Her childhood was full of adversity and a supportive family. Just like anyone else growing up, she faced a lot of challenges.
She lost her father when she was four years old. Growing up with a single mother who had four children, created a financial challenge in itself.
It can be stressful on the family, attempting to place food on the table and pay the bills. Her mother did remarry, and they finally settled down in Chico, California. Her stepfather started his own business in construction, and by her freshman year, things began to turn around.
During her High School years in Chico, California, her younger sister Hannah (Who also is the director of operations for Lucky 420) would get straight A’s. Rachel would find herself sweet-talking her teachers into giving her extra credit! While homework was her least favorite subject, Rachel loved playing sports. Her favorite games were volleyball, basketball, and a few seasons in the track team.
Eventually, she went to Mesa Community College in Arizona. She found herself joining the school’s newspaper at the age of 17, writing for the sports section. Early on, she knew she wanted to be a journalist, and she discovered her passion. She would support herself financially by waiting tables and working at coffee shops.
While her education was essential, she found herself having a baby at a young age. She had to make a tough decision. She said
Rachel: “I just had this feeling that I was supposed to have this baby, while also thinking ‘I can’t have a baby right now’. The plan for my life was to be a reporter and travel around South America to write about the issues of our time. I pretty much knew that making that decision would change my life. I was signing up to be a single mom. It was like the best thing I ever did.”
Rachel is now the CEO of Lucky 420 and spends much time with her son. They go to the beach a lot. She loves to surf and spend a lot of time close to the ocean. Rachel often finds herself reading books, listening to audiobooks, and keeping up on her politics. She currently lives in Sonoma County, engaged to her fiance, who is a high school teacher.
Cannaplayground: How did you get the idea of starting your own company?
“Once I came across this process idea. I was completely captivated, and the idea overtook me, I became obsessed with this concept of using this fictional story to speak artistically. It was based on our deeper values and mission to use the power of storytelling to impact social change. I wanted to market in a way that’s really out of the box and unusual.”
Cannaplayground: So you work in the marijuana industry, does that mean you smoke cannabis yourself?
“Yeah, I did. I started smoking cannabis in college. I worked at a head shop recently when I was 18.. My roommate at the time smoked. I’ve been around it a lot and I didn’t have any issues saying no to it. Then one day, I decided to take a rip out of a bong.”
Cannaplayground: Can you tell us your experience?
“No real experiences the first time, but I do have a funny story. One of the first times I did edibles, I remember eating too many pot brownies. I had plans to go on a date with this guy that night. It was the first time eating the pot brownies. I ate them in the morning. All day I just was utterly hallucinating like SO HARD. I didn’t think of calling my date off or calling him at all for that matter. He arrives at my house and picks me up! He took me to a movie, and I think we went out to dinner too. I don’t think I talked at anytime. I guess I was kind of incoherent, and when I did talk I probably didn’t make any sense either, to make matters worse. We never went on a second date”.
“I don’t know, but I have to stay away from brownies, and it’s just the brownies! Back in the day when we were making pot butter and like nobody knew anything about dosing. The milligrams of THC and the number of brownies that I ate was an absurd amount, and thank goodness there are options for edibles now that don’t involve an unknown amount.”
Cannaplayground: HAHA, so what are your favorite strains and why.
“So I pretty much only smoke lucky now, I don’t smoke a lot, just a few times a week. I am just a moderate smoker.”
Cannaplayground: So you’re a recreational smoker?
“I mean, the way that I look at it, it’s always medicinal on some level. For your mental health or your emotional well being or helping you get a new perspective. I find cannabis helpful for it takes me to a beautiful 30,000-foot view where I can get a different deeper perspective, reflection. So for me, I guess it’s always been a little bit of both.”
Cannaplayground: Do you believe there are any adverse side effects?
“People can use, yet they use it as a crutch, short of an escape. I don’t think that it’s ever the cause of those issues, but it can be a tool for avoidance or putting off things that you need to do. With Sativas, people can tend to feel paranoid, which I have experienced some degree. I think that it has to do with a strain, but people are careful with their dosing, especially early on and kind of ease their way into it. They can mitigate that risk of having a concerned or paranoid experience. Like good THC, CBD blend on a low dosage.”
Cannaplayground: Back to your experience with Lucky 420. What challenges have you faced while starting up a new company in an already established market?
“Just navigating a new product, a new industry, and a new property. I’m proud of my team for surviving some challenging times. They were challenging for everyone in California.”
Cannaplayground: How did it all get started?
“My sister and I (Hannah Bojinov, Director of Operations) She’s organized. It makes sense since we’re always really competitive. The natural sister, bickering.
So this is all coming together around 2017, but Hannah was working with me in 2016. I considered her my co-founder, even though I started the company”.
Cannaplayground: Come on now it’s because you are the older sister, isn’t it!
Haha! We have very different personalities. She wants to be behind the scenes. Working on the systems, you know that like straight ‘A’ student mentality. She would make sure to gather data, and the books are all right. Hannah went to school for Molecular Cell and Developmental biology at UC Santa Cruz, which is like the hardest biology degree you can get there. She’s very much in her element being behind the scenes, running the show.
I did research and development for a year before I went to market. So I sourced machinery, and this was mostly just Hannah, and I doing the work at the time. The machinery was sourced from China; we tested out a lot of different types of papers and tubes. We got a cellophane wrapping machine we worked with (like the moisture content of cannabis) humidifying rooms. So there is a long process of developing our product.
Cannaplayground: That is so freaking cool! I can only imagine just you and Hannah in a humid room shaking Cannabis into joints! How did you meet Michelle Saxton (Social Visionary)?
Michelle is our social visionary
She runs our social media and does many things in the marketing department. Initially she was hired for an HR position
So our kids go to school together. I knew her; I knew her from class. We weren’t like good friends or anything, but we happen to go to the Emerald Cup together through another mutual friend. The Emerald Cup is like this big cannabis event in Northern California. We became friends after a reggae concert.
Michelle was initially there because she wanted to talk to companies. She wanted to do HR in the cannabis industry. She had worked in trim scenes a lot and had been around much farming.
So she had been around a lot of practices that were not right. People treated terribly; there has always been a danger, harmful factors. I know so many farmers who’ve been doing this for so long in Northern California that would never, you know mistreat people or put women in dangerous situations. I mean it has happened a lot, and there are plenty of bad actors out there. There has been no protection for those people who are working on those farms. Before she was in the trim scene, she worked at Maria Monastery as a teacher. Her values, perspective, studies in child development helped her develop a positive outlook as a social visionary.
Cannaplayground: What’s your relationship with Carmela Rocha (Director of Outreach)
So Michelle ran into Carmela at a party. They hadn’t seen each other in a while.
She studied sociology, that’s why she was always interested in people and social issues.
When we started selling to dispensaries, we would meet and schedule an in-store demo, which is common in the cannabis industry.
When you set up a table, and tell people about your product, you run some sales special and try getting people to buy your product.1 of 4
Carmela was a caregiver at that time, for a woman who needed help in thier home.
Michelle told her about Lucky 420. What she was doing, she said you would be perfect for doing insert demos if interested, so we interviewed her.
I went with her on our first instructor demo, where she was just so amazing.
She’s so able in connecting with people of all backgrounds and identities. She’s also very professional in terms of making sure that both genders know what they need to know. The same time she has this kind of laid back, relatable demeanor, and she just became our demo person. It wasn’t long until we offered her the Director of Outreach position. Carmela continues to shine in her role; it became clear that she should be a representative for us.
Carmela would also attend activist meetings at the state capitol with different groups to rally for people’s expungement of records. She has a fascinating and captivating story of her own; you know where she came. You see, we’re super lucky to have her.
Cannaplayground: What is the future of lucky 420?
“The beginning of 2017 (it’s only been two years) is when we hit the market. We just launched a two pack of our products at a perfect price point. We did some limited releases, coming out later this year. The products work with individual unique markers highlighting them. We are planning on coming out with a lighter THC product that has a blend with CBD.
You know business development, there’s always so much happening in the industry. There are many regulations to keep up with, which is costly and time-consuming. Were able to navigate it, always searching for new partnerships and opportunities. We’re exploring cultivation right now and may move towards doing some of our own which we haven’t done. So far we’ve just focused on the manufacturing side. A considerable part of my job right now, once you start fundraising it becomes your full-time job. It takes much time prepping, networking and pitching to people.”
Cannaplayground: You guys, these women are not your average Nancy Botwins from weeds. These girls aren’t your Power Puff Girls who are coming to save the day. They are the 420 FORCE; a Wizness ran company full of inspiration, knowledge, perseverance, and badass attitudes.
Can you dig it?
Rachel, I’m sending you guys some good energy, Never doubt yourself.
To our California Sisters, What up.
“Dive deeper. Explore your consciousness. Lean into the conversations and feelings that are uncomfortable. That is how we’re going to change and evolve. Cannabis can help with that.”