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Our interview of Linnea Miron for “The Creative Influencer” podcast is available today for download on iTunes, Spotify, and premier platforms everywhere. Linnea talks to us about her path from a corporate lawyer at one of the world’s largest law firms to CEO of Real Wellness, a cannabis company specializing in CBD products. Our conversation is wide-ranging from astrology to her use of Instagram to market her company.
A transcript of the episode follows:
Jon Pfeiffer: I am joined today by Linnea Miron. Welcome to the podcast.
Linnea Miron: Thank you.
Jon Pfeiffer: I want to talk to you about, and I'm going to hit the topic, the big topics, and then we'll come back. You are the CEO of Real Wellness. You are a Pisces. You told me offline a week or two ago that that makes you very visual?
Linnea Miron: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jon Pfeiffer: that your social media platform of choice is Instagram?
Linnea Miron: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jon Pfeiffer: that you are married to Ricky Williams?
Linnea Miron: Correct.
Jon Pfeiffer: Okay. So to understand who you are now, I'm going to take you back, take you thorough your path.
Linnea Miron: Great.
Jon Pfeiffer: Okay. You are from where originally?
Linnea Miron: Originally from Maryland.
Jon Pfeiffer: We just had a topic, a conversation about getting your birth certificate if you wanted to get a reading.
Linnea Miron: Right.
Jon Pfeiffer: Let's just, to save people if they want to get their birth certificate, what kind of birth certificate should they get, to show their time?
Linnea Miron: Yes, yes. So you want to make sure that when you call the state to get your birth certificate, let them know that you're doing it, because you want the birth certificate, the version of it to include your birth moment. The default typically will be to give you an abbreviated version of the birth certificate that does not include that. So in Maryland, it was called a book copy. That term may be used in other states as well, but you get the gist of what you need.
Jon Pfeiffer: So you get the time you were born?
Linnea Miron: Yeah, so just to make sure you point that out to the person on the phone.
Jon Pfeiffer: So you were definitely born in Maryland?
Linnea Miron: Definitely born... Johns Hopkins.
Jon Pfeiffer: Johns Hopkins. Where were you raised?
Linnea Miron: I was raised in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and in Annapolis.
Jon Pfeiffer: Then, I read where you went to Duke?
Linnea Miron: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jon Pfeiffer: My younger son went to Duke.
Linnea Miron: Yeah!
Jon Pfeiffer: How did you pick Duke?
Linnea Miron: I feel like it picked me. I'm trying to remember what brought me down to the campus with my mother. I went and I just knew when I stepped onto the campus. That's actually a really good question. I never really thought about it. There wasn't really a logical reason for it, other than it sort of drew me there, similar to how I would say I felt drawn to LA later in life. I didn't have a person that I knew, or a sibling, or any sort of tie. I didn't have a family tie or connection, wasn't a basketball fan at the time, even though that was the religion of the school. But I stepped onto the campus and I felt almost like a... Maybe it is sort of those pings that we talked-
Jon Pfeiffer: Right.
Linnea Miron: The tingle of-
Jon Pfeiffer: This is the right place.
Linnea Miron: Yes, that, and to realize there is a geolocation to places when you feel that, to recognize that.
Jon Pfeiffer: What did you study there?
Linnea Miron: I studied Public Policy.
Jon Pfeiffer: then you went to law school?
Linnea Miron: And then I went to law school.
Jon Pfeiffer: Did you take time off in between?
Linnea Miron: Nope.
Jon Pfeiffer: Straight through?
Linnea Miron: Just kept on studying, kept on going.
Jon Pfeiffer: Where'd you go?
Linnea Miron: I went to Vanderbilt for law school.
Jon Pfeiffer: Again, how did you pick Vanderbilt?
Linnea Miron: That one actually, I picked the highest ranked school I got into. I wanted to go, I sort of knew the game of getting into the legal world.
Jon Pfeiffer: Wait, there's a game of law school?
Linnea Miron: Yeah. Well, and what are you going to use this degree for?
Jon Pfeiffer: Right.
Linnea Miron: Right. I was understanding, having gone through four years at Duke, I was around a lot of privileged people, a lot of wealthy people, and I understood certain things about the status game, so to speak. That certain things carried weight, a degree from a certain school. I think that's changing now, but in the '90s, I understood that, that could open doors for me.
Jon Pfeiffer: Right.
Linnea Miron: When I applied to law school, I realized, "Okay, going to a top 25 law school was just going to open certain doors." To do whatever I could to get into the most nationally recognized, so that when I went to apply for jobs at law firms, it would make it that much easier to get offers.
Jon Pfeiffer: it did open a door for you at a law firm?
Linnea Miron: Yeah.
Jon Pfeiffer: A big firm?
Linnea Miron: Yeah. Interestingly, it did, in a very specific way. So this was when 9/11 was happening. I was interviewing for my first job out in the real world in the couple of days after 9/11 had happened. All of these lawyers were coming in recruiting, the recruiting season is in September, for where you're going to be working the following summer. I think it was the last interview I had. It was just a series of speed dating, where you sit down with a lawyer, they ask you a bunch of questions, they look at your resume. I think it was the last one I had had and it was with a guy named Hugh Marbury. He was a litigation partner at a firm that at the time was called Piper and Marbury.
Linnea Miron: It was going through a series of mergers to the point where it became Piper, Marbury, Rudnick and Wolfe. Then, it became Piper-Rudnick. Then, it became DLA Piper. Ultimately, where I ended up working, it was called DLA Piper. But just merger after merger, to the point where I had a job at the biggest law firm in the world by the time the job rolled around. So I'm talking to Hugh Marbury, who interestingly has the same last name as the Piper and Marbury of the firm. I realized that the GPA that I have at Vanderbilt doesn't necessarily justify me getting that interview with this very select law firm, which was the biggest law firm in the state of Maryland at the time, and the place that I wanted to be. But didn't think I had what it took to be there based on my GPA, and so forth.
Linnea Miron: We sit down, and he's like, "Well Linnea, I've gone through, I had a lot of resumes and you're my last interview of the day and all of that, but the specific reason why I'm interviewing you is I was flipping through all these resumes and trying to choose which students to interview today, and my wife picked them up and was looking at them. She pulled yours out, because as it turns out, she noticed at the top of your resume you went to her high school, Severn, you went to Duke, where she went to college, and you're now at Vanderbilt, where I went to law school." So it was through this little personal thing where they just said, "Hey, this one looks a little different-"
Jon Pfeiffer: Let's interview her.
Linnea Miron: "You should do it. Let's just toss her in." That little bit of just luck and access to have that interview, Hugh and I hit it off. Because it was the last interview of the day, instead of it being forced into being 10 or 15 minutes, we went for an hour and I got an offer. Things like that happen and have been critical points of my path, when I look at things that you could call serendipitous, or just the right person coming along and noticing, but then, what did I do to... Once I was given the gift of the access, I then had to step up and show up, and prove to them that I was worth them taking the time to get to know, or to take a chance on, or a job on.
Jon Pfeiffer: Why did you pick law?
Linnea Miron: I have a couple layers to that. One, the college student in me, that didn't want to stop being in college, and didn't want to start being in the real world yet, knew she was good at reading and writing and knew that she wanted a higher degree. It wasn't going to be in medicine, and it wasn't going to be business school, because you typically don't go straight to business school. So some of it was process of elimination.
Linnea Miron: It wasn't, "I want to be the next Sandra Day O'Connor." It was just, this seems like the next logical step in a path that is now making more sense to me in hindsight as to why I chose those things at those points in time. I think part of what I was doing at the time, in my 20s, was building a foundation of making certain choices, certain conventional choices, high level status choices in order to have people take me seriously. In part, so that I could do certain things like this at this point in my life, and people will listen, because I-
Jon Pfeiffer: You have the credentials?
Linnea Miron: I had gone through... Exactly. A top 10 school, top 20 law school, worked for 15 years in big law, and survived it and still have good things to say about it, when a lot of people-
Jon Pfeiffer: A lot of people-
Linnea Miron: Throw in the towel pretty quick.
Jon Pfeiffer: What kind of law did you practice?
Linnea Miron: Commercial real estate.
Jon Pfeiffer: At some point, you moved to Los Angeles, you had mentioned?
Linnea Miron: Uh-huh (affirmative). Yeah.
Jon Pfeiffer: What drew you to Los Angeles?
Linnea Miron: That was another interesting moment. I was working at the firm DLA Piper, as I was saying. I got the job offer as a summer associate. I became a full-time associate. They had a need in the commercial real estate group, and it was a great fit for me. I would say, about second year... This was when real estate was booming, so this was 2005. It was the peak, right before the crash. So real estate lawyers are in high demand, we're very busy, we're billing a lot of hours, huge deals. Real estate values are going up, the size of the deals are getting bigger, and firms are flush with cash.
Linnea Miron: So when they are, they throw a lot of retreats, and they fly everybody out to one location, and there's a lot of food and drinking, and the comradery and the meeting of everybody and all of that goes on. Those are not as common now, when there isn't excess cash to spend. But that particular year the firm flew all of its real estate attorneys from around the country to Los Angeles to stay at the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey. I had never been to LA before and I was 28. So the group from Baltimore, I was working in the Baltimore office of DLA, hundreds and hundreds, I think maybe 400 real estate attorneys. We all fly there, we're all meeting.
Linnea Miron: Again, one of those sort of serendipitous moments where I was seated at a table. The first dinner, you're not allowed to sit a table with anybody from your office. So I sit down and the managing partner of the Los Angeles office, Rich Mendelson, is on my left, and a partner from New York is on my right, and we're all kind of looking at each other's name tags. They're all like, "Baltimore, how's that?" Because, New York... I'm ganged up by New York and LA. I'm like, "Actually, sometimes we call it Balti-less. I get it. I'm not in love with it either." I think the fact that I rolled with that joke and also signaled to them, "Oh, I'm not going to say Baltimore's my place," and said, "actually, it's not. I'm kind of a free agent." Right?
Linnea Miron: I mean, that was sort of what I was signaling at the time. I didn't really realize it until now, but just in saying that, by the next morning... I was a third year associate. By the next morning, the other managing partner of the office made a beeline to me. Said, "Oh, my partner was saying he was talking to you and we're looking to hire young associates in the LA office because real estate's booming. We need more of you. It'd be better to have one of our own than to have to go out and recruit because you already know the firm, you know how to use the computer system, you know the people. It would be an easy transition." So it was better for them and it was good for me too. So it was something that worked out for both. So I lateraled, or some people would say, "LA poached me from Baltimore."
Jon Pfeiffer: Some might say that.
Linnea Miron: That commonly happens at these retreats. When dynamics are such that there's a chemistry between other people, who say, "I actually had more chemistry with these people and in this location." When you work at a large company like that, that's one of the benefits is that I seamlessly, on the firm's dime, they moved me out here. I didn't have to interview. It just, it was one of those moments, and it just... When I came out here and I met that group, they were so welcoming. They took me around, they said, "Let's get you comfortable with LA, see how you like it." It just felt right. It was one of those things where you just kind of know it by the end of the night. You don't have to think about it. You don't really have to-
Jon Pfeiffer: When you moved here, where did you live?
Linnea Miron: Hollywood. [Laughter] I can't believe I did that. I moved into the-
Jon Pfeiffer: For those of you who are not from LA, Hollywood is not what you would imagine.
Linnea Miron: It was not West Hollywood. It was Hollywood right by the ArcLight Cinema Dome, next to the CNN building, and there was a bail bondsman on my street. I mean, it was right off of Sunset, like Sunset and Ivar. This was 10 years ago, or more than that. It's changed a lot. But it was, I moved right into the thick of it. But to me, it was a dream to move into a Hollywood bungalow with palm trees in the background. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.
Linnea Miron: We had an orange tree and a grapefruit tree in our back yard. It was just an idyllic little house we rented off of Craigslist. We knew nothing about LA, so it was close to downtown. That's where my law [firm was]... So I just would get on the 101 and just take it into downtown. But the longer I stayed in LA, the further and further--I get as close to the water as possible at this point.
Jon Pfeiffer: We're sitting in your house in Venice right now?
Linnea Miron: Yes.
Jon Pfeiffer: The canal coming right by us.
Linnea Miron: Right.
Jon Pfeiffer: At some point, you took a leave of absence to work on a political campaign. How did that come about?
Linnea Miron: Oh, well, so I guess you could say with my background in public policy, and I had worked at Amnesty International, and I had worked for Senator Sarbanes before he became famous for Sarbanes-Oxley. So growing up in Annapolis, growing up around Capitol Hill, I was comfortable with politics and aware of things that were going on. But by the time I get to LA, I'm much more in a spiritual awakening at this point in my life. I'm now in my early 30s. I'm reading Buddhist books, and reading The Power of Now, and starting to discover sort of that mainstream, but really profound spiritual teachers.
Linnea Miron: I was talking to my stepmom Shelley about it, one time when I was back in Maryland on a visit, and I was telling her all these Buddhist ideas that were just opening up my mind. She said, "That sounds like something I read in a book called A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson." She's like, "Hang on." She goes into her library and comes back and hands me this worn copy of it. It's got this woman's face on it. I'm really into like the esoteric. I'm kind of like, "Okay, whatever." But I take it back to LA with me. Then, I'm going through a really difficult personal time. I picked up the book and started reading it. I think that's what happens in those moments, when you really hit a low point and the book that's just been there for a bit suddenly is-
Jon Pfeiffer: Is there.
Linnea Miron: ... like pulsating at you and you pick it up. It blew my mind within a couple pages just like The Power of Now did. So it was a really profound, unexpected experience that I was open to and ready for. Then, I thought, "Who is this woman?" And googled her. I'm like, "Well, look at that. She lives in Los Angeles and she speaks every Monday night at The Saban [Theater] on Wilshire, which just happens to be on my path driving home from downtown to I'm now living in Santa Monica. It's on the way. So I start showing up at Marianne's Monday nights at The Saban as sort of my private time, my own personal church time, after work.
Linnea Miron: It became a ritual for a while. I typically wouldn't go with anybody, but it was what I would look forward to every week. Her books and her talks really expanded my mind and really helped me see things in a completely different way. I would not have been able to without those words. When she then announced that she was running for Congress in October of '13, it just was the melding of all of that. It was like, "Oh, I see how I can help her with this and do something that's extremely meaningful for me." I'd reached a point where I'd been a lawyer now for 10 years and I was getting the bug to-
Jon Pfeiffer: Do something else?
Linnea Miron: I knew I wasn't going to be doing that much longer. I thought politics might be the avenue out of it. It's turned out to be something else, but it was the beginning of that, knowing that a chapter's closing in my education and my training in order to go out into the world instead of sitting in my office at a computer all day drafting documents. It was time to start getting out there. That was the beginning of that, was I approached her after-
Jon Pfeiffer: And you helped her with the campaign?
Linnea Miron: Yeah, I approached her with my resume after one of the first volunteer meetings, which was right down on Rose at what used to be called Full Circle. I just went up to her and just handed her my resume and I just said, "I'd love to work on your campaign." I heard from her the very next day, it was pretty quick. That was one of the most profound eye-opening experiences I ever had, so different from working in a corporate law firm. But it was, in hindsight now, I see what I was doing was preparing myself for startup life. That showed me a campaign is very similar in many ways to starting a company and the freneticness of starting a company with very little funding, and on an idea. A political campaign is like a new brand. It's branding. So I learned a tremendous amount at the time, not knowing I was then going to use so much of that in order to become CEO of my own campaign or my own brand several years later.
Jon Pfeiffer: Shifting gears a second.
Linnea Miron: Yeah.
Jon Pfeiffer: Did you go back to the law firm after that?
Linnea Miron: Yeah. We ran a great campaign. It was the jungle primaries, 20 candidates. It was the one that Ted Lieu won, Henry Waxman's seat. We came in fourth out of approximately 20, which was fantastic. But in the primary in June of 2014, you only take the top two. So it was Ted Lieu and then the Republican candidate. They went toe to toe. Everyone knew Ted was going to win at that point, because there were so many democrats and progressives and the one republican kind of inched in, but didn't have a chance. But when she lost the primary, it was one of those kind of weird moments where a friend of mine who's a filmmaker, he said, "It's very similar to when you finish wrapping a movie.
Linnea Miron: It's like you hit a wall and you know it's coming, but you don't really realize it and there's a little bit of sort of kind of PTSD from it." Where it's like how do you step back into the real world after being in a campaign, which is a very insular... I don't mean to use "cultish" in a bad way, but you're in this world and you're kind of out of it as far as what's going on with everybody else in your life. Then, when that--boom--just ends, just like that, and then you have to reentry into the world, it's hard. So she lost the primary. I got an email from that same managing partner that was sitting on my left in that very first dinner, same guy sends me an email and he's like, "So sorry to hear your candidate lost, when are you coming back? Like, are you coming back tomorrow?" Like, okay.
Jon Pfeiffer: It's time to get back to work.
Linnea Miron: Time to get back in it. Time to get back and pulling me back in. Hey, you want that paycheck back again? You want all that? Sit back down in your office, you've been out in the world, let's get back to all of this. I actually said, "I need two weeks to transition myself mentally." For those two weeks, a lot of it, I just laid down. I rested, I kind of did a little hibernation. Then, I went back. That was June of '14. I stayed in it on a part time basis. One of the ways I sort of managed... Even though I came back, I went at 70%.
Linnea Miron: So I said to the law firm, "I'd like to take a 30% pay cut and have a 30% reduction in my billable hours obligation so that..." Which a lot of people do now, they afford it to a lot of mothers now as well. I think I was one of the first who ever asked for it without being a mother, because I wanted to give time to creation, to something else outside of my job. Only it wasn't a creation of a child, it was creation of myself and what am I really meant to be doing here? Spend time doing yoga, meditation, to get the ideas of what am I doing next? It's not going to be that political route like I thought it was, but I'm starting to hone in on it.
Jon Pfeiffer: Transition, are you a football fan?
Linnea Miron: No.
Jon Pfeiffer: That's what I suspected.
Linnea Miron: No.
Jon Pfeiffer: Do you ever watch football?
Linnea Miron: If I have to.
Jon Pfeiffer: I heard an interview where you said that you met Ricky at a party.
Linnea Miron: Yeah.
Jon Pfeiffer: Did you know he was a football player?
Linnea Miron: Yes.
Jon Pfeiffer: He's a big guy.
Linnea Miron: Yes, yes.
Jon Pfeiffer: And that he asked you what your sign was?
Linnea Miron: Yes, yes. He said, "What is your sun sign?" I hadn't heard anyone say it that way, so I just said, "I don't know what a sun sign is." I mean, maybe if I paused for a minute, I could have figured it out, but it was saying... I said, "I don't know what a sun sign is, but my sign, when people ask me that, I say Pisces." But I admitted I had no idea what the--what that word means, all the things that that word means, that archetypal feeling.
Jon Pfeiffer: Was that your first real introduction to astrology?
Linnea Miron: Yes, yes, yes. That's it, 38 years old. Yeah, I'm trying to think if I knew anything about it. No, I didn't. I didn't.
Jon Pfeiffer: At what point did you become a couple?
Linnea Miron: What do you mean?
Jon Pfeiffer: That you started dating?
Linnea Miron: In 2016.
Jon Pfeiffer: Had Ricky done your chart before you started dating?
Linnea Miron: Done my chart? Well, with him, if you're talking to him-
Jon Pfeiffer: He will ask you details to...?
Linnea Miron: Yeah. When you're friends with Ricky or if you're a child of his, a lot of people in his life have never had their chart done, but because he has it, he is dropping little snippets all the time. So once you meet him and you start an exchange and conversation, like we met, then we didn't see each other for a while, then we saw each other again a few months later, then we didn't see each other, then we saw... But each time I would see him, we would have a little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more. But it wasn't like a printout of the chart and let's do this. He does it in a very conversational way, which is-
Jon Pfeiffer: A sneaky way.
Linnea Miron: Which is what I noticed most people don't do, but it's actually, I think if you're good enough to do it, that's the thing, you have to really know what you're talking about to do it that way. But if you can sit and have a conversation with someone, the learning comes through in ways... It's another way to have it come through without it... Because people think, "Oh, I have to have a traditional chart reading." What we're learning is that there are many different ways to learn about yourself versus an astrologer just talking straight at you for 90 minutes and you just sit there. What people are learning, especially with Ricky being in Gemini, is that he loves the conversation.
Linnea Miron: He loves the back and forth of it. I mean, from day one, he tends to know most people's sun signs right off the bat. I tell that story because now we're together, but I see him do it with... We do it with a lot of people we meet. We get their information. Then, once we're texting with them and becoming friends and starting to get to know them, we drop them little things, or tell them this, or say, "Oh, go read about that," or whatever. Then, the learning just kind of starts from there. Then, some people want a reading right away, but some people don't. They want to keep learning it in different ways. That's what's fun about this age, is now with these smartphones, the smartphones have just changed everything.
Jon Pfeiffer: Constant communication--for good or ill.
Linnea Miron: And the ability. Just the access to a fire hose of information that we just didn't have, that I think sometimes we forget we didn't have. Unlimited free information.
Jon Pfeiffer: Changes conversations when your at lunch. Instead of arguing over something and then nobody ever resolves it, well, let me Google that.
Linnea Miron: Yeah.
Jon Pfeiffer: What year did you get married?
Linnea Miron: We got married in June of 2017.
Jon Pfeiffer: Then, you have started a company called Real Wellness?
Linnea Miron: Yes.
Jon Pfeiffer: When did you start the company?
Linnea Miron: Well, the concept, I remember the moment that the words were first uttered I believe was in August of that same year, maybe two months later.
Jon Pfeiffer: How did it come up? When you said the words were first uttered, how do you mean?
Linnea Miron: Well, when we got married, one thing we did do, which I appreciated with him and I believe more couples are going to start doing this, is we got married. Then, we sat down and we said, "Let's look at the chart of our relationship." It's called a composite chart. You blend the two charts of people together. Everybody can do it, we would have a composite chart, right? You look at it and you see where is the action happening? So you look to see where the sun is, you look to see where the moon is. That's going to indicate for you where the energy of the relationship of these two people, the entity between the two people, where it's going to flourish, and grow, and all of that.
Linnea Miron: He said, "Our relationship sun is an Aries." So even though I'm a Pisces and he's a Gemini, when we come together, we are Aries, and we are Aries in the sixth house, which is a workhouse. It's a skill development house. It's the house of Virgo, it's about getting better at something. Getting better at something that you then can offer to the world and make a profound difference on the world. Aries, the pioneer, the daredevil, the warrior, right? So we discussed these things after we were married. I believe that planted the seed in our imaginations of, okay... Because what we realized coming out of our first marriages was, admittedly, we went into them, looking back now, unconsciously, meaning why am I even marrying this person?
Linnea Miron: For what purpose? What are we doing? Like what are we excited about creating in the world together? So when we've come together now in this relationship, we said, "Okay, we're going to do this differently than the last time with our first spouses." And in that moment, it just sort of planted an awareness in my mind, like I said, a visual. That chart is taped up in our kitchen, I'll show you before you leave, and I see it every day as a reminder, that's us. Meaning, Aries tension. We're not a couple that you're ever going to see, I would suspect, you're never going to see us book a vacation at the Four Seasons in Jamaica and just sit in beach chairs for five days straight and read romance novels. It's just not going to happen. We acknowledged not just that we're married, but we acknowledge that we're in a commitment to work, in pioneering ways.
Jon Pfeiffer: Tell me about the company.
Linnea Miron: That's what led to then... As that's happening, Ricky is being asked to speak at cannabis conferences. The businesswoman in me, I've got a lot of Capricorn in my chart too, besides that Pisces, the Capricorn me is watching this and I'm seeing this go down. I'm watching the way people are responding to him. All I can think is energetically, we've got to do something with this. We can also monetize it, for our own benefit. There can be profit in this right. But I also see there's something really beautiful unfolding. We talked about it and we realized he wants to make medicine and he's realizing he knows how to do it.
Linnea Miron: After all these years of study, we start realizing that, and friends start coming to us, we start making things for them, we start seeing them get better very quickly, like within 12 hours or within 48 hours. All that comes together at the same time, we then, in all of these conference meetings, we start meeting people who said, "Hey, partner with us, partner with us, we've got the resources to do it. You guys have the great story, you guys have the... There is only one Ricky Williams in this industry." It turns out he's not endorsing this, he's actually the maker of it. "Come partner with us, we'll give you the resources to do it." So we did, we partnered with a group called OutCo. We chose them because of the high quality of what they were doing in the space.
Linnea Miron: They were very different from anyone else we had met. They were based in Ricky's hometown of San Diego. They just opened their doors to us and allowed us to do R&D with them and to do something extremely innovative that they had never done before. That's what I loved about them, is that they were willing to... They knew how to make cannabis products, but we said, "We want you to also source herbs and extract other herbs, not just cannabis." They thought, "Okay, we'll try it. If we can do that, we can do this."
Linnea Miron: I loved that attitude that they'd never done it before and they were like, "We see the value in this and we're willing to do it when no one else is doing it yet." So they were a wonderful first partner in that meeting in August that Ricky and I had with them, where we realized we had something special and in sort of a playoff of Ricky's RW initials. In talking about what it was that we were creating, the words just kind of came out that this truly is Real Wellness. It's a new way to think about it and we're going to be part of introducing that new way of thinking about it to the mainstream.
Jon Pfeiffer: I'm looking because I've heard you describe Ricky's position in the company as the Chief Herbal Officer, but you're the CEO?
Linnea Miron: Yeah.
Jon Pfeiffer: You're the boss?
Linnea Miron: Yeah.
Jon Pfeiffer: How does it work when you're working with your spouse? I mean, obviously... How do you make that work?
Linnea Miron: Well, I'll tell you. I remember one day very specifically where Ricky said something to me and it just got me further into that space that I can see a lot of people struggle with. I just noticed Ricky and I are very different from those couples. When people kind of compare us to couples that run companies together, it's kind of an apples and oranges thing in what I'm finding, and here's why. So we were raising money for the company. It falls on the CEO to raise money and I've never done this before. I had a lot of doubts about my ability to do it. I was in a meditation one morning and in the meditation, a message came that said, "All right, Linnea, if you want to get the money you need to get this company off the ground, half a million dollars, stop going to all these other people that you've talked to and pitch the lawyers that you work with that you're about to quit and leave to go start this company." I was like fighting with the message. I was like, "No, that sounds... No." But as soon as it came in, I also knew it was a good idea, but it was one that I had to push myself to do and had to evolve to feel comfortable pitching my existing colleagues. That just felt so "oof," you know...
Jon Pfeiffer: How did you do that? How did you walk the line of knowing that you're pitching for a company that you're going to leave the firm for?
Linnea Miron: It was a really interesting thing. At first, I thought, "Is this crazy?" When I come back from meditations, Ricky's usually waiting here and he's like, "Okay, what came up in meditation? What messages came through? Let's talk about it." I said, "Well, there was an interesting one today." I said, "This message came in that we will be successful in fundraising if we go to Seyfarth." I've now left DLA Piper and then this group is now at a firm called Seyfarth Shaw. If you go to Seyfarth with Ricky, with Linc [Fish], the CEO of OutCo, who was our partner, and with our COO at the time, take all four. So I take the three men in with me. I said, "What do you think?" You know what Ricky said to me? He was like, "Linnea, in this conversation, we are not husband and wife. You are a CEO talking to your employee. So if you believe that it is going to be successful and beneficial to the company, then you tell me that's what we're doing." He said, "We have to be mindful of the distinction between when we are in CEO, employee mode-
Jon Pfeiffer: Versus husband and wife mode.
Linnea Miron: ... versus husband and wife." I think a very skilled couple is able... I mean, the real mastery is if you can flip constantly like this, you don't have to say, "Well, we're going to be this way from nine to five. And at 5:00, ding, it switches back." It doesn't work that way. That was such a helpful thing that he said. He's a rare man in that he empowers women in ways... And I don't mean that as a detractor to men. I just see most men, they just don't know how to. They're learning how to now and it's a scary time to be doing this, but Ricky, he understood how, in doing that and having me click into that mindset, that you need to have a CEO in that mindset.
Linnea Miron: I appreciate that, because I'm seeing, now, as women and minorities who aren't used to being put in leadership positions, to be able to have people around you who see that, but see your potential and kind of nudge you up there is so needed. That's what he did, but to the benefit and to the success of our company. But that's part of why our company's successful and why so many aren't, is because the power dynamics up at the top are creating a lot of inefficiencies, and wasted time, and imbalanced power plays that are actually harming the ability of the company to grow.
Jon Pfeiffer: Now, as CEO, you've chosen Instagram is one of your big marketing platforms.
Linnea Miron: Yeah.
Jon Pfeiffer: Why Instagram?
Linnea Miron: For brand building and for the nature of the brand that we have. I also believe that... I'm an avid student of Gary [Vaynerchuk], and if you sort of follow the information that he puts out there on social media about the natures of all the different platforms, you have a different audience for each one and you have a different tone for each one. Instagram, to me, is a great platform. I know people are very unhappy with the algorithm right now and that they're not getting what people feel fair exposure in the feeds. But to me, if you're putting out quality content, it doesn't matter, because people will go and seek you out. So it doesn't matter, oh my followers, I'm way down on a feed of my follower.
Linnea Miron: The content that we put out, to me, is timeless in a sense that it's high quality and it's not something that needs to be put out quickly and you kind of miss a window. There's substance to what we're doing. I love Instagram for the versatility of the tools, that you can create your own content for free, and put it up, and distribute it for free. That just blows my mind as a 41 year old, that that exists, that I can createthat-- all of that--with free programs and teach myself how to record content, grab other content, splice it, subtitle it. Always with putting something out there to open people's minds, to provide them with access to information we believe is going to be beneficial for them and educating.
Jon Pfeiffer: You have testimonial Tuesdays on Instagram, a dispensery of the week, and Facebook Live Ricky on Fridays.
Linnea Miron: Some of those are old, because we're no longer a dispensary brand. We used to do those, but now that we're a CBD-only brand, we're now switching from dispensaries, because when we launched, we were a... Now, we feature like The Antidote on Melrose, right? It's a CBD store on Melrose that you don't need... It's a non dispensary, it's open to anybody. Anybody can go in.
Jon Pfeiffer: Because what I did is I started at the very start of your feed, then I'd scroll, looking at each one. You can see it subtly shift.
Linnea Miron: Yeah. Well, it's subtle, but it's also it's also major. I mean, you bring up a thing that we've been talking a lot about right now at this stage in the company because when we launched in March of '18, we were a Southern California dispensary brand. That's what we, at the time, believed that we were going to expand into, is just we were going to get into more, and more, and more, and more dispensaries. Four out of the six products had THC in them. What we found was the two that were CBD only were way out selling the THC products, even in the dispensaries. So people were buying CBD only formulas and paying the hefty dispensary tax on top of it.
Linnea Miron: That's how much they loved the salve and the optimize tonic. So as this is happening and we're seeing the market prefers these, maybe the people coming into the dispensaries or who we are trying to attract, which is me and my demographic, I'm noticing the women that look like me aren't coming into the dispensary still. They will eventually, but we see something in the future that is taking a long time to happen in California especially, which has just been such a roller coaster for people in the industry in this state, as we're now seeing that some of the taxes are up to 50%. It's crazy. As we're seeing people aren't coming in, we audit it against our mission.
Linnea Miron: Our mission is to get these formulas into as many people's hands as possible. The dispensary channels are simply way too narrow for that when we had the ability to simply expand our CBD line. Our competitors in the dispensaries, most of them were strictly THC brands. They did not have any sort of CBD arm to them. So those brands have been riding this out in a very risky way, hoping for federal legalization as quickly as possible, hoping for the taxes to go down, and it's not happening, and they are going belly up, belly up, belly up, and we're seeing this happen. We smartly, at the beginning of this, I give Ricky credit for this, he said, "I don't want this to be just a THC only brand. We need to have CBD only offerings for people."
Linnea Miron: I actually voted against it. I was like, "No, let's just do THC." He had the foresight to see that CBD was going to expand and thank God he said something and insisted on it and we went with it. Because then we were able to very easily drop off the THC formulas and give all attention to the CBD, whereas now what you're seeing... That's part of our story, right? But now, you're seeing a lot of brands in the THC space who waited too long and are seeing the writing on the wall. They're trying to "pivot" into CBD, but you have to have a good story. If you're in CBD just to not go bankrupt, you're not going to last.
Jon Pfeiffer: It's not as good a story.
Linnea Miron: It's not as good a story. So we're seeing a lot of scrambling right now in the industry. It reminds me of when we went through the Great Recession 12 years ago when I was a commercial real estate attorney. I was a commercial real estate attorney when real estate tanked. Now, I'm a CEO in the cannabis industry as we're seeing something very similar that's going to happen in 2020. I've been here before and I know how to be successful in the face of that. I've done this before and I've learned that I have an ability, also through the people I surround myself with, forward-thinking people like Ricky and other people on our team, to pivot in advance before everyone else does and to be on the up elevator when most people are going down. That's what's happening right now in the industry.
Jon Pfeiffer: And you made the pivot to 100% CBD how long ago?
Linnea Miron: When did they... It wasn't like a one day thing, because what was happening in the dispensaries was we just were putting less and less, we were refilling less and less orders. It just kind of petered. But it's been several months. It's been several months where we revamped our website. It's been been several months, yeah. I don't know the exact day, but yeah.
Jon Pfeiffer: I'm going to completely shift gears on you. I'm going to go 73 questions a la Vogue.
Linnea Miron: What's that?
Jon Pfeiffer: Vogue has they'll ask-
Linnea Miron: 73 questions?
Jon Pfeiffer: ... 73 questions of like celebrities.
Linnea Miron: Okay.
Jon Pfeiffer: I'm not going to ask 73 questions.
Linnea Miron: I was like, "That's a lot of questions."
Jon Pfeiffer: No. What is one question would you most like to know the answer to?
Linnea Miron: Gosh, there's so many.
Jon Pfeiffer: I've stumped my guest.
Linnea Miron: Well, there's so many where I'm like... My first thoughts go to like too way out there, like metaphysical. I'm kind of like, "Is that where we want to go?" Oh gosh, there's so many. I mean, my mind goes to... I'd like to know information about sort of where we go when we leave our bodies. Sort of the information around the cycle of what I feel and believe is a reincarnation cycle. I would like an explanation of how that works, because I feel it works, but I want to understand it.
Jon Pfeiffer: Concrete answers...
Linnea Miron: Yeah, I've got a lot of Capricorn in me, so it's like I need to like...
Jon Pfeiffer: A lot of lawyer?
Linnea Miron: A lot of Earth, right? Where it's like I need something a little more concrete with it. But kind of issues around that, of like how long until we reincarnate again? In our understanding of Earth time, so to speak, how long until that? Where it's like my dad passed away three years ago. Sometimes, Ricky and I are like, "Where are we going to see him turn up as? Where's he going to turn up and what's he going to look like this time?" That sort of thing. Or will it be like the next lifetime, you know?
Jon Pfeiffer: Yeah. What's your guilty pleasure?
Linnea Miron: Guilty, I mean cannabis, but I guess it certainly is a medicine for me. But it's such a pleasurable medicine that I think sometimes we feel guilty of something we're taught isn't supposed to be good for us actually does feel good for us.
Jon Pfeiffer: So what are you working on right now?
Linnea Miron: With Real Wellness? Yeah. We are about to launch, in about a week I believe, our response to Xanax and to anti-anxiety medication that's out there. That's going to come out in about a week online. It's called Serenity CBD. So we're adding to our repertoire of formulas, which we're really excited about. That's a specific thing that we're working on. Then, on a larger scale, on a company scale, we're spending a great amount of time meeting with people, talking to people, looking to open our doors, and bring more people in, and go from this very tiny company to something much larger and expanding the team for people who want to be here. Now that we're clear from that pivot, from the dispensary world in California to the mainstream national, we didn't know CBD was going to be in drug stores this quickly when we launched. We knew something was coming, but we didn't know this exactly. Now that this has happened, and people are showing up, the right partners are showing up, it's a very exciting time of expansion through strategic partnerships with people in the space that we feel are aligned with our vision, that this is the new wave of medicine for people.
Jon Pfeiffer: What is the web address, the URL, for Real Wellness?
Linnea Miron: Oh gosh, my team is going to get so mad at me, because we just changed it. I believe it's rw, realwellness, cbd.com. But I believe if you also type in...
Jon Pfeiffer: If you just Google Real Wellness, it'll come up.
Linnea Miron: If you just type in Real Wellness, Ricky Williams, RW.life, all those things, it will come up. My name, it will come up.
Jon Pfeiffer: Where can they find you on Instagram?
Linnea Miron: Then Instagram, that is @rwrealwellness, I know that one. I know that one, yeah. [Laughter]
Jon Pfeiffer: Thank you, this has been a pleasure.
Linnea Miron: Thank you.
The Creative Influencer is a bi-weekly podcast where we discuss all things creative with an emphasis on Influencers. It is hosted by Jon Pfeiffer, an entertainment attorney in Santa Monica, California. Jon interviews influencers, creatives and the professionals who work with them.
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