Image Courtesy Cayce Clifford for Van der Pop>
The mother and daughter team behind Cosmic View
We chatted with the mother and daughter team behind Cosmic View, one of our favorite cannabrands available in the Bay Area. Hearing how they started was an inspiring story, including a family history of cancer that pushed them to create products that help others. Christine Skibola, a prestigious cancer research scientist, was geared towards her retirement when her daughter Nicole was struck with endometrial cancer at a rare age.
Before their tumultuous times dealing with cancer throughout the family, Christine would create skin formulas for Nicole to use during harsh New York winters using local and homegrown products, including oil from their own olive oil company, Quinnrose Olive Oils. Once featured in their products, they now partner with an award-winning farm in Sonoma County. No matter the product, from their organic, family-run orchard to the way they embrace whole plant medicine in their cannabis products, their true desire to deliver a quality product for their consumer while promoting healthy and natural medicine shines through everything that they do.
“I really hope that consumer sophistication grows because it pushes consumers more towards craft brands.”Nicole Skibola
What has been your favorite thing about launching into the cannabis space?
Nicole Skibola: I think now more than ever, I’m connecting with people, especially women, who are really passionate about medicine. Like there’s a lot of craziness going on in this industry right now for better or for worse — being in this industry right now is as stressful as it is it is fun. There is often a wildness to it where it feel like there’s no rules, it’s a total cowboy mentality.
But one of the things that are really important to us is keeping cannabis as medicine and preserving the integrity of the plant. I feel fortunate to have connected with so many cannabis cultivators, manufacturers, and consumers who feel the same way.
Are there any other big challenges that you’ve run into so far?
Nicole: I think the big one at the moment for us is scale. I anticipate that we’re going to have growing demand and it’s just going to be a matter of having our company grow and maintaining the culture that we want. It’s also important for us to have a steady supply chain. It’s really important for us to work with small regenerative farms, and there’s just a lot of flux right now. From the regulation side to the supply side, I think for us it’s just going to be a constant struggle of growth versus our personal goals for product integrity.
When you were launching “Cosmic View”, how important was sharing your story and visual vision?
Nicole: As an artist, I am a very aesthetic person and I’ve always loved beautiful packaging. So for me, it was really important. We did have a little bit of conflict over it but our biggest pushback has come from people who misunderstand our intentions. They’re constantly saying ‘if your formulas are coming from a science background – why doesn’t it feel more pharmaceutical”
Christine Skibola: We’ll get questions like “why don’t you have a red cross on it?” Well, we never wanted to emulate big pharma.
Nicole: Yeah or why doesn’t your marketing collateral have a picture of [Christine] in a white lab coat. And I was just like no! Absolutely not. So for me, it was really about sticking to my guns and what I see happening in the health and wellness world. There is this whole idea of going back to the pure Earth. And that’s something that I really wanted to emphasize in terms of our formulations and our products and it’s even in our name — this idea that we’re all connected. So the name [Cosmic View] was homage a little bit to the hippie past of cannabis. As cool as it is seeing all these new products coming out, like the newest vape pen or smoking gadget, for us, it’s really about the medicine and it’s about the purest form of the medicine coming from the ground and grown by people with love and intention. We both really wanted to communicate that in a very modern way.
Image by Christie Malvin for Revel and Rouse>
Clever design and a passion for clean aesthetics shine through in Cosmic View's packaging
What were some of Cosmic View’s biggest goals as a brand this past year that you achieved?
Nicole: Definitely making it through July 1 regulations, working with some of the best retailers in Northern California and having a profile in Broccoli Magazine was a major win. We have a couple of really big things coming up that I am super excited about!
Any goals still left?
Nicole: Always. For one we’re not in any brick and mortar dispensaries in San Francisco which is insane to me. I’d love for [Cosmic View] to also be available at the Apothecarium. They really respect patient education and that’s really appealing.*
Is there something that you would really love to see as far as the vision of the cannabis industry?
Christine: I would like to see things come back to education, for dispensaries and their employees have better knowledge and understanding of what makes some products better than others and the true therapeutic benefits of cannabis. Personally, I want to design more products that are more specific, not just general pain formulas which are the most prominent in the market. We love formulating and offering to patients other interesting products, like our skincare formula, and our forthcoming women’s wellness formula. But again, it comes back to staff education. Budtenders are going to have to understand how our women’s wellness formula, for example, helps to regulate and promote a healthy menstrual cycle and reduces menstrual cramping. The body is a complex organism so there is a lot to understand and then be able to communicate back to the patient
Nicole: I would love to see small farmers supported by our state and their local governments. They are critical to our products and our supply chain. We’ve been hearing some crazy things — and we want to make sure they get the support they deserve.
In the consumer marketplace for cannabis, it’s truly in its nascence. Some people are so new to cannabis, and they don’t what to ask for. They don’t know what they want out [of cannabis] in terms of health and medicine. I really hope that consumers start asking, ‘how is this extracted?’ and “what’s this carrier oil?’, ‘where does this cannabis come from and what terpenes are prevalent?’ I really hope that consumer sophistication grows because it pushes consumers more towards craft brands. These craft brands, like ours, are really for people who really want to put whole plant, pure organic medicine in their bodies. Consumers have to be the ones to ask for it because bud-tenders and dispensaries aren’t necessarily pushing them.
*A Cosmic View is now available in San Francisco through delivery services ONA.Life, Society Jane, and Sava. Please see their website for more information about where to find their products near you.