2 Minutes With ... Holly Teegarden, Founder of Moodporium & Cannamood Apparel
Holly is on a mission to change the representation of women, particularly over the age of 30, within the cannabis industry. Four years ago, she started Moodporium, a hemp dispensary in Pittsburgh that ships across the country.
In 2022, Holly discovered that the cannabis merchandising sector didn't have apparel that spoke to her middle-aged, low-key self and cannabis lifestyle. She asked around, and others agreed. So, Cannamood Apparel was born. Now, Holly collaborates with female artists to create clothes and merchandise. It's a labor of love.
Around the same time she launched the clothing line, Holly noticed that women 30 and older were unrepresented not only in merch, but in products and communities, too. To close the gap, she founded moodRXtreats, designed for a mature female demographic seeking escape from their busy worlds or work and family responsibilities. The venture aims to provide getaways for ladies who are tired of the stigma around cannabis and want to hang out in a safe space with judgment-free people.
We spent two minutes with Holly to learn more about her background, creative inspirations and some recent work she's admired.
Holly, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I’m originally from New York, and I've lived all over the state including NYC. And I now live in Pittsburgh.
How you first got interested in cannabis.
So, like many people in my age bracket, I started using cannabis in high school and college. I came back to cannabis in 2019 when I was searching for help with my anxiety and panic disorder after having a mental breakdown from corporate America in marketing funny enough.
One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on, and why.
Shoot, one of my favorite projects was with my "prior life," developing a crisis management program through social media listening for UPS. I was proud of that project. But we're talking about cannabis, and I've left that life behind. One of my favorite projects was the development of the apparel line. It was fun to collaborate with a female artist and work with her to bring my vision alive. The process flow was magical, and the results exceeded my expectations.
A recent project you're proud of, and why.
I’m really proud and excited about the retreats we've developed and launched this year. I looked at the landscape and everything was focused on partying and/or 20-30-something women. I wanted a retreat that I would attend myself. We're elevating retreats and bringing the wellness and education piece in a beautiful location.
The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today, and how to approach it.
There are so many challenges, but that's what makes it fun. Social media is a big challenge. Unless you have a big budget, you can't run ads on Instagram or Facebook, and that's HUGE because those two channels are pay-to-play. In the same respect, shadow banning is real on Instagram, and it's hard because you lose the reach of your customers. I have 8,500 followers on one of my accounts, and practically no one sees my posts. And as I said before, this was what I used to do in my previous occupation, so for me, it's frustrating. I've approached it by embracing the organic side of things where I'm connecting with my customers; they share our story and products and kick it guerrilla marketing style.
And the other one is breaking the stigma of cannabis. We need to get out of our own way. We must bring to the masses the idea that this plant is medicine and can help you feel better, stronger, sleep better, etc. We can't lead "with this plant, you get f'd up and can escape with it." We need to stop leading with the stereotype, and that's a cultural shift that I'm not sure everyone is ready for.
One thing about how the cannabis industry is evolving that you’re excited about.
I am excited that we're looking at ways to integrate nootropics and other supplements into cannabis products. As I get older, I find that I’m using more supplements to help with aging, pre-menopause, etc., just like other people my age. By combining all of the ingredients into one product, there's a lot of synergy to it. That plays right into my "mood" view of things. When we can market to "moods," it makes it easier for the customer and a better product overall.
Someone else's work, in cannabis or beyond, that you admired lately.
I love what High Society Mama is doing. Anyone who is trying to break down the stigma as a mom, I admire that. It’s tough to stick your neck out like that. I love what Seth Rogen has done with House Plant. Here’s someone who is a cannabis enthusiast. He had a passion for ceramics, started his accessories line, and is branching into the Airbnb business. I LOVE that. When you can mingle all of your passion, there is such a synergy you can’t lose.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
I recently watched Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru. Many people roll their eyes at Tony Robbins, but that documentary left me INSPIRED. During the documentary, there was a moment at the TR event where participants needed to think about three moments that they felt deeply grateful for. I did that myself at the moment too. The documentary was a great reminder to lean into gratitude each day for what I have, not what I don’t. To live in love versus fear. And finally, to hold the masterpiece called life that I’m creating and the relationships in it sacred.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
The first person that comes to mind is a local artist, Baron Batch. He was a Pittsburgh Steeler, who retired from football after being cut from the team. So here’s someone who spent their entire "life" focusing on the game, did a 360, and went all in with his work. It’s a mix of graffiti and pop art, and his favorite themes are elephants and Star Wars, which are my faves. He leaves art all over our city and watching him grow and live his truth has been incredible. I think one of the real reasons I appreciate him is because he started over, similar to me in a brand new career and shined. And I love anyone who can pivot and make something better from what they had before.
Your favorite fictional character.
Even though I graduated college with an English literature degree, I am a big fan of autobiographies or self-help books. My favorite fictional character (please don’t laugh) is Nancy Drew. She doesn’t get enough credit. I’m serious. I read all her books growing up, and her inquisitive nature, always trying to uncover stuff and never giving up on it … that's my jam. I have referred to myself as Nancy Drew many times throughout my life, and therefore there could only be one answer.
Someone worth following on social media.
Mel Robbins or Nedre Tawwab. This year I'm really trying to work on my relationships and boundaries and boy, both of these ladies HELP ME whether they know it or not through their podcast, books, instagram, etc.
Your main strength as a marketer/creative.
I'm good at seeing trends and dissecting data. It allows me to be proactive versus reactive in this space. I remember one distributor reaching out to ME because of the products I had in my store. I told him I did all this research, including looking at Reddit to see the market pulse. People don’t want to take that extra step, and I’m all over it.
Your biggest weakness.
I have zero tolerance for bullshit. In corporate America, there is a lot of BS and playing the game to get ahead. I was HORRIBLE at that. I still am, but I’m paving my way and on my terms, so that helps.
Something people would find surprising about you.
I go to bed at 9 p.m every night. I am not a partier. Sleep is sacred to me.
One thing that always makes you happy.
Seeing my teenage daughter thriving and smiling makes me happy. Whenever I see a glimpse of that, it fills my heart up.
One thing that always makes you sad.
Lies. When someone tells me lies or I hear a lie, that makes me sad. I'm like why would you feel the need to lie instead of being up front. It makes me sad and mad at the same time I guess.
What you’d be doing if you weren't in the cannabis industry.
Probably doing what I did before, digital marketing and working for the man.