Each week we highlight entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry so our viewers can learn who is behind the team of the upcoming and leading businesses, organizations, and non-profits in the industry.
This week we would like to introduce Christina Bellman. Christina is the founder of LEVO. Christina has managed a variety of people and projects at Fortune 500 companies. Most recently, she held a leading go-to-market strategy and commercialization role. Chrissy has always suffered from severe migraines, which fueled her passion for avoiding chemicals and processed foods and guided her towards the lightbulb moment that inspired LEVO. She has driven and self-funded LEVO’s development, since inception in 2011 through to launch. Outside of work, Chrissy loves the outdoors and volunteering with animal rescue groups.
In our interview we asked Christina a variety of questions sharing her experiences, she had some insightful information and advice to share with each of you.
Please share with our viewers, a little about LEVO.
Christina Bellman: LEVO is a lifestyle brand focused on building the products, content, and services to empower home chefs and amateur herbalists to take back control and make more sophisticated, fresh, and healthy infused foods easier than ever before.
How are you helping the cannabis industry in a positive way?
Christina Bellman: Empowering people to control their ingredients and make sophisticated, premium infusions at home more often. With high design and thoughtful content, we support wellness and healthy consumption habits at home. We are ending the era of the “pot brownie!”
Who is your role model, and why?
Christina Bellman: My father has taught me most of what I know about business- the kind of things you can’t learn in school. He’s given me the gray hair I need to make good business decisions and instilled moral code that makes my company human. He’s my closest advisor, coach, and inspiration as a truly self-made person who is never too busy to help someone else be successful too.
Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.
Christina Bellman: Taking the leap from the corporate world to launching LEVO was an incredible experience. I have not regretted the move for a second. For years, I planned for it and visualized LEVO coming to life but actually executing was an out of body experience! We hit the ground running and there’s no looking back. I encourage everyone to make your dreams real. Even if you meet failure, it’s incredible to work on something fulfilling every day and make an impact.
How do you stay balanced? Any hobbies outside of your work?
Christina Bellman: I have always been an animal lover. I have a dog of my own who I love caring for and also foster dogs with several rescues in the Denver area. It’s not always easy to say goodbye, but I love seeing the dogs transform and then go to a loving home. It’s absolutely my passion project and hobby outside of work. Those close to me know it’s hard for me to stop working and relax; animals help me do that.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to others looking to launch a company in the cannabis industry?
Christina Bellman: If you see an opportunity, go grab it! This is a brand new industry with no legacy or standards. It’s entirely built on merit, so get to work and make things happen!
What’s the hardest part of founding and running a startup?
Christina Bellman: Managing expectations. You deal with an incredible amount of people, challenges, surprises, logistics, etc.. on a day to day basis. If you overcommit, you can burn yourself out and ultimately let others down. It’s important to manage expectations of others and even for yourself. The latter is the harder one!
Is there anything that surprised you about being an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry?
Christina Bellman: I was pleasantly surprised by the kindness and warmth other entrepreneurs have extended! As competitive and fast as the industry is, we are all here to make a real impact and change lives which seem to have an impact on how we treat each other in business. I’ve met incredibly collaborative people that I truly enjoy on a personal level. All for one and one for all!
Being a founder, we are bound to make a mistake or two, what is one mistake you made that turned up being one of your biggest learning lessons?
Christina Bellman: Early on, in NYC, I was a bit overzealous and was not sensitive enough to people who did not buy into the idea for one reason or another. Even though it was coming from a place of passion, I was shot out of a cannon and a bit impatient. I’ve learned that it’s always better to be intentional and thoughtful in decision-making and never to rush the vision. Stay laser focused on the vision, and never compromise that for the sake of time. Let it materialize in all of its glory, even if that happens a bit more slowly than you’d like!
What book are you currently reading and for pleasure or business? or what book would recommend to a fellow entrepreneur, as a must read?
Christina Bellman: I have been going back and forth between Killing It! and The Hard Thing About the Hard things. Both were gifts from LEVO stakeholders in the past few months and both have incredible advice so far! They’ve been highly recommended to me, so I would pass that along!
How can we as an industry continue to make a positive difference in society?
Christina Bellman: I see two main ways we can make an impact. One, on the business side, we can set a new standard for how business is done. Build human companies that have a heart and treat others in the industry fairly. This is a rare opportunity that exists because this is a new industry. And two, on the consumer side, we can build products, content, and services that enrich and improves lives one customer at a time. This is really about being thoughtful in what you’re offering, in all aspects. Don’t just throw darts at the market; feed demand in a considerate way.
To learn more about LEVO, you can learn more at www.levooil.com.
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