Christina Rivera and Maggy Troup have walked numerous life paths together: first as best friends, then as sisters-in-law, and now as business partners in the luxury CBD company MATCH CANNA. Both servant leaders, natural helpers, and effective problem-solvers, Christina and Maggy co-founded the company after Christina created a life-changing formulation that incorporated CBD and other cold-pressed botanicals, helping those close to them manage pain and anxiety. MATCH CANNA is powered by blending Christina’s vision, diverse educational path, and focus on making people feel their best selves through aesthetics, with Maggy’s go-get-er attitude and decades-long career in helping people manage pain through massage therapy. MATCH CANNA’s goal is to use CBD to find effective and luxurious relaxation and relief for EVERY body with thoughtfully created, plant-based products that are rooted in nature and backed by science. Learn more at www.matchcanna.com.
Q: What's your background, and what are you working on?
I have a really untraditional background. I started my career as an Aesthetician, where I loved fostering relationships with my clients and developing really creative solutions to help people with their skin concerns. While my love for aesthetics never dissipated, I made the decision to pivot into a full-time nanny so that I had the time (and financial stability) to go back to school. I graduated with a degree in Strategic Communications and then, after a few months of international travel, jumped at the opportunity to join a Master’s of International Studies program at USF. Studying international relations and policy drove my interest in Diversity and Inclusion, which eventually led me to a career in recruitment. I now specialize in helping both early stage startups and large corporations develop innovative and inclusive hiring practices. My day job is so fulfilling but I’ve realized that I’m not a person who will ever be complacent. I’m continuously learning new skills and experimenting. A few years ago I found myself formulating a cannabis topical, which eventually became the foundation for MATCH CANNA.
Q: What motivated you to get started with MATCH CANNA?
Maggy, my co-founder, and I met 12 years ago. We met on a waxing table - I was giving her a Brazilian. We became VERY fast and intimate friends (nakedness does that to you) and I also started to get to know her family. Five years ago, her brother Charles moved to San Francisco and of course, I had to show him all of the things in the City. There was a night that Charles and I had dinner plans and when I showed up to his house to pick him up, he was bedridden. He was in severe pain from tweaking his back and had been army crawling to the bathroom for three days. He’d had very limited food and water because he lived in a two-story building and he had been too embarrassed to ask for help. I was blown away that someone so young and healthy was experiencing so much invisible pain. A few months later, Charles and I started dating and I had a front-row seat to his three blown discs: I witnessed how much the pain impacted every aspect of his daily life. From the way he tossed and turned all night to the way he constantly shifted his body when standing too long… pain was in every movement. Having a background in aesthetics and having made my own products for 10+ years, I took on the challenge of finding a way to help him feel relief. I spent six months researching and creating botanical infusions targeting pain and inflammation. I knew I was onto something when Charles slept for eight hours without having to readjust his position, and BAM! MATCH CANNA was born.
Q: How have you attracted clients and grown your brand?
Maggy, my friend-turned-sister-turned-cofounder, is an educator and a body worker. She has a degree in Kinesiology, two decades of experience as a massage therapist, and has spent years developing and teaching curriculum in Sports Massage, Advanced Anatomy and Therapeutic Massage. She is the guru of pain management. When I started to make a topical oil that focused on relieving pain and inflammation, Maggy started using it to combat her aches and pains. Maggy had been using cannabis for chronic discomfort and anxiety for years, but she said that she instantly felt the effects of the topical. With permission, she started using it on her clientele: people with MS, Fibromyalgia, chronic neck and back pain, arthritis and neurological pain. Her clients started buying the oil that was giving them such great results and we started getting referrals. Our brand has grown organically since launching our website and our social media platforms. Both Maggy and I aim to create more responsible and conscious consumers through advocacy and education in the cannabis space. We’re both really passionate about plant medicine.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
Cannabis is at a crossroads. The cannabis industry can feel like the Wild Wild West because of the changing regulations and the insane amount of red tape. Most of the time, we feel like we’re just trying to navigate our way through the ever-changing policies and continue advocating for the legalization of cannabis nationwide. Right now we’re focused on making products that are high-quality, effective, and sustainable. We’re building solid infrastructure so that we can continue to scale our brand accordingly. That being said, we have BIG plans. We started this company to help those seeking alternative solutions for pain management, however, we’ve seen the impact that cannabis can have on mental health and physical overall health. Our goals for MATCH CANNA are endless: we have more product idea’s than we can count, we have plans to launch a separate THC product line that enhances medicinal properties, we’re creating a blue print for a wellness spa that foster community and give women safe, comfortable spaces for them to heal and transform, and eventually, our goal is to launch luxury cannabis dispensaries that focus on health and wellness.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you've faced so far?
As women in a quickly changing industry, the challenges are endless. You name them, we’ve come up against them: changing policies and regulations, finding a bank that will house our funds, finding manufacturers that will develop clean and quality products, finding vendors that will work with smaller run numbers. We face new challenges every day, but that’s the fun in starting your own company — the accomplishment you feel when you overcome huge obstacles and keep moving toward your dreams.
Q: What's your advice for female founders who are just starting out?
Advocate for yourself: speaking up and finding your voice is vital in a sea of sameness. You’re here to change the way people see a product or service or industry, etc. Get involved: seek out networking groups, mastermind courses, or stay connected with as many people in your industry as you can. Having support, encouragement, and the right resources can be invaluable. Get comfortable with change: you’re going to pivot a million times and face new challenges every day, but keep going. Keep dreaming. Ask for help when you need it. Show up every day. Never stop pushing your limits.