In celebration of International Women’s Day, we connected with one of our very dear clients who is a fellow female-founder. Not too long ago, Leila Mafoud opened her CBD company, Green Witch, in New York and online in an effort to connect people with products that alleviate pain and support overall well-being.
The tumultuous ride of a starting a business comes with many lessons and rewards, so we discussed everything from how and why she got started to her experience as a female founder and her definition of success.
DS: Why did you start Green Witch?
LM: I’ve always loved the world, people and different cultures. Initially, I didn’t seek to start a company within the CBD industry; I just knew I always wanted to do something that directly helped people.
When I was just a few years out of college (at George Washington University where I studied Global Public Health at the Elliott School of International Affairs), CBD kept coming up, whether it was from athletes or even my entrepreneurial father who is also a marathon runner. At the time, I didn’t know so much about CBD, and to be completely honest, I was misinformed about the facts.
So, I began intensive research because I kept hearing about all the natural benefits of CBD. As I learned more about the healing effects of CBD, I knew that this business perfectly marries my need to help others as well as is aligned with my personal philosophy about health. I wholeheartedly believe in health as a human right.
DS: Has being a female founder presented any unique challenges?
LM: You know, I think I might be lucky when it comes to this. Perhaps, if I were in a different industry like finance or something, I may feel otherwise, but the only time I’m really aware that I am a female-founder is when other people mention it. It may also be because I work in lower Manhattan where “weird is cool,” so that everyone sort of “fits in” regardless of who they are.
I think the hardest part isn’t being a female founder; it’s just being a founder.
DS: That’s refreshing to hear! Some would consider your brand to be “female-centric” given the symbol of witches and some of your aesthetic elements. Is that the case?
LM: Not necessarily. You know, when I was starting out, it was really difficult to choose a business name. I compare it to what it must be like to choose a name for your baby.
When I brainstormed Green Witch, I thought about how “green” symbolizes nature and “witch” is representative of power, so it brings together the idea that there’s power in nature. I’m aware that witches have a stigma and can be considered mystical, and in a way, the same could be said about CBD.
Indeed, I wanted the site to look somewhat feminine to play along with the witch concept, but my intention is never to alienate men or anyone for that matter. In fact, our sales are equally distributed between women and men, and all that really matters is that our products help people feel better, regardless of their age, sex, gender, culture, etc.
DS: If you could share one piece of advice, what would it be?
LM: That’s an easy one! I always say: “doing something is better than doing nothing.” If you have an idea, start today.
It won’t be perfect, so don’t expect it to be – you’re not in the business yet. Take your vision and get going, because putting it out into the world (a.k.a. your peers) is your first test. A/B test your idea and then fix it, and fix it fast.
For example, with our first pop up last year, we changed the layout 2-3 times a day. We were highly aware of how people were responding to our products, so we would adapt the space to better serve them as the day progressed.
Also, it’s good to understand that no matter your business, every industry is a people industry. There’s always a way to do everything, and when you focus on the people, from your customers to your team, you can make anything happen!
DS: How do you define success?
LM: There are so many levels of success! I consider a day successful when we’re meeting our targets and moving closer towards our goals. I am reminded Green Witch is successful every time we receive feedback from a customer telling us how much our products have helped them.
For more on Leila’s magical products and story, explore Green Witch.