Earth Kisses Sky Inc. [EKS] a leading edge natural cannabis-based wellness brand. Located in Hamilton, Ontario Earth Kisses Sky was co-founded by partners in life and business, Ashley Short and Tijen Yalchin. With more than 20 years of holistic health, nutrition, and clinical herbalism experience they have developed high quality; all-natural plant based topicals that can fit into anyone’s wellness and self-care routine. We got a chance to sit down with these plant-powered entrepreneurs and learn more about their cannabis journey.
What inspired you to start EKS?
Ashley tested positive for Lyme disease in 2012 and used cannabis to manage her symptoms.
In 2012, we developed topicals when searching for formulations to help combat Lyme disease, which at the time kept Ashley Short bedbound.
Because Ashley’s pain was so significant, her goal was to utilize cannabis for all of its benefits. She began taking RSO, got her cannabis license and decided to create her own topical that could be used locally to help ease her constant pain & chronic inflammation. The goal for Earth Kisses Sky was to create a topical that was all natural, clean and sustainable. This was the birth of EKS topicals, which later evolved to what you see on the legal market today, RISE & SHINE.
You two are a success story of those who have transitioned from legacy to legal. Can you describe what that journey has been like?
Tijen: We have encountered a lot of setbacks but never gave up. It’s easy to lose that ‘spark’ after a few setbacks – which is inevitable when running a business. When it happens, it’s important to believe in yourself, your intuition, and your vision and do everything you can to ignite that spark again. Every time you get up after a setback and push forward, you reprogram your brain towards a mindset of success. Learn, and move forward.
Ashley: We all deal with some kind of pain, whether it be emotional, physical, or spiritual. When you embrace pain; its lessons, its darkness, and its hardships, is when you begin to personally rise, and find pleasure in the journey.
How have your previous studies/professional past lives Prepared/influenced you for where you are today?
We’ve both had a long career in holistic health practices. Tijen is a Registered Massage Therapist and an Acupuncturist who additionally is certified in a number of other approaches to wellness such as Reflexology and Reiki. Ashley is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist & Clinical Herbalist. And above all, we are entrepreneurs. In 2019, we made the decision to close our clinical practice and focus on the EKS product line.
In truth, each and EVERY human we connect with has both prepared and Influenced our company. We spent the past 5 years building our brand which we call our village. Throughout our journey we have met some incredible humans, just like the ones from mīhī cannabis. mīhī has now become a part of our village and we are aligned to grow together.
What are some of the common ailments that clients/customers have come to you for help with in the past?
We have been able to witness people moving from PAIN to acceptance, to living a fuller and more productive and happy life by embracing cannabis into their lifestyles.
• Pains ; joints, RA, OA
• Nerve pain
• Eczema/ Psoriasis
• Rashes, Bruising, Bug bites
• Tension headaches
• Scar repair
May was Lyme Disease Awareness month and it’s been incredible to see Ashley share her story about her experience with Lyme disease. How did this influence or impact your business?
Tijen and I were always very health conscious and mindful of the things we put into/onto our skin. From young ages Tijen and I always made our own products, even before we knew one another. Lyme disease really motivated us to dive deeper into the benefits of cannabis, we already used plant medicine on a daily basis & prior to getting ill, Ashley would see clients one on one and would develop and formulate; teas, tinctures, salves, syrups specifically for their ailments.
When Ashley got sick she obtained her cannabis licence in 2012 with the sole purpose to develop her own cannabis oil & topical to help ease the inflammation & pain that she was experiencing. Because of the success that cannabis provided her, we started sharing our topicals with friends and family who would continue to request more. The demand was there and we knew it was our duty to figure out a way to share this with the world.
What were some of the challenges you both faced on your journey and what were/are some of the solutions you used to overcome?
• Tijen and I have been together for 17 years now, & like many others we have had some pretty scary and life changing moments in our lives, fighting to be together, overcoming lyme disease, experiencing a 7.8 earthquake in Nepal, the world was testing our strength on multiple different levels. We constantly try to embrace each tough moment… in-fact instead of “why me, we say TRY ME” everything that we have been through has taught us so many things to get to where we are today & we are so grateful for every challenge that was presented to us.
• Before we found Peak Processing Solutions, we were on the hunt for years to find an LP that aligned with Earth Kisses Sky Inc. (EKS) beliefs. We spoke to multiple Licensed producers who wanted us to change our formula to make it cheaper to produce which would have resulted in synthetic & artificial ingredients being used as well as plastic packaging “just to get in the door”. It was challenging at first because nobody really knew much about cannabis topicals – as cannabis topicals were a completely new product to the newly regulated market.
• We were told multiple times that they do not care about the story or the product itself, but only on how much money we are going to make them.
• This did not align with Earth Kisses Skys beliefs or standards, we value our customers needs, the quality of our product, trust & transparency. We are a company that is health conscious, community focused & dedicated to produce high quality products that our customers can feel safe while using. So for us we knew right away that these partnerships were not in alignment which made us set a higher standard for ourselves and continued to search for our other half.
What sets Shine apart from other topical available on the legal market?
EKS brings over 20+ years of skincare experience & all natural herbal formulations.
Our SHINE salve is the first all natural plant based cannabis skin care topical on the market made from all natural, high quality & plant based ingredients where each one has a purpose & benefit.
SHINE is derived from naturally sourced, wildcrafted organic ingredients, meaning it’s free of artificial colour, fragrance, parabens, artificial preservatives, petroleum based products, silicones, fillers, synthetic or artificial ingredients and each jar contains 150mg THC, 300mg CBD.
We love mama earth so producing this product locally in Ontario with sustainable packaging was important to us. Each jar is made of reusable UV protected glass stash jars, showcased in a beautiful high quality reusable, recyclable & giftable box.
As a female-run, LGBTQA+ company, we have long prioritized patient over profit and we plan to offer in-store activations with educational sessions for budtenders and customers that can help to support the community.
Competitor cannabis topicals include:
• Synthetic ingredients
• Non-organic ingredients
• Not locally produced (USA brands, or larger companies creating a cannabis line)
• Cream or gel base – making cannabis the only ingredient that is beneficial
• Hemp seed oil
• Plastic packaging
mīhī cannabis lists ‘zones’ in-store to help facilitate a more comprehensive shopping experience for customers. Which zone would you put Shine into?
SHINE is promoted as a health product but also has beneficial properties for the skin, making Relieve or Zen equally suitable. With the addition of herbs which include calendula, St john’s wort, and plantain are very specific with supporting our skin, along with cannabis.
So as you can see – EKS has an added value to our topical because you are not only getting safe all natural ingredients that are beneficial on their own, but you are also getting the benefits from the cannabis plant.
What are some of your hopes for the future of Canadian cannabis?
We are excited to see how cannabis can help change our healthcare system for the better.
We want to see a reconnection between what mother nature provided us, and to see communities, hospitals and the medical community reconnect to plant medicine, bringing us back to our roots as humans. Legalization has made it possible to access the plant we have been denied for so many years. People can now use cannabis to improve their health and find empowerment in their personal health journey without judgement attached to it.
We also see a big future for jobs in cannabis that will help leverage communities and infuse economic potential into areas around the country.
Most of all, we want to see all the individuals who were criminalized for cannabis set free, clear of all the charges that were wrongfully placed on them because of cannabis. We want them to finally be respected, honoured, and appreciated for their passion and hard work in paving this path to cannabis legalization that we now enjoy and experience.