26 Apr 2018

Member Spotlight: Jillian Cardona

Interview with Jillian Cardona

To be clear, I was already hoping to throw out the entirety of my bathroom cabinet. I was
already ready to go rogue on my toiletries and re-populate with products so beautiful, so
of the earth, so delightfully delicious that I’d be as likely to sprinkle them on my cereal as
I would into my bathtub—and then I met Jillian Cardona. And now I’m not only excited
for the clean sweep that awaits, I’m genuinely convinced of the magic that occurs when
one is as aware of what goes on the body as what goes into it; the two, after all, are
entwined. The two, luckily for us, provide the well-scented groundwork for Cardona’s
foray into holistic body care, nutrition, and—why not?—law. And that’s all before 30.
Likely, before breakfast. “I’ve always been interested in natural living,” Cardona says,
smiling without any trace of the stress that could come from spearheading two
successful businesses: Clean Habit and Blue Coast Farms. Maybe it’s because, as
staples of the Funk Zone Hub, Cardona and her husband make a point to walk down to
the pier every single day… “sometimes, twice a day,” she laughs. It’s a good life. And
that’s all before breakfast.

Born and raised in Encinitas, California, Cardona was not hard-pressed to find chances
to explore health and wellness; Encinitas, like Santa Barbara, is as littered with juice
bars and acupuncture clinics as it is with burrito joints. And everyone has their favorite.
That said, her parents—transplants from the Northwestern and Southern U.S.—left
Cardona to forge her own pathway toward a healthy SoCal lifestyle, and she began by
choosing to become vegetarian at age 15.

After attending UCSB, where she met her
now husband and business partner, Mark, the two made the transition to law school;
however, by the last semester, Cardona was already ready to transition out of her
burgeoning career. “I’ve always been drawn to creating things with my hands—building
things,” she shares. “And you don’t get to do a lot of that in law school.” Cue the
foundation of Clean Habit, which slipped beautifully into the vacuum created by
Cardona’s decision to postpone a career in law: even though, ultimately, lawyerly
creativity would prove as important to her products as to the plants they are made from
(but more on that later).

Initiated by a simple interest in making clay masks for herself
and her friends, Clean Habit is now a wildly-successful product line—with presence
online and in shops like Pura Luna Apothecary—that encourages women to not only
nourish their skin, but also their souls. The simple—yet powerfully medicina—plant-
based ingredients make up products like “Brisa Rosada” toner spray, or “La Luz” facial
serum, or (my personal favorite) the “Dulce Abejita” facial cleanser. As mentioned, the
ingredients—displayed proudly, and transparently, on the website—reads as much like
the back of an ice cream carton as it does a skin product. At least, the kind of ice cream
you’d want to eat. “What’s on the outside comes from what’s on the inside,” Cardona
reflects: whether inside the bottle or inside the body. And the integrity of the Clean Habit
line is a strong indicator of just how deeply Cardona cares for both.
In fact, it was this cross-section of nutrition and body care that led Cardona to co-found
Blue Coast Farms in January 2017.

Now a 4-person team, Blue Coast is a cannabis
company that aims to enrich the whole person by aligning them with products that
elevate their lifestyle: whether on the surface or in the gut, for muscle aches or mental
acuity, Cardona and her partners have created a line that is not only righteous: it is riding
the wave of a revolution. “It’s changing,” Cardona explains, addressing the stigma that
has been associated with cannabis in days gone by. “The stigma is dropping
away—[today], you can be an attorney with a business, and also be a cannabis user.
The two aren’t mutually exclusive.”

Debuting as a medical delivery service, Blue Coast
draws from anecdotal research—increasingly prevalent—indicating the benefits of
cannabis: not only for aiding anxiety, sleeplessness, or pain, but also in sharpening
one’s mental faculties and/or elevating the power of a skin product to “get that glow.”
One look at Blue Coast’s “Hello Gorgeous” line—microdosing cannabis into a host of
superfoods that would make even Lazy Acres blush—is enough to realize Cardona’s
belief that beautiful skin starts within. In the mind, too: like Clean Habit, Blue Coast
features an assortment of mindfulness tips and meditations that are as much about
grounding as they are about elevation.

Favoring a high CBD to THC ratio, the mission of
Blue Coast remains to use “cannabis as a wellness tool”: for longtime users, brand-new
experimenters, and even… animals. “We have a dog who is nervous in cars, and we
give him CBD when we take long drives,” Cardona laughs. “A ton of people seek us out
just for their pets.”
Orange may be the new black, and the coast may be blue—but clearly, the future is
green.

Next up for Blue Coast is to move out of their pocket in medical delivery, and obtain their
Santa Barbara county retail license: one of many ways that Cardona’s background in law
has come to her aid. “I cannot imagine not having my law background and trying to
attempt this,” she says. “It’s way more empowering to be able to know: this is what is
required of us. And this is how to meet those requirements.” As a full-fledged cannabis
business, Blue Coast products will be available for purchase in private grocery stores as
well as online. “We’re getting emails every day from people wanting to order,” Cardona
says. “When we are open, you’ll know!” In the meantime, she is focusing on her first
love—product development—and eagerly awaiting the results of the California Bar
Exam. That’s right. Years after tabling her career in law, Cardona returned to her roots
and hit the books for her final exam: not without the help of her Impact Hub coworkers,
whom she credits with keeping her accountable in finishing strong. “I knew people were
gonna ask me how it’s going,” she shares. “Other law students give each other
anxiety—but [at the Hub], I feel people are holding me accountable… without all the
emotion.

“Everyone here has been insanely supportive and encouraging.There is a bottle of
champagne literally waiting in the fridge for me for when I get my results!”
Besides being one of the first teams to commit to the Funk Zone location, Cardona and
her husband have been supporters of the Santa Barbara Hub since 2016: drawn to the
message of “getting better and doing good,” they credit the social element with helping
their businesses grow. And the neighborly quality doesn’t hurt. “I can pop out of our
office, hand my latest label design to a person, and get immediate feedback…and
everyone’s always game for that,” Cardona says. And when dealing with a skincare line,
the benefits are even more tangible. “I have friends here who will even test out my
products on their own body!” As both Clean Habit and Blue Coast morph into their
newest iterations, Cardona is looking forward to integrating into the community: both in a
retail space, which she calls a “new adventure,” and perhaps by sharing knowledge at
local resources like Pura Luna. When asked what workshop she might like to host there,
Cardona answers point-blank: “how to be a woman in business and not take shit from
people.”

Spoken like a true health-nut- turned-lawyer, turned skincare-guru, turned
business-savvy- coworker. Who just happens to have taken the Bar. Who, no doubt
about it, is raising the bar for our community’s relationship to plant medicine: “We want
to bring cannabis to the community in a responsible way: to embody what Santa Barbara
is… eco-friendly, family-friendly. Not scary, or stoner, or any of the other stereotypes. I’m
looking forward to that.
“And oh yeah—those Bar results.”

By Jenna Tico
4/25/18

Visit www.cleanhabit.co/for more info on Clean Habit. To sign up for Blue Coast Farm’s
newsletter and updates, visit www.bluecoastfarms.com.