High on Love CEO and founder Angela Mustone discusses her company's infused product line, target demographic, and production process.
By Lubna Sarigat
How did you first get into the cannabis industry?
I started a company two years ago called Doctor Papa that consisted of delayed gels, stimulating O gels, late sprays, and massage oils. The product was aimed at the Chinese market and it was very successful. Following up on the success of that line, I had my chemists make me a THC lubricant and I loved it. Once cannabis legalization reared its head, I did a little research on cannabis cosmeceuticals and what was out there in the marketplace. None of the existing products spoke to me as a consumer, so I created my own brand. That's how High On Love started. I created the name, trademarked it worldwide, and even trademarked the logo. Then I got to work on the packaging. All of the other canna-cosmeceutical packaging out there was very green and hippyish. I wanted something that would catch your eye in a store.
Can you tell me a little more about the work you did prior to starting High on Love?
I've been in the adult market industry for 12 years. I cut my teeth selling lubricants and stimulants for a California-based exotic novelties and adult toys company. I took care of all their international markets—Russia, China, Europe, and South Africa—for six years, and got a really good feel for the industry as a result, learning the taboos and sentiments surrounding sex across a variety of different countries. That experience proved invaluable for my current business.
Let’s talk about the High on Love product line and the types of consumers it benefits:
I manufacture my product line primarily for women and couples. It includes stimulating oils, stimulating cold gels that increase the sensations of orgasms and eliminates dryness. We also sell edible massage oils, aphrodisiac bath oils, and even edible body paint. Consumers have become very ingredient-conscious over the last decade or so, and research has shown that they are willing to pay more for products that are vegan, natural, and cruelty- and gluten-free. I knew I had to make my product stand out from the competition, especially since we were branding ourselves as a high-end canna-cosmeceutical, so it made sense to source only the best ingredients for our products, especially knowing that many of our products would be used in more intimate and sensitive areas.
All of your products are made with hemp seed oil. Why did you use that instead of CBD oil?
I do have a version with CBD oil and THC, but I had to remove them from my site because of Health Canada’s regulations. These products not only sustain the pleasurable sensations of intercourse but also eliminate the physical pain that some women experience during intimacy.
What are the shelf lives of these products?
They’ll last three years if they are unopened. The moment the seals are broken, they’ll last for 12 months due to oxidation. All of the expiration dates are listed on the packages.
Where are your products sold?
They’re in Canada and the U.S. at the moment. I’m allowed to sell the hemp-seed oil line in the U.S. and I’ve just begun exporting that line to Europe as well. I hope to permeate the Chinese and Russian markets in the future as well.
Is there a plan to create a line of products that cater to men?
I’d love to make a line for men one day, but I would need to do a lot of research on how various infused oils could benefit men and which cannabinoid ratios and formulas would be the most optimal.
Take me through the creative process, from the time you have an idea to the testing stage all the way to marketing and ultimately retail:
So basically when I feel creative, I speak to my formulation chemist and we sit down and go through what I want. After the prototype is made, we do several tests including stability testing, which ensures that the formula doesn’t change colors or consistencies over time. Then we do user tests. We want objective opinions so we don’t tell them what the product is or who made it. That way we can get honest feedback, which is the best feedback. I’m currently working with a PR firm in New York to get the High On Love name out there. It’s really important that we get the right message out there to consumers: We are a classy, high-end, high-quality product line that empowers women and couples to achieve more climactic experiences in the bedroom. Ultimately, my goal is to make the marriage of the adult and cannabis industries more mainstream, removing as many stigmas as possible along the way.
What is your impression of the cannabis retail sector?
I love it, mostly because it’s so different from what I was accustomed to in the adult industry. To me, the cannabis industry is what the adult industry was like 20 years ago. The products and storefronts are bright and beautiful and appealing to the general public; they’re not dingy, taboo locations. Cannabis stores cater to those who want a shopping experience and I think our beautifully packaged products fit perfectly into that upscale environment.
How many people work at High on Love and in which roles?
I have four sales people: three in the U.S. and one in Canada, excluding myself. I also have a formulation chemist, a regulations specialists, a logistics specialist, an accountant, a graphic and package designer, and a social media and marketing team.