A seasoned cannabis entrepreneur and business strategist with more than a decade of experience in the food industry, Matha Figaro got her start in the cannabis industry when a friend asked for one of her delicious cakes, but infused with cannabis to help cope with the side effects of chemotherapy.
“I was inspired by the idea of using my baking skills to help people feel better and began experimenting with cannabis-infused edible products,” she says.
Figaro has a degree in pastry and baking arts from Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts and extensive experience in hospitality as a pastry chef in fine dining, a background she uses to ensure that her ButACake products, founded in 2016, not only taste great, but meet her customer’s needs and preferences. It’s helped New Jersey-based ButACake become a trusted name in the edibles market.
“The parallels between my previous experience and the current cannabis industry lie in the importance of innovation, research and development, and a strong focus on quality and compliance,” she says.
ButACake has also partnered with Columbia Care to bring products to patients in Delware’s medical market.
Figaro is equally passionate about social equity as she is her baked goods, co-founding with a childhood friend CannPowerment, a contract-manufacturing and packaging company in the New Jersey adult-use market.
“Overall, my transition into the cannabis industry has been driven by a desire to make a positive impact on people’s lives and to be at the forefront of a rapidly growing and exciting industry,” she says.
What prompted your transition into cannabis and what parallels have you seen between this and your previous industry experience?
My transition into the cannabis industry was prompted in 2016 by a client asking me to create an edible version of the ButACake to help her cope with the side effects of chemotherapy. I was inspired by the idea of using my baking skills to help people feel better and began experimenting with cannabis-infused edible products. ButACake was officially registered as a business in 2016, and over time, the company evolved into an innovative edibles brand. My commitment to quality and innovation has helped ButACake become a trusted and well-respected name in the market.
The parallels between my previous experience and the current cannabis industry lie in the importance of innovation, research and development, and a strong focus on quality and compliance. Building a successful cannabis business requires a deep understanding of consumer needs and preferences, as well as the commitment I made back in 2015 to build ButACake, a trusted brand that delivers consistent value to customers. Overall, my transition into the cannabis industry has been driven by a desire to make a positive impact on people’s lives and to be at the forefront of a rapidly growing and exciting industry.
What do you wish to change or add to the industry and why?
I wish to change the regulations around edibles in New Jersey so that I can add products consumed through the mouth with value to the industry. As an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry, one of the things that I wish to change or add is the regulations around edibles in New Jersey. Specifically, I would like to see more flexibility in the rules surrounding the types of edible products that are allowed, so that value-added products like baked goods and beverages can be introduced to the market.
What has been your biggest milestone in the industry thus far?
I have several milestones that I am proud of, but the biggest one thus far has been successfully transitioning the ButACake brand from the legacy market to the legal market while simultaneously building CannPowerment, a contract manufacturing company that I co-founded with my childhood friend, Jimmy. CannPowerment provides compliant contract manufacturing and packaging solutions to the New Jersey adult-use cannabis market. By co-founding this company with my friend since third grade, we were able to leverage our combined experience and expertise to build a business that has already established a strong reputation for quality and reliability within the industry.
If you could go back to a certain point in your career and give yourself some advice, what point would it be and what advice would you give?
A: I would go back to the beginning and give myself advice about patience and how much of it is needed to survive in business. Patience is a vital quality that allows me to remain focused on long-term goals, be adaptable, learn from failures, and build strong relationships.