Business

Talking Points: Josephine and Billie’s CEO Whitney Beatty

By Alex Halperin
Oct 28, 2021
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Today Los Angles-based brand Josephine and Billie’s is opening what it calls the country’s first dispensary focused on the needs of women of color. It’s the latest  win for the brand which became one of the first equity retailers to win a license in L.A.’s arduous process.

In June, the brand, named for Josephine Baker and Billie Holiday, also became the first company to receive an investment from The Parent Company‘s equity investment vehicle. I recently chatted with CEO Whitney Beatty about the shop, the Parent partnership and what’s happening in Washington D.C. 

The new store, is “decidedly different,” she said. Instead of glass cases pushed to the edge of the room, the design and speakeasy vibe pays tribute to the Harlem “tea pads” of the 1920’s and 1930’s. The decor is a mix of “the rustic and the found,” and products are divided by terpene profile, in order to help customers determine how a product will make them feel. 

  • Beatty noted that it’s on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, in South L.A., not on Melrose Avenue.  “We want to meet people where they’re at,” she said. “This demographic has been ignored by this industry.”

The terms of The Parent Company investment have not been disclosed but Beatty said it was the leading investment in a $1M raise.

  • Also important has been access to The Parent Company’s “human capital,” Beatty said.

In Washington D.C., legalization activists disagree about whether to pursue “incremental” or “comprehensive” reform. This boils down to whether banking reform should happen before, or at the same time as federal legalization.

  • While both sides claim to have the interests of equity entrepreneurs at heart, supporters of comprehensive reform fear bank reform would primarily benefit big companies and leave equity businesses behind.
  • Supporters of incremental reform argue small businesses need access to banking even more than big businesses do. 

Beatty, who previously had a career on the development side of Hollywood, agrees with the latter:

  • “Banking is critically important.”
  • “I am very reticent to rush into wholesale federal legalization,” she added. “When the government goes too fast they never go back and fix things. We just stay screwed.”  

Related: The Parent Company’s Troy Datcher, the only Black CEO of a major cannabis operator (that I’m aware of), spoke to Business Insider about building an “Amazon-esque” brand with a focus on equity.