Trailblazers 2019: Tamu and Zia Stolbie's cannabis ventures bust stigmas and boost sustainability

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      The Stolbie sisters are a force to be reckoned with. The cannabis-industry entrepreneurs began working together at a very early age, doing odd jobs around their parents' Calgary hair salon, and just never stopped. Since then, the powerhouse duo has launched a clothing line, an event-production company, and a creative agency—all centred on a newly legalized plant.

      “For years, we had all of these different pieces in place, with various jobs and industries, but they all started to fold into one when the missing link came in,” Tamu tells the Georgia Straight.

      “And it was cannabis,” Zia adds.

      Both sisters toyed around with endeavours in film, tech, and event production: acting, organizing Vancouver’s Me to We events, and doing hair and makeup for the stars.

      But when they realized the lack of diversity across various professional landscapes, the two were inspired to change the trajectory for Canada’s budding legal cannabis industry.

      Their venture into the weeds started three years ago when they founded the Coven Club, a nonprofit organization, and their podcast with long-time friend Sarah Leamon, a criminal-defence lawyer specializing in cannabis.

      “Our organization focuses on lifting up women in heavily male-dominated industries,” Tamu says. “We realized early on that cannabis was going to be such an important area for women in business and there was an opportunity to avoid the mistakes we saw in the film and tech industries around a lack of diversity.”

      The Stolbie Sisters have devised ways to ensure that the cannabis space isn't dominated by old white men.
      Karolina Turek

      Each of the Stolbies' ventures maintains sustainability, busting archaic stigmas, with gender equality at the crux.

      For example, a tree is planted for every purchase made of Stolbie Brand attire, their ecofriendly, ethically and locally sourced line of pot-leaf-emblazoned kimonos and underwear.

      Their High End Dinner Series—infused culinary experiences catered by Red Seal chef Adam Barski—provides educational and safe dining events for new and canna-curious consumers.

      The two are now working on a new digital series called The Trailblazing Stolbie Sisters—a vlog showcasing their day-to-day lives to help reshape the public image of a cannabis entrepreneur.

      For other women looking to create space inside traditionally patriarchal industries, Tamu advises that they arm themselves with persistence and patience.

      “Don’t be afraid to take the risk,” Zia adds. “Don’t second-guess yourself, take the chance, and surround yourself with good people.”