Jo is educating and empowering by teaching you how to enjoy a functional high and to take control of your own health and well-being in a fun and natural way. She’s a lifestyle coach, travel guide and all around #girlboss.
Tell us about yourself, how did you come up with the idea for Casually Baked? And, what attracted you to the cannabis industry?
I’m a storyteller and experiential marketing maven. Since cannabis has been a consistent part of my life for over two decades, I confidently consider myself the ultimate cannabis lifestyle guide.
For almost twenty years, I created brand stories and experiences for international clients while working for major media companies – CBS Sports, Infinity National Radio, Emmis Communications, Entercom, and Maker Media. Maintaining a hectic work and social life took its toll, and at 35-years-old I quit my job, gave away my possessions, sold my car, and took a mid-life retirement in Bologna, Italy. I woke up every day with the mission of dreaming up how to get paid to be myself. I wanted to live an inspired life.
Casually Baked was born from there. I recognized early on that I used cannabis differently than my peers, but it wasn’t until living in Italy that I consciously began using cannabis during my daily meditations and sixteen months later I returned to the States knowing California would be my new home and cannabis would be my next chapter.
My first gig in the cannabis space was trimming pot. I helped tend a friend’s indoor grow in exchange for sleeping privileges on his couch. I’m a social butterfly and quickly learned the cannabis landscape of northern California and discovered education was the glaring hole in the industry. I finally had a story to tell that I believed in heart and soul, and made it my mission to change the face of the cannabis culture.
I love getting a weekly dose of canna-confidence through your potcasts. What is your favorite potcast and why?
That makes me happy to hear!
To be honest, I don’t consistently listen to other cannabis podcasts. As a creative, it’s important that my message is authentic and based on my personal experience and interactions with my Casually Baked tribe. As women, we tend to compare ourselves to others which can be a full-on inspiration killer.
I also think the mainstream news media is terrible for our health so I use the podcast medium as an alternative source of news through shows like “Up First” by NPR and “Pod Save America.” As a ganjapreneur and inspiration junkie, shows like “TED Radio Hour” and “How I Built This” motivate me to keep grinding away and building my dream brand.
My products are designed to cover the spectrum – from canna newbies to baby boomers reengaging in the cannabis experience to veteran users looking to dial into a “cannabis for wellness” approach to their consumption.
The video series stemmed from the Cannabis Class Kit I created in 2016 out of personal necessity. I’m a pot nerd focused on cannabis for optimum wellness. I’m also a bit OCD in the organizational department, so I assembled all of the foundational elements of cannabis into a resource guide outlining cannabinoids, terpenes, methods of consumption, tips and tricks, technical and lifestyle vocabulary, etc. I also made flash cards for the significant wellness issues cannabis shows effectiveness in treating.
I received so much thanks and praise for compiling the cannabis 101 info, but when I checked back in with those same folks, they hadn’t gotten around to digesting all of the written details. Most of us feel time-starved these days, so I took the meatiest parts of the material and created the free Clif’s Notes-style Basics of Bud videos to supplement the written material. You can learn what terpenes are, why they matter, and how they can customize your cannabis experience in 40-seconds. Everybody’s got time for that.
What advice or resources do you recommend to canna-curious users?
The message I preach more than anything is what I consider the three keys to having a positive experience with cannabis: Mindfulness, microdosing, and willingness to experiment. We are all precious snowflakes, and there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to cannabis.
I recognize our attention is being pulled in a thousand directions all day, every day. I created “Casually Baked, the potcast” to be an entertaining and engaging place to connect and develop your canna confidence. I get to ride shotgun on your commute, and you get all of the benefits of cannabis class without road raging on your way to the office. It’s a win-win.
You also have awesome gear. I love Jo’s favorite things. What are your most popular products?
I live for good puns, and I was highly disappointed with the cannabis-infused merch available at my first cannabis cup. I had money in hand ready to spend on a hoodie or t-shirt… I wanted to represent the modern cannabis culture, but nothing spoke to the high-achieving, professional woman who loves pot. I worked with a local Oakland artist friend, Gillian Benary, to sketch out some of my favorite puns into clever designs. “So Dope!” and “Highly Responsible” are my best selling tees. I collaborated with an SF designer to create the stash bag that the Casually Baked Kit comes in. It’s great for stashing and dashing when you’re on the go.
What were some of the things that you learned unexpectedly since starting Casually Baked? Have there been any challenges that you’ve had to overcome?
I learned that I’m early to this great big cannabis party. I’m the girl who showed up sooner than the pack and instead of standing around awkwardly, I’ve made myself useful by setting up and getting the mood just right for when the crowds arrive.
One of my Marin-mom clients refers to me as the “JOprah of cannabis” to her gal pals which is the same nickname my bestie back home in Texas calls me. I like that. The cannabis industry needs someone whose primary focus isn’t making bank as soon as humanly possible but instead wants to inspire others to live their best life and use cannabis as their co-pilot to optimizing that experience. The money will come, it always does. I want to feel good about myself when I’m cashing those JOprah checks.
What’s been the reaction among your peers?
I cry happy tears a few times a week from the cards, emails, texts, and messages I receive from friends and strangers who share that I’ve opened lines of communication between them and family members regarding their cannabis consumption. Or that I inspired them to have a serious talk with their doctor about titrating off of addictive pharmaceuticals and incorporating cannabis for pain, stress, anxiety, and other issues of dis-ease.
How was cannabis introduced to your lifestyle? Do you have a favorite cannabis related story or memory?
I was a high school and college athlete and didn’t experiment with cannabis until I was twenty. I’m a high-achiever and not one to get too out of control, so I was micro-dosing cannabis in the late 90’s before there was a name for it. Consuming in a controlled way opened up my creative mind and boosted my writing skills. I called myself a “functional stoner” for years until I began envisioning my own cannabis business. My friends told me nobody wanted to give money to a stoner, so I renamed my lifestyle “casually baked.”
What’s next for the Casually Baked brand?
This fall Casually Baked Media is launching a second podcast called “Love, Mary Jane” focusing on relationships in the modern cannabis culture. The show is based on a cannabis lifestyle column I created and authored last year for Pineapple magazine. For the past two years, while I get these cannabis gears grinding, I side-hustle as a dating and relationship writer for an international matchmaking firm. “Love, Mary Jane” gives me a chance to be your armchair life coach and share all of the insight and experience I have in both my personal and professional life.
Where are you located and what is the weed scene like there?
I think it’s important to mix things up, so I’m a fan of changing my scenery. Five years ago I began my California cannabis education in Healdsburg in Sonoma County which was the closest thing to Italy I could find in the United States. Two years later I posted up in Marin and made Mill Valley home and acquainted myself with the plight of parents of teens and tweens. In February of this year, I found a fantastic space in downtown Oakland where I set up my recording studio. I was ready to be in the thick of things, and it’s a way better scene for a single gal in the cannabis space. Oakland is the perfect place to be for a creative cannaseur looking to collaborate with other like-minded folks building the cannabis industry.
How can you be reached?
You can find and get to know me on social. My handle is @casuallybaked on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can email me your canna curious questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also provide free 15-minute casually baked consults that I use as fodder for the potcast. You can book those by clicking the big gray “schedule appointment” button at the top of the page at casuallybaked.com. That’s the same place you’ll book a one-hour creative consult or personalized cannabis session with me. Whatya say? Let’s get casually baked.