The Green Queen Hopes To Solve A Major Pot Brownie Problem
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A few years ago, Gianna Filipetto was recording a cannabis butter cooking tutorial on her YouTube channel when she realized she had a problem. “It took too long and was a very complicated process,” she explains from her kitchen in Austin, Texas. “It actually took so long that I had to record it over a span of two days. This is a problem, especially for people who are relying on homemade herbal brownies to treat medical conditions at home.” Cannabutter is an essential ingredient in pot brownies.
She began to research alternative infusion solutions, such as the Magical Butter machine. But the device was expensive and still took many hours to complete basic herbal infusion.
Filipetto realized that a business opportunity was staring her in the face. But as a college student with little money, in a state where cannabis is still illegal, she was facing some pretty massive hurdles.
This is the story of how she founded Green Queen from her apartment. The company produces an Herbal Infusion Brownie Kit that cuts infusion time down to just 20 minutes and hopes to revolutionize the infusion business.
Growing up in New Jersey, Gianna Filipeto’s exit number off the turnpike was 420. She calls this little coincidence “foreshadowing”, as she would eventually fall in love with cannabis and devote her life and her entrepreneurial career to the plant’s healing powers.
In college, she interned for a non-profit dedicated to changing cannabis laws in Texas. “Through the experience of being on the front lines at the state capitol fighting for Texans suffering from debilitating conditions is where I came to the realization that this was my purpose,” she says. “Once the legislative session ended, I wanted to pursue a career helping people with the power of this plant, but I knew it had to be ancillary to the industry because of the laws here.
Her A-ha moment
Filipetto first had the idea for Green Queen when she was 20 years old. “Being an aspiring entrepreneur as a college student is especially challenging because I didn’t have much capital to work with,” she says.
The Brownie Kit was actually her fourth idea for a business. “At the time I was trying to build a device that extracted concentrates, which was a disaster because I have no engineering experience. While exploring other ideas I was already cooking with cannabis in my free time, but I would get so frustrated with the amount of time it took for average results. One day it hit me that this was the problem I was meant to solve and that’s how Green Queen was born.”
After much trial and error, Filipetto realized that the real solution to the pot brownie infusion problem was in the makeup of the ingredients being used. She developed ingredients that are able to bind to herbal properties more quickly. “Through research, I learned which carboxylic acids would bind to cannabinoids most efficiently and included all of them in the formula,” she says.
Her Potency Booster replaces butter in traditional infusions. “You’ll see the Potency Booster transform from an amber color to almost black in just 20 minutes as it absorbs the cannabinoids. After three hours of using any other method, you will not see this kind of transformation. Once the Potency Booster works its magic, you strain it directly into our dry mix using the filter cloth provided in the kit. From there you add eggs and water, mix it up, and pop it in the oven. It takes about an hour from start to finish,” Filipetto says.
A Queen with A Dream
Filipetto launched her company Green Queen using money she’d saved from working at a thrift shop and as a realtor. “My costs are less than $4000 for everything from the patent to the packaging and ingredients for the first 1000 kits.
“At times, I was scared Green Queen would never launch because I’m a team of one person, and there was a huge learning curve,” she says. “I couldn’t hire people to do things like write the nutritional label or build the website, which at the time I had no idea how to do. I’ve had to tackle everything from writing the patent to designing our packaging.”
She is still doing a lot herself. “I’m the one physically hand mixing and packaging each of our kits in batches of 10 and shipping them out. Despite these obstacles, I’ve poured my heart into every aspect of Green Queen, and I think our customers can really feel the love put into each kit.”
Challenges along the way
The founding of her company did not come easily. “A majority of the development process was actually done reading countless research articles and really diving deep into the science of things. I would call my sister, who was in medical school at the time, and have her send me all the information from her medical school textbooks that I needed. I knew there was no innovation being made unless it was based on science. In the kitchen, I was going through countless trial batches to make sure it was perfect. I would give my friends three different brownies at a time and have them vote on their favorites until a clear winner emerged.”
Once it was time to go to market, she had to combat misunderstandings that her product contains cannabis—it does not. As a result, Green Queen was removed from Stripe, Etsy, and Amazon. After “relentlessly harassing” Amazon, Filipetto convinced them to reinstate her product. “I consciously use the word “herbal” instead of “cannabis” on our packaging,” she explains, but she has no plans to change her marketing, which shows the cannabis leaf. “We’re now seeing products everywhere from the Macy's makeup counter to the local grocery store that have images of the cannabis plant on their packaging,” Filipeto explains. “Having imagery of the cannabis plant in reputable stores should contribute to diminishing the stigma.”
The response so far
Though her product has only been out a few weeks, Filipetto says, “I couldn’t ask for a better reaction. We’ve had overwhelmingly positive feedback especially from our customers using the kit to manage pain for a wide range of medical conditions. Empowering people to make their own medicine at home is the reason this product exists so there’s really nothing more rewarding than knowing we’re helping our customers on a deeper level.”
Green Queen has only been launched for a few weeks, but Filipetto says that a quarter of her customers have already re-ordered. “We’ve had customers who are experimenting with cannabis for the first time to those who are using our kit to celebrate their 50th Cannabis anniversary. Oh, and we’ve had one Catholic Priest, too.”
For more information, go to MissGreenQueen.com