Navy Vet Antoinette Wade Launches New CBD Brand Focused On Support And Empowerment
The CBD sector is rife with competition as new brands and startups hustle for the largest market share.
The latest entrant in the space is Antoinette Wade. But she doesn't exactly have the same agenda.
The 11-year Navy veteran hopes to use the revenue generated from her newly launched Gratitude Blossom to help fund a collective that aims to help fellow veterans, the disabled and terminally ill.
The goal is to provide individuals with an alternative, natural option to treat their medical needs — just as Wade has done herself — while also providing a community of support and empowerment, first online, and eventually through the San Diego store.
"A lot of times, we have illnesses that aren't addressed, or we're afraid to address them," Wade says.
Launched earlier this month, Gratitude Blossom's focus is on garnering the attention of women veterans like herself. Wade also hopes to use CBD to further support those like her who have suffered from combat-related medical conditions.
Women are often expected to "do more to stand out" while keeping emotions in check or otherwise risk a negative reputation, Wade adds.
Wade, who worked as a child behavior specialist before enlisting in the Navy, says her military roles helped further her understanding of the importance of serving the community.
Her military career includes working as an Aviation Structural Mechanic Leading Petty Officer and Recruiter, with tours in Japan, Virginia, Los Angeles and San Diego, where she now operates her company and lives with her husband — who is also in the Navy — and daughter.
She also holds an MS in Health Sciences and Public Health from Trident University, as well as a lean six sigma black belt certification.
When Wade transferred from Los Angeles to San Diego with her family, she began to experience the effects of PTSD and other debilitating combat-related injuries.
Her medical pains led to a year of treatment and her eventual retirement from the Navy.
Wade searched for her next step. Her intuition first led to nonprofit holistic work and a PhD to aid the community.
But in September, after receiving offers that didn't appeal to her, Wade shuttered the career plan when the idea of a CBD and THC education center and brand came about. She'd read countless articles, focusing on learning from accomplished Black business leaders.
Additional support would come from minority-focused business support firm C.E. Hutton, among others.
Eventually, she decided to use Gratitude Blossom to fund the education center she considers a collective.
Wade would also tap into her public health background to emphasize product trust.
"I ran into different obstacles," Wade says. She credits her team for helping secure doctors and researchers to help develop the product while filing the needed paperwork along the way.
"It took that much effort to put out something that I truly care about for the consumer."
'Inviting And Welcoming'
Wade's specific market focus differentiates Gratitude Blossom from other CBD brands.
"I don't necessarily see myself competing because the Gratitude Blossom brand is more of an inviting or welcoming type of brand for those seeking a different type of healing," she says.
The hope is that Gratitude Blossom can attract consumers seeking a "step further" or ways to integrate CBD into their lifestyle along with wellness efforts like meditation and positive affirmations, she explains.
"It's not a competition or race," she says. "Just preference."
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