We chatted with Lord Jones founder, Cindy Capobianco, about being a businesswoman in the cannabis industry: her challenges, inspiration, and the path to her success.
Kinsey Litton: When you were in high school, what or who did you think you would be when you “grew up?”
Cindy Capobianco: I was a jock who loved fashion. I would shop at thrift stores in New York City and stores that carried dead stock from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and then mix it with my mother’s old designer clothing. I knew I wanted to go into fashion.
K.L: What did you study in college?
C.C: I studied art history, fashion merchandising and literature. But I minored in skiing since I attended the University of Vermont.
K.L: How did you get your start in the cannabis business?
C.C: I have always been a cannabis enthusiast and cannabis curious, so when my husband, Rob Rosenheck and I moved from New York to Los Angeles in 2003, we became medical marijuana patients. When you went to a dispensary back then, the edible shelf was filled with cookies and brownies that were sealed in a stapled plastic bag without any dosage labels. As a low dose user, I would have a crumb of a cookie and hope for the best. Sometimes it was a good experience and sometimes I tripped balls. Like one year on New Years eve when we went to a Hollywood director’s party and I was in the bathroom trying to apply red lipstick to my lips but couldn’t locate them on my face.
Rob and I ran a creative agency for 12 years where we worked with natural food and wellness brands. We saw the opportunity to create a Cannabis Brand drawing on our experience from the natural foods world. We wanted to create a cannabis brand we wished we could buy as consumers. An aspirational brand that stood for quality, reliability and efficacy.
K.L: What has cannabis changed about your life?
C.C: I feel a sense of purpose now I’ve never felt before. We knew cannabis was ancient medicine but we had no idea of the multitude of conditions it can alleviate. Through our collective, Hollywood Hills Wellness, we have the great privilege to provide cannabis and education to our members who suffer from everything ranging from cancer, MS, skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, to many different types of arthritis such as rheumatoid, psoriatic, lupus, gout, fibromyalgia, chronic migraine, ice pick headaches, chronic joint pain, endometriosis and menstrual pain as well as post operative and post accident patients seeking pain management alternatives from the use of opioids. Creating cannabis products that provide our patients relief is the most rewarding work of our lives.
K.L: Where did the idea for Lord Jones come from and how did you go about executing your idea?
C.C: Our vision for Lord Jones was to create something that was missing from the market: best-in-class cannabis infused products that stood for safety, consistency, transparency, efficacy, education and above all else, quality. First we read everything we could get our hands on about cannabis. The history of the plant, research from Israel, books on candy making and personal care. Then we went through a process of R&D (research & development) that included a lot of trial and error. One of the upsides of such a new industry is that you are forced to become a trailblazer. Finally, we assembled a team of artists, designers, chefs, chemists and experts to help us realize our vision.
K.L: How did your family and friends initially react when you told them about your idea?
C.C: Many of our friends think we’re nuts and some think we’re visionary. My mother is pretty progressive and supported us from the start. My father in law is a doctor, pathologist and scientist and has always been staunchly against cannabis. He would send us articles about how cannabis was “a gateway drug” for the first several years we were in the business and then draw us into long debates about “the evils” of cannabis. He suffers from arthritis and acute joint pain from a hip injury from several years ago. We encouraged him to try our high CBD Pain & Wellness formula when we developed it, over 2 years ago, when he reported that his prescription pain medication was not bringing him any relief. It sat on a shelf for a few months until he broke down and tried it. He called us the morning after he used it and was blown away by the pain relief it gave him. He’s a believer now.
K.L: I know you have a successful career in PR, what did you learn from that field that you have found useful while growing Lord Jones?
C.C: Everyone you meet will teach you something if you pay attention. You will learn more from the most difficult people than from the delightful ones.
K.L: What is a mistake you made, in your life or career that taught you something about yourself?
C.C: “If you’re not failing now and again it’s a sign your playing it safe.” is a quote by Woody Allen that was on my high school yearbook page. Every mistake can be a lesson and I learn lessons through my mistakes regularly.
K.L: What is something you think people underestimate about women?
C.C: The intuition and emotional intelligence of women is greatly underestimated.
K.L: What advice do you have for women who aspire to be entrepreneurs?
C.C: Know that being a woman is one of your greatest assets. Have passion, be focused, be fearless, be real. Feel your power and never doubt that you have power – even when you feel powerless. Trust your intuition. When something doesn’t feel right – it probably isn’t. Surround yourself with people you trust deeply.
K.L: Who is someone you look up to and why?
C.C: The people I admire are living lives that are authentic. They have found their passion and get up every day and pursue that passion – at any cost. They’ve figured out how to turn their calling into their job. If I have to choose one person, I’ll pick Patti Smith. She is a true artist. She channels pure truth, passion and energy. She is a witch. She conjures magic from real life.