Longtime friends Angela Westcott, owner of Viridescent Times Boutique, and Kriss Young owner of Zen Den, merged their businesses to now share a joint store that opened in December, a decision that came about as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Westcott’s businesses specializes in CBD products in the form of candies, chocolates, capsules and tinctures, in which most of the products have less than five ingredients and are gluten-free and vegan. The boutique also offers drinks such as seltzer, coffee and teas, in addition to carrying candles, jewelry and clothing.
Westcott had her first experience with CBD back in 2018 after struggling with shoulder pain for a while and was surprised at how effective these types of products were for her. After this positive experience, Westcott began researching ways to get into this type of business.
“I booked a trip to head back to Las Vegas in November 2018 for my first Cannabis Conference. I decided I wanted to open my own CBD boutique but I wanted to do it the right way,” Westcott said.
It was also at this conference that she met a representative from the CBD Training Academy and led her to take an online certification course in order to properly be able to help her customers get the best fit product for them.
“Not all products are created equally. A product that might provide relief to one person might not be the best solution for their friend. That’s where having a local resource becomes valuable,” Westcott said.
Westcott originally had a store in Earlville, five miles south of Hamilton, that officially opened in March 2019, but had to close in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I was devastated. In March, when I should have been celebrating my [first] anniversary I was completely shut down,” Westcott said. “[But] I didn’t give up. Like many small businesses, we adapted. I dove into e-commerce and started contactless delivery and shipping.”
Following this closure, longtime friends and businesswomen Westcott and Young decided to merge together to stay open during the pandemic.
“We often call and discuss our challenges and spitball ideas on how to grow or expand our businesses. We are always pushing each other to keep thinking outside of the box. I feel the pandemic has awarded us an opportunity to perfect our niche and to reinvent our brand,” Westcott said. “We are the definition of women supporting women.”
Young shared similar sentiments about her relationship with Westcott.
“I would often refer my clients to Angela and she would refer her customers to me well before this idea developed. It just made perfect sense,” Young said.
Young faced many challenges once the pandemic forced the studio to close, but similarly initially turned to online methods to keep her business open during the pandemic.
“It quickly became clear this wasn’t going to be just a speed bump for the studio. The Zen Den started offering live-streaming classes by donation. Instructors from all over the country who [used] to teach at The Zen Den pitched in to help keep the studio afloat. We played with Instagram & Facebook Live, followed by Zoom and then Mindbody, the studio’s client scheduler software, finally launched their own live stream and video-on-demand capabilities,” Young said.
Both owners expressed that their pairing works and benefits both of their businesses, which share a common goal to offer natural remedies for health and wellness.
“Both of our businesses are very geared towards achieving health and wellness while maintaining homeostasis with your mind and body. So much of what we both do complements each other,” Westcott said.
Young, who originally owned the space herself, explained the set up of the building and how its organization shifted once the space became shared.
“27 Lebanon Street is a collaborative space; however, we are still two distinctly separate businesses. Upon entering you are walking into Viridescent Times Boutique which also serves as the lobby and front desk for The Zen Den,” Young said. “Moveable partition walls physically separate our spaces allowing for privacy for both The Zen Den’s clients during classes and for Viridescent Times Boutique’s customers during consultations and while shopping.”
Sophomore Amber Hufford, who had recently heard about the boutique, expressed interest in visiting soon.
“As someone who has previously used CBD products and enjoyed them, I am very excited about this boutique and plan to visit soon,” Hufford said.
Westcott said she believes her products will be especially beneficial for university students.
“CBD is widely known to help with sleep, anxiety, depression, muscle aches and pains, joint pain, relaxation and focus. The list truly does go on and on,” Westcott said. “After the last year, I feel like everybody’s health has become the main focus in our lives. CBD works with your body to provide overall homeostasis so that you can wake up and be the best you can be every day.”