Sabrina Peterson is an award-winning business coach, strategist, and proven entrepreneur who has dedicated herself and her businesses toward being a one-stop-shop for female empowerment—both financially and socially. Well-known for her sustainable and no-nonsense approach to business and financial development, Peterson has graced stages that include the Essence Festival. Peterson has also had her hand in leading the charge on several social issues facing her hometown of Atlanta, particularly focusing on violence and abuse against women.
Now, she arrives at the meeting point of all these ambitions, making a recent move to Los Angeles to launch a full-scale cannabis company. Placing her focus on introducing marginalized women across the country to the burgeoning hemp industry, she is redefining cannabis culture through female-centric products and accessories.
BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke with Peterson about her cannabis indictment, creating opportunities for female business owners, and advice to grow during times of uncertainty.
BE: When did you realize CBD and cannabis was a business opportunity you wanted to pursue?
Peterson: First and foremost I was facing 23 years for a cannabis indictment. During that time I was educating myself on the cannabis trade and how this can be so illegal in the south but our Caucasian counterparts were able to generate legal income.
Right now, it is hurtful to see that the stigma of marijuana has set our black people back generation after generation, and now the same drug is being used to create wealth for whites. This business opportunity is less about myself and more about empowering black people with the same drug that put us away. Hemp is where it is and the land is where it is at. Currently, this is a cash crop.
What are the steps you took to start the business?
I have to live where it is legal to conduct the cannabis business. Before thinking about operating this type of business, it was critical to find out the laws in my specific state. I went straight to the dockets of the law to make sure I was in compliance with the law. Next, I immediately secured an L.L.C., and began to develop my brand Pretty High Co. I literally started with one or two cannabis-based products in my closet. I did not need 20 different pieces, just a few great items and truly understand what makes that product different in the marketplace.
How important is branding in the CBD industry?
Everything big started out small. You want to create quality products that have medicinal benefits that truly work. Identify your brand’s core philosophies, which include a mission statement and values. It’s also important to determine your brand’s value proposition to the consumer. The cheapest thing you can do right now in this space is to begin to build your CBD or hemp brand. As a brand, you can be in multiple stores and outlets across the country if you take the time to develop your strategy.
What are three pieces of advice to help entrepreneurs get through this period of time?
- Stop being what you see and become what you need. Find a way to be first.
- You do not have to reinvent the wheel but you do have to innovate in your unique way.
- Start where you are with what you have. Just start. Start reading, start researching, start doing. You will not always get it right but as long as you are moving in a forward direction you will make progress.