Today we’re getting to know Toronto-based Danielle Blair, owner and CEO of Canada’s first CBD boutique, Calyx Wellness, which specialises in selling cannabidiol (CBD). The boutique prides itself on educating its customers on how to use holistic and natural healing practises. We’ve been following Danielle and her team and love so many of the products that Calyx Wellness offers (the Calm spray is 100!) that we couldn’t resist asking her to take part in our latest #FounderFiles Q&A:
Business Name: Calyx Wellness
Location: 1604 Queen Street West, Toronto.
Name & Title: Danielle Blair, Owner and CEO
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Education: Life experience
E7: Tell us about your brand, what do you do?
DB: Calyx is a holistic integrated wellness brand and business that specializes in CBD (or cannabidiol, as it’s known in its full name). We also specialize in other preventative therapies like crystal healing and reiki. While we are focused on each individual’s healing story, at Calyx we try to help people find comfort in what CBD can offer them. Our business model is based on the educational foundation of cannabinoid therapy, in particular cannabidiol.
Through the store, we’ve been able to provide holistic consultations and up-to-date research to each and every single person who steps through our door. Calyx has created a one-on-one approach to clients, as we track their individualized progress together, in a warm sacred space. This process has allowed us to conduct in-house R&D on a daily basis, putting the self-healing back into the patient’s hands. As a grassroots business that is based out of Toronto, our customers have the confidence to know that the entire Calyx team will have a constant and open dialogue with them about education and potential therapies in all avenues of healing physically, emotionally and spiritually.
All of the production is done in-house and each tincture is bottled, sealed, labelled and boxed with the genuine intention to heal the mind, body and soul in all capacities, regardless of the dosage. We pride ourselves on truly connecting the patient to the plant in all spectrums, from science to emotion.
E7: How did you start your business?
DB: The business began in 2015 when my family started looking into using CBD. My husband suffered from a brain tumour at the age of 21, but continued to suffer from headaches, mood swings and nerve damage on the right side of his face from the tumour removal on a daily basis.
When we were exploring CBD as an option, it was difficult to find in Canada. Many of the Licensed Producers under Health Canada would run out frequently and other Cannabidiol companies in the US wouldn’t ship to Canada either. I realized there was a gap in the market that our family could fill with love and positive intentions, while also bringing education to the table of those unaware of CBD’s uses.
E7: What makes your product special?
DB: From compounding to production to the consumer, everything has been created with divine love. Calyx came to our family as a divine introduction to healing the masses. We ensure every ingredient is clean, consistent, pure and trusted and we infuse each bottle with Reiki. We’ve built a company based on education in a time where the industry was lacking in this area. The fact that we’ve built Calyx by specializing in this molecule has benefited so many people in need of direction.
E7: Who is the Calyx Wellness client?
DB: We have such a wide variety of clients from parents coming in to help their child’s anxiety and ADHD to a senior looking for joint and pain relief to an pet owner looking for relief. Calyx can really help all kinds of people, from all walks of life.
E7: What has your experience as an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry in Canada been like?
DB: My experience has been very positive, but also extremely challenging. It’s an extremely interesting industry to be in right now. As I mentioned previously, it’s such an unpaved path that this is the time for mistakes to be made. In order to build and grow, you have to fail and pick yourself back up – that’s the entrepreneur way to success.
E7: What are you looking forward to when the legalization of cannabis happens in Canada?
DB: I’m mostly looking forward to the conversation becoming proactive. Families becoming more educated and aware that there is natural root to everything. The stigma will fade and we will be less worried about what others think about our own health choices.
E7: What fuels your ability to run a business?
DB: MY TEAM! I couldn’t ask for a more beautiful, intelligent and strong team. Everyone’s role is unique and self driven. We are building something special that impacts peoples lives daily. Our customers require us to help them on an individual bases with their health issues and concerns and to work with people on this level takes a very special person with endless love.
E7: What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from running your own business?
DB: That the first time around isn’t always the right way but you can’t give up, especially on your idea. I have redone things at Calyx 100 times over, just so I get it done right. There has been a lot of trial and error, and that’s help us build and grow. This industry is currently unpaved and there is no one to watch and learn from. So I’ve had to build my own way and take my ideas and make them into something I would like to experience. The motivation can’t always be money, it needs to come from the heart and there needs to be passion in order for it to survive and thrive.
E7: Is there anything you wish you’d known before you started your business?
DB: It would have been useful to be aware of the direction the government was planning for the industry in Canada. But this is what makes the story much more interesting and now we are creating something unique and pure. Kind of leaving our own mark in history!
E7: What is your number one piece of advice to keep in mind when starting your own business?
DB: Start off by building a budget with a business plan. Then when that’s done, triple that budget and make 4 more plans as a just in case! You would be surprised just how many things pop up out of nowhere the first year and if you’re not prepared, it can be the death of your business. You have to be able to plan for all of it, errors and everything, and do it with a smile.
E7: Who are some of your mentors/role models?
DB: My mother Lorraine is an incredible role model and she is the one who has taught me to be self motivated and driven. She’s the hardest worker I know and came up from nothing. Watching her work in the male dominated industry of finance when I was growing up was an inspiration to me. Now I watch her as an executive, leading a financial company and it just proves to me that no matter what you just can’t stop. You can never give up because something’s not easy and you work hard to showcase and demonstrate you are capable of greatness.
The second person would be my Reiki master Sandy. She means everything to me and has helped me build the energy to keep strong and fearless. Regular reiki will forever be apart of my life to help ground and balance.
E7: How do you stay organized, balanced and motivated?
DB: I would have to say once again, my family and team. My three children give me drive and motivation to build each brick day by day. My team keeps me organized and up-to-date on current industry news. Whenever I need to stay balanced and grounded, I turn to Reiki. In all other times, I turn to God to keep my heart pure and eyes open to signs of growth.
E7: Where do you go or what do you do to look for inspiration?
DB: My home and my family are my inspiration. You would never believe what the kids come up with and how forward thinking they are. I built my business as a family project to help those in need of relief like we were.
For more information on Calyx, please visit CalyxWellnessCentre.com online or in person at 1604 Queen Street West in Toronto.
(Story by Contributing Editor, Ama Scriver)