Company Name: Julie’s Natural Edibles
Year Founded: December 2009
Ownership Structure: Private Company Incorporated in Colorado
Management: Julie Dooley, President & CEO; Angelina Corwin, Executive Chef
Headquarters: Denver, Colorado
Industry Segment/Category: Processor/Edibles
Current Markets/States Served: Colorado, distributed in roughly 200 of 1,000 licensed state dispensaries
Current Number of employees: Eight (8)
Market Strategy/Goal: Serve medical patients with the best canna-butter, infused sugar, and gluten free cannabis solutions to help them treat their afflictions. Continue to develop brand, IP and in-state distribution, and refine business best practices to ultimately prepare for national distribution. Slow and steady philosophy to win the race.
2014 Revenues: Under $200k
Current Retail Product Mix: Sugar free and gluten free
Financing strategy: To date, from operations and friends and family
“It’s True, it’s True” — Julie’s Natural Edibles are here to Stay
Julie Dooley represents the model of what CBE Press, at times, naively believes the legalization of the Cannabis Industry should look like.
She and her company represent the other extreme of the spectrum pursuing their dreams and profits from the green rush. On the one side we have some greedy state and local governments leveraging their legislative and public regulatory agency power (and in some cases flat out cronyistic practices). They charge obscene fees just to apply for a license, let alone the additional fees and taxes that are piled on if you actually win one.
And then there are the wealthy pre-state, end of prohibition medical marijuana entrepreneurs, many of whom either leveraged their regulatory relationships or made millions illegally growing and peddling their product before becoming part of the legal Cannabis Industry. Those operators, to a large extent, have helped drive the barriers of entry up for entrepreneurs like Julie looking to make an honest buck from a business whose mission they passionately believe in.
After getting laid off from her job as finance director at the University of Denver, Julie was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and her friend Kate, who was dealing with a brain tumor, decided to experiment with marijuana as a treatment for both of their maladies. Neither woman was interested in smoking cannabis, and with young kids at home, Julie and Kate decide to use different strains of organically produced weed brewed in butter to infuse a variety of gluten free and sugar free recipes, self-testing their concoctions to measure the relief they gained.
A friend lent them a kitchen to experiment and create their recipes and product mix, and the two treated their daily pursuits as full-time jobs with an eye on eventually launching a brand in Colorado’s rapidly growing medical marijuana market. As part of their training, they studied lab testing results from California, Michigan, and Israel, and became students of the science of the plant and learned as much as they could about the chemistry of extracted cannabis and its effects on different maladies.
One of the things they learned was that sugars processed THC out of the bloodstream more quickly while proteins tended to process it slower, so they incorporated this into their R&D. This knowledge also played well into Julie’s plan to produce effective and healthy solutions for medical patients who also had planned on avoiding the consumption of cannabis in the smoked form.
Julie applied and won a license to produce edibles in Colorado, and at that time, the barriers of entry weren’t that cumbersome. It only cost her $1,250, and with that, Julie & Kate’s Baked Goods was formally launched in December of 2009 and is owned 100 percent by Julie Dooley (Kate moved to Atlanta several years ago — and survived her ordeal). The company has tweaked its name a couple of more times as it prepared to cement the brand and expand the product line, becoming Julie’s Baked Goods, and now, to the trademarked Julie’s Natural Edibles.
She has grown the company by sticking to her original knitting, and her website states, “We proudly produce Medical and Retail (adult use over the age of 21) premium marijuana edibles, specializing in responsible products that are tasty and effective. All products are gluten-free (produced in a gluten free kitchen), refined sugar free, pesticide free and non-GMO. Our fine products are available only at licensed marijuana centers in Colorado.”
Distribution includes roughly 200 of the state’s 1,000 retailers, and they generated about $200,000 in revenues in 2014 based on the efforts of her eight (8) employees. Her lab-tested product mix includes strain specific infused:
- Seed mixes;
- Clarified canna-butters;
- Canna-coconut oil.
Julie tells me that they are working on several new products including sugar-free chocolate to compete with sugar-based chocolates, as well as a libido-enhancing strain specific product for men with ED (erectile dysfunction) as presented in Pot Barons. The hard-working, down-to-earth Wisconsin native and I shared a big chuckle when she answered my inquiry about the latter new product. “It’s true, it’s true,” as Madeline Kahn once exclaimed in the film Blazing Saddles.
In 2015, Julie expects to see sales grow in-state before she eventually branches out into other legal markets. In the meantime, she continues to perfect her recipes and intellectual property with Angelica Corwin, her Executive Chef, while perfecting the packaging and becoming consistent in her rebranding efforts with the new trademarked label.
Some 90 percent of the trim she uses in her canna-butter comes from one in-state supplier (The Farm in Boulder, Colorado) and because they extract the oils the old fashion way (melted butter, less the milk, combined with the trim in stainless steel pots, and then strained and refrigerated as clarified green butter for their recipes), they are already in compliance with new state fire regulations.
Julie is proud of the high percentage of loyal, repeat customers that she has, and and she expects to see her market share grow in 2015. CBE expects that this “Up and Coming” manufacturer of edibles — Julie’s Natural Edibles – is a company that is here to stay!