When it comes to CBD and cannabis, it doesn’t get chicer than Poplar. We sat down for some real talk with Beryl Solomon, #bossbabe and founder of the Brooklyn-based startup, on the why, the how, and the “what’s next” for her promising e-commerce business.
Let’s face it; the holidays bring just as much stress as they do joy. So instead of double-fisting red wine to get through family dinner, or popping mood stabilizers to prevent yourself from punching your new stepmom, why not go the natural route and stock up on Poplar’s elegant array of feel-good products? New to the CBD world? Perfect. Beryl’s founding mission is to help people navigate this new, trending market by creating a carefully curated one-stop shop. Don’t be scared, Poplar’s got you covered on the best SKUs modern wellness has to offer. Scroll on for the full story and thank us (actually, thank her) later.
ABLE: Before we get into the brand stuff, tell us a bit about your world.
Beryl: Ok! I’m based in Brooklyn. I live in Dumbo with my husband and my two sons who are four and a half and six years old, so needless to say it’s a very energetic household. I spent 20 years working in the fashion industry before starting Poplar, where learned everything from supply chain operations merchandising logistics. The most gratifying part of the work for me was always bringing something from ideation to fruition, which encouraged me to start my own thing after all those years working and consulting for others.
ABLE: Perfect segway. Let’s talk about Poplar. Love the name, by the way! How did you decide on it?
Beryl: Practically speaking, I needed to pick something that was available for the website and Instagram. I also wanted to be a real word in the English language so everyone would know how to spell it once they heard about it or saw it once. My husband and I tested out our frontrunners with friends, acting as if we had landed on a name and ranking each one by their reaction, and so we arrived at Poplar. (Which, in case you’re wondering, is the name of street we live on and one of the largest deciduous trees in northwestern North America).
ABLE: Good to know. So what made you transition from the fashion industry to the world of cannabis?
Beryl: I lost my brother in 2011, which resulted in being diagnosed with PTSD. I took the mainstream pharmaceutical route to “normalize,” adding antidepressants to my everyday wellness routine. It “worked” for a while, but as continued to read and hear more about the efficacy of cannabis-derived products for a slough of mental and physical conditions, I grew increasingly curious. In 2017, I introduced these alternative remedies to my routine, simultaneously decreased the prescriptions, and was absolutely blown away by the positive change I experienced. For the record, I’m not advising everyone go off their medicine and turn entirely to cannabis. I do believe we, as a population, are severely overmedicated and could benefit from more plants and less pills, but everyone is different and should strive to discover their uniquely individual routine for a healthy lifestyle.
ABLE: Totally agree. So, why isn’t everyone trading in their pills for plants?
Beryl: Stigma, not to mention illegality. There’s so much red tape where CBD and cannabis are concerned, so a lot of the population is inhibited by their localized standards and limitations. The unknown is what freaks people out. They’d rather stick to what they know, and what they know they won’t be penalized for. Which I totally get, that’s why I made Poplar the way it is. To demystify the offerings and cater to the consumer.
ABLE: In case it’s not obvious, we are obsessed with everything about Poplar. Tell us more about your vision for building out the site and the brand as you so beautifully did.
Beryl: Long story short, I recognized a white space in the market and jumped on the opportunity to be the first company that occupied the overlap of tech, style, and cannabis. Maybe it’s my fashionable tendencies, but I had this driving idea that I wanted to make Poplar the Net-a-Porter of cannabis. Mirroring their model, I made sure the presentation was aesthetically elevated and that each product was the “best of” in its sub-category. I was simultaneously energized by the idea that I could make a difference in people’s lives by introducing them to incredible alternatives that could change not only their wellness routine, but their quality of life.
ABLE: Well, you’re doing it in a major way. Happy 1st birthday, by the way! What can we expect from you and Poplar as you embark on year two and beyond?
Beryl: Thank you so much! It’s been quite a journey. More than anything else, I’m just happy that we made it to this point and we are making our mark. There have been an insane amount of roadblocks and detours along the way - I’m sure you can relate with ABLE - but overall, it’s been extremely gratifying. I feel encouraged to keep going, be nimble, and stay fluid within the cultural and legal landscapes. I’m realistic about the competition. I know it’s coming and I’m all about it. I don’t need or expect Poplar to be the only purveyor of its kind, but I’m committed to ensuring it remains the best.
ABLE: One last question. Can you make some reccs from the site for those of us who are totally new to the cannabis game? Tell us everything.
Beryl: I think to get the optimal benefits - it’s all about a tincture. Juna Balance is great for beginners because of its mild taste profile and user-friendly dosage. The bottle is 300mg, so you can easily track dosage. The Wildflower Healing Stick and Mary’s Muscle Freeze are my lower back saviors, and the Kiskanu Skin Rub is my go-to for post-workout aches. I swear by Saint Jane Beauty Serum and I use the Ildi Pekar Sleeping Mask as eye cream. I could go on forever. The fact of the matter is, I will never offer anything on Poplar that I wouldn’t use myself. Seriously.
Adding to our cart as we speak.
ABLE: Ok, actual last question. What’s your superpower when it comes to Poplar?
Beryl: I am ABLE to REDEFINE YOUR WELLNESS.