oHHo is a small cannabis and botanicals wellness company dedicated to bringing you Plants with Benefits™. “We have built our business in collaboration with a network of independent farms across America who produce extraordinary cannabis,” says co-founder James Stephenson. “We think of cannabis like wine and cheese – where it’s grown and how it’s grown really matters and depending on the ‘terroir’ and the climate, the outcome will always be different,” adds co-founder Tim McDonald. Additionally, oHHo works with independent family-run farms, supporting local economies. “We want to set the standard in transparent, sustainable, clean products and support the industry so that we can build trust and really communicate to people what the benefits of this amazing plant really are,” McDonald says. Part of this mission includes an all-encompassing approach to the benefits of CBD, whether in your beauty regime, sleep assistance, overall wellbeing, or recreational activities.
The founders saw an opportunity to open a retail space in Bedford, New York when they moved out of New York City and into a place in the small town during the pandemic. In an effort to get out of the house, they rented an office space in a small gallery nearby. The gallery came with a shop front, so they reluctantly hosted a pop up there before the holidays. Much to their surprise, the community embraced the space so much, they decided to make it permanent. The calming, plant-filled space in Bedford invokes memories of a small town apothecary, complete with a candy counter and shelves lined with the latest plant-based cosmetics and balms. The shop also offers quirky treasures from House of Puff and Gossamer, along with pastries from renowned chef Nicole Del Pino and teas from the House of Waris.
Below, we speak to the founders about the brand and opening their shop.
How do you feel the CBD industry has evolved over the years? Why do you feel it’s become such a large trend in the wellness space?
We are coming out of the ‘snake oil’ period. A lot of people joined the industry to make a quick buck with zero knowledge and little concern for their customers. Regulation has helped change this but it is really the brands that stand for ecology and transparency that have set the standards. The industry in the U.S. is pioneering. The uptake of medical cannabis programmes and the ending of cannabis prohibition has allowed research into the myriad of therapeutic compounds found within cannabis. CBD, being non-intoxicating, has been researched most of all and what was once just informal has now become proven through scientific developments and application. Global prohibition has restricted understanding the potential of CBD for wellness. Although perhaps a trend right now, CBD will become a mainstream component for a healthy body and mind. 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety and 60% suffer chronic inflammation. The potential for CBD to give life back to those experiencing such difficulties is huge. Consumers are more informed, experienced and socially and environmentally conscious. Expectations have risen, not just in terms of quality and purity but also in terms of responsibility. There has never been a plant like cannabis. This is a botanical revolution that was founded on the anecdotal and has since been grounded in the medical.
What makes oHHo different from other CBD brands?
We have spent an immersive 3 years learning about the medical and wellness applications for CBD. Commissioning our own phytochemistry research, we are in the process of applying for patenting of our unique formulations. We create products with integrity. oHHo believes in providing full spectrum products, which contain all the natural compounds found within the plant. No adding or taking away from what the plant naturally produces offers an enhanced product rich in cannabinoids, terpenes & flavonoids. All oHHo products go through a clean extraction process and rigorous full analysis. We believe in being organically grown, being sustainable and supporting regenerative cultivation. Above all we are completely transparent with our customers with COA’s available on every product.
Why did you decide to open the story in Bedford NY?
We were living in the city when the pandemic hit and we were fortunate enough to have a little place in Bedford so we moved out here and brought the business (which had literally just started) with us. We were bursting out of the house and so we decided to look for an office and there was a small gallery space in Bedford Village that was available so we took it. The space had a little shop front and so we decided to open a pop up just before the holidays. We really had no idea how it would go but it was fantastic – the community really embraced the project and were open and curious about what we were bringing to the village. It is an interesting time for a place like Bedford. The community here is very interesting and open and there are definitely more people spending time here that would usually perhaps be in the city. We were very fortunate to have some incredible support from one or two people who were very established in the community. The wonderful Matt Bromley helped us to build a social network around the shop and connect with the community in the right way. Ultimately no-one wants to go to a CBD shop and look at a hundred CBD brands – that’s just even more confusing so we positioned it as a ‘plant pop up’ with products that we love and that have great adjacent to what we do. Ultimately in spite of Covid people are still craving a safe retail experience. Particularly in the cannabis business, it is so helpful to be able to answer peoples questions (and there are lots) in person and connect with them individually on what they are looking for and how we can help. We wanted to create a safe, fun, elevated experience for oHHo where you could come and feel comfortable and happy to try new things. It has actually made us think about our retail strategy more seriously and to expand further in that direction with a view to opening more pop up stores in key areas both in and out of the city. We have been well received by the community thus far and look forward to sharing oHHo with more of our neighbors. During these stressful and uncertain times, we believe oHHo is the perfect remedy.
What can shoppers expect to find in the store?
We wanted to curate a plant experience so in addition to oHHo’s full line of cbd and botanical wellness products – tinctures from NY, CO, OR and VT, cbd repair balm, cbd lip repair, pre-rolls, and flower. You can also pick up a selection of our new CBDots – pastilles from the incredible chef Nicole Del Pino – these are made exclusively for the store and the flavors change seasonally. Once you start with plants, it’s easy to get inspired, at the store you will find books, teas by House of Waris, plants, House of Puff ceramics and candles and other brands we love, including Gossamer, House of Hackney, Joya, Platform and more. As we build things out we will be launching a coffee collaboration in the Spring with Flying Coffee and monthly events and experiences with other brands such as Fever Tree.
What’s next for oHHo? New product launches or store openings?
Something we are very excited about is our upcoming collaboration with the Women’s Prison Association – where we will be working with artists to highlight the importance of their work in prison reform and social justice. Further to that, we have so many exciting things in the pipeline. We are continuing to expand our network of independent farms and adding products that complement our portfolio. The ability to grow a product range is an incredibly exciting aspect of the industry. Right now we are preparing to launch our sport recovery balm, a new hand cream, a sun cream and a CBD tea collaboration. We also hope to be in additional neighborhoods to our retail strategy in the second half of this year.