Amanda Goetz is the founder and CEO of
We chatted with Goetz about her come-up story, women’s wellness through
High There: Can you tell us how House of Wise came to be?
Amanda Goetz: I found myself at the height of my career; I managed a public company we had acquired, so we merged with our biggest competitor. I had three kids under four.
I found myself filing for divorce and going through that whole process. There was a lot from my dealing with postpartum depression, situational depression going through a divorce and the anxiety that comes with all of those things. As someone raised conservatively in the Midwest, I was kind of subconsciously taught that alcohol is the thing you can use when you need to calm down or wind down.
So that, paired with the fact that TikTok has this mommy wine culture where we’re celebrated by drinking a bottle of wine at night like that, it’s normal. So I realized that alcohol was increasing the effects of my anxiety. And so I got very, very curious about cannabis in general. And what is the difference between THC and CBD? And I felt like I knew nothing.
I would go to these stores, and I would buy many products. And I realized that there wasn’t a lot of oversight over where the products came from and what was in them. Some would give me bloodshot eyes, and I’d have to be on CBS Good Morning and have bloodshot eyes. And then some would make me groggy, and I’ve got to take care of a toddler. So I realized that there was an opportunity to create a brand that empowered women to feel like they had products and a brand that would help them and create transparency around the products and how they’re made and the industry as a whole and what is happening.
HT: How is the company working to continue its growth within the cannabis industry?
Goetz: We’re still a very new company. People think we’re a lot older and more mature than we are. So I quit my job and took a half-time job because I was a single mom, so I needed to work. But I started the company, launched in the summer of 2020, and then went full-time in April of 2021. So it has been a year since I went full-time.
We’ve raised two rounds of funding for this industry, and as a female founder, like I am, I continue to be shocked at how much harder it is to raise institutional capital. Less than three percent of U.S. dollars go to female founders. And the process was complicated. And I’m in a position where I’ve been doing this. This is my second startup. And even still with having connections and having done this before, it still is so hard for women.
I’m thankful that we found some fantastic investors to back us because they see that the future of CBD and THC is considering it a wellness category down the line. We’re not there yet, but we found people who saw the vision for that.
HT: What can you tell us about your House of Wise product line?
Goetz: When I think about House of Wise, it’s a commission-based company, meaning women struggle with putting themselves before anything else. We usually take care of our kids, partners, etc., before ourselves. And the thing with our products and the reason we were very intentional about our product lines being sleep and stress and sex and strength is that once you pop a gummy or take the drops, it’s about a 30-minute activation window before you start to feel the effects.
You know, and for something like sex or strength, permitting yourself to transition into that role or that function. And you’ve now created space in your day for that intentionality. And so those are very, very to me, the four pillars of your day that make you overall have a healthier approach to, you know, your wellness and your mental health.
If your stress level is high, it’s impossible to have a sex drive from a chemical perspective. And so, we’re like, “Okay, ‘
That then kind of permeates the other categories. And then
I wanted to do something that would ensure that people need space for their workouts. And so those are the four product lines of Sleep, Stress, Sex and Strength. We have a few more product lines that we’re working on that we’re super excited about; we will be sure to tell you when we get close to them.
HT: Tell us more about the brand partnership with Last Prisoner Project.
Goetz: I mentioned this earlier, but from day one, one of my first calls, when I decided I would start this company in the middle of the pandemic, was with Mary Bailey over at Last Prisoner Project. Because if you read any books about the cannabis industry if you understand where legalization and criminalization come from. And it’s all rooted in racism and oppression of people of color. And so I’m the first to acknowledge like I’m a white woman building in this space. And I want to make sure that the DNA of this company is illuminating that there are 40,000 people still sitting in jail for doing something that many people are making billions of dollars on as this industry continues to grow. And so we [had] a campaign ahead of 420 where we highlighted a story.
Shawn Worsley, a Purple Heart veteran who was carrying 10 grams of medical cannabis, had his card, but he was in a state where it was not legalized. He served a year in jail, plus another five months on probation. So six years of his life are gone, plus all the lost wages. He can’t, you know, share all the things with the aftermath and then the trauma that happens. So we shared his story, and then we did this limited edition bundle that all the proceeds from the sale of that bundle go to them to help kind of rebuild their life after this. Last Prisoner Project is doing an incredible job by helping the people and advocating for the president to stand behind what he said he was going to do. And so, they’re continuing to push for more and more reform and restoration.
HT: What makes House of Wise CBD gummies different from all other brands out there?
Goetz: So what people don’t realize is, like when the green rush happened in the Farm Bill was passed, so many people were just white labeling whatever CBD oil they could. So the only differentiation is the brand or logo on the sticker, right? So for me, it was essential to work with a team of chemists to understand what happens when you combine different ingredients with CBD. We learned that it’s a potent activator and can hide any effects. And so that’s why our “Strength” gummy, for example, you feel like you have a boost of energy without any of the jitters because it heightens a minimal amount of caffeine to feel like more. And so, for me to kind of boil it to one thing, it’s its efficacy and trust and transparency.
We planted 30 rows of hemp with our farmer to understand the process, how he thinks about sustainability. So there’s that. And then the wrapper of House of Wise that I believe to be different is that we’re a community-based commerce company. And what I mean by that is we have over a thousand women who, like, we don’t pay Google and Facebook to advertise. We have 1000 women, who we call Wise Women; it’s our affiliate program. There’s no recruiting; there’s no gross MLM-type stuff. It is truly a community of women who share the passion for health and wellness and are trying to, you know, drink less or feel better or get their workouts in or make space for intimacy.
We have a fantastic Editor in Chief. We write a lot of content about how to do this. We have a community that supports you and products that enable you to do it. We provide this kind of 360-degree support to every person who purchases the product.
HT: What issues does the company struggle with when advertising CBD?
Goetz: Let me just walk through the waterfall effect. So Google and Facebook won’t let you advertise any ingestible CBD product. So what does that mean? You have to then direct them to a content article off your site in a way from the ingestible. So you get shut down left and right if they see anything close to ingestible advertising. So you can’t say the word gummy, you can’t have it in the picture, and they’ll shut you down, which blocks you from advertising for weeks until you can get back up and running. So that’s number one, which means you can’t have the same conversion rate and growth rate as another DTC company selling shoes.
And so then you go to raise funding for your company, and investors look at your growth versus the shoe company’s growth, and they say, “Sorry, you’re not growing fast enough.” And that’s the difficulty in this whole industry that we cannot be looked at the same as another e-comm business. That is why we took the affiliate approach.
We built a community first because to me, and there are brand advocates there, the ones that I’d instead give that money to, that Google and Facebook anyway, because they’re out there talking about, oh my gosh, the strength of is like helping me get energy, etc., etc. So that’s one example of raising capital. So now you got to try to raise capital.
I’ve got the double whammy of being a sexual health and wellness company and CBD that eliminates any significant, big funds. And so now you have to like go and try to find accepting and innovative funds. So there are a lot of hurdles. And the third one is the tech side of things. Shopify Stripe powers most wholesale businesses. The wholesale orders that come through some of the big players Stripe recently decided they’re not allowing CBD companies to flow through that.
These tech companies are making sweeping generalizations instead of providing pathways to vetting which the best players are, who can provide lab results and show proof, as you know, of testing and all the things, they’re just kind of like, we’ll just eliminate that category, and it makes it hard to build a business. Luckily, we have set up the things that will help us navigate that, but it does create a huge barrier for many people to enter.
HT: We noticed that you were able to connect with Serena Williams’ team through Twitter to send over some of your products to try out. What is to be said about the power of social media for CBD and cannabis companies?
Goetz: Twitter’s a fantastic world when you use it in the way that it was intended. But, of course, there are some dark holes in that world. But with the Serena thing, it was a wonderful reminder that stress and life affect you no matter who you are. It was a cool equalizer because you think of Serena Williams as invincible.
Yet, she is facing the same thing that, you know, my mom and friends in Illinois are facing, which is we’re stressed, and it’s affecting our sleep, and we need something to help us. So it was cool to see that kind of equalizer.