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Elizabeth Kost of Fog and Tree Fragrance – We Create Fragrances That Transport Your Mind, Body and Spirit to Places in California

Tell us about yourself? What are your products and what is the story behind Fog and Tree Fragrance?

My name is Elizabeth, I am the CEO of Fog and Tree. Fog and Tree is a luxury cannabis-centric fragrance company that uses exotic California botanicals and cannabis essential oils to create fragrances that transport your mind, body and spirit to places in California. We have one of our fragrances Redwood Coast and it transports you to a hike in the Redwoods of Northern California, it is very mystic smelling with a lot of sea, sage and coatsal fog. Our Central Valley Bloom is a central valley fragrance so it transports you to bloom in Superbloom California. It has more eucalytus and citrus notes with a little bit of rose and floral notes to it and we use cannabis as our top note. We source cannabis terpenes from the Emerald Triangle of California which is a cannabis growing region, that is pretty much world-renowned. We get our essential oils seeped from the cannabis plant just like any other botanical out in the wild and then it is compounded with our fragrance so that it becomes part of our palette when we blend the fragrance. We also in our fragrances have a couple of CBD hair care products, I myself have been in the cannabis space since 2015, where I owned and operated a design studio specialising in cannabis branding and packaging design, and in 2018 when hemp was legalised that’s when we decided to launch our broad market cannabis brand of our own. We didn’t really just want to shove CBD into something which is kind of the trend right now so we wanted to make sure we are a very purposeful brand with a great brand story behind it and that’s how we landed on cannabis terpenes to use in our formulas. Nobody is really using them and to us, they are very natural and they smell really great and they have a lot of therapy benefits so it sort of fits into this functional cannabis trend. We then use CBD in our hair care products to help with hair from breaking, to make it thicker and to help with scalp and skin conditions, anything caused by inflammation like psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis, dandruff and so all of those treatments help to address conditions that we may have with our scalp and skin that prevents our hair from growing its best. Those are sort of some of our products in a nutshell, and an introduction to who I am.

Why the choice with cannabis, why the choice with CBD for your business and your brand? Was it a personal choice or was it a turning point?

I have been in the cannabis space since 2015 so I have a lot of knowledge about the plant and I am a really big proponent of its medical benefits. I am myself is a cannabis user, I take it for anxiety, depression and to help with everyday functioning. What I saw was a real gap between people who use cannabis, and consumers that might not be as well versed with it or might be new to try the products and what we are trying to do is to sort of bridge that gap as we are using compounds that are legal in the United States such as CBD and terpenes. They both have benefits that are outside of psychoactive benefits that you get from THCs so they are not psychoactive benefits, and we are using those in our products alongside education so that we can educate the consumer and let them know that the cannabis plant has a lot of benefits and you can use it in your every day without getting high, without feeling psychoactive effects. The cannabis plant has over 140 unique cannabis terpenes compound per plant which are the essential bills in cannabis, if you are familiar with essential oils; lavender you can spray it on your pillow to help you sleep at night, well lavender has the terpene called linalool and lemon has the terpene called limonene, and pine has pinene, and all of these little terpene compounds are the things that give you those aromatherapy benefits whether it is helping you sleep at night or make you creative. Most plants only contain a handful of those compounds but the cannabis plant has over 140 unique terpene compounds in a single plant so it really is aromatherapy on steroids and that is why it has such a pungent odour, so we are able to take those cannabis essential oils and incorporate them in a way so that you are getting the real factory benefits of cannabis but you are not walking around smelling like weed, we do blend it with other exotic Californa botanicals to give it a really nice smell.

And that is sort of how we landed on cannabis and why I am down that road. To me, it is a really beneficial plant and there is a lot of research that still hasn’t been done on it unfortunately because it has been federally illegal so alot of the institutuons haven’t been able to do alot of that research. However, I think we are just at the tip of the iceberg on how the cannabis plant can help us in our everyday life, it’s a great plant and I think we will get there once we discover everything that it has to offer. 

Can you highlight to us what are the benefits of a Fog and Tree fragrance? Why would people want to use them?

I think there is different benefits depending on our product set, we do have the fragrance set and the fragrances offer more of all factory benefits, so its using the nose in order to be able to turn on the feeling of to sort of distress, less anxiety, calmness, more of a stronger focus. And then our hair care products, they combine our treatment so you will be getting the real factory benefits during the treatments but they have the CBD in them. We have our cannabis beard conditioner, which is 30mg of organically grown US-grown CBD in it, on one of the cannabis terpenes. What the CBD does for your beard is it helps relieve that beard itch that a lot of men are getting with wearing a mask nowadays to reduce the friction, the irritation, it also helps with ingrown hairs, the little red bumps you get on your neck when you are shaving around your beard with eucalyptus. And it helps strengthen your beard because CBD has all 21 amino acids in it which makes it a really serious protein treatment for your hair, so when you spray it on your hair and leave it in your hair as a leave-in conditioner or a hair mask treatment. You are adding protein to your hair so you are strengthening the hair shaft and keeping your beard from getting scratchy. The same goes with our hair mask treatment, you leave that on your scalp for 20 minutes, you introduce heat for the best results and that helps sort of thicken your hair, hydrate the hair and we have other plant-based ingredients in there that help too. They are lightweight emollients, it is natural-based all plant-based ingredients so the CBD is very helpful with that. A friend of ours had a hair condition where her hair shaft is missing the outer layers, she started by using the hair mask and her hair has grown 3 to 4 inches in a month and she is not getting that same breakage in her hair that she had been seeing before. Even her hairstylist has asked her ‘what are you using’. It’s crazy how we have seen some really great results with her hair treatments, unfortunately, we cannot make any claims because again CBD is very unresearched and there are no medical research studies out there quite yet about the effects of CBD on your hair, skin or scalp. But from what we have seen it’s been some really promising results with the treatments and the fragrances are just a nice way to apply it and get a great escape from nature or your Covid home where everybody is sort of stuck in these days. We do have a room spray too so again it is infused with cannabis essential oils and it helps uplift the mood, alleviate a lot of the stress and anxiety that we are feeling in our homes right now.

Are your products further inclusive to African-Americans, are they safe towards pets and children?

Nothing in our products is going to affect you in a certain active way so we do not market to children but there is nothing harmful in our ingredients that would inflict harm on children. And as far as being ethnically inclusive, both of our hair care products are made for all hair types so we have seen African American hair and caucasian hair that have both reacted very positively to the treatment. Some of the feedback we have received is with the hair mask is actually penetrating into the hair as opposed to just sitting on the surface of the hair so a lot of products when used for treatments, you put them on they feel really great then you rinse them off and they are gone. Our product however really penetrates the shaft and after the treatment, you get a sense of really thick hair that you can run your fingers through, that is the curls are really well defined, it is really hydrating buts it is not oily or greasy. It is not gonna weigh your hair down because a lot of the reservations we get from people that their caucasian hair may get oily or greasy after their treatment and that is simply not the case with Fog and Tree. With the beard conditioner obviously, we cater to men with beards so if you don’t have one, it is not gonna work as well but a lot of women tried this in their hair as an anti-frizz solution too as it is just a lot of lightweight emollient actives, so it does help combat frizz and make your hair softer and less tangled. We try to keep everybody in mind when we are producing our products even our fragrances are all gender neutral so both women can wear them, men can wear them.

Fog & Tree Beard Conditioner is a blend of all-natural emollients infused with calming Hemp Essential Oils to relieve beard itch, improve the condition of your skin and soften facial hair. Take your beard on a trip to the Redwoods of the Pacific Northwest. Musky, herbaceous base notes of cedar and sandalwood open up to reveal heart notes of fresh coastal fog and vegetation, finished with just a hint of hemp.

Who is your target market? And what feedback do your customers say about the products?

Our target market tends to be millennial consumers and the reason being is they are also the largest users of recreational cannabis in the US by age group, so there is a smaller barrier of entry when it comes to educating consumers that are already using cannabis in other ways in their lives. That’s not to say that other people cannot use our products – we are on a platform that is a discovery site for women who are 50+, and we do really well on that site. We do really well with the younger consumers and it’s just more about how accepting you are of using cannabis in your life in different ways not just smoking cannabis for the psychoactive effects but also incorporating CBD topicals into your life and CBD hair treatments. People who are more drawn to plant based wellness, not synthetic ingredients; we use all natural ingredients in our products even the alcohol we use in our fragrance is sugar based so we try to keep plant based ingredients that are good for you, good for the environment and it is sort of that person that likes wellness products that is really into natural ingredients and cannabis.

Cannabis is the plant and underneath the cannabis, you have two subspecies, you have marijuana and you have hemp. So those are both considered cannabis and they are both considered the cannabis plant, when we source our ingredients, we are extracting everything from legal hemp plants and so our CBD compounds, terpenes, are sourced from legal hemp plants they are not from the marijuana plant and really one of the main differences between the two plants is the THC content. Marijuana is higher in THC content with lower CBD content and hemp is higher in CBD and lower in THC; whilst one is legal in the US and another one is not.

Where do you see Fog and Tree in the next 12 months to 2 years? Are you planning on adding new products? If so, what are they?

We are creating our third fragrance right now, it’s going to be a tribute to the mystic deserts of Southern California that will be added to our collection by the third quarter of 2021. As well in the third quarter, we will be releasing our discovery set which will include all three of our fragrances that you can purchase for the holidays. We are also creating another room spray so this one is called smudge and it is based on burning sage and other aromatics in order to cleanse your space off negative energies. We basically created a smokeless smudge room spray, we have taken the sage, the cedar, the lavender, the vermont tried it with cannabis terpenes and created a spray that you can use to cleanse your space with of off negative energies and thoughts and re-centre yourself. Still in the third quarter, we will also be releasing a fragrance spray called Joy and Joy is blended with seasonal essential oils such is hemperberry and clove as well as the cannabis essential oils, so you can spray it around your holiday gatherings to help promote anti-anxiety and anti-stress but then also to promote respiratory health which is something that cloves are really great for. In the next two years, we plan to be a staple brand for your luxury boutiques throughout the US and the long term mission is to become the global leader of cannabis fragrance in the whole world.

What do you like most about meeschell.com? How has the Fog and Tree brand benefited from our platform?

We love meeschell, it is a great retailer partner of ours. We do a lot of collaborations within the environment that Michelle has created within the company and collaborating like we are now with other brands which is great because we are very community driven and as brands, it is important to have that relationship with retailers but most importantly I think what I respect most about meeschell is the fact that they stand for organic, eco-friendly products. I think as brands and owners it is important that we can create ways to vary easily and we are proponents of the environment because obviously if there wasn’t the environment we wouldn’t have these wonderful plans to create fragrances with, so at Fog and Tree, we make it a mission that everything we do has this carbon footprint as much as possible from our formulating to our packaging, manufacturing processes. We know that when we put out a product, there is the least amount of waste and impact to the environment as much as possible so I love that meeschell is all about representing brands that have that same ethos because I think it is a responsibility of brand owners to make sure they are taking that into consideration.

Do you have any give back program that positively impacts your community?

I lived in Northern California for 10 years, and I got to witness first-hand the devastating effects of climate change and wildfires, there were alot of evacuees in our town who were evacuated from wildfires. Whole towns got taken out several times and they were a lot of victims of the fire, from cannabis farmers to grape growers to families being displaced. For our brand as advocates of the forests and the community we give back to the California Wildfire Relief Fund by giving them a portion of our proceeds and what they do is that they help wildfire victims and their families get back on their feet. To us it is something very personal and it is something that we try to bring awareness around not just on wildfires themselves but around climate change, because ultimately that is what is causing the wildfires in Northern California, and if we can do everything we can to reverse those effects and to help the wildfires.

What key takeaway of your brand and journey would you like to share that can inspire someone taking on a new venture?

Everyone’s journey is a little unique, mine in particular we had our second year of business and COVID hit so it caused us to evaluate our channels and to lean into what is working and what isn’t. When something like that happens you sort of draw out a lot of cash just trying to figure out how you are gonna survive, so I think that if someone is looking to start their own brand or entrepreneur journey, I think that timing plays a really important role and it’s not that something like Covid could be predicted but when you are considering launching a brand, think about when you are gonna launch it – are you gonna centre around the holidays, or are you gonna probably launch in the third quarter or the fourth quarter, who are your retailers going to be – take a really long time just evaluating your launch strategy and how you are gonna get your distribution out there because the longer it takes you to figure that out, the more cash that you will burn through. I also would say that a lot of people feel like they have to raise money or do fundraising before they launch a brand but in actuality, fundraising should be used to grow your brand and to grow your brand traction rather than launch it so a lot of the time investors want to see it that you have put your own skin in the game, you have raised funds from friends and family – you yourself have put in all the sweat, equity and everything and sort of figured it out before investors invest capital into you.

It’s been a great fun ride and having a brand is a lot of work so you have to make sure you are doing what you are passionate about and that it is something that you want to do every moment of the day and you want to remember that you are attracting people around you that have the same end goals in mind. So having retailer partners like meeschell helps to bring you up and build a sense of community and being able to leverage those networks is really important when you are building a brand.  

Any positive affirmations that you live by that keep you motivated?

My core motivator is that I am a mom and I think just being a successful female in the world is very important, to set a good role model for all of our children to show that women can infact run businesses, own companies, can be invested in. Unfortunately with Covid alot of women fell out of the workforce and were dispropotionately affected and I think that it’s even more important for me as a female to be able to keep going everyday and to show other women that if you are just determined enough, believe in yourself and then other people will believe in you too and that you can make a difference in the world and show people that women infact can be great business people and are worthy in the worfkorce. 

As told to Tendai Kamusikiri

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