Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference Unveils Largely Virtual Lineup For 2020 – Forbes
Although a recent report predicts “an extinction event” for the CBD industry’s more than 3,000 brands—based on overcrowding of the market and the pandemic’s ongoing impact—the outlook for the luxury category looks better than ever. Organizers for the annual Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference announced the lineup on Thursday for its third edition, an in-person and virtual hybrid event running September 15 and 16 in New York City and beyond.
Dubbed “LMCC Anywhere,” the two-day conference was originally slated for May, when coronavirus closures caused organizers to rethink its strategy entirely.
“The category has proven to be especially resilient under the most strenuous of circumstances this year, with revenue outpacing projections at many companies,” adds LMCC co-executive director Jonathan Halata. “Throughout this, [we] remain deeply committed to upholding the most rigorous standards in order to drive the category forward and instill confidence in global retailers, press and Wall Street within what has quickly become a multibillion dollar industry.”
LMCC saw a record increase in brand applications this year, up more than 400% from 2019, all of which Halata and co-executive director Jed Wexler personally test to curate for a coveted spot in its official 28-brand showcase. Accepted brands are provided virtual brand showcases where they can demo products in real-time during the event—while simultaneously having their products displayed in a (safe) in-person, by-appointment-only showroom at Hudson Yards. Each of LMCC’s selected brands is also included in LMCC’s Luxury Box (an assortment sent to attendees around the world in advance) to directly connect with investors, media and mainstream retailers.
“Three years ago we launched the very first [LMCC]—and we had a sense we were on to something incredibly special,” reflects LMCC co-executive director Jed Wexler. Flash forward to today and the category has become a global retail, consumer and civic phenomenon. And we feel that it is still just getting started.”
Signaling even more mainstream acceptance, LMCC will welcome beauty industry icons Bobbi Brown and Frédéric Fekkai as its headlining speakers. Both have added CBD into their own product offerings this year: Brown under her new supplement line EVOLUTION_18; Fekkai with the upcoming launch of a CBD haircare collection.
Brown, who discovered CBD early on in Colorado where she has a home, found instant relief for calming her everyday nerves, while also improving her sleep and focus. EVOLUTION 18’s “Chill” gummies are, of course, her personal go-to, which she says she takes everyday—sometimes twice.
“I think the industry’s quick embrace of CBD shows that [it] is not a trend, but an important addition to the current arsenal of wellness to enhance your physical and mental wellbeing,” explains Brown. “I’ve always believed that beauty and wellness are intertwined, which is why I feel that CBD is so relevant. In my career, I’ve seen many different trends that either stick around for a while or are quick to go. I’d compare CBD’s entry to that of natural makeup. Both came in quickly, but are important advancements that brought, and will continue to bring, their industries to the next level.”
Fekkai adds, “CBD has received a lot of attention in the beauty industry and the manufacturers embraced it pretty rapidly. I believe argan oil and tea tree oil had similar success [in the hair category].”
LMCC will host more than 30 speakers for its many all-virtual panels and trend presentations, addressing topics ranging from “Should You Still Invest in Cannabis?” with Mitch Baruchowitz of Merida Capital Partners and Jeremy Berke of Business Insider to “CBD’s Role in the Luxury Hospitality Industry” with Anna Bjrustam of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas to “Business, Beauty and Blackness” with BROWN GIRL Jane co-founders Malaika Jones Kebede, Nia Jones and Tai Beauchamp.
With inclusion and diversity a cornerstone of LMCC programming this year, 4thMVMT CEO Karim Webb returns to launch the company’s new social impact cannabis dispensary initiative, Sixty Four & Hope, while Lorine Pendleton, a partner in Portfolia’s Rising America Fund, will advise attendees on how to invest in diverse-led companies in a special seminar. Out of the 28 exhibiting brands covering nine wellness categories, four are founded by Black women.
“Enduring and comprehensive change within any industry requires a broad range of players, and given the over-criminalization of Black and Brown communities, diversifying cannabis commerce is absolutely vital,” shares Jones Kebede, who also serves as CEO of BROWN GIRL Jane. “As a Black-owned luxury CBD brand, we are committed to collectively continuing to promote the stories, products and experiences of inclusive brands.”
Before the third annual Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference commences next month (discounted registration is available through August 28), meet the most prestigious brands in pot that made the cut for “LMCC Anywhere.”
Headquartered in the High Rockies of Aspen, this husband-and-wife-founded CBD skincare brand launched earlier this year, fittingly with the Dynamic Duo: Antedotum’s Elixir Firming Serum and Vital Face Oil. antedotum.com
Longtime friends Kathryn Weinberger and Julie Weiss Schwartz—both Manhattan-based cosmetic industry veterans—introduc their answer to the long sought-after anti-aging solution with a multi-tasking facial serum, highlighter and lip gloss; an eye cream will be released this fall. beautyreleaf.com
Hand-crafted and infused with CBD rich hemp oil, Black Dahlia is known for its pleasant-tasting oral sprays and moisture-rich topicals, but it’s their new focus on gourmet chocolates and confections (in partnership with chefs Greg Bernhardt and Taryn Garcia) that earned the San Francisco-based company an LMCC spot for the second year in a row. blackdahlia.co
Inspired by the beauty of the Adriatic Sea, this comprehensive collection of plant-based face, body and hair products was born from founder Alison Ragusa’s decades-plus experience as a Florentine chef and holistic health expert. bogavia.com
BROWN GIRL Jane
A powerhouse trio of Black, female founders (sisters Malaika and Nia Jones, and wellness expert Tai Beauchamp) came together to create tinctures and topicals after discovering the healing power of CBD, but were unable to find plant-based products formulated for and marketed to women of color. browngirljane.com
From the team behind the best-selling skincare line High Beauty (see below) comes CanBE Naturally, another cannabis sativa seed oil-based collection, but at a lower price point and slated to launch in more than 2,000 CVS stores nationwide in September. canbenaturally.com
Crafted with non-GMO, U.S.-grown hemp, Canna River promises the highest quality products, but without over-inflated prices. One of the few cannabis wellness brands to sell smokable CBD-only flower, its accessible line also includes tinctures (for humans and pets, too), topicals and capsules. cannariver.com
Unhappy with the products and customer service of other plant-based brands, the husband-and-wife team at Common Ground wanted to create their own beautiful, pure, and potent products. Grown on its mountain-top farm in Colorado, Common Ground’s CBD and CBG oil is also extracted, formulated and bottled in-house with products ranging from tinctures and topicals to a soon-to-be-launched line of loose leaf teas. commonground-health.com
Morocco meets California in founder Dr. Mia Chae Reddy’s ethos for her inclusive and ritual-based beauty brand. Using ethically-sourced, highly-active botanicals from all over the world, CBD is just one plant-based ingredient used in Dehiya’s award-winning line—continually sold out online and in-store through partners ranging from Urban Outfitters to Svn Space. dehiyabeauty.com
Fog & Tree
Named to capture the essence of the Northern California forest, this niche fragrance comes in an Eau de Parfum and Beard Conditioner blended with terpenes from cannabis grown in Humbolt County. LMCC recognized Fog & Tree again this year for its expansion, including the addition of Fred Segal as its newest stockist. fogandtree.com
Known for her work growing the California cannabis start-up Papa & Barkley from the ground up, Kimberly Dillon has ventured out on her own to form Frigg, a company committed to helping women battle stress (an issue she personally battled as CMO) with CBD potions for the face and hair along with a caffeine-free, herbal tea. getfrigg.com
As life-long athletes, founders Britni Jessup and Tanja Baker discovered that only full-spectrum hemp extract helped cure their aches and pains. But they couldn’t find a product line that had a high enough concentration. Inspired by the Egyptian Pharaoh Hatshepsut (and pronounced hat – SHē), Hatshe’s Tangerine Relief Gel is already cult favorite among outdoor enthusiasts and fitness buffs. hatshe.com
You won’t find CBD in this five-step skincare regimen; instead, founder and beauty industry veteran Melissa Jochim opted for cannabis sativa seed oil, scientifically proven to have equally as incredible benefits for the skin. Plus, High Beauty’s pretty pastel glass jars and BPA-free bottles look chic on your bathroom counter. highbeauty.com
Co-founders Jewel Zimmer (a former fine dining pastry chef and certified sommelier in San Francisco) and Taylor Lamb (previously a marketing expert for Lunya and Gorjana) had a shared goal: to create targeted, plant-powered tinctures for mind, body, mood and sleep. Juna’s formulas boast full-spectrum infusions with a subtle herbal-floral flavor to be used throughout your daily wellness ritual. juna-world.com
Founder Asel Hofgartner not only tapped into her background as a medical cannabis producer, but also into her heritage to create better versions of the products she personally used. Combining edelweiss flower extract with CBD oil extracted from hemp organically grown in in the Swiss Alps, Kana Vita’s collection of rich cremes calm the most common skin issues from sensitivity to redness to dehydration. kannavita.net
Amid the many CBD companies to expand into pet care, King Finley is the first to emerge that’s dedicated to the most discerning dogs. Exclusively launching at LMCC, the luxury line includes human-grade, plant-based tinctures, treats and pampering products for canines who need a daily dose of calm, too. kingfinley.com
Located in Humboldt County, this family-owned and -operated business was one of the first movers in the legal space to expand into CBD beauty and wellness drawing on 20 years of cannabis industry experience to hand-craft small-batch products. Opening the flagship Kiskanu Cannabis Dispensary in Northern California earlier this year brought them back to LMCC in 2020. kiskanuhemp.com
Lab To Beauty
A stand-out brand at LMCC last year for its beloved CBD-based supplement, skincare, bath and body products, Lab to Beauty returns to LMCC 2020 to exclusively launch a new line formulated with CBG—a plant compound known as the “stem cell” of cannabinoids. Positioned as even more luxe, it’s the first-ever skincare collection to feature CBG and it includes a cleansing oil, face oil, moisture mask, repair cream and body oil to provide “next-level healing and repair.” labtobeauty.com
As self-proclaimed “soil science nerds” LEEF Organics’ sun grown, single-origin hemp harvests result in what is among the cleanest and purest CBD extract possible. Its diverse lineup covers everything from muscle recovery to anxiety, but LEEF is best-known for its best-selling Nooks + Crannies bar soap. leeforganics.com
Chondita Dayton was on a quest for relief that checked all the right boxes: plant-based, fast-acting and convenient. Born from the challenges that come with being a working mom, the Liweli line includes Super Lemon powder packets, each infused with 25 milligrams of CBD and blend easily into any beverage. liweli.com
Two friends—one a former World Champion extreme snowboarder, the other a philanthropist and investor—teamed up to bring their passion for hemp-based beauty to life in a simple, three-step skincare regimen with a CBD-rich body lotion enhanced with emu oil. loveplushemp.com
Based in Boulder, each piece of Moksha Chocolate (available classic dark and milk flavors or more unique combinations like white matcha and raspberry coconut) is hand-crafted from a blend of sustainably-grown, single-varietal Peruvian cacao and hemp extract from plants grown in Colorado. mokshachocolate.com
Moon Mother Hemp
The husband-and-wife team behind this Boulder-based company manage every aspect of the process from starting seedlings on their own hemp farm to selling finished products in their downtown retail store. Moon Mother Hemp’s straightforward, highly-concentrated collection covers beauty, supplements, topicals and pet care. moonmotherhemp.com
First-generation immigrant Gunhee Park first discovered his passion for plant-based remedies growing up in South Korea. Now based in Arizona and on-shelves at Anthropologie, Park founded Populum in 2016 encouraging consumers to “pay your farmer, not your pharmacist” for its range of CBD supplements and topicals for people and pets. populum.com
With an MBA from Harvard Business School and a career spent in food and beverage strategy, founder Hilary McCain created Sweet Reason with the goal of helping calm the mind and ease discomfort. Four fruit-flavored sodas are sweetened naturally and made without sugars or artificial ingredients with 10 milligrams of hemp extract in every glass bottle. drinksweetreason.com
Taylor + tess
Named and founded in honor of her family’s storied history, Tess Taylor created a CBD skincare line intended for everyone, more specifically, “For women, men, neither, and both.” Based in Dallas, Taylor + tess is committed to destigmatizing cannabis and to social equity efforts through sales of its signature three-step regimen (aka “a menage a trios for the face”), which includes a cleansing bar with hemp sponge, refreshing spray and cream. taylorandtess.com
Wash With Water
As the first family-focused wellness and skincare brand in the category (it’s also more affordable), Wash With Water makes gentle, plant-based formulations safe enough for a newborn with a companion CBD collection to keep moms (and dads) calm. washwithwatercare.com
Launched by a former longtime Urban Decay executive, WLDKAT blends together inventive ingredients (think Mushroom + Moss Gel Cream and Ginger + Kombucha Bubbling Skin Tonic) with playful packaging inviting millennials to “join the cult” of clean, vegan, sustainable and cruelty-free skincare. wldkat.com
Disclosure: Katie Shapiro participates as a moderator for LMCC’s virtual programming throughout the year (including “LMCC Anywhere”), but does not have a vested interest or hold stake in LMCC Ventures or any of the aforementioned showcasing companies.