We had the good fortune of connecting with Eve Edwards and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eve, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Irie Infusion is a cannabis brand serving organic hemp tea. It is an extension of who I am and what I am passionate about. I wanted to create a business that incorporates wellness, my Jamaican roots, and my love for tea. This entrepreneurial story began when one of my younger sisters was diagnosed with cancer, a lifechanging moment for us a family. I was by her side during her cancer journey which included radiation treatments, surgery, and the side effects of medication she will have to take for the rest of her life. My sister’s story and strength motivated me to prioritize my wellness. When I was thinking about the type of business I wanted to create, I knew it had to contribute to the wellbeing of others. Both tea and cannabis are a significant part of Jamaican culture. I learned that it is common in Jamaica to make tea with the cannabis plant to treat ailments. Through Irie Infusion, I am able to pay homage to my culture and highlight the health benefits of cannabis.
What should our readers know about your business?
Irie Infusion stands out because we are an innovative brand that serves organic hemp tea and promotes a holistic view of cannabis. We provide customers with a unique tea drinking experience with loose tea blends that they can brew at home. For our Atlanta community we also serve the iced tea version of our hemp teas, which is a huge hit! Our customers love having a healthier beverage option that tastes delicious. The focus is to use my brand to educate others about the wellness aspect of the plant. I also joined this industry to advocate for social justice and social equity reform. It’s my mission to take a plant that has been used to oppress black and brown people and instead utilize it to provide economic empowerment and healing. I’m most excited to continue growing alongside my business. Irie Infusion will be a leader in the canna-wellness space with an expanded hemp infused product line. I love creative partnerships and I look forward to more amazing collaborations in the future. Viola and Slutty Vegan are dream collabs that I will one day make a reality.
Looking back, I realized that from a young age I had an entrepreneurial spirit. However, becoming a business owner was not a goal of mine until 6 years ago. That’s when I gained a passion for entrepreneurship. I knew that this was the career path that aligned with my personality, passions, and professional preferences. Starting out, I spent a lot of time educating myself about the different aspects of operating a business. I went back to college and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. I also attended countless networking events and surrounded myself with peers and experts in the field of entrepreneurship. Being in those rooms taught me the importance of stepping out of my comfort zone and building professional relationships.
My entrepreneurial journey was anything but easy. The original plan was to work full-time and build my business slowly. In the beginning of 2020, I was slated to start a new and exciting job position. However, due to Covid, the recruitment process stopped. That propelled me to put all my time, energy, and entire savings to starting Irie Infusion. Since day one, this journey has taught me so much. I’ve learned that the growth of my business is tied to my personal development. Entrepreneurship is all about mindset and perspective. I love being an entrepreneur, but I also know how consuming it can be. Knowing who I am outside of what I do ensures that I don’t try to find my worth and identity in my work. Some of the struggles I’ve had to face are self-doubt, rejection, insecurities, and not having the financial resources I needed. I overcome my most difficult challenges by not allowing them to keep me down. I don’t believe in quitting. Chasing your dreams isn’t about speed, it’s about stamina. We must be able to chase it long enough until it becomes reality. I focus on my purpose, I don’t give up on myself, I try to find a lesson in the challenge, and I ask for help when I need it. My faith is a major part of who I am. My relationship with God helps me to get through the most difficult times.
I would like the world to know that there are less than one percent of black women business owners in the cannabis industry. In most professional spaces we face gender, racial, and financial inequalities. Through my work with Irie Infusion, I hope to open the door for more black women to be trailblazers in any industry they choose. My message to everyone is: don’t put yourselves in a box, be defined by labels, or let the opinions of others deter you from living in your purpose. I want those who can relate my story, to find hope and inspiration to live out their own definition of success.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I moved to Georgia about a year ago, so I still have a lot more exploring to do. However, I’ve already experienced many exciting and interesting people and places in Atlanta and the surrounding areas. When my best friend comes to visit, our itinerary will be filled with delicious foods, drinks, great vibes, and unique experiences. Atlanta Breakfast Club and Milk and Honey are amazing breakfast spots. Some of my new favorite restaurants for lunch/dinner are Apt B4, Two Urban Licks, and Slutty Vegan. For a weekend brunch date, Garden Parc Atl and 5 Church never disappoint. The Beltline Trail, Little Five Points, and Ponce City Market are places that we can explore. Ponce City Market also has a fun rooftop scene and a variety of amazing restaurants. To get our creative juices flowing we will make an artistic mess at Spin Art and visit Bear and Honey to create custom candles. For some extra fun we’ll head to Top Golf, The Painted Duck, and Andretti’s for adult game night!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This shoutout is dedicated to all the women in my life who consistently show up for me and encourage me every step of the way. Specifically, Tavia, my sister and best friend. She is my biggest supporter, and I would not be able to accomplish as much as I have without her. No one, besides myself, has invested more in my dream than she has. She plays a major part in my story and deserves all the recognition for it.