Comstock's magazine 1118 - November 2018 - Page 94

n SEED ROUND: MEET THE FOUNDER CHELSEA DUDGEON It started in January 2017 as a homegrown operation in Sacramento. As CEO and co- founder of Newell’s Botanicals, Chelsea Dudgeon concocted a topical skin product fusing cannabis, flowers and herbs she grew herself with a blend of oils known for anti-inflamma- tory properties. She made this for her grandmother, who was suffering aches from arthritis caused by decades spent as a housecleaner. When the product helped ease her grandmother’s pain, Dudgeon realized she had a winner on her hands. The Emerald Cup, the world’s largest cannabis competition, thought so too — awarding her Deep Skin Penetrating Topical Oil with first place in the Topicals category in 2016 and 2017. Since then, Dudgeon has been scaling up, growing from small collective into legitimate business. Now, Newell’s Botanicals has a wide customer base but tar- gets mature women. The startup is preparing to launch a new product line this season, and a series A round to raise $5 million in the spring. Khidr Organics My backup name for the startup was. . ............................................................................. p e rm a c u l t u re farmer If I could have any other job, I’d be a.. .................................................................................. The TV show that best represents my approach to business would be Clean House .. ....................................................................................................................................................................... to become someone that My biggest fear about launching was ................................................................................. was known, public and on a lot of email lists . . ...................................................................................................................................................................... If I could give my younger self one word of advice, that word would be...... “Lead.” . . ........................................................................................................................................................................ How did legalization of recreational marijuana affect the business model? “With [recreational] legalization, everything changed. We can no longer operate as caregivers [allowed under medical marijuana regulations]. I’m not allowed to cultivate my own cannabis. I had to form partnerships with other farms to source ingredients and move into a licensed facility in Sacramento to keep doing production in a way that was permitted.” Was that transition difficult? “When the first draft of regulations hit, it was like having all the ground you were standing on vaporize instantly. We didn’t have the skills, expertise or experience to navigate the new legal structure. I enrolled in the Founder Institute to figure out how to be a CEO and businessperson, and learn how to adapt in this new en- vironment.” For more on Dudgeon and Newell’s Botanicals, read Russell Nichols’ “Startup of the Month” column at comstocksmag.com. 94 comstocksmag.com | November 2018 NEWELL’S BOTANICALS