Janet McAllister is fucking amazing. There’s no other way to say it. I asked Denny to help brainstorm an opening sentence by filling in the blank after Janet is …
He said, fucking amazing. Pardon the vulgarity, but he’s right and there’s just no better way to say it.
Most people in the medical marijuana community in Maine know Janet as the Hippy Chick,and somehow she manages to make each and every one of us feel special in her presence. She is a healing presence and a CBD master.
Terri, Denny and I got to visit Janet’s production space to see her team working on the CBD candy cane line. Lucky us!! It was almost as good as a golden ticket into Willy Wonka’s factory!
I was first inspired by Janet when I was writing Mainely Thoughts. She was just starting Hippy Chick with a small line of botanically based capsules, salves, and tinctures made in her own kitchen.
Janet’s a single mom with elementary school-aged girls at home, so it’s amazing to think of her showing so much initiative with so much responsibility on her shoulders. The fucking amazing part is that Janet decided to build this dream after being widowed while carrying her twins.
As Janet likes to say, she’s done alright “with $150, kids and homelessness.” And she has. She says she’s come so far that sometimes she finds herself thinking, “What the hell am I doing?” adding, “it can be crazy and overwhelming with all the laws, regulations, compliance issues,” etc.
“It can be a challenge, but I keep my blinders on, doing the best I can from one day to the next.”
The former tiny kitchen enterprise now fills an entire house in Sangerville and supplies walk-in customers, online customers and 45 stores that carry Hippy Chick products. The Hippy Chick operation includes the main office/apothecary, a licensed commercial kitchen, and a body products production space, along with storage and other spaces under development.
Janet focuses primarily CBD products at this time, blended with essential oils and other healing ingredients. Her commercial kitchen is for CBD edibles only. The Hippy Chick CBD edible product line includes: lollipops, trail mix, jam, fudge, hard candy, Brainfreezers (Freeze Pop-like popsicles), and of course the seasonal candy cane/pillow candy line we got to see under production.
Once the adult recreational use market is established, Janet plans to expand her product line to include THC edibles. There’s a space above the garage under development that will house a separate commercial kitchen for that line. Avoiding any cross contamination is a huge priority for the team.
Other Hippy Chick products include: CBD bath bombs, CBD body butter, CBD transdermal patches, anxiety capsules, CBD capsules, CBD goat soap, CBD pet tincture, CBD, CBD tincture, CBD deodorizing pain bar, essential toil oil.
Kyla Viveiros handles these body products and tincture lines in a separate upstairs space, again to avoid any cross contamination. Kyla beams as she works and loves being considered part of Janet’s family. Most of the staff are actual relatives of Janet’s, but you’d never be able to tell which ones aren’t from the way they all interact together.
Chris Palmer, Janet’s son-in-law, and Emily Jayne work the commercial kitchen space with Janet. Janet says the candy line is the heart of the business Palmer has a “chemistry mind” and creates all the flavors. We all agree after sampling the chocolate mint candy cane, which tastes EXACTLY like an Andes Candy. Seriously. Exactly.
Emily Jayne is the master of shapes, and there are no words to describe her sugar roses, except maybe to say that her roses are as pretty as the real thing. She and Janet developed the roses and other candy designs by first practicing with Play-doh.
Karna Marie Johnson is the glue holding all the pieces together. She has a hand in each piece of the operation and oversees the apothecary and online store. Janet admits to pushing her hard, but Karna appeared as calm and pleasant as could be, fielding phone calls and the occasional walk-in the entire time we were there.
Janet loves working with family and people who “have the right energy” to fit in as family. Her mom even helps during production pushes! It allows the creativity to flow continuously. “Lots of brainstorming happens in the kitchen at supper,” Janet says.
Janet is a busy lady, attending at least 1-2 conventions a month and will be at The Harvest Cup in Worcester, Ma Dec. 15-16. Palmer’s granola recipe has been entered in the competition.
She’s also keeping her eye on the future. The near future includes upgrades to her candy-making space, though she prides herself on the Mainer ingenuity supporting production currently. Soon a heated candy-making table will replace the stainless steel one warmed by space heaters.
When asked about her favorite part of what she does, Janet answered just like you’d expect this fucking amazing woman to answer. Janet told the story of a woman she’d worked with. This woman had to be carried in by her husband because her level of anxiety was so high.
When this woman came in on a recent Friday, Janet said she was smiling and happy and had company with her. Janet’s words:
My favorite part of what I do is the way what I do impacts someone’s life … I like empowering people to take their lives back.