Company: Peak Extracts
Title: Co-founder and CEO
Every business performs a balancing between trying to do what’s “right” versus what is most fiscally responsible.
Although Oregon’s hyper-competitive market has flooded the state with thousands of pounds of cheap, readily available flower and trim, Peak Extracts CEO Katie Stem has held firm in her decision to stick with trusted growers who don’t use pesticides and use environmentally friendly cultivation practices. It may cost her company more in the short term, but she hopes the payback will come in customer loyalty, long-term partnerships with cutting-edge farmers and a healthier industry overall for both operators and consumers.
“We want this to be sustainable for everyone, both financially and environmentally,” she says.
Stem believes it’s worth it to invest in quality for a number of reasons, but slicing into the self-funded company’s margins is not without some consternation.
“It is scary to think about,” she says. “What if this decision is the reason we don’t succeed as a company?”
To protect its consumers and the environment, Peak Extracts works with growers that utilize integrated pest management systems and low-impact soil practices. The indoor farms it works with all use LEDs; outdoor farms all follow organic cultivation techniques.
“We want to make sure we’re working with the best possible starting material, so we work with people who care just as much as we do” about producing clean, sustainable cannabis products, she says.
Peak Extracts is one of the few woman-owned extraction companies in the Pacific Northwest. The company does not grow any of its own cannabis, but produces a variety of terpene-rich (always retained, never added) chocolates, topicals and concentrates. Stem, who has a background in laboratory sciences and as a Chinese herbalist, started her first business at age 22, co-founded Peak Extracts in 2014 and remains committed to the company’s mission.
“We never want to lose sight of what we’re doing,” Stem says.