking about their Blues Brothers brand. And so, I just want to fill you in on that and everyone else because I thought it was really interesting, because Dan and many people may not know this, he also owns a booze brand called Crystal Skull Vodka, and it’s grown to be a pretty sizable brand. And he was able to relay his experiences as a celebrity brand owner and he was kind of on the vanguard of that. I mean, I think we had Diddy with Ciroc, but him starting Crystal Skull was before George Clooney and Casamigos. It was before a lot of these more recent brand launches, which we see a lot. And what I liked about what Dan Aykroyd said is that he was all-in on a grassroots level. He’s like, “I went to stores. I went on a ride with Swiss distributors. If I walked into a retailer and saw they had bottles, I would sign all of them.” And he really just did anything he could do to enhance the perceived value of, well, vodka, which is not that distinctive as a liquid. And it was a very different approach, I think, than the celebrity endorsements we see today, which are mostly above-the-line campaigns. It’s mostly like glamor shots and that sort of thing.
Jeffrey Boedges: Nice shots that turn out like $7 billion buyouts for these guys, though.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. Well, yeah, I know. But I think it comes back to this sort of authenticity. And Jim Belushi then went on to say that he kind of defined the problem as the layperson, in particular, can’t recognize brands. They walk into a dispensary and they don’t understand what’s there. There are brand names, there are logos on packages, but there’s nothing really distinctive and nothing for people to connect to, and he said which I found very accurate, “The people walk into a dispensary, they see something with the Blues Brothers brand on it and they smile.” And I think the positioning of the brand is actually like really ingenious. The Blues Brothers, for those who haven’t seen the movie or movies, there are multiple, they’re people who flout the law and put themselves at risk for what they believe is a mission from God. Like, that’s how he summed it up as well and I think if you look at cannabis professionals today and probably people who were using cannabis today, I think they have this in common. You know, there’s this idea of they’re comfortable with doing something that people probably think is a little bit bad, maybe it flouts the law, but they don’t hurt others and they feel like they have this higher calling to push the industry forward to help people to relieve pain or anxiety, or just help them enjoy life a little more. And I think really it’s the first-person in cannabis that I heard talking about a brand story in this category that it feels like connects with consumers on an emotional level. And it’s not just a product innovation. It’s not just a production story. It’s not just about the farm.
Jeffrey Boedges: It’s what the brand stands for.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. And you know, I’m usually skeptical of celebrity brands for fearing they lack authenticity but the opposite is true here and I was just really impressed with that.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. And we did a little bit of homework ahead of time and Jim Belushi has done a lot of PR on his brand. And one thing that comes across very much like Dan. So, I guess it should be no surprise that they really kind of are cut from the same cloth but he is all in. They’re working at the farm. You know, this isn’t just an endorsement. This is something that this guy is very passionate about and actually is extremely knowledgeable about, which I always find a little amusing. I’ve never heard Clooney talk about distillation techniques or agave. Now, maybe he has and it just hasn’t gotten to me.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. I don’t know.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. I don’t know. I mean, I think Sammy Hagar did a better job of that. But anyway, end of the day…
Rick Kiley: Hagar was also a better frontman for Van Halen than Clooney was.
Jeffrey Boedges: Oh, for sure.
Rick Kiley: It was a short stint.
Jeffrey Boedges: Well, really, who wasn’t a frontman for Van Halen?
Rick Kiley: Right. Clooney got that stint right out of the bat.
Jeffrey Boedges: Right. Yeah. That’s something. But where I’m going with it is, is that with Jim and Dan being on the same page and actually trying to convey a message that’s consistent and a message that resonates is the hallmark of what it takes to make a good brand. And we’ve seen it in a lot of other categories. I think it’s really true in wine and spirits, of course, where we’ve had a lot of basic experience but where you see people and if you go to France and you meet, if you have the chance and meet with these people that make cognac or meet with people that make the wine and these are skills, these are brands that have been handed down from generation to generation, and they take it very seriously. They know intuitively they are all on the same page. What does this brand stand for? And they will go, they will move mountains to make sure that that never is compromised. And I think a lot of cannabis brands out there can learn something from Jim and Dan but also from other categories where you can start to really, as Rick said, I thought perfectly, start to create an emotional connection that you can make last a long, long time.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. You know, I think I was surprised and impressed with those two and I think they are interesting and again brings us back to I think the theme of the whole conference, even when we were talking about the workaround social justice or if we were talking about how people were investing in their products and everything that they were doing, is all around this idea I think of authenticity. And if you don’t have the traditional market or a legacy market usage in mind when you’re creating your product, it’s not authentic. If you don’t have a connection with the plant, it’s not authentic. Even I think at this point in time, if you don’t have a relationship with the plant when it was illicit everywhere, that can even be perceived as inauthentic. So, I think this authenticity, which is a macro marketing need like that goes across every product and brand category, I think we’re seeing it in spades here and it’s going to be important. And I think a lot of these folks who were there had that. Everybody involved in this conference had it.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. And I think we even joked about it already but we had said something along the lines of I think about 50% of the people that were there were handling logistics or had something to do with transporting this product from seed to sale, from inventory controls to ordering, re-ordering. We met a really fascinating company that was monitoring the soil conditions in real-time. So, they put these sensors in the ground and we’re going to try and get that guy on the show, by the way, but all of that stuff. But where it goes or where we see that kind of tying in maybe more so with brand building than what maybe I never thought about before was how important the provenance was for what people are putting in their body. They want to know that it basically comes from a reputable place and has a story behind it. And I think that’s what you were kind of touching on just now is just this idea of like making sure that it shouldn’t come across as a chemical derivative. You know, that’s kind of like the last thing that I felt like people wanted to talk about or to hear, and that makes a lot of sense. Certainly, when you start to think about people who are going to be new to the category, I don’t think you’re going to get a lot of excitement from people who are like they really want to talk about like chemical additives or things that help them to distill this from the actual plant.
They really want to know the story about where that plant was grown. They want to know that it was harvested in a way that was sustainable. They want to know that there weren’t a lot of heavy pesticides. And that is the one thing that, or not the one thing, but one of the things I thought that you’re right on the money with, Rick. I didn’t tie the two together, the logistics part with the brand building part until you just said that so good insight.
Rick Kiley: Cool. I think Bellucci got a pretty big laugh when he talked about how he used to be a bouncer in Chicago and basically said, “I never had to break up a fight between two guys who were stoned before.” The whole audience was laughing at that but I love it. Yeah, it’s true.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. That’s what they used to say when I used to go to normal rallies in college like, “I never had an accident when I was stoned. Missed a lot of exits.”
Rick Kiley: Yeah. So, look, I think MJ Impact is actually going to come to New York this spring and I was just curious if you, having been there with your then professional hat on, had any suggestions of things that you would like to see at the next version of this if you were trying to improve upon it?
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. I mean, I think there’s a lot. They didn’t ask our opinion, so I’m a little hesitant to give it but I was…
Rick Kiley: Well, maybe just one or two like the things that come to your mind.
Jeffrey Boedges: Well, so they had a very interesting way of laying out the floor. So, normally, you go to a conference like that and it’s just wall-to-wall booths, staffed by people and half of them, three-quarters of them, you maybe don’t want to talk to and so you kind of look down at the floor as you walk by them. I always kind of feel bad like they’re here, they’re making this effort, they’re spending this money. I should at least talk to them and see what they’re going to talk about. But if it’s something that I know has no relevance to me, I tend to walk by. And I think that that’s something that MJ Impact realized goes on. And so, they gave everybody these standing kiosks where they were able to create a retail-like display of their items, right? And I thought that was actually a really cool idea. I think the biggest challenge I had with that piece, though, was I didn’t always understand what I was looking at, and there were certainly some innovative products there. There were also some basically very specific machinery or machines, things like that that I had no idea what they did, and there was really no way for me to find out because these kiosks almost except for one that I can remember were unmanned. There was no one there to explain it. So, I just was thinking I know that some of them did have QR codes that you could scan and it would take you to their website, which I thought was interesting but I think, again, if it were me and I was running the conference, I think there’s an opportunity here for that to be programmed ahead of time.
So, it’s like, yes, you’re going to have a kiosk. Yes, it’s going to be really cool and look retail thing, but we are building this master website with a QR code function in addition to providing us all these materials, you should be providing us content. That content can be video, could be, well, it could be a PowerPoint for that matter, but something that when they scan the QR code, it goes to a fully owned MJ Impact website where I can then really kind of dig into some of these things. That would be the first thing.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. I just had two that came to my mind. I mean, there’s three but two that I think I’m not sure if you can do the first one but I think there should be a legal avenue to product sampling consumption, something has to be explored. I think that barrier is a challenge. And we talked to somebody who set up consumption weed gardens at concerts and festivals so I feel like there’s probably a framework. It might take some time. It might take some lobbying and trying to put a ruler or a city guideline in place that allows you to do that. So, that was one thing I was thinking of a lot. The second thing is I thought the best event that I loved to the fundraising event for The Last Prisoner Project, and while it’s always great to have fun and get loose and raise some money, I’m wondering if there is some service-oriented aspect of that that this conference could organize. Is there a rally around City Hall? Is there a march on Rikers? Like, I don’t know how this works but this is a cause that everyone’s passionate about. I wonder if there’s actually something we can do beyond just fundraising, which might be an interesting component and it seems to be something everybody would rally on around. I don’t know.
Jeffrey Boedges: We actually brought it up in the session about The Last Prisoner Project. You and I asked the question at the end and we were just like, “How do we get involved?” And I didn’t think that was really clear.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. Other than giving money which you can but I always think service is harder than writing a check, right? So, I think an avenue towards service would be there.
Jeffrey Boedges: And I think the thing we brought up specifically was we were like should we be reaching out to the legal community in a more programmed way in order to try to get on their pro-bono schedule? Right. So, most firms are doing some pro bono work.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. They have to.
Jeffrey Boedges: I just don’t know how many of them are actually embracing The Last Prisoner Project or even are aware of it. And my guess is from speaking to our lawyers and about a myriad of other things, they’ve never heard of it. You know, and I think there’s an awareness gap there that that would be something like where our service would be, how do we increase awareness for The Last Prisoner Project among or in the legal community?
Rick Kiley: Yeah. And then I actually just like their topics that I’d love to hear about, these aren’t necessarily conferencing but in terms of the seminar, like I want someone to be talking about on-premise consumption lounges and what that looks like, how to make it happen, if it’s possible, what people are doing. I just think it’s going to be a completely interesting area. And I would love to see a seminar on that topic and have some people talking about it. That was like number one for me that I’d love to learn more.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. I agree with you. And I think that really ties back to what we’re saying too just about having the ability to sample at this event. You know, it was funny. I mean, the only place that we saw any kind of consumption going on was at a private party that was offsite, right?
Rick Kiley: Yeah. You get into through double-secret permission.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. You had to have the knock and you had to know and it felt illicit. Dare I say it, it didn’t feel like we were it – and we were in a legal market.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. It’s totally in Nevada.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. In a conference for cannabis and the only place I saw any cannabis being consumed was kind of behind closed doors. So, I agree. I think that’s something that could be done. Yeah. And I think there was a lot of panels and I think it would be interesting from a panel perspective to discuss this idea or these opportunities because I think we could get people from, I mean, I’d love to have Randy Gerber there. I’d love to have somebody like that kind of cachet that knows how to create amazing on-premise in a fairly scaled way and then start bringing in some people who are kind of on the cutting edge of trying to get these on-premise consumption sites built. I just think that would be a really cool melding of the minds and that’s the one that you and I or you or I need to mediate or model.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. That would be fun. All right. Cool. So, look, with that, I think that’s wrapping up the conference. There’s an interview coming up right after this. This is with the folks from Hello Again who have a really spectacular product innovation against a very specific target consumer segment. And I think the sort of the green shoots, if you will, of a brand with an emotional connection and good brand building is starting there and it’s really neat to see really fun conversation and…
Jeffrey Boedges: Just innovative.
Rick Kiley: Yeah.
Jeffrey Boedges: It’s just one of the most innovative things I’ve seen come out of cannabis so far, and we’ve seen some crazy innovations. But this one really kind of blew my mind a little bit because it was educational on 10 levels but this was a really great idea that they have.
Rick Kiley: Cool. So, that’s coming up right after we’re done here. And also, as we are moving into the winter, we are changing up our format a little bit where we’re going to try to spend a little bit of time talking about solutions to some of the marketing problems we’ve been talking about for the past couple of years.
Jeffrey Boedges: I thought we’re doing the Springer thing.
Rick Kiley: The Jerry Springer thing? Surprise!
Jeffrey Boedges: They brought in your ex-wife.
Rick Kiley: Perfect. So, we’re going to start doing that, and I think one of the things that we’re just going to be asking people and saying at the end of our episodes here is we have an email address, email@example.com. And so, if there are any questions, marketing issues, challenges that you’re seeing that you think you’d love to hear us chat about, talk about, please send them in and we’ll see if we can talk about them on the podcast. And with that, we’re just going to say signing off and thanks for listening.
Jeffrey Boedges: Have a great day, gang. Cheers.
Rick Kiley: Hello, everybody. We’re back to another MJ Unpacked Green Repeal Special Short Episode. There’s more people in the booth.
Jeffrey Boedges: Very special episode. Yes, we do.
Rick Kiley: Cool. We are here today with Carrie and Patty, who are the founders of Hello Again. Now, this is a very interesting product. It is a cannabis-powered vaginal suppository that combines the healing power of cannabis with soothing botanicals to provide relief from the physical and emotional challenges brought on by menopause. So, we’re here with the founders today. They created this product for women who haven’t found relief in other ways. And while the product is very innovative, the founders feel they’re doing what women always have done, sharing wisdom, and supporting one another. I have an editorial note that this seems to be now more needed than ever, unfortunately, in this day and age. So, thank you for doing good work.
Jeffrey Boedges: I will say I’m of a certain age and most of my girlfriends, you know, friends that are girls, are going through this wonderful change. And I will also say that they tend to talk about it among themselves and then the minute I walk in the room, they aren’t talking about it anymore. So, it’s sort of like, I don’t know if it’s just a club we aren’t invited to or if it’s just something maybe that needs to be discussed more openly.
Carrie Mapes: You should come to our house because everyone’s talking about it all the time.
Jeffrey Boedges: Right?
Carrie Mapes: Yeah.
Jeffrey Boedges: Okay. All right. Well, we can do that. What’s the address again?
Rick Kiley: So, Carrie and Patty met 20 years ago, right? Is that correct?
Patty Papas: Yes.
Rick Kiley: Okay. This is the information I have. When their eldest children started preschool, how every great relationship is born I think these days, yep, through your kids, friends ever since, Carrie and Patty, but always been adventurous and open-minded. But it wasn’t until those kids flew away that they decided to explore their local dispensaries. I like this part of the story.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah.
Rick Kiley: So, they realized cannabis was uniquely suited to address many challenges they experienced during menopause, and they searched for a product, but there was nothing in sight. And so, there is now a cannabis vaginal suppository. I’m saying those words. It’s great.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. I can’t wait to tell my sisters about it, and I’m like, “This is going to be great.”
Rick Kiley: Actually, I’m so excited about it. So, you founded Hello Again 2019. So, I think that’s actually old for a cannabis brand. There’s like a new brand every day but for a pretty short period of time.
Jeffrey Boedges: You guys should get a gold watch.
Rick Kiley: And we’re excited to have you here. Welcome to The Green Repeal.
Carrie Mapes: Thank you, guys. That was a great introduction.
Patty Papas: I know. I think we’re done.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. No, it’s cool. So, I’m sorry we only have one microphone so you guys really do got to lean in if we want to get recorded or whatever. Sorry. Because we’re in this like weird bubble. But I’d give a good intro, I guess. Thank you. But fill us in on some more details on how this came to be. I think that’s the big story.
Patty Papas: Okay. So, it had just become legal in California, cannabis, and Carrie and I decided to go into a dispensary for the first time ever. We had all these preconceived notions of what that was going to look like, you know, going in and making sure nobody saw us go in and we walked in. I couldn’t have been more surprised at how beautiful the shop was. I mean, it looked like…
Rick Kiley: But what were you expecting walking in?
Patty Papas: I don’t know. Like hot, smelly, smoky, behind the black curtain.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. Some patchouli, some tie-dye.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, tie-dyes.
Patty Papas: So, we walked in completely amazed. They had beautiful accessories. You know, the staff couldn’t have been nicer. I think we got there at 9:00 in the morning, which was also another great thing like they actually open at 9 in the morning. We were like on our game at 9 in the morning. No one else was there. They spent all this time with us. They couldn’t have been more knowledgeable but what kept popping up is like, “Wait, this is going to help me sleep through the night, and this one can help with anxiety. This one can help with inflammation.” I mean, everything was popping but it wasn’t all put together. We didn’t want to smoke. We didn’t want to vape. That wasn’t appealing to us. But we recognize the potential there. And then that kind of set us down on this path looking for something that we could use to help us with what we were experiencing.
Jeffrey Boedges: Now, were you legacy market users or had you… I know you said this was your first dispensary, so I didn’t know if you had a guy before.
Carrie Mapes: Not really. No. Neither of us really had any relationship with cannabis before this. It was purely curiosity and really it was there. Shout out to The Pottery LA. It was a great experience that put us on this whole new path in life. But what we learned there, as Patty said, we drew a direct line between cannabis wanting to use it for our menopause symptoms but wanting something we couldn’t find, which was something that you can use at the beginning of the day, not end of day to lift the symptoms, balance your systems, and go to work, take care of your kids, all the things that vibrant modern women do all day. And vice versa at night. There were lots of products in there for sleep but it got us high and you need to get up in the night. You need to take care of your kids at night, the dog barks, something. We don’t want to feel high. So, that was really the differentiating factor for us between what we wanted and what was in dispensaries.
Jeffrey Boedges: Okay. That makes sense.
Rick Kiley: So, your product then it’s not psychoactive, so it’s mostly CBD then?
Patty Papas: Okay. So, because it’s a vaginal suppository, we do have quite a bit of THC in the product. The nighttime has 20 mg. But because of the delivery system, you don’t get a head high. So, it’s not going through your digestive tract. It’s not going through your liver. It’s not getting that psychoactive treatment.
Rick Kiley: It’s not getting in your brain.
Jeffrey Boedges: It doesn’t get in the bloodstream at all?
Patty Papas: It does get in your bloodstream. I’ll let Carrie add.
Carrie Mapes: Yeah.
Jeffrey Boedges: Sorry.
Carrie Mapes: So, there are two things that happen for a vaginal suppository. First, there’s a local application of the cannabinoids and the other botanicals that we have put in our product purposely to provide certain terpene profiles. There’s a local application with the cannabinoids and your receptors, and the brain is the most dense place for receptors in the body but the female reproductive tract is really close. I mean, there are a lot of receptors there. So, you do get that initial connection and then your blood vessels and you have capillaries that do elongate the effects because it does go into your bloodstream. You don’t get high. Yeah, there’s no psychoactive high.
Rick Kiley: Wow. So, all right. Did you discover this?
Jeffrey Boedges: Are there similar products out there that don’t have THC and CBD in them?
Carrie Mapes: For menopause?
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah.
Carrie Mapes: You know what, historically, there aren’t a lot of great products out there for menopause. Even from a prescription standpoint, the options that a doctor will give you if your symptoms are bad enough are antidepressants even if you’re not clinically depressed, Gabapentin, which is an anti-seizure medication because if you have really extreme hot flashes, that might help. Ambien. So, there are all these off-uses for really strong drugs. And on the over-the-counter market, there are a collection of supplements and there are a few things out there. There’s no one kind of great solution. I mean, that’s why we’re doing this. I mean, we really didn’t think, “How can we get into the cannabis space?” We had a hunch.
Jeffrey Boedges: I think you guys have got the corner market, it sounds like.
Rick Kiley: No. It’s a spectacular idea and it’s right and it’s authentic and it’s connected to you as the founder so I think that’s great. I think my question is, what was like the R&D road? No, I’m serious. I guess one to the point was like I want something to help alleviate these systems. And then it was from there to, okay, I want to do that but I don’t want to be stoned. And was it then like, how do I solve for that variable?
Carrie Mapes: So, it was a lot of research, googling, and talking to people that we were connected to, to figure out that this needed to be a vaginal suppository. That was like the first. The delivery method itself, that’s what…
Rick Kiley: Who told you that? Wait. No, no, no. I mean, did you speak with – was it a doctor? You mentioned Google like where did you…
Carrie Mapes: One little piece of research leads to another and then you read one medical abstract, and then that leads to another leads to another. Oh yeah, a vaginal suppository. I mean, women have used vaginal suppositories before as a delivery method for medicine. So, once we got to that point, the beauty of being 50 years old and have been entrenched in a community also is we talked to people and let people know what we were doing and somebody knew someone who knew something about it. We took every meeting we possibly could but we were able to speak with a university researcher on cannabis. We were put in touch with a couple of different doctors. One that was using cannabis for palliative care and another that’s a gynecologist from another state who is using cannabis in her practice. And, professional formulators, that took a while to find the right formulation partners but we did.
Jeffrey Boedges: Now, are the formulation partners from the cannabis industry or from another industry?
Patty Papas: Yeah. So, our formulators are from the cannabis industry, have been working in Colorado for many years and then come to California. He was so excited when we said the suppository because I think he had it sort of as an idea but didn’t think we would go for it. And so, when we said it he’s like, “Yes, ladies, this is it. This is the answer,” because he knew we wanted to use the THC but we couldn’t get the head high. So, I mean, that’s when it all…
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. I got to wonder how many people looked at you like you were nuts.
Patty Papas: No, they still do.
Jeffrey Boedges: Do they?
Carrie Mapes: But it’s getting better and better.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. I have a question here. Given the uniqueness of this product, when you explain it to people, I’m sure you get quite an array of responses, and I thought it would be really nice to know like what some of the most insane responses were that you get.
Carrie Mapes: There are certain dinner parties where I’m like, “Ask me. Ask me. Ask.” What do I do? I just want to drop this down.
Rick Kiley: That’s the best.
Jeffrey Boedges: This is the advertising campaign. You need to be filming the responses. I mean, yeah, there’s the camera.
Rick Kiley: That’s right. That’s what we do.
Patty Papas: It’s true.
Carrie Mapes: But usually those dinner parties are the people that never ask you about yourself so it doesn’t.
Patty Papas: Yeah. And they’ll never ask again. I was explaining to a woman just the other night I have PTSD from it because she was like, her face was like, “I can’t,” but it’s fun.
Carrie Mapes: We also from the very beginning when we were talking with people who are in the business, we were lucky enough to be put in touch with some people who we probably had no business talking to at that stage of our development but none of those people said, “That’s crazy.” That’s really what kept us going was, you know, everyone who knows something says, “Oh no,” except for the one that asked if men go through menopause, but other than that.
Jeffrey Boedges: There are no stupid questions.
Rick Kiley: I mean, I have twins of one boy and one girl, and 50% of the people I meet ask me if they’re identical. So, it just happens.
Jeffrey Boedges: There you go.
Carrie Mapes: And between us, we have five kids who are all over 21. So, that whole network of people coming in and out of our houses, they’ve been fantastic and, of course, they get so much fun.
Rick Kiley: Has anybody tried to. You do an off-use? Have they tried to consume in another way?
Patty Papas: Well, we’ve had some men offer to use it. So, we’re doing some product research on that now.
Carrie Mapes: Actually, I haven’t even told you this, Patty, too. I had someone yesterday who uses it for her endometriosis pain, and she said that she – I’m not recommending this to everybody out there – but she said that she has swallowed it also just for kind of a one-two punch and that’s been very helpful for her.
Jeffrey Boedges: We actually had somebody on the show once who was a big advocate for endometriosis, which I still can’t pronounce so forgive me. And that was like my first exposure to it. I was like, “I didn’t really know that was a thing.”
Carrie Mapes: It’s a really big thing and that’s our secondary market that we found is young budtenders using it for their menstrual cramps and telling other customers about that. And then endometriosis pain and early menopause because you’ve had cancer treatment or some other reason, medically-induced menopause.
Rick Kiley: Right. And so, the men that are willing to try it, is it like prostate pain? Or like is there any specific…
Patty Papas: It’s early days.
Rick Kiley: It’s just like, “Hey, let me try this out and see what’s happening.”
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. So, is the end game for you guys to grow this into something? Or do you guys feel like you’re waiting for J&J to step up and buy it?
Patty Papas: I think we’re trying to grow it. It’s important for us. We’re trying to at least cover the State of California and we get emails almost every day from other states, from women saying, “Please, I heard about you. This sounds great.” I love them to try it and it kills us that we can’t sell it to them or send it to them.
Rick Kiley: You’ve patented the delivery system and that sort of thing?
Patty Papas: Well, as suppositories.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. Suppository is suppository?
Patty Papas: Yeah.
Rick Kiley: You can’t patent that?
Patty Papas: Yeah. And you can’t do anything federally in the cannabis space.
Jeffrey Boedges: Oh, right.
Carrie Mapes: Yeah. But we have the IP on our PCR formulation and we’re taking care of our branding assets as well.
Jeffrey Boedges: But I would think you should be able to expand fairly readily because the ingredients largely in legal markets are there, right? So, who manufactures this for you? I mean, you guys doing this in the garage? Or do you have somebody who actually has like a factory?
Patty Papas: We have a licensed manufacturer up in Goleta. They’re actually on the other side of the room.
Rick Kiley: Okay
Patty Papas: They’re here today but they’re great. He’s been in the business for a long time. And so, yeah, Green Rush Alliance is the name. Professionally formulated.
Jeffrey Boedges: All right. So, were these guys suppository manufacturers before or were they making loose joints?
Patty Papas: The day that we knew we were in business is the day we put our money down for a suppository filling machine. So, Carrie and Patty, bought the filling machine and then now it is housed at our manufacturer and they use that to make our product.
Carrie Mapes: But his specialty was emulsified products, which is what we are.
Jeffrey Boedges: Okay. Got it. And so, I don’t know that we’ve ever really explored emulsified products but I’m assuming that’s just something that will melt upon being brought to body temperature.
Carrie Mapes: Yeah. So, it takes about half an hour for the suppository to melt, and the effect lasts for about six hours.
Jeffrey Boedges: With the voice of God to go with.
Rick Kiley: This is what happens when you record at a conference. Gongs and 10 minutes, everybody.
Jeffrey Boedges: It does sound like a bit of a zoo in this place.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. I think that’s the fun. So, you’re here at this conference. Is this your first trade show for your product?
Carrie Mapes: It is. Yeah.
Rick Kiley: And so, when you’re coming here, what’s your goal? What’s your objective of being here? Just word of mouth? Get the word out? Are you looking for investors? Are you looking to connect with distributors? What’s success for you?
Carrie Mapes: Yeah. Well, we’re always trying to open retail doors so that’s one thing but that’s secondary. I mean, we do want to start talking with investors. There’s a couple of pressure points coming up where we want to grow in a handful of different ways. So, that’s going to be a pressure point for us and looking for the right investment partners. Also, we launched two weeks before COVID. So, Patty and I have been kind of in a silo as far as being brand founders and CEOs. So, it’s been great for us to just even socialize with other brands and grow our network.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. I imagine you guys have some fairly unique challenges compared. Even in the cannabis industry, your challenges have got to be even a little more just given the fact that it’s like because it’s not like, “Oh, well, we’ll be in the suppository section of this dispensary.” I mean, you guys are kind of out there categorically.
Carrie Mapes: Yeah. Well, our kind of strongest buyers who get us realize that we are bringing women to a dispensary or use of their delivery service that haven’t been there before. And once they’re there, there are multiple markets in one.
Jeffrey Boedges: What kind of marketing are you doing outside of the dispensary to get awareness of the product going so that people know what to go in and ask for it?
Patty Papas: Yeah. I mean, we do everything we can. It’s pretty educational but we need to educate our consumer, our woman that’s going to use our products so we do podcasts, live events, anything we can.
Carrie Mapes: We are fortunate, I mean, from a social media standpoint. We can lean into the menopause and wellness messaging and within the cannabis space, we can differentiate ourselves and lean into the wellness space.
Rick Kiley: That’s great. And so, it must be going well, I mean, to some degree. Good. Okay. I guess the consumers who are trying your product, are they already looking for – are they people who are looking for a solution because they have not found one through the traditional medicine?
Patty Papas: I think for the most part that is true. And then I think there’s also the woman that doesn’t know she’s in menopause, and that’s the one we’re really trying to reach because we don’t do a great job in this country about talking to women about what’s happening at that phase in their life. And even with your doctor, it doesn’t always come up and it’s not explained well to you. So, we’re trying to reach that woman and explain when you can’t reach your word and you can’t grasp that word or you’re not sleeping at night, are you forgetting things? It’s not because you’re losing yourself. It’s because you’re going through this ginormous hormonal change. And so, yeah, what Hello Again is trying to do is just peel away some of those symptoms so that you can start to feel like yourself again, which is why we called it Hello Again.
Rick Kiley: Hello Again. Sure.
Jeffrey Boedges: Can I ask you a question as a dude question here? It’s like, how long does menopause last? People who are kind of through it, if you will, do they still need to use this type of thing?
Carrie Mapes: Okay. I’m going to give you a dude answer that I got from my son when I explained all the symptoms. And it can last up to 10 years. So, it’s as volatile as puberty from a hormonal standpoint and a symptom standpoint but lasts three times as long. And he said, “Oh my God, it’s like a ten-year hangover.” Yeah, anxiety, sweatiness, brain haze, no sleep, the pain, headaches. So, it’s a long time. And women, as Patty said, don’t realize they’re not sleeping because of a hormonal change that can be addressed. They’re forgetting their words for the same reason, their memory. But when you’re going through all of that, you lose your confidence. You edit yourself. You get further and further away from the core essence of yourself. So, we’re trying to just really help women to understand that menopause is not your grandmother’s menopause and it happens to women who are living really vibrant lives.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. I think that’s the one thing I’ll come back to. I just feel like no one talks about it. I mean, all the thing I get is like, “I’m having a hot flash.” That’s what my friends will tell me and I’m like, “The hell does that mean?”
Patty Papas: Yeah. It’s like someone cranks up the heat inside.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah, but as guys we don’t get it.
Rick Kiley: Well, it’s like you have a hangover. So, you drank too much and you’re trying to go to sleep and you wake up and you’re sweaty and your throat’s like…
Jeffrey Boedges: That’s the reason I may have been overserved last night at the concert because I wanted to prepare myself emotionally.
Carrie Mapes: That’s very generous of you.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. Thank you. It’s not me. It’s about the work by giving to the community.
Rick Kiley: It’s always about the work. That’s so funny. Cool. So, I want to say something about I really want to understand sort of how people are coming to find you, and I know I keep digging in on this. Is it people who are not finding relief elsewhere? Are they just trying to find articles? Are they googling and trying to dig up information and they’re learning about you? Are some of your people already people who are going into dispensaries, and therefore, because they’re open to it and learning about you? Like, how much do you know about your customer?
Jeffrey Boedges: I would think that mainstream media, not press my dear, sorry, not advertising but the press would be very interested to speak to you guys. I mean, I would think everybody from Shape to Fitness to Cosmopolitan that they’re all…
Rick Kiley: Jeff, we are the mainstream media. This is The Green Repeal Podcast.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. Sorry. Well, aside from ourselves, we are number five in Slovenia. Yeah. We just horrified our guests. But, look, it’s a whole new product now for you guys in Slovenia. But no, seriously, I would think that would be a great way to go out.
Patty Papas: It’s tricky because of the cannabis aspect and we’re only available in California. So, it’s hard to get like a national story done when most of the readers can’t even access your product. So, we’re working on that. But we partner with a lot of groups that are talking about menopause and that are talking about cannabis and wellness. So, we try to work with different platforms that reach out to a lot of women.
Carrie Mapes: But we do podcasts like Brand Fifty Podcast and Fearless Fifty Podcasts, a lot of podcasts that are not necessarily about menopause but for women in midlife.
Jeffrey Boedges: More for women of a certain age.
Patty Papas: Yeah. And we’ve been in Prevention and a couple of magazines like that, and that’s been great but, yeah, we’d love more.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. Well, I’ll spread the word around to my friends at some of the magazines.
Rick Kiley: Yeah. And we’ll help you bring your product to New York whenever you’re ready. I’m excited.
Jeffrey Boedges: This is what I think, though. It’s like I got to figure like if you guys have got the machine, you know how to do it, you know the formulation, clearly, you guys could go and get the book. How difficult is it for you guys to get licensing in other states, given what I would consider your really unique positioning? That should weigh at some level, right?
Carrie Mapes: We’re in talks about that right now.
Jeffrey Boedges: So, you guys are fundraising at the moment? Is that correct or no? Are you guys completely self-fund?
Carrie Mapes: We’re self-funded right now but we’re coming up against some pressure points and we’re starting to we know an investment in capital but also an investment in expertise. So, let’s join forces with someone who’s done this before. But we are in talks with other states right now about some licensing agreements. We really hope to be out in more states after the first of the year and we have a couple of more SKUs after the first year or two.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. Because I think otherwise you guys are going to have if the word does get out like you talked about the people from other states and I need this and I got to imagine that that is fairly rampant, that you guys are going to have like a black market, which is funny.
Carrie Mapes: Well, I mean, it’s definitely important to our brand, the proof of concept across all the states. Menopause doesn’t really know state lines so I’m not really worried about that at all. But honestly, we exist because we’re helping a lot of women.
Rick Kiley: Yeah, sure.
Carrie Mapes: I mean, really that is the joy of this is hearing all the great feedback.
Rick Kiley: It’s really great work. I’m super impressed with the idea and well done and I hope its continued growth and success. I’m just curious, do you recommend using it at specific times of day? Like, would you take it in the morning and totally find a function? The sort of like the psychoactive aspect not being there is hard for me to, of course, understand but I imagine, is it just relief and you feel better?
Patty Papas: Yeah. We have the two SKUs. We have the daytime and the nighttime. So, the nighttime is obviously…
Rick Kiley: Knocks you out a little bit,
Patty Papas: A little bit. Yeah. You put it in. You brush your teeth, go to bed, read a couple of pages. Out.
Rick Kiley: I thought you’re going to say, “You go ahead, you start brushing your teeth, they fall.”
Patty Papas: And the nice thing is, I mean, most women wake up, at our age, at least once a night anyway. But if you wake up, it’s very easy to go back to sleep. It helps you just not get those thoughts going in your head, which keep you up for another hour. You can just wake up, and all of a sudden it’s 6:30 and you’re like, “Oh, thank God, I fell back to sleep.” And then the daytime, it’s really as you want, like I’ll put it in the beginning of a workday when I know we’re going to have a busy workday and I want to feel good and I want to have my words and I want to be able to do all that stuff. You can take it later in the afternoon. It doesn’t matter.
Rick Kiley: All right. Those are all my questions.
Jeffrey Boedges: Yeah. I only had one more and that was just like, have you guys gotten any kind of endorsement from like a medical community or things like that? People were saying, you know, there’s one of the big problems in cannabis with the Schedule 1 that it’s always been on was there was no research done whatsoever on the real medical benefits of it as a category, as a drug. And now you guys have got something that’s really, I think, completely unique. So, is there any plan to or have you already gotten like where you’ve worked with like I’m sure there is a national association of gynecologists maybe or something like that where they’re going to take a look at the data and be able to report back efficacy and things like that for you?
Carrie Mapes: So, we’ve organically just begun working with some gynecologists in our area who do recommend this for the right patients. We also have some pelvic floor specialists who do the same thing. I mentioned early menopause as a result of oncology treatment. That’s another way that we’re getting recommended in some cases. And then, yeah, the cannabis, the Green Nurses Network, that’s another one in the cannabis nurses network. So, I know we’re recommended by a few cannabis nurses and then we’re working through that organization as well.
Jeffrey Boedges: That’s great. Yeah. My wife is an epidemiologist and so she’s very into data and I could see this would be like the kind of thing that I think that she’d be like, you know, there’s a personal aspect to it but I think there’s a scientific aspect of it that I think that would probably cross those lines. So, I’ll be discussing it with her tomorrow, for sure. Probably not in front of the kids because I don’t want to answer those questions.
Rick Kiley: Well, we do have to finish up but if someone wants to find out about Hello Again, how should they go about doing it?
Patty Papas: At www.helloagainproducts.com and Instagram is Hello Again Products as well.
Rick Kiley: Awesome. Carrie and Patty, thank you.
Patty Papas: Thank you, guys.
Jeffrey Boedges: Thank you so much. Awesome.
Carrie Mapes: It was a pleasure. Thank you.