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Shonitria Anthony has spent the last three years building Blunt Blowin’ Mama, an online platform for moms who love weed. She is the sole creator of the company, which has garnered nearly 20,000 followers on Instagram alone.
The journey has required her to self-fund, and create all the brand’s content herself. Now, as she continues to balance motherhood and entrepreneurship, she is also growing Blunt Blowin’ Mama from a media into a merchandise company.
Now she won’t have to do it alone. In summer 2020, Blunt Blowin’ Mama became the first entrepreneur to participate in Walk the Walk Collaborative — a joint effort between My Bud Life™ and Emerald Media Group — to further grow her business, and reach her goals.
During the process, Anthony collaborated with ultrapreneur and My Bud Life™ founder, Doreen Sullivan, and award-winning marketer and Emerald Media founder, Christina de Giovanni.
Together, the group walked the walk towards Anthony’s goals of business growth, and destigmatization.
At the Intersection of Cannabis and Motherhood
Moms who smoke weed are not bad moms.
That’s Shonitria Anthony’s mantra, and although it guides her as she spearheads a movement for fellow mothers who love the herb, she wasn’t always a proponent of publicizing her cannabis use, or intersecting it with motherhood.
Anthony is from Georgia where the plant remains stigmatized. She was accustomed to hiding her cannabis use. That didn’t change when she moved to New York, where she says, “it was highly stigmatized as well, especially if you’re a professional. It’s not something you want your boss to know you’re doing during your lunch break.”
After becoming pregnant with her first child in 2015, Anthony halted all consumption until she finished breastfeeding two years later.
During those two years, her well-being deteriorated. “My life had been so difficult at that point it felt like I was hanging on by a thread emotionally,” she says.
After relocating to Los Angeles in 2016, Anthony “started to learn about cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system […],” she explains. “I learned about dabbing, about tinctures; all of these things you don’t really have access to in states like Georgia and New York.”
Armed with this knowledge, she decided to try cannabis again. Immediately, “[when] I smoked for the first time [I] was like, ‘oh my god, this is why I’ve been so stressed.’”
She promised herself that if she ever had another child, she would continue to consume, “or else I risk my mental health, my well-being, my relationship with my partner. It just didn’t feel worth it,” she says.
Becoming Blunt Blowin’ Mama
Noticing a lack of positive dialogue around moms who consume, however, Anthony decided to start her own. One Instagram post later, Blunt Blowin’ Mama was born.
The decision to start the brand came naturally, she says. “That wasn’t the hard part.”
In a time when cannabis consumption can literally cost parents their children, she says that making the decision to show her face was everything.
For Anthony, the biggest risks moms face when deciding to consume cannabis do not involve the health risks, she says. “It’s the legal risks. It’s the potential of going to jail, or child protective services (CPS) threatening you and your family.”
“That’s the scary part for me,” adds Anthony, “the real concern.”
This is why she advises moms who choose to consume to, “educate yourself on why you are medicating with this plant […],” she explains.
Despite her concerns, Anthony remains driven by her community of women.
“When I feel discouraged with things that are going on business wise and then I hear those stories, that’s why I do it. I’m here to change minds. I’m here to open up dialogue and start conversations,” she says. “I can’t even describe what it feels like to have somebody tell you, “thank you so much for giving me the confidence to live my life authentically, or giving me the courage to say this is the decision I’m making for my family and it’s best for us.”
‘Representation Outweighs Risk’
As a Black woman and mother, Anthony explains, the need for representation far outweighed the risks of her own disclosure.
“There were no other Black moms out there who were open about consuming cannabis who were getting as much attention about it as their white counterparts,” she explains. “It’s really important to see that there is more than one face behind the stoner mom, or the cannamom. All types of women smoke weed, and they’re all good moms.”
Studies show that women, many of which balance full-time jobs as mothers in addition to their careers, are the ultimate multitask-ers. In fact, according to American Express’ Annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, they are also the ultimate entrepreneurs — particularly women of color:
“In almost every category, women of color are leading the women-owned business charge. Women of color represent 39% of the total female population in the U.S. but account for 89% of the net new women-owned businesses per day (1,625) over the past year. While the number of women-owned businesses grew 21% from 2014 to 2019, firms owned by women of color grew an astounding 43% and African American women-owned firms grew even faster at 50%.”
Despite having the highest rate of growth for any group of entrepreneurs, Black female business owners remain under-represented, under-funded — and often as a result — self-operated.
“More than 95% of [Black-owned] businesses are mostly sole proprietorship or partnerships which have no paid employees,” according to BlackDemographics, an information and statistics resource about African-Americans.
As the cannabis industry grows, Shonitria Anthony sees an opportunity to build a more equitable industry.
Walk the Walk
Since launching in December 2017, the Blunt Blowin’ Mama brand has progressed into a blog, podcast, and a clothing line — turning mantras, like “Moms Who Smoke Weed Get Shit Done” into merchandise.
The growth, however, staggered after Anthony welcomed her second child in January 2019. Now she is ready to revamp her brand.
Her goals: to renovate her clothing line, and transition her merchandise off of the e-commerce platform, Teespring. But, she says, “I need some guidance because having all those thoughts in your head and wanting to do it is totally different than actually executing it.”
In September 2020, Anthony partnered with Walk the Walk Collaboration — a collective effort between My Bud Life and Emerald Media — to help reach these goals.
Working with the collaborative has allowed her to consult with several industry professionals, including brand expert Doreen Sullivan. Sullivan’s powerhouse client list includes Disney, Dreamworks, ESPN, and now, Shonitria Anthony.
“Shonitria has what every great entrepreneur requires; creativity, grit, and a desire to improve lives,” says Sullivan, who is also the founder of the female inspired cannabis brand My Bud Life™.
“We were honored to select her for this process,” Sullivan adds. “Every great brand starts with a passionate idea from its creator, and we are excited to push her idea and help her business continue to grow.”
Throughout the Walk the Walk process, Sullivan was there to walk step-by-step with Anthony, guiding her while she visits print facilities, designs logos, works to launch a Shopify shop, and compares the prices of apparel.
Emerald Media founder, Christina de Giovanni, consulted Anthony on the marketing and media side of business. She connected her to a financial consultant and fundraising expert, as well as provided her expertise on advertising, website building and search engine optimization (SEO).
Together, Sullivan and de Giovanni built a strategy to update her brand’s look, build her online store, and bring her merchandising in-house before the year’s end.
“Shonitria’s story was a perfect example of someone leading the way in the cannabis industry while simultaneously being an exceptional mother. It’s time to normalize this narrative, so we are here to tell her story,” says de Giovanni. “She is changing the conversation, and we are here to support her every step of the way.”
Anthony is thrilled to work with these industry experts, their resources, and their teams. “It’s been really exciting to be hands-on in developing my own product line,” she explains.
The experience has pushed her to think outside the box, she says. “I always felt I didn’t have to choose between being a good mom, being a cannabis user, and being a successful business owner. I am grateful to walk the walk with these women who know you CAN have it all.”
We will continue to walk the walk with Blunt Blowin’ Mama, and provide updates throughout the month of October. Stay tuned for follow-ups, including a six-month follow-up with Shonitria Anthony. In the meantime, support Blunt Blowin’ Mama’s journey by making a donation here.
Walk the Walk is a 30-day entrepreneurial initiative on a mission to grow cannabis focused-minority businesses. Each month, the collaborative aims to consult, create and connect one minority-owned business with the resources and connections they need to take the next steps in their business.
Individuals or companies looking to watch the program, contribute, apply — or nominate a business to the initiative — can visit walkthewalkcollaborative.com.
Written by Rita Thompson and Melissa Hutsell