We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalie Bustamante and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalie, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Vital Tonics is part of an antiracist cannabis collective called the Floret Coalition. As a coalition, we made a pledge to make monthly donations to causes supporting Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities. This is especially important to me because the Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. They are also the groups that have the least access to medicinal cannabis and the least resources to become business owners in this sector. I don’t even want to get started on how I feel about all the white men making millions in the cannabis space while Black and Latinx community members are in jail for petty cannabis possession. As a company, Vital Tonics also donated over 60 bottles of The Tonic during the first big spike of the pandemic. We donated exclusively to nurses, EMT’s and doctors on the front line fighting COVID-19, as well as to food and beverage industry workers who lost their jobs. The Tonic helps relieve anxiety, stress and helps fight insomnia. I have some serious tear-jerking messages from several nurses who told me The Tonic was the only reason they were able to sleep or go into work without going into full panic mode. Vital Tonics also protects the environment by ensuring that all of our packaging and shipping materials are made from post-consumer waste and are biodegradable and recyclable.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Being a woman in the cannabis sector has not been easy. I find that men tend to not take me seriously until I open my mouth and start explaining the science behind my products. After my small TedTalk on what sets my products apart in the market, they are usually impressed but also shocked. This is equal parts satisfying and frustrating for me. The industry is still dominated by white men and I want people to know I am here to change that. I have also learned that Google is your best friend and you can figure out almost anything by doing a deep dive into the web. There are guides on everything from setting up an LLC to building your own ecommerce platform on Google. I want people to know that anyone can start a business and that when they do take that leap of faith, they will be surprised by the amount of love and support they will receive from the people around them.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If I had a friend in town, I would start our day with an early morning ocean dip. Ideally we would head to the little piece of beach south of 5th on Miami Beach. Then we would have empanadas and pastries at Flour & Weirdoughs in Key Biscayne. I would also take them to visit the new Rubell Collection, it is seriously wonderful. I would then take them to lunch at the Coconut Grove Sailing Club. It is one of the only spots in Miami that I feel has not changed much in the last decade. It feels like old Coconut Grove or like you are in the keys for lunch. The view is also spectacular. I would do happy hour at ALL DAY. They have an amazing natural wine night every Thursday with small tapas that change constantly. Get ALL of them to try. Trust me.
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?
My parents deserve this shout out even though they do not have social media. My dad is my investor, my mom is my accountant and they both came with me to Colorado to vet my farm before I chose which hemp grower to work with. They believed in me from the beginning, champion the fact that I work in the cannabis sector even though Latinos are notoriously conservative on the topic, and pretty much roofie all of their friends with my products. My mom is also my favorite guinea pig and tests out all of my products before they go to market.
I have rights to the images,