Welcome to the very first interview of 2021!
Today we have an interview from Weed Queen, Kristin Murr-Sloat, Co-owner at AlpinStash. AlpinStash is a leader in the craft cannabis movement. Kristin Murr-Sloat was considerate enough to take the time to answer some questions about her success in the cannabis industry, how she did it and how you can do it too!
More about Kristin Murr-Sloat:
Kristin Murr-Sloat was born and raised in Colorado where she grew up playing hockey. After sustaining a back injury, she began the typical regimen of OTC and pharmaceutical pain remedies. It wasn’t until Murr tried cannabis that she noticed immediate relief. With two years of commercial cannabis bakery experience and a desire to continue paving her way in the emerging cannabis industry, Murr joined AlpinStash, handling logistics and cultivating cannabis along with her husband and AlpinStash co-owner Danny Murr-Sloat. Over the years, the couple have brought their vision of helping people access the highest quality cannabis possible to life. Today, Murr’s also a proud, pro-cannabis mom. AlpinStash is a licensed Colorado-based company known for healthy and beautiful cannabis cultivated using all-natural methods. Small-batch, grown-with-love, hand-trimmed and glass-cured to perfection, AlpinStash is a leader in the craft cannabis movement.
How would you describe yourself and what you do?
I am a decisive, sometimes brash motivated person. If I’m thinking or talking about doing something, it generally means I am starting the process the next day or even within the hour. I’m also very flexible and adaptable. I run and co-own a small craft cannabis grow, AlpinStash, in Colorado with my husband Danny Murr-Sloat.
What is your company about? What do you guys do?
AlpinStash focuses on sustainable growing practices and breeding craft cultivars. We do everything by hand — we hand water, hand trim and glass cure at our small mom n’ pop cannabis grow.
What makes AlpinStash unique?
I think everything we do makes us unique. Doing everything by hand on this scale is no easy feat. Our small staff also allows for close relationships and complete trust in our process and each other. We wouldn’t be who or where we are without our employees Josh Liston and Rohinika Devi. We all wear many hats and it takes all hands on board to cultivate quality cannabis. Another aspect would be our unique cultivars. Each harvest, we breed new cultivars and try to test different phenos. We are always working to cultivate the best cannabis we can.
What’s your favorite part about your job? Least favorite?
A lot has happened in 2020, and we have all felt the effects of COVID. Thankfully we were deemed essential and allowed to keep our doors open. However, personally Danny and I had to change some things around as far as tasks are concerned and the way we were living/working. We have a 16 month old and my mom was our child care. We decided to be extra cautious, so this meant I would start working from home while simultaneously taking care of our rambunctious toddler. This has been challenging, at best. I have been focusing on our social media, sales and a lot of work that needs to happen on the backend. The less glamorous side of owning a business some would say. However, the situation has allowed me to catch up on things I would push aside at times, so I could play with our plants (the funnest part, in my opinion). As women, we often have such high expectations of ourselves, and to be honest, most days I am just surviving. Answering emails in between screams and puzzles, putting on the wiggles so I can sit down for 20 – 30 minutes at a time to work. I guess long-answer-short, my new role as a full time mom/business owner working from home is both — it’s my favorite because it pushes and teaches me new skills and allows me to spend everyday with our son….and it’s my least favorite because it is SO HARD and challenging daily and often hourly.
What is your vision and mission for AlpinStash?
We are currently in the middle of an expansion that will increase our size and ability to breed without compromising our current practices. Our vision and goal is to continue to prove that you can cultivate quality, safe, organic cannabis on a bigger scale without compromising who we are and what we believe in. We are constantly working to improve and to learn.
What were you doing before you started AlpinStash?
When AlpinStash was getting off the ground, I went to work for a cannabis bakery in Boulder, Colorado. The idea was that I could learn different sides of industry while also earning a paycheck. I would work at AlpinStash on my off days and after my work day ended at the bakery. But before that, I was a preschool teacher and nanny.
How did that influence what you do?
Multitasking and organization is key when you work with children. These skills are also key when you run and own a business. Even more so now as I explained above. I really want people to know that being a mom and business owner is hard work and I don’t think we give enough credit or acknowledgement for this. We are just expected to do both perfectly without complaint.
How did you learn the skills to start and run a successful business?
Honestly, by trial and error. I just apply what I know in areas I am comfortable with. In the other areas, I make mistakes and learn from them. I attribute much of my skill set to sports. I am a hockey player and grew up playing at a competitive level. Competitive sports require a lot of the same skills running a business does: dedication, hard work and the ability to be adaptable and quick on your feet. Teamwork and problem solving are also key skills for both.
What factors have contributed towards your path of success?
An incredible support system! When your loved ones believe in you and your ability to succeed, it helps you to believe in yourself. My parents have always supported me when I’ve been passionate about anything in my life. I contribute my goal oriented mentality and ability to dive in head first to them.
What has your personal experience with cannabis been?
I experienced a life altering back injury from hockey. I was prescribed a multitude of painkillers and muscle relaxers that were making me depressed. A friend suggested I try cannabis instead and, to be honest, I was hesitant. As an athlete who was born in the ‘80s, I bought into the “cannabis is a drug” rhetoric. I was instantly “converted” when I felt the pain relief and the fog lifting in my head from the pain pills. It took a week of consuming cannabis to change my perspective completely in 2004. Cannabis helped me to get off the pills and back onto the ice.
Did you ever feel like you weren’t taken seriously because you are a woman?
Absolutely, there are not a lot of women in the cultivation space in Colorado (or at least, that I know of — if you’re a cultivator in Colorado reading this,please reach out!). When we first started, and at times this still happens, people would look completely past me and only address Danny. They would assume I knew nothing about the actual plant or cultivation process. I’ll never forget the first podcast I did with a pretty big male name in the industry. He asked me what it was like to be a woman in the industry, then proceeded to interrupt me and explain to me what it was REALLY like because he didn’t like my answer.
How/do you think your involvement in this industry is going to positively impact your community?
In my personal life, I have been focusing on trying to help other moms come out of the cannabis closet. In a legal state, you would assume that women would feel comfortable and open about their consumption. Sadly, that is not the case. Oftentimes, women reach out to me in “secret” and ask questions, ask me to share my personal experience with cannabis and motherhood. I feel honored and thankful that they trust me and want to learn, but I’m also saddened that the judgement is so strong that they feel as though it needs to be hidden. My hope is that I can help end the stigma attached to cannabis and parenting by leading by example, as well as educating other moms. My other hope is for women to not feel like they have to decide between being a mother and being a business woman.
What’s the biggest change you want to see in the cannabis industry?
I think we have a really good chance to change the narrative in this new industry when it comes to using the sexualization of women to sell a product. As a new industry, I am so disheartened to see certain companies immediately jump to sexist images in hopes of selling cannabis. When trade shows were still happening, you would often see young women dressed in only cannabis leaves or laying almost naked on a table in the brand’s attempt to get attention and sell their product. WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS! We really have a chance to change the way things are done. We are a new and growing industry. There are so many amazing, strong intelligent women on this platform who’s companies and products speak for themselves. But yet, we also have a lot of brands who are still catering to this prehistoric ideal that in order to sell their product they need to use a woman’s body instead of her brain.
Now that cannabis is legal, what excites you most and what worries you the most?
I am so excited that we get to share our experiences and knowledge with one another. AlpinStash is an open book and we believe strongly that the actual growing of the plant is just as therapeutic as the consumption. We encourage people to reach out to us on our IG and YouTube channel with questions about growing and cannabis.
As a woman, what challenges did you encounter (if any) building your business in a male-dominated industry and how do you plan to create change and inclusiveness for future WOC joining the industry?
I am lucky enough to have an amazing partner in this company who is a self proclaimed male feminist. He has always seen and treated me as an equal in every aspect of our business and life together. However, my biggest hurdle is not being taken seriously by some of the players in this space. It’s as though I am only viewed as Danny’s wife and not a co-owner/business woman. This was even the case from a previous employee. My goal is to help create space to support women who want to get involved by not only hiring WOC, but supporting women who are out there hustling their asses off as well. Tokeativity is a great example of a feminist community I love. They host networking events for women in the cannabis industry and have created an amazing supportive platform for those of us wanting to learn what more we can do and who we can support in this effort.
What would be your best piece of advice for fellow women looking to pursue the cannabis industry?
KEEP GOING and do not give up. There are a lot of negative people and companies in all industries, including this one. I suggest finding a company or community that aligns with your beliefs and goals and joining in anyway you can. I wish we could hire everyone who reaches out that’s qualified, but unfortunately that is not an option. If you find a business you have your heart set on and they don’t hire you, keep going, keep looking.
What would you consider to be the most effective way or initial steps of breaking down barriers and ceilings to pave this path for women in the industry?
Community, community, community! We are stronger together. Support and buy from women owned businesses. Listen to podcasts like the BluntBlowinMama, buy clothing from companies like Buy Weed From Women, consume products that were grown or made by other women. Show the industry that we are here and we are thriving.
There’s still a perception or stigma attached to the people involved in the cannabis industry or just consumers that partake in recreational or medical use, as being stoners. If you have encountered this kind of close minded perspective, what would your argument be to shift the conversation to one of the importance of the weed market and why it should be celebrated/normalized?
I would share the countless stories of people I know like myself and family members who were in terrible health situations and were thought to be helpless until they found cannabis. I would ask them to look around and to see all the different types of people from different walks of life that consume….the countless children who are being helped by this miracle plant.
Do you have any suggestions on how we can help normalize cannabis?
Yes, we — those of us who have the privilege to do so — need to be seen and heard. If you have the ability, be loud and be proud! Education is key. The more we know, the better we can understand and accept things. We also need to stand up for those who can’t… like those who are wrongfully incarcerated for cannabis purely for the color of their skin. Back foundations fighting this, volunteer your time and efforts if you can’t donate money.
Where can we reach you?
On Instagram, you can find me at @AlpinStash & @Mistressmurrder
Name 4 of your favorite women in weed that you’d like to give a shout out too. What do they do and where can we reach them?
Shonitria Anthony, aka the BluntBlowinMama, she is a strong woman fighting against the stigma attached to being a cannamom.
Zoe Wilder is a powerhouse in the cannabis public relations space.
All of the women involved in curation and creating the events at Tokeativity.
Kate, the founder and editor of Sweet Jane Magazine, is creating the much needed information and community for cannamoms and parents.
Key Takeaways from Kristin Murr-Sloat:
- KEEP GOING and do not give up.
- I suggest finding a company or community that aligns with your beliefs and goals and joining in anyway you can.
- If you find a business you have your heart set on and they don’t hire you, keep going, keep looking.
- An incredible support system! When your loved ones believe in you and your ability to succeed, it helps you to believe in yourself.
We want to thank Kristin Murr-Sloat for sharing her story, advice and experience. You can learn more about Kristin Murr-Sloat and AlpinStash here.
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