Jaggie X Bud Kitten - Mandy's Story
It’s Saturday morning and I am sipping mediocre coffee from my seriously nerdy Harry Potter mug. The river is flowing lazily outside of my kitchen window; the seagulls soaring up and diving down, the snow-white pelicans sunning their black-tipped wings. It’s a breezy, beautiful weekend morning yet I can’t keep from looking at the clock. It’s almost time for my Skype session with Mandy at 10 AM… and I am slightly nervous.
Although nervous, I am also very excited. Mandy is the owner of a cannabis “infused” jewelry company called “Bud Kitten Jewelry”. She approached me a few weeks ago inquiring if I could write a couple articles surrounding her budding business (my cannabis peeps should get that pun) and her real story.
Mandy’s story is important for you to hear for many reasons: her story is a success story, although not typical. She is an example of a hard working mom AND woman; who is achieving her goals; who fights a stigma every day; who has experienced betrayal and heartache; yet who still smiles, and loves, and believes in herself.
It’s 10 AM and I am dialling Mandy via Skype. Not a second later, the graceful and beautiful face of Mandy from Bud Kitten Jewelry, fills my screen. Even though there are screens between us, Mandy’s good vibes surround me and I know it’s going to be a good session.
MANDY + CANNABIS
After an initial few smiles, some basic housekeeping & quite possibly “both feeling awkward chuckles”, we get down to business.
Although it is the most basic of basic questions, I ask her: “Where were you born?”
Mandy was born and raised in Prince George. My most immediate follow up question:
“Where the fuck is Prince George?”
For those who don’t know (like myself), Prince George is a small town in Northern British Columbia. According to a quick google search, PR’s population is 78,675. That is quite small compared to the City of Calgary ‘s million+ population that I grew up in.
Mandy tells me briefly of her lack lustre high school experience; she always felt like an outsider and I immediately relate to her.
I ask her when she started smoking Cannabis:
“I was 13 years old”.
To be honest, I was little shocked. Then again, I only started smoking when I was 22. It seems I am always mind blown at some of the ages I hear people started smoking; it leaves me feeling like such a newbie with my own Cannabis use.
Mandy quickly tells me “its a small town thing to do” which is definitely something I can understand and appreciate. She graduated from high school in 2003, and moved on to the bigger and better sights of Vancouver. She started her first year in Fashion Design in 2004. It was during 2004 that Mandy actually stopped using cannabis… FOR TEN YEARS.
“Why did you stop using Cannabis? And for SO LONG?” I ask her.
Mandy explains that the people she was surrounded by, and her current environment, weren’t weed worthy and she let Cannabis go for a decade.
Although I can definitely understand what she is saying, it always surprises me to hear that some of the most dedicated cannabis lifestyle advocates have stopped using Cannabis for a period of time before finding their way back to it.
The reason she went back to Cannabis? Her bipolar & anxiety disorders became so debilitating & the pharmaceutical drugs weren’t working on their own – so she started using Cannabis once more to combat these disorders.
Mandy explains “before I was smoking weed to smoke weed”, and now, she smokes for medicinal and enlightenment purposes. On top of the her mental health issues, Mandy was also fighting extreme nausea – so extreme she was at one point on chemo grade anti-nausea medication. For so long she had no relief and was taking a massive amount of pharma drugs… after she implemented Cannabis back into her life, her disabling nausea ceased to exist.
All I can think is thank GOSH that Cannabis has been able to help her so much!
Mandy is also a mom to her 7 year old son, Jaxson. My heart warms as she tells me about Jaxson, she loves him so much! Mandy enjoys being a mom but tells me “it is the HARDEST job, but definitely the most rewarding”.
Her favourite part about being a mom? “I enjoy teaching him about life, and helping him with his emotions; letting him know that boys are allowed to cry too”. Even though my uterus is now “panging” with baby fever (lol), I ask her:
“What is one thing you want to teach Jaxson?”
Without hesitation Mandy replies “I want to teach him that even if people are horrible to you, you can still succeed, it just might be a little harder”.
*insert cry face here*
I ask her how she handles being a successful entrepreneur in an industry that still fights a stigma, on top of being a mom to her 7 year old son, on top of dealing with a handful of mental and physical illnesses that definitely don't make life easy...
"I keep on keeping on".
BUD KITTEN JEWELRY
In true entrepreneurial fashion, Bud Kitten Jewelry started as a “highdea” in Mandy’s basement. For those new to the Cannabis world, a “highdea” is a formulation of enlightened thoughts/realizations that are only able to form due to the pyschoactive high gained from ingesting/smoking the THC component of Cannabis.
Mandy tells me she was inspired by cannabis pins that were being showcased at a local arts and crafts show before the highdea hit her. “I thought they were really cool – but I knew I could create something more fun that reflected myself more”.
Self expression is something Mandy holds dear – Bud Kitten Jewelry is her ultimate way to self express, as well as a way to give back to her community.
“I love to create”, she explains, “…creating designs that express myself, that express creativity, that will ultimately make others happy, is what Bud Kitten was founded on”.
What started for Mandy as a passion project, Bud Kitten has “flowered” into a budding business, emphasis on the bud.
Mandy now offers a colourful and magical range of Cannabis enhanced jewelry: necklaces, rings, pins, trinkets, dishes, plugs, stickers, keychains, hair flowers and more recently Bath Bombs.
Venturing into the world of collaborations, she has teamed up with another fellow budding cannabis entrepreneur: CannaVibe.
CannaVibe and Bud Kitten joined forces to create a stimulating CBD bath bomb, with Budkitten’s jewelry encased on the inside. So not only are you getting to relax in a luxurious CBD bath, but there is a prize waiting for you at the end of the bath!
“Where do you see Bud Kitten Jewelry going in the future?” I ask.
“In the future I see myself creating full time for Bud Kitten. I want to start putting together collections and travel across the country to showcase pieces/collections in stores and in trade shows”.
Mandy’s dreams are big, and she is already making them happen!
On JAGGIE X BUDKITTEN’S next blog post Mandy tells me about:
Navigating her business through the toxic Cannabis stigma
Growing and evolving from past pain
Breaking society standards and how to live our best lives!