Company: Velvet Swing
Title: Product Development and Brand Manager
For the past 12 months, the editorial staff at Marijuana Venture has compiled a list of candidates for our third annual 40 Under 40 feature. This year, we narrowed our list down from hundreds of worthy candidates to come up with a cross-section of personalities across the U.S. and Canada, from salt-of-the-earth farmers to tech savants. All of them have unique stories, successes and ambitions and all represent the excitement and promise of the cannabis business. We feel honored to share their stories and look forward to watching them push forward in our ever-evolving industry.
Prior to getting into the cannabis industry, Chelsea Cebara did a little bit of everything. Describing herself as a “creature of the gig economy,” Cebara worked multiple jobs to make ends meet, from managing a coworking space to baking cakes to burlesque dancing and instruction.
“I decided to stop seeing myself as an employee and start thinking of myself as a sentient collection of marketable skills,” she says.
But it was the combination of her work in cannabis and sex education that brings Cebara to our list. Cebara formulated Velvet Swing, a cannabis-infused lubricant for women currently available in Washington and headed to the California and Oregon markets later this year. Velvet Swing is safe for use on latex and has no cannabis smell. Cebara says her biggest milestone in the cannabis industry thus far is bringing Velvet Swing to market while keeping these important characteristics intact.
“Sex and cannabis are both uniquely stigmatized and there are a surprising number of hurdles in place to designing a healthy product that combines the two,” she says.
Watching the “transformative effect” that cannabis has on people’s lives has made all the work worth it and Cebara is proud to be at the front line of making products aimed specifically at women, a demographic she says is often overlooked.
“Women are huge part of this industry; our failure to meaningfully consider them in marketing and product development is embarrassing,” she says.
But Cebara is not resting on her laurels. The company is hard at work on a new product called Velvet Kiss, an aphrodisiac spray, and is looking to launch Velvet Swing in emerging, adult-use markets this year. But her primary focus remains on education and on shattering the stigmas associated with both sex and cannabis.
“Since this is a new product category for most people, there is a lot of information that has to be conveyed responsibly when promoting the brand,” she says. “And I use that as an opportunity to discuss the intersections of cannabis, sexuality and consent culture in a broader sense.”