Melissa Dugan of Pharmstrong: “Your health is your wealth”

Your health is your wealth. Agreed. As I get older, I realize I can’t take my health for granted. Sleep, strength, and CBD are my “go-to’s” for wellness and recovery. I literally cannot focus if I don’t have enough sleep and exercise. How can I run a company, mother two teenage boys, love on my […]

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Your health is your wealth. Agreed. As I get older, I realize I can’t take my health for granted. Sleep, strength, and CBD are my “go-to’s” for wellness and recovery. I literally cannot focus if I don’t have enough sleep and exercise. How can I run a company, mother two teenage boys, love on my husband, hang with my besties, and make the best decisions for my business without amazing health? I can’t. My health is my #1 priority.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Melissa Dugan, Co-Founder of Pharmstrong.

Melissa Dugan, CEO and Co-Founder of Pharmstrong is one of only a handful of women who own and run a successful CBD enterprise. Opening Pharmstrong UK this November, Melissa is a trailblazer bringing Pharmstrong’s premiere Colorado CBD to Britain. Melissa is now prepared to take Pharmstrong on into the EU, South Africa, and Australia.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

My career was on hold for many years while I raised my two boys. I created jobs for myself in my kids’ school and our community. I saw gaps, and I filled them. During the 2008 financial crisis, many of my friends lost their jobs. I started a pack and move company so that my unemployed friends could work while their kids were in school. Also, people faced with losing their homes and having to move quickly. My company was an economical way to pack for a move. Plus, you could still go to work while “moms” were packing you up. Who would you rather have in your home packing and organizing other than a group of moms? The business was called Moms Pack U. It was fun and creative and perfect for the times.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

My main take away from years of work and self-reflection is that we are here on this Earth to be truly helpful to others. Period. It’s not about money, fame, or fortune. It is about being of service to others with honesty and integrity. I have always been able to figure out solutions to my most perplexing problems. Once I figure something out for myself, I want to share it with others. That’s also why I got into life coaching. I’m a much happier person today because I worked on finding healthier ways to handle my problems. Through letting go, opening my heart, and quieting my mind, I have been given answers to my struggles. People do not have to suffer. Again, what I learned, I now pass on so that others don’t have to suffer. I started my CBD company for that same reason.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

My biggest mistakes all came from thinking I knew more than people around me. Once when I was about 23 and an art gallery director at an art school outside Aspen, Colorado, my boss took me aside and said, “Melissa, someday you could run this place; today is just not that day.” When I was young, I was assertive and opinionated. I wish I could take back some of the cheeky things I said. Oh well, live, and learn.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Today, I have keen sensibilities because of my mom. She was a risk-taker and an incredible provider. When she was 45, she quit her education career and moved away to get her Ph.D. in Psychology. It was a complete life change at 45, and her bravery was staggering. Similar to my mother, I leaped at 48 and started Pharmstrong.

My mom is now 75. Still works, counsels people and is as gorgeous as ever. She’s writing a book about aging and neuroplasticity. We’ve talked about starting a YouTube channel together in 2021. We would like to discuss wellness and healthy aging. It should be very informative.

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

CBD is an organic, therapeutic alternative to pharmaceutical, synthetic drugs. It is so rewarding to see our CBD in the hands of people around the world. At our flagship store in Breckenridge, we have Colorado’s only CBD Sample Bar. We have a sample bar for people to try CBD before they buy. This gives consumers a way to see if CBD is for them and feel its effects. We are that confident about the quality, purity, and potency of our CBD! Again, we are focused on helping people relieve their suffering. We feel that the best way to do that is through nature. As more and more research is approved, we will see even more benefits from hemp and CBD. Indeed, hemp may be able to save the world. It’s antibacterial properties, therapeutic properties, and environmental properties are life-changing.

A primary focus of our company is busting myths about CBD. Yes, we have a lot of educational material, but sometimes that is information overload. So, we call ourselves myth busters. Every day in our store, we tell people the truth about CBD and how it works on the body. Our hemp is not the hemp of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. We offer only scientifically-formulated hemp CBD, tested by outside labs, and intended for wellness, not for recreational use.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

Tell the truth — I always tell my kids that you will never have to remember what you said and what story you told someone if you always tell the truth. In everything we do at Pharmstrong, we tell the truth. It’s the easiest path to establishing customer trust.

Start Each Day With a Grateful Heart — It’s a quote I have by my desk. I used to wake up and count my problems, and worry, worry, worry. Now, I count my blessing. When you start focusing on all the positives in your life, you will see that the problems you had, all worked out, and whatever you are facing today, will eventually have a positive outcome.

Move Your Body to Boost Your Happiness — When I was younger, I exercised to look good. Today, I exercise because it boosts my mood and makes me happy. Plus, feeling healthier and breathing better is a bonus!

Be of Service — Helping others always get me out of my own drama. Even during Covid, you can help friends and family by reaching out and wishing them well. We all need to know we are not going through this alone.

Take CBD — I think and move better when I take my CBD every day. I tell our customers that for me, taking CBD is like oiling the Tin Man (I have fewer creaks and squeaks.)

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

Hemp and CBD, of course! Like I said earlier, hemp may save the world. I am not exaggerating. Hemp has many chemical compounds, like CBD, which are still just being discovered. Think about how many thousands of years, hemp has evolved with the human body. Indigenous cultures have known about hemp’s antibacterial and therapeutic properties for years. What if we used hemp as medicine, and when we grew it, it detoxified and replenished nutrients in the soil? What if we used it to replace wood in building materials and we stopped cutting down the world’s last forests? That would be a miracle. That would be a revolution of wellness for our planet and ourselves.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. Believe in yourself. For many women, confidence seems to fly out the door when faced with a raging business partner or low sales numbers. Many women struggle with Imposter Syndrome, doubting one’s abilities. I’ve been down that spiral. It was a waste of time. I’ve learned not to let the pressure of the position make me question my worthiness and competencies.
  2. You are worthy. Just be yourself and know there is a place in this world for you. When I turned 50, and I let my hair go gray. I realized life is not about proving my greatness and comparing myself to others. Life is about understanding my uniqueness and valuing my innate worth.
  3. Business is hard. It is. It is manageable and doable, but it can be difficult. Sometimes you make decisions, and they flop, sometimes you invest in a system, and it doesn’t work. I believe in CBD and its benefits. I thought I would get into the CBD business and tell everyone how excellent the product is, and viola, everyone would want to buy their CBD from me. Didn’t happen. I work seven days a week. I wear many hats. I work hard for every sale we make. Pharmstrong, my company, is in the CBD business for the long haul. Every sale matters to me because I know someone is now using CBD. That’s worth it for me!
  4. There will always be bright, shiny objects. Ha! I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. There will always be someone who has “the answer” to your problems, especially in marketing. Now, on the internet and in social media, there are millions of courses, methods, and products that can “boost” your sales. Don’t fall for the bright, shiny objects. Our success is based on listening to our customers and focusing on quality, trust, and transparency.
  5. Your health is your wealth. Agreed. As I get older, I realize I can’t take my health for granted. Sleep, strength, and CBD are my “go-to’s” for wellness and recovery. I literally cannot focus if I don’t have enough sleep and exercise. How can I run a company, mother two teenage boys, love on my husband, hang with my besties, and make the best decisions for my business without amazing health? I can’t. My health is my #1 priority.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

Mental health is the most critical topic facing humans today. If we don’t have mental wellbeing, how can we focus on the other issues facing our world today?

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?






Thank you for these fantastic insights!

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