Lori Peck is the CEO and founder of CAASI, offering water-soluble hemp CBD beverage drops to active people that are looking for easy items to enhance their daily wellness routines. The business sells to consumers on CAASI’s e-commerce site and wholesale to businesses that are focused on health and wellness. She has a degree in fashion design and a twenty-five-year career in fashion apparel, predominately in Fortune 500 corporate retail. In 2010, she took some time off to spend time with a terminally ill family member and have more quality time with her daughter.
Five years later, Lori faced cancer and the unexpected end of a twenty-year relationship. She believes we all have stories and how we move forward in the face of adversity is a choice. The foundation of her strength and resilience came from gratitude, forgiveness, love of friends and family, meditation, an active healthy lifestyle, and the help of CBD. What we put in our bodies matters. She is determined to live her best life and help others do the same. That goal is what led her into the cannabis industry and on a path to find clean plant-based ingredients, amazing partners, and vendors that share those same goals.
Can you share your professional background?
I’m a fashion design major that worked for over twenty years in corporate retail apparel for companies like Espirit De Corp., Gap Inc., and Champion Activewear as managers in product development, global sourcing, product marketing, and merchandising. All of that experience took me to locations all over the world and I learned to work with global teams and run a business.
What inspired you to start your business? What is the first step you took?
In 2015 I went through cancer treatment. Fortunately, I’m now cancer free. After treatment, I changed course and started an e-commerce business selling kits with useful items for people going through cancer treatment. Cannabis was just legalized in Oregon the year before, so I was inspired to create a business offering cannabis kits for cancer patients. I knew I needed to do more research, so I went to a conference for women in cannabis to learn more.
I hadn’t smoked since high school and I’m super sensitive to THC, so you could say I’m someone that bought into the stigma that cannabis was just for stoners and cancer patients. But wow, was I wrong! I was so blown away by how diverse the cannabis plant is. So many people use it in a variety of ways for varying reasons. What I discovered was so impressive that I decided then and there to pivot and start CAASI, a company offering CBD infused products. Now, I can help cancer patients in addition to many others!
What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenges so far have been launching the company in a pandemic. Cannabis is already a challenge because since the industry is still very new, regulations constantly change in different ways from state to state and there are stringent banking obstacles. It’s definitely not business as usual. Pair those situations with our pause in advertising and posting on social media (out of respect) for the Black Lives Matter movement, followed by West Coast wildfires, mail carrier transit delays…needless to say, it’s been a challenging launch.
There have been interruptions in receiving supplies to run the business and a three-month wait for payment processor approval. Getting momentum with any new business can be slow, especially when you’re self-funded. I have so much gratitude though because I’ve met some amazing people! The community I’ve met is very collaborative in sharing resources and offering advice. I work with some amazing marketing interns and vendors that I couldn’t do without. Collaboration from all the people I work with combined with my business experience is helping me overcome these obstacles.
What’s your best piece of advice for new entrepreneurs?
Don’t give up or be discouraged by mistakes and setbacks. Be persistent. Keep asking questions and search for what you need to move forward until you get it. Find a mentor for yourself and give back by working with an apprentice. As tedious as planning can feel, you must have a detailed plan of action. If you don’t know where you’re going, how you’re going to get there and execute that plan, you’re not likely to reach your goal. And when things don’t go the way you plan (which can be often in business), never give up. You just find another way.
What are your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?
I’m starting to use the Tailwind app for automating social posts, and the Shopify app since that’s the platform I use to manage my e-commerce store. I can go anywhere and as long as I have Wi-Fi, I’m still able to do business. I’m able to practice without guidance now but my favorite app when I was learning to meditate was Head Space.
I love Thrive Global blog because of the focus on tips to live to your full potential. Marijuana Moment is one that I follow because it focuses on regulations, bills and laws that are broken down by country and state in real time. CupofJo is a favorite because it’s a lifestyle blog for women touching on so many things that resonate for me and it’s invitingly appealing in format. I haven’t read a book since I launched the business but two of my favorites are Cry The Beloved Country, because of the message and the beautifully descriptive writing, and A Prayer For Owen Meany. It’s the first book I read as a young adult that I didn’t want to put down; it transported me to another place and fueled my desire to read more!
What’s your favorite business tool or resource? Why?
I work with a remote team, so my favorite tool would be Google Drive because it’s a great place for start-ups to share documents, and Trello because it provides a place to collaborate on projects while everything is easily organized and color coded. We know the status of our projects, at a glance. I can’t leave out Zoom because sometimes it’s easier to share the screen and have visuals. Feeling connected is very important.
What are your tips for balancing work with life?
Scheduling is everything, especially when working from home. I love to be impulsive and spontaneous, but there are so many distractions that could keep me from working at home. I could also get totally immersed in work projects and neglect the house chores, or even worse: my family. I have ADHD so if I’m disciplined about scheduling and mostly sticking to the plan, everything works out.
What’s your favorite way to de-stress?
I’ll never tire of a hot shower or bath soak. Meditation and CAASI CBD beverage drops are my go to. I’m naturally an anxious person. I started a meditation intensive while I was going through cancer treatment and it’s been life-changing! Initially I needed guided meditations, but I’ve done it so much that it’s now second nature. I prefer doing it in a serene environment, but really I can do it anywhere and completely block all of the noise when I need to recharge. I also love using the CAASI beverage drops because I can quickly take the edge off in a natural way, without getting intoxicated. CBD is also an anti-inflammatory and it has truly helped my sleep quality. These are just a few bonuses of this amazing plant.
What are your top wellness tips for entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurs are driven and we’re wired to get things done. Sometimes that comes at a cost because we get so passionate or focused on the things we want to achieve and the deadlines we want to make. Before we know it, we can become depleted. We have to remember that self-care is not selfish. If we don’t listen to our bodies and treat our mental and physical health as the gift it is, we won’t be able to do all those amazing things we want to accomplish.
At the beginning of each month, I schedule things that give me fuel and help me recharge because I know when I get busy, I might not stop what I’m doing and take the time otherwise. Some of things I schedule are walks, time with friends, painting, drives to the beach with my daughter and dog, massages, or acupuncture. I start my day with clearing blocks and intentions. At night before sleep I focus on gratitude.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently volunteering with VoteForward.org to write letters and make calls to encourage people to vote. Our CAASI team is in the process of creating an affiliate program to collaborate with influencers in the health and wellness space and I’m putting samples of our product together along with other businesses for a CBD kit that the Oregon Cannabis Association is donating to frontline healthcare workers and peaceful protesters. We’re also in the process of working on our next product that will be a topical cream.
How can our readers connect with you?
Email [email protected]