FREDA GIRL: Shaina Kerrigan
Tell us a little more about yourself.
Hi! I’m Shaina Kerrigan, founder of Molly Jones—a handmade CBD confectionery brand based in Marin, California, which is just north across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. I come home to my rock-of-a-husband Mark, my two tiny kiddos Sophia and Charlie, and our newest addition to the crew—our 8-month-old puppy, Mo (named appropriately for her mohawk).
Let’s talk about Molly Jones. What inspired you to start the brand and what drew you to CBD?
After I had my second kid, I found myself really struggling with sleep—the last few months of pregnancy plus the first few months of breastfeeding had me at about 6 months of severe sleep deprivation, and I was going crazy. I’m not a fan of sleeping pills and didn’t want to get hooked on anything more intense, so I found myself wandering into a dispensary to see what a plant-based remedy might look like. I remember being the only woman in the shop, but after waking up the next day from a full night of sleep, I knew other moms needed to know about CBD. I then went on a frenzy of trying every CBD product I could get my hands on but couldn’t find what I was looking for: a high-quality, delicious treat that could take the edge off at the end of a long day.
What exactly is CBD and what does it do?
I’ll start with the bigger picture and say that the cannabis plant has hundreds of “cannabinoids,” or chemical compounds, that each has its effect on the mind and body. THC is the most prevalent cannabinoid in the plant and is the notorious part that gets you high. CBD, on the other hand, is non-psychoactive and typically used for health and wellness purposes.
There's a very long laundry list of ways that CBD can help with our health and wellness, all of which can be summed up by saying it restores balance within our body and mind. A lot of folks don’t know that the human body has a specific system—the endocannabinoid system—whose sole purpose is to maintain homeostasis, and when we fall out of balance, CBD can sub in to get us back in alignment. CBD can be a tool for natural relief from anxiety, stress, depression, and pain without the high.
Can you tell us a little more about your confections?
From the beginning, I knew that quality would be our foundation and number one core value, so I set out to create a product I could be proud of. I met with over twenty growers, tested three different types of CBD, and spent nine months developing my recipe. As of today, we sell three different flavors of gumdrops, Signature Berry, Lemon Lavender, and Plum Cardamom, with more on the way. More importantly, we have two different dosages: a standard 25mg CBD gumdrop, which is intended to take the edge off, and a high dose of 50mg gumdrop for stronger issues like heightened anxiety, body pain, and sleep.
In the name of quality and transparency, we use well known and accredited third-party analytical labs to test our gumdrops for potency, cleanliness, and safety, making sure they exceed industry regulations. We proudly share these testing results on our website to confirm that what we say we’re selling is actually what we’re selling.
Is there anything else we should know about your gumdrops?
Yes! Early on in the building of Molly Jones, I realized that nearly all CBD edibles, especially gumdrops, are mass machine-made and include extra ingredients or preservatives to accommodate large scale production and long term shelf life. It certainly makes for a better margin for the company, but I had a big decision to make in those early days. Since quality is our foundation, I went the harder route—hiring chefs to hand-make our gumdrops in small batches with just seven simple ingredients. No added ingredients, no preservatives to extend shelf-life, and no machines to churn out thousands of candies a day. It’s one of the parts of Molly Jones that I’m the proudest of because we can authentically say that our gumdrops are made with honest, true ingredients by people who pour love and soul into each and every ‘drop.
You’ve said you’re on a mission to help ‘spread the chill.' What do you do personally to chill?
Our mindset at Molly Jones is to “spread the chill” because it’s a personal goal I strive for every day. Parenting adds a whole new level of stress onto the workday, so by evening time, my mind is buzzing with anxiety. I’ve always loved music—as a kid, I’d lay on my bedroom floor lost in Paul Simon and Creedence Clearwater Revival albums—so when I felt overwhelmed as a parent many years later, I tried to recreate the same relaxing experience by sitting in my adults-only “music room” and doing nothing but listening to music. It worked.
There’s quite a bit of science behind the theory that music can help powerfully shift our state of mind in the same way meditation can. Fully and intently listening to music can stop the constant (and sometimes negative) mental chatter and allow us the chance to connect deeper within ourselves. It can make us feel emotions more fully and be more present in the now. In very rare moments, it can be a physical experience, filling your heart and soul with a feeling I can only assume is close to nirvana.
Music that’s regularly on the vinyl in our music room: Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Maggie Rogers, Leon Bridges, B.B. King, Bob Marley.
It’s been a hard year. Can you share any lessons learned or advice for fellow female entrepreneurs?
Even at the start of 2020, I was struggling with how much time to spend building up Molly Jones as it often came at the expense of spending time raising my children. I’m lucky enough to be in one of the industries that benefit from COVID as CBD is a known natural tool for combatting stress and anxiety—so in March (and every month since), I made the conscious decision to go all in and keep pushing my business forward despite the setbacks and strains that this year has brought.
In making that decision, I also decided to spend less time with my children and hand off a lot of the parenting duties to my husband. It was hard—and still is! But I know that I’m helping people get through this very tough time while also setting an example for both of my children on what a working mom can accomplish when she stubbornly sets her mind to it.
There is a growing amount of fellow female entrepreneurs who are struggling with this decision—whether to keep pushing their business forward or call it quits and abandon everything they’ve built to stay at home with the kids. For some, it’s a necessity, but for others, it’s a knee-jerk reaction to the stress and confusion we’re living each day. For those in the latter group, I continue to replay the same sentence in my head over and over, “This too shall pass.” Let’s all keep pushing and fight for what we’ve built because everyone, including our kids, needs to see women entrepreneurs succeed even against all odds and struggles.
Where can people purchase your products and find Molly Jones on social media?
You can shop all our handmade confections at mollyjones.com and we love new friends so find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @mollyjones.mj.