This month’s Big Idea Blog post showcases an incredibly inspiring family business with a beautiful mission. The inspiring Kelsie Scheichl from the US, shares with us how her and her family found themselves becoming hemp farmers and wellpreneurs.
Their company, Heartland Farms, is a farm AND a creative start-up, offering health products, designed to help perimenopausal and menopausal women. With a loyal following, a variety of products and a powerful, purpose-driven business model, this family is inspiring af and I’m honored to share their story.
Can you please share how you started and how you got to where you are today?
Kelsie: Sure, hi!
So, we got started in 2019 when my mom and step dad decided to make the move from the city to the country. They bought 80 acres in northern Colorado! They built their home there along with my sister and her family.
Then, one day, my uncle was over talking to us and suggested that we start growing hemp…
Instantly, I knew that is what we needed to do. I knew hemp was such an amazing plant. I knew about it’s sustainability attributes and the therapeutic properties that can be used for the body. So we decided to give it a shot! We had the intention of growing hemp flower to sell wholesale to ‘people’. We didn’t know where we were going to find these buyers (and had never farmed a day in our lives, so we were crazy to think this was a good idea! But we were determined.)
You guys are crazy!
Wow. Ok so you’ve never farmed a day in your lives and… how did you manage?
Well, we recruited a lot of family and friends to help us plant and harvest, and bless them all because farming by hand is NO JOKE. It was the hardest, most character testing thing that I’ve ever done. We didn’t anticipate the amount of work that goes into farming, much less farming a crop that had been banned from the United States since 1941 by hand. The regulations were changing by the day, the weather was unpredictable and we were farming, raising our babies together and becoming a stronger family for it.
Little did we know it would turn into something much bigger.
OK, quick question before we continue: you said you’ve never farmed before, so what’s your background?
My professional background is in social services. I’ve helped immigrants gain citizenship, resettled refugees in the Denver metro area, helped with the equine therapy program at a group home for trafficked minors and community corrections…. No farm background at all.
Ooooh interesting. We may need to have another chat about that sometime!
OK, but def nothing close to farming. So back to your story… bigger?? bigger than 80 acres of hemp farming??
Yes, so we planted our first crop in the summer of 2020. We managed to successfully and legally farm and harvest 4,000 hemp plants that first year. But, after harvest we couldn’t find buyers- apparently it was REALLY difficult to find buyers and there are a lot of shady people in the industry.
We knew we had to pivot and make our own products.
In order to make our own products we had to get in touch with an extractor (a chemist who extracts the oil from our plants to make CBD oil based products). Everyone we spoke to wanted to process at least 10,000 pounds of flower or wanted to rip us off and basically give us nothing for our flower.
By chance one day an old friend who I hadn’t spoken to in years reached out to me on social media after seeing some of my posts about farming. He said his brother and him owned an extraction facility. We have been working with them ever since. It’s been the best working relationship with them and we couldn’t be more thankful to work with them.
Wow! What are the odds?!
Imagine if you’d have given up instead of pivoted? I think so many of us are quick to call it quits when things get tough or don’t go our way… But if you persist and get creative, the “universe” delivers!
Right?! So then we started making very generic products, we tried many things, failed at many things. Our first line of products came out December 2020. Then summer of 2021 we grew again, but I had a baby the weekend we were supposed to plant, so we only grew 100 plants. We were also still working out the kinks in owning a brand and a new business and during Covid!
Then our vision started to come together and our mission became more clear.
Hold up! I love this: Covid happened, you had a baby and your products didn’t work out, yet you KEPT GOING!! And then you found what DID work?
Lol, yes! So, we started spending our summers going to any farmers market that would take us. We did anything to get our name out. We started making so many amazing connections in our community.
As we were interactive with our community, we found that mostly women were open to trying something natural to help them either feel more balanced, relieve pain or sleep better.
We also went to senior centers (before Covid was really bad) and showed the seniors how to use CBD for pain and PTSD (because we have a lot of baby boomer vets up here). Broke some major stigmas in our tiny town. We were called drug dealers by some. But more importantly we felt we were making a serious impact in our community.
We joke that we are witches who make magical potions that help our family and community function with ease and really enjoy life again.
We got to the point where our products were working for so many people and we fostered a true connection with our customers (most of them have our personal cell numbers and can text or call at any time if they have questions).
I have to say that business-wise you guys did some of the most important things: you connected with your community, you fostered relationships, you listened to genuine needs and THEN delivered. You’re not only an inspiring family business, but a really smart one too!
I also know that there’s a bit more behind this story and your mission. Care to share about your why?
Kelsie: Of course.
Our “why” actually begins with my grandma. She was diagnosed with Alzhiemer’s disease last year. My mom, sister and I have been her caregivers for the last 7 years and have witnessed the horrible decline of this disease.
After her diagnosis we dove into researching things that might help her through this transition, how to keep her mind with us longer, how to make it easier on us as her family- watching her slowly slip away. Once we got our caregiving plan in place, I started becoming interested in the root cause of memory loss and brain degradation.
Why does it happen?
What makes it more prevalent in women versus men?
What are the risk factors?
It was shocking to see the risk factors I was reading were the SAME issues that our community of women were dealing with!!
The three factors that contribute to memory loss are:
- Lack of sleep,
- Prolonged release of stress hormones (cortisol) and
- Shrinking of the hippocampus (area in your brain used for storing memory)
As we were dealing with my grandma’s diagnosis, I was simultaneously hearing my mom, my aunts and all their friends, talk about the horrible side effects they were dealing with now they are at menopause age.
That’s crazy! So you were actually growing the perfect plant to help prevent the exact disease your grandma was suffering from! I find that life has us walk very specific paths and if we embrace those nudges, it unfolds so serendipitously. It’s actually a bit scary! lol.
YES! I WAS SHOOK.
The main pain points that we kept hearing from our community of women, were that these hardships related to the struggle of what it means to be “A WOMAN”, “A MOM”, “A CAREGIVER”.
As they started describing the emotional and mental overload of life, the struggle to get a good night’s rest and chronic pain that would keep them from enjoying their lives, I started to feel a sense of impending doom.
I had flashes that my mom, aunts and all their friends were going to experience memory loss like my grandma, because they were experiencing the big risk factors.
So I started researching on how to help women, through natural remedies, support their bodies. Products that help women fall and STAY asleep, relieve pain so they can ride their new bike, or keep up with their grandkids and bring balance back when the mental and emotional overload is too high.
Now that sounds like a big, beautiful mission!
I can hear plenty of passion in your story, what are you most passionate about?
Most passionate? It would have to be being able to help people live their best lives! I feel the most fulfilled when we get phone calls or messages from people saying they feel like they are back to their ‘better’ selves after using our products. They can play without pain and wake up feeling rested. When we know we are truly helping our community have a better chance at not getting memory loss. It’s good to know that we are helping our environment in the process by growing hemp!
I have to say that what strikes me is the amount of times you could have given up, yet you didn’t. What kept you going?
What helped you believe in yourself?
First and foremost I am motivated by knowing that I am capable of creating ripples of change.
But I couldn’t achieve it if I didn’t have my family and friends. I have the best family and friends by my side, helping us and cheering for our success. Additionally, I have such a great support system in my husband (who is my number one fan) and my girls. I want my two daughters to know that even though we were born with a glass ceiling to break, you CAN shatter it, with intelligence, strength and grace. I want them to know that they are capable of changing the course of their lives if they want and that they should live life to the fullest.
That’s a powerful message. What a mama! Is that your message for the woman reading this now?
Yes! Ladies, you can do anything you want to do. You are POWERFUL, CAPABLE and WORTHY of so much! Trust your journey, but mostly trust yourself in your intuition to know what’s best for you and your family!
I love that! And btw, I have to ask – what’s it like working alongside your family? There must be some headbutting?
Working with family is wonderful but yes, it obviously has its challenges. We all have very much different people with different ideals and styles. This made it particularly hard to come up with a cohesive concept for our product packaging. We don’t agree all the time and there are intense disagreements that happen. We are each other’s safe place though. And we can have those disagreements and then sit and laugh at the dinner table. We work hard, we fight hard but we love harder. Any one who comes to the farm will tell you it’s like going home. To a big crazy loud family full of laughter and love.
OK, so you also just mentioned intuition and you definitely went with your gut with you biz and its paying off. So I’m very interested to hear to what your gut has to say about this – what’s your vision for the world in 2050?
That’s a big one! My vision for our world in 2050 is that our communities can come to a resolution that involves love, understanding, open mindedness and a cohesive vision to give back to Mother Earth more than we take from her. I believe that hemp will be a big part of that. With the sustainable options for building materials, biodegradable plastics, food and agricultural uses this plant can really do some great things for this world. I also hope the federal government deschedules marijuana so that banking institutions will be willing to work with hemp businesses so the crop can remain a viable option to improve the environment.
Aaaand…. I would also love to see more women enter the cannabis and agriculture space. We are powerhouses and could rock the socks off these two industries! Who’s coming with me?!?
Hahaha, yesssss!!! Love that!
Kelsie thank you so, so much for sharing your incredible story with us! Please let us know where we can find you and support your mission.
If anyone is interested to see what a hemp farm looks like or wants to learn more about how hemp helps the environments, we do farm tours!
We also have a compassion program that helps people receive our products free of charge.
We also have a new line of adaptogenic mushroom + CBD blends for menopause, boosting immunity and brain support!
(Adaptogenic mushrooms influence a state of homeostasis and can help balance hormones. Hormonal shifts cause the symptoms that a woman experiences during ‘the change’. These symptoms are risk factors for memory loss later in life.)
Amazing! Thank you Kelsie!
To conclude, I have included a summary of a few of the key takeaways:
#1: Challenges are part of business – Don’t give up!
#2: Relationships and community are KEY to professional success.
#3: A strong support network makes all the difference.
I hope this has inspired some ideas and instilled the value of self-belief for you. Perhaps it has planted a seed and perhaps it’s exactly what you needed to hear to nudge you into inspired action! Who knows – perhaps you and your family will be the next inspiring family business to take on a mission and heal a community!
Please let us know in the comments below, what your biggest takeaway was!
If you enjoyed this article feel free to share it and you may also subscribe below to receive the next one straight to your inbox. I’ll be interviewing inspiring, purpose-driven entrepreneurs once a month to show how real people CAN make real impact, and how believing in your big idea, can truly make a difference in someone’s life. You can find last month’s article here.
I wish you a wonderful month and would love to get to know you and hear what you’re up to! So feel free to find me on my socials (below). If you’d like to learn more about me and my work then click here.
Hi, I’m Emily, founder of The Big Idea Consulting Company (and Blog). I believe we learn by example, so I’m searching for examples to learn from. I’m searching for people who can show us that if we believe in ourselves, our big ideas can genuinely make a difference. If you want to be interviewed or nominate someone for interviewing, feel free to DM me!