Two Boss Ladies:
Degelis Tufts, CEO & Founder
Kymberly Byrnes, CMO & Co-Founder
Years at current company:
DT: 3 years
KB: 2 years
DT: University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce (‘08, Concentrations in Finance and International Business), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Designation
KB: 5 Pilates Certifications
Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis:
DT: Covered over $2 billion in investments in the Consumer / Retail sector at Sands Capital
KB: In 2017 after teaching Pilates for 18 years including owning my own studio in Florida, I was honored to become a Lululemon ambassador in my hometown of NYC.
DT: Our goal for TribeTokes is to provide consumers with access to high quality, lab-tested cannabis-derived products at fair prices. We take the guess-work out of clean, sustainable, organic product selection because everything we offer is as functional and safe as it is beautiful and stylish. We serve our customers above all and pay special attention to customer service and education.
KB: Our team’s motto is “Mindful, Fit & Lit.” TribeTokes’ mission is and always will be to educate and elevate our customers. TribeTokes as a company respects plant science, supports mindful consumption and purveys top quality products with an elevated aesthetic for the “next-generation cannabis consumer.”
DT & KB: We are both motivated by the cannabis movement and feel obligated to stay as true to the culture as possible. As our mission is to educate and elevate, that very much runs parallel with our own goals of educating and elevating ourselves. TribeTokes is built by girls, supporting women in the cannabis industry. It’s an honor to be able to employ and empower women from our community to join the movement along as part of our ever-growing Tribe.
Company’s most successful achievement:
DT: Recently our brand was featured in Rolling Stone article written in response to the vaping crisis and the article mentioned our specific attention to detail when it comes to creating clean, safe, and transparent vape products. When we first entered the market, the CBD vape scene was dire – it is a very hard molecule to stabilize in a vape and very expensive, and even legitimate brands and farms were cutting corners. We advocated for “clean vaping” from day one and spent a year creating our proprietary strain-based formulations without fillers we identified as unhealthy. Since then, we’ve been taking extra attention to heavy metals testing and other aspects that help us provide the cleanest vapes possible. It’s been hours of meticulous work and it was an absolute honor to be recognized for that.
KB: I am so proud of the rapid emergence of our wellness and beauty lines, TRIBEauty and TribeRevive. Both launched this year, each line consists of two organic, clean plant-based beauty and wellness products each. We’ve seen so many beauty lines misusing CBD or using low-quality CBD so consumers wouldn’t really feel the powers of this plant. We knew we wanted to create something that customers would want to put on their skin so we only use all-natural ingredients. We started with one eye CBD-infused eye cream which quickly became a must-have. Our pain cream came next and was so popular we launched it in a higher milligram of CBD and we just launched our CBD Superfood face mask which is already become a fan-favorite. It’s exciting to continue to launch products within these lines that transform the ways our customers see the potential of CBD. CBD is a superfood that is perfect for anyone who wants natural remedies for the stress of everyday life and we’re creating a whole range of products to cater to those needs.
Has the company raised any capital (yes or no):
DT: Our company is 100% funded, bootstrapped and run by the women on the founding team (launch capital and profit reinvestment). We put our own money where our mouth is!
Any plans on raising capital in the future?
DT: I believe in raising capital when there is a profitable use of funds. We would raise money when it makes sense (for example, to invest in a license or to scale a profitable marketing channel). Many founders have a mindset that if they raise $2M in Series A they will be successful, which causes enormous pressure not only to spend the money but to grow at an unreasonable pace which can lead to irresponsible budgeting decisions. I always think of the Silicon Valley episode where Richard realizes he could have been successful if he raised LESS money.
For better or worse, bootstrapping results in rolling up your sleeves and doing a LOT yourself, and growing in a more measured and thoughtful way. We have tight control over our supply chain which is enormously helpful for cash flow management and maintaining the best quality product.
Most important company 5-year goal:
DT: When national sentiment and legalization align, we, of course, want to someday be both a CBD AND THC brand! We have built a community and customer base in New York and nationwide and want to leverage this consumer trust and our high product standards to sell THC products in addition to CBD. We’ve already become a resource and leader in plant wellness and CBD and we see similar potential for THC based products. We also want to make sure the voices and needs of female cannabis consumers are heard and met. The legal cannabis markets need more female leadership.
KB: Everything that Dege said; we really need to see more female-founded brands and female-led investors in the cannabis industry There aren’t enough brands that truly understand what the female cannabis consumer needs and we’re trying to fill that gap. We also cannot wait for CBD and THC to be accessible for everyone. Dege and I love the culture and as we push the movement forward, we push ourselves. We see the improvements that can be made in cannabis and want the same potential for CBD to be met for innovative THC products that are mindful, fit and lit!