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Our Founder, Lindsay French, speaks with Jessica Cadmus of Rogue Paq

Our Founder, Lindsay French, speaks with Jessica Cadmus of Rogue Paq

Canna Conversations: Lindsay French, Owner of Hippie & French

 

Hippie & French Boutique, Pittsburgh PA

In our newest installment of Canna Conversations, our Founder, Jess Cadmus talks with Lindsay French, Owner of Hippie & French. Lindsay inspires us endlessly because she has drawn upon her experience with addiction and transformed it not only into a deep healing for herself using cannabis, but into a wellness boutique which offers healing to others. Hippie & French is a place where you can discover your own wellness solutions by talking to Lindsay and her knowledgeable staff and by browsing her highly curated collection of CBD products and beyond.

Rogue Paq (RP): How was cannabis regarded in your household growing up?
Linsday French (LF): My parents are divorced and each household had conflicting messages. My mom (who I lived with primarily) pretended that she was against it I think. My dad (who I lived with in my later teen years) thought that responsible consumption was a more realistic lesson for young people.  If I were raising kids; I’d probably land somewhere in the middle.



RP: What was your first experience with cannabis?
LF: I was 12 or 13…. Hanging out by the creek (also known as "crick" around my way) with neighborhood kids.  I don’t remember it being a negative experience or a positive experience…. Just an experience that introduced me to escaping the way that I felt.  I would go on to have a really tough battle with substance abuse later and then find a really healthy relationship with the plant. Really full circle.

RP: You have an expertise in sales and have managed several Fortune 500 accounts. Do you feel this is your superpower as a small business owner?
LF: I’m not sure..  I got really burnt out in corporate sales.  The industry taught me a lot about selling but it also taught me a lot of what I didn’t want to bring into my business. The industry forces you to be really aggressive to survive and I didn’t want to bring those sales tactics into my space. In my opinion people don’t want to be sold.  They just want you to know what you’re talking about and be honest with them.

RP: Can you tell us about recovering from your addiction and what brought you to cannabis?
LF: Yes! I love talking about recovery because I think so many people can relate. I was an active alcoholic by the time I was 15 which progressed to opiate use in my early 20’s. It was a constant struggle in my 20’s and 30’s for recovery.  I started using fentanyl daily and my life was really out of control.  I was going to either die or end up in prison.  Both of those situations were very probable if I didn’t change my lifestyle.  I woke up from an overdose, was facing charges that were going to send me to prison for several years… and I just had to get my shit together.  I didn’t want to live like that anymore. I’m California Sober now.  I don’t drink… or use other drugs.  But I do incorporate cannabis into my lifestyle in many ways whether it’s cbd for anxiety or cbd topicals for muscle pain.  I use some cbd and 1:1 (cbd to thc) concentrates for anxiety or sleep issues.. Also really loving these new delta 8 sleep edibles we put out a few months ago.  I am using cannabis for medicinal purposes today.  I'm not smoking 24/7 to escape the way I feel.  I think that's the difference between me today and me before recovery.  Honestly, I don't like feeling outside of myself because it just brings up bad juju.

I was an active alcoholic by the time I was 15 which progressed to opiate use in my early 20’s. It was a constant struggle in my 20’s and 30’s for recovery.  I started using fentanyl daily and my life was really out of control.  I was going to either die or end up in prison.

RP: Your store Hippie & French is gorgeous and very selective with its product offerings. Can you tell us how you think about product selection for CBD as well as accessories?
LF: Thank you.  My target demographic is women so I buy things that appeal to me quite honestly.  I want to buy from other women and I think other women do too.  So that’s a focus in the shop; women & minority makers. 

Rogue Paq Joie de Weed Collection featured at Hippie & French

RP:
Tell us about your customer in Pittsburgh. What lights them up literally and figuratively?
LF: Pittsburgh people are THE BEST!! I have lived all over the country and it’s hard to find nicer people than the ones in Pittsburgh.  There’s not a ton of pretense…it’s easy here.  There’s a really great blend of “tell-it-like-it-is” East Coast meets “downhome” Midwest in the best possible way.  The attitude surrounding cannabis is really accepting here.  We’re using it as an alternative to drinking alcohol and for its medicinal properties. We want access to the best cannabis has to offer and we’re getting there… if the laws will eventually catch up with consumer demand.

RP: Do you encounter any friction selling CBD and hemp products in a state which is not legal for recreational use? Of course CBD is legal but wondering specifically if the local mindset is open and evolved or if you face stigma?
LF: Not normally.  We’re selling a lot of delta 8 thc products now and it’s a little surprising to see the people that come in to purchase.  It’s everyone from the 20 something college students to the 70-80 year old retirees.  It’s a sign that the prohibition era needs to end.

RP: What’s your biggest challenge as a business owner?
LF:
Being a boss.  Having employees.  I have a DREAM TEAM right now but struggled with employees for my first year or so.  I struggled with employees because I didn’t know who I was as a boss.  Now that I know where my strengths and weaknesses lie a little better I can hire team members who compliment where I am lacking etc. 



RP:
You are passionate about a host of causes. Can you talk to us about a few of them?
LF: I’m passionate about being an activist.  I want people to know when they purchase something from Hippie & French that we donate to causes that we care about like ACLU,  Black Lives Matter.. Last Prisoner Project.  I think that as a woman-owned brand it’s important to not be hollow.  To stand for something… many somethings and to be about it.  So when people purchase from you they know their money is going in the right place and they also might be inspired to get active and raise their voice for something they're passionate about.

RP: How do you view the position of women in the cannabis industry and how do you think it will look ten years from now?
LF: Women are thriving in the space and creating the best products and accessories.  I think the cannabis industry will look like a lot of industries in ten years from now.  More women in leadership roles…more women owning their own companies.  It would make me really happy to see more female collectives looking out for woman-owned companies and women in leadership roles.  If we’re not supporting each other and pushing one another forward; who will?!



I’m passionate about being an activist.  I want people to know when they purchase something from Hippie & French that we donate to causes that we care about like ACLU,  Black Lives Matter.. Last Prisoner Project.  I think that as a woman-owned brand it’s important to not be hollow.  To stand for something.

RP: What is your favorite book and why?
LF: Oh gosh… I feel like I haven’t picked up a book in a hot minute.  To be honest; I’m more of an audio book person.  I just don’t have the attention span to sit down and read.  I am really pro-personal development though.  So I listen to a lot of self-help books.  I almost always have one going in my car.  I finished John Kim’s “Single on Purpose’ earlier this year which I highly recommend.  Right now I’m on ‘Tao te Ching’ …. Reading about the tao and it’s interpretation.  

RP: What lights your soul on fire?
LF: I LOVE connecting with authentic people and sharing in their healing journey. Owning my shop has given me the ability to do that and feel fulfilled in a way that I didn’t realize was possible for me.

RP: Do you cook? If so, do you cook with cannabis?
LF:
I used to really love to cook and would follow a bunch of vegan/vegetarian bloggers but I don’t really have the time anymore.  I eat takeout thai food every night.  Although I am experimenting with my own edibles ;)


RP: You have a lot of beautiful cannabis items at your fingertips, what does your personal stash consist of - both CBD products as well as tools and accessories? 
LF:
I rarely keep things that I bring into the store and then end up regretting it later after they sell out.  I have a laundry day pink pipe sitting on my nightstand, a Rogue Paq Grinder (the joie de weed one!!) and a tsubota pearl lighter. 

RP: Talk to us about the power of CBD and what format is your preferred. 
LF:
I love all of them.. it just depends on the situation.  I use our Hippie & French Hot Mess CBD Oil Drops during the day for managing my anxiety.  I like vaping Tribe Tokes CBD throughout the day for a little added support but also a little extra energy (Juicy Fruit strain is my fave.)  At night I’m using our Delta 8 Sleep Angel Gummies to help with the sleep issues that I have.  I also have an old shoulder & neck injury that I use our topical for pretty regularly.  I’m obviously a huge advocate but it can fit into ANYONE'S lifestyle.  You just need to see what method is going to work for you.

RP: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why? 
LF: I saw an article about this company called Shefari.  They plan boutique trips just for women.  They have a trip coming up to Egypt that I’m thinking about going on.  I have never thought about going to Egypt before but I really want to get out of my comfort zone and try something different (like traveling alone) and this trip happens to fit into my schedule so I think I’m going to go.  Now that I’m talking about it; I better go. Right?! We have all been cooped up for so long I have the travel bug like the rest of the world right now.

RP: You talk a lot about living your best life. What does that mean for you?
LF:
Living life like you aren’t afraid.  I have had issues with anxiety my entire life and it really crippled me for a long time.  I remember when I was first getting clean just feeling like I had had enough of living in fear all of the time and decided I would never let it stop me from doing something again.  I have to constantly remind myself of that promise and remind myself to be brave…. (CBD has been a huge help).  I never want to stop myself from having an experience because of fear.  I really want to get out there and experience all of the things before I’m gone… and to be more of a giver than a taker while I’m here.


I never want to stop myself from having an experience because of fear.  I really want to get out there and experience all of the things before I’m gone… and to be more of a giver than a taker while I’m here.
 
{photo credit: Rose Colored Creative by Sarah Collins, Styled by Critter Fink.}