Brand: Auntie Dolores
Entities: AD Remedies Holding Company
ADERX; Auntie Dolores – California Not-for-profit cooperative
AD Productions – Food Production Company
Year Founded: 2008
Ownership Structure: IP Holding Company
CEO/President: Julianna Carella, Lauren Fraser
Headquarters: Oakland, CA
2014 Revenues: NA
Industry Segment/Categories: Processor/Manufacturer of Edibles
Current Markets/States Served: Brand being distributed through manufacturer/distributor partners in Nevada and Washington in 2015….distributes Auntie Dolores Edibles to over 150 dispensaries in California.
Current Number of employees: 21
Target Market: One (1) Partner in each state with licensed Medical and/or Recreational Programs
Financing strategy: Self-financed through operations, currently raising $1.25 million in private equity
Business Strategy: Expand Auntie Dolores brand presence with manufacturer/distributor partnerships around the country that produce the AD branded product line
Key Vendors: Steep Hill, CW Analytics, Fishbowl (inventory management), Salesforce (CRM), Quickbooks (Accounting), GTS Packaging
For those of you who recall the 2000 fantasy romantic comedy film, Woman on Top, that starred Penelope Cruz, you may remember that her character Isabella suffered from motion sickness. Because of her illness she couldn’t play much with other children. She stayed at home and learned how to cook, becoming a renowned chef as an adult.
After her boyfriend and restaurant partner in Brazil cheats on her, Isabella flees Brazil for San Francisco. Despite old job offers from a number of restaurants, Isabella is unable to find a job until she takes over a cooking class at a local culinary school A neighbor and local television producer, smells her cooking, follows her to class and signs her to host a live cooking show, Passion Food.
Both the title of the movie and the fictitious cooking show aptly describe the founder and owner of Auntie Dolores, CEO Julianna Carella, an Italian-American who grew up in a food-centric family and worked as a bookkeeper for non-profits before starting the company on $200 and a pack of chewing gum, in San Francisco, California in 2013.
She is so passionate about the edibles that she has developed all of the recipes for Auntie Dolores (play on words meaning Anti-Pain; dolor means pain in Spanish) which are infused with THC-enhanced coconut oil. They cook 12-15 lbs. of trim at a time and press it to extract the oil. One of her innovations has been to mask the taste of cannabis by using spices and different ingredients (especially savory ones), and creating the intellectual property (recipes and production techniques) that is driving her business.
Her products were originally designed for medical users who were looking for ways to supplement pain medication and were capped at 500-600 milligrams of THC. They have been fazing these high dose products out and have recently implemented a 200 mg cap for any product that they distribute.
Julianna volunteered that Auntie Dolores has always been profitable and never lost money due to her bookkeeping training!
She is currently in the process of raising $1.25 million of private equity (she has already raised $700k to date) to fund expansion plans that include signing manufacturing and distribution deals with one partner in each legal and licensed state. The plan is to supply the product in premixed batches, cannabis free, and have the partners cook the products that they infuse with their own oils and concentrates in the kitchens that Auntie Dolores helps them set up to maintain her quality standards. She has partners in Washington and Nevada and expects them to come online in six months and a year respectively.
Julianna counts among her mentors Steve DeAngelo of Harborside Health Center and The ArcView Group, Martin Lee, with Project CBD, Scott Van Rixel of Bhang Chocolates, and Mary Lynn Mathre of Patients out of Time. These are great contacts to have when looking for advice about the cannabis industry or finding investors. With friends like that, a solid product line, passion about her business, and a great strategy for rolling Auntie Dolores out nationally, she is certainly the Woman on Top of the World!