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Introducing Juāna: An AAPI, Female-Owned Wellness Brand Celebrating Cannabis And The Art Of Well-Being

June 13, 2024

Read the full article on Honeysucklemagazine.com!

Cannabis is great for recreational and social use, but it’s important to remember its healing properties as well.

Enter Juāna, a wellness brand that’s intended to be a celebration of cannabis and its sister plant hemp, with a focus on creative prompts in the healing arts. Per their website, they “unite mindful living, herbal craftsmanship, and olfactory artistry.” With an emphasis on the art of well-being, Juāna offers a wide variety of products specifically crafted to elevate moods, soothe minds, and amplify the senses.

Juana’s Recover Vape (C) Juana

What Is Juāna? A Women-Owned, Creative Cannabis Wellness Brand

With the name itself meaning “flower,” directly derived from the word “marijuana,” Juāna connects consumers with the plant via different avenues: scent, texture, adornment, taste, and effect. Their products include vapes, candles, oils, jewelry, and more.

Honeysuckle had the pleasure of attending the soft launch at Tea at Shiloh in Los Angeles, California. The intimate gathering drew together like-minded individuals in the cannabis industry, focusing on the power of community and connection.

We spoke with Rachel Xin, the co-founder of Juāna, about launching such an international brand.

Rachel Xin, co-founder and CEO of Juana (C) Juana

Juāna Co-Founder Rachel Xin Talks Brand Origins, Chinese Attitudes Toward Cannabis, And Creating Intention And Plant-Based Well-Being

SHIRLEY JU: Talk about your background and how you got into cannabis.

RACHEL XIN: I moved from China to the United States when I was 19 years old to pursue my undergraduate studies. After earning a finance degree from the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, I entered the Southern California real estate industry, focusing on residential development and commercial improvement. I later received my MBA degree from UC Irvine.

Already having an interest in Chinese herbal medicine, I was curious to learn more about the healing benefits of the cannabis plant when I got exposed to it in the U.S. As a work addict, using cannabis helps me slow down, unwind, and rest my spinning mind. My relationship with cannabis is that it reminds me that taking care of myself through living a balanced life is very important.

Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and fascination with the plant, I soon began to explore more in the industry and slowly delve into the comprehensive seed-to-sale cannabis process in 2019.

(C) Juana

Love hearing about how your dad found cannabis to be a healing tool. Can you elaborate on that and how cannabis isn’t glorified in Asian culture (especially China)?

After my experience with cannabis, I introduced it to my father as an alternative relaxation method instead of alcohol.

My dad has an entrepreneurial spirit. He is open-minded and seeks novelty. Cannabis is certainly a taboo within Chinese and other Asian communities. However, now that my Dad has tried it, he believes there is certainly something in the plant that is helpful. He has loved his experience with cannabis and continues to explore it.

(C) Juana

When did you first get the idea for Juāna?

Juāna represents a fusion of the ideology my business partner and I share.

We feel that, in today’s world, the natural inclination to look out for one another has been overshadowed by a culture of competition, leading to a disconnection from genuine compassion. Reestablishing the ethos of nurturing cultivates a culture where caring is paramount. Such a shift not only enhances personal growth but can also strengthen communities and societies. That’s what we’d like to see happen, and that’s how we envisioned the Juāna brand, complete with the motto, ‘Take Care.’

Our belief in the importance of taking care caused us to create Juāna as a company centered on care: To take care of others, to take care of nature, to take care of the cannabis plant and its reputation. We believe genuine care can create meaningful connections, a sense of belonging, a safe environment, a higher purpose and meaning.

One element we found shocking during our research is how the female cannabis consumer is remarkably underserved and uncared for by the male-centric brands dominating shelf space. This market unbalance gave us the motivation to create something special for women.

From there, we have spent intense time on market analysis, learning the opportunities and challenges, customer pain points and desires. Most importantly, we took the time to define our identity and purpose: who we are and how we can play a crucial role for women in and out of the cannabis industry.

We simply did not want to create another generic cannabis brand. Instead, we are on a mission to create a brand that embraces incremental innovation.

(C) Juana

What’s the origin of the name?

Finding the perfect name was an enormous challenge. It required a complex, creative, iterative, and linguistic process. We love Juāna as it is timeless, easy to say, easy to remember, and full of meanings.

The name was carefully chosen as a tribute to the word “marijuana.” We want to play a role in combating the negative stigma and pejorative connotations associated with it. The goal of using our name is to revitalize the use of this word by creating a world-class brand that embraces the positive aspects of the cannabis plant. We also want to change the dialogue from “getting high” to “getting well.”

The name Juāna means “flower,” reflecting a pure and ethereal essence. We also strongly believe that the origins of the plant first began in Asia, most precisely in Neolithic China. The word “Ma-ri-hua-na” is spelled Má Ren Huā in Mandarin (hemp seed flower) and both share a strong similarity. Huā (花) means flower.

All of this is the reason we used a logotype that reminds us of Chinese woodblock printing font. In addition, since the name communicates the essence of cannabis, we did not need to add other cannabis visuals to it.

(C) Juana

What was the reality of launching the company?

Navigating the regulated cannabis world is more difficult than any other industry, and even more challenging with a unique vision like ours: creating quality products that are safe to use, consistent, and as environmentally friendly as possible.

Building a brand, vision, and culture is complex. Building a team that melds in a corporate culture is difficult for any company. And even more with ours because we need talent who can understand the direction the brand is taking, as well as the cannabis industry, the CBD industry, and the cosmetic, home, and beauty worlds.

Product development is complex as we must navigate so many different regulations. We want to project an elegant image for our packaging, but we are challenged by the legally-required warning messages. If the packaging is too small, they won’t fit. If the packaging is too big, it does not fit well on dispensary shelves. Cannabis products are also overpackaged due to additional protections and child lock safety. All these little details need to be addressed and carefully thought out.

Operation challenges are not easy to overcome, either. Having a great brand, story, product, and packaging is not sufficient. We need to make sure our logistics and supply chains are effective. And if you get everything right, even if consumers love your products – store owners, buyers, and budtenders also need to buy into your vision for them to get your products on the shelves.

All that said, we must find pleasure in the process of building the brand—and we do. We work constantly to strengthen our partnership, appreciate the little things like when we receive a device prototype or a packaging sample. These milestones may be small achievements, but we try not to forget to celebrate them.

(C) Juana

What’s Juāna’s mission statement, and how can it help one’s mental health? 

Caring about others and helping them take care of themselves is vital to us. Juāna wants to help individuals be their best selves, because being your best self means being able to develop, contribute, be happy, and thrive. That allows us all to contribute better and create a higher impact in society.

Juāna is more than a collection of cannabis products; our goal is to bring our customers actual value with functional and emotional benefits. Cannabis helps us be our best selves as we achieve harmony among the three dimensions of ourselves: actions, thoughts, and heart. If one of these dimensions is not even with the other two, you cannot be in perfect balance. By cultivating a resilient body, a purposeful mind, and a radiant soul, we not only nurture ourselves but also create the capacity to extend care to others.

Juana Botanical Vape (C) Juana

Which products are you most excited about and why?

We are very excited about how our hard work is unfolding. We recently had a soft launch gathering that focused on female guests coming together to create community and share. We witnessed guests gathering around Juāna to bond, create deep connections, and create a sense of community so beautiful to experience. Our efforts did not go unnoticed, which gave us more confidence.

As for the products, we have many under research and development, but right now we’re super excited about our botanical and live resin vape collection as well as our candle collection, which is focused on the emerging field of neuroscience in which fragrance is invoked to create emotion. We use the finest lab-tested ingredients and natural terpenes in our formulations, always choosing plant-based ingredients with therapeutic benefits. Our line features six effects: Arouse, Calm, Uplift, Recover, Focus, and Rest.

(C) Juana

What goals do you have for the brand?

One of our main goals is to get closer to our customers. Through attentive listening, perpetual learning, and relentless improvement, we want to create exceptional products precisely tailored to meet their needs. We would like to create a collaborative process that ideally would involve both in-person and online collaborations to ensure that our customers always get a product they’re satisfied with because it was somehow co-created by them or being directly involved with the product.

Cannabis product-wise, we have big ambitions for Juāna to become a sought-after wellness brand with its own world of natural and botanical products that combine THC and CBD in an array of ways, from pre-rolls to vapes to edibles to topicals.

For those non-cannabis products, we always want to harken back to wellness, which includes hemp. Clothing should not only reflect a person’s unique style but also contribute to their overall health and welfare balance. If carefully curated, clothing can enhance comfort, promote wellness, and align with the Ayurvedic principles that we are currently researching.

Lastly, Juāna intends to create a sanctuary for well-being. A spot filled with love where everyone will find their place in a close-knit community bonded by a common need to grow and feel happier and healthier. A space designed to encompass various elements that contribute to physical, mental, and emotional balance. We’re still looking for the right fit; it may look like events and/or community-based programs that embody the brand’s values of natural care, health, wellness, green cuisine, and sustainability while also providing exclusive access to Juana products and resources. We’re excited to find out!

In summary, we want to emphasize the importance of mindfulness. Being mindful involves intentionally slowing down and taking the time to attune to the natural rhythms within our bodies. It’s a return to the essentials, a deliberate synchronization with the harmonies of nature.

For more information, visit juana.org.

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