We spoke with Verena von Pfetten, Co-Founder of Gossamer, about the social stigma behind cannabis, and how it has transformed her personal and professional life for the better.
What does a typical day in the life look like for you?
The most clichéd and deeply uninteresting answer of all: there’s no such thing. But I try to start every morning with a book—I usually wake up naturally anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes before my alarm, and I use that time to read instead of reaching for my phone. Shower, coffee, a bus-to-subway commute from Red Hook, the best and least convenient neighborhood in south Brooklyn. Email, email, email, packing boxes, responding to customer service questions and feedback, editing stories, assigning features, planning our next issue, testing products (our own and others!), putting out a million tiny fires and thinking of a million big ideas. More email, reading on my ride home, dinner, wine, more reading, sleep.
Why did you start using CBD?
I’m a terrible sleeper. I have no trouble falling asleep, but it’s the rare night I wasn’t waking up with a tight chest and racing heartbeat, thinking of the endless to-dos and mountains of work that starting a business entails. Incorporating CBD into my daily life and, specifically, CBN into my sleep routine, was literally life changing.
Social Stigma or Socially Acceptable?
Cannabis is socially acceptable in my world because I’ve made it my life and my business. But with that comes the constant reminder that what makes something socially acceptable for one person and not for another has a lot to do with the color of your skin and your socio-economic background. That reminder is core to everything we do at Gossamer. The stories we tell; the people, products, and brands we feature; the contributors and partners we work with. Weed is (and should be) fun. But if you’re working in this space and not doing your part to make this industry inclusive and just for all, then—no matter how beautiful your product is or how talented you are or how much money your brand has—we’re not interested.
Tip for starting a business
Be prepared to ask a lot of questions and to ask for a lot of help and favors. Be grateful for the support and generosity of those who give it to you. And give the same to others in return.
How did you come to find Gossamer’s voice?
Gossamer is a genuine collaboration between my co-founder, David Weiner, and me.
Photo: Alec Kugler
What does unwinding look like for you?
Reading. Anywhere: on the couch, in a coffee shop, during my commute, on Sunday mornings or Friday nights.
Mantra of the moment
Assume the best intentions. We’re often so quick to feel like people are being intentionally difficult or obtuse or uninterested or withholding. Reframe those interactions by assuming the other person is acting with good intentions and you’ll realize how little of what we experience, in both professional and personal settings, is driven by malintent.
What does wellness mean to you?
Doing things that make me happy. Sometimes that’s in the short term (two gin martinis and a cheeseburger on a Tuesday) and sometimes that’s in the long term (going to yoga, opting for a salad.)
Lifestyle summed up in one sentence
Saying yes is a lot more fun than saying no.
Less screens, more books.
Favorite way to relax
A long, stoned bath with a great book and good snacks. (Noticing a theme here?)
Top of your Zen Playlist:
Barenaked Ladies’ “If I Had A Million Dollars”
Favorite current read:
The Overstory, by Richard Powers
Natural Brand You Can’t Live Without:
Does natural wine count?
Favorite Sweet Reason flavor:
Gossamer looks at the world—travel, design, art, culture, and food—through a green lens. We tell stories that channel the mindset of someone having their best high: interviews, features, photo essays, recommendations, and more that will pique your curiosity, make you laugh, change your perspective, or just give you something to do on a slow, stoned Sunday.