Trailblazers: Artisan Edibles Founder Discusses Female Empowerment, Patient Advocacy, and Her New THCV Line
“I’ve been a cannabis advocate all my life, but to be part of such a forward-thinking new market is exciting and empowering,” says Catherine Artzt, founder of Brevard Hemp retail stores and artisan edibles brand Bhumi. “I’m so absolutely in love with this industry.”
Catherine followed an unpaved path to becoming a hemp entrepreneur. “After college, I gave away all my possessions and left Washington State with a backpack on my back and a puppy by my side,” she says.
That was 2009.
A decade later, Catherine now runs a successful chain of CBD stores and a manufacturing facility where she produces Bhūmi edibles made from top-tier hemp-derived ingredients.
So, how did Catherine get here?
A road less traveled
Homeless, Catherine began traveling across the country. She slept on sidewalks and lived on what she could scrape together by selling jewelry and playing guitar for tips. “I stripped away the confines of luxury and got to know myself in a deeper way,” she says.
After two years, Catherine was ready to settle down. In 2011, she arrived in North Carolina and got a job in the quality assurance department of a homeopathic supplements manufacturer. That job launched a decade-long career, where Catherine helped companies comply with FDA regulations and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). After years working with supplements, she began consulting for cannabis companies that needed help raising quality standards.
“I entered the cannabis business with a heart and soul for natural products since that’s what I loved and what I consumed in my daily life,” Catherine says.
Catherine loved it so much that she decided to put some skin in the game.
“I was driving down a road in my little town when I saw a ‘For Rent’ sign on this cute building. It was like a ding went off in my head. I thought to myself, ‘I’m going to open a CBD store right there,’” she says.
And that’s what she did. In 2019, Catherine opened her flagship Brevard Hemp store, a CBD and hemp retail outlet in Brevard, North Carolina. Her impulsive decision to move into retail soon caught fire, leading Catherine on a search for high-quality products to sell on shelves.
“When I opened my first Brevard Hemp store, I immediately knew the industry in North Carolina lacked a core set of quality standards,” Catherine says.
Out of 250 brands Catherine considered selling in her Brevard Hemp stores, only 20 companies could provide proof of full-panel safety testing along with matching batch numbers. That was less than 10%.
Faced with very few brands that met her criteria, Catherine realized she wanted to manufacture her own GMP-compliant hemp products. Finally, after 10+ years in quality assurance, she was ready to put her knowledge into practice.
“I struggled to find laboratory-tested products to fill my stores, so I knew I needed to make my own,” she says.
That’s when Bhūmi was born.
“My process for producing Bhūmi products is all about traceability. When you pick up a Bhūmi product, the batch number tells you everything about it. It can tell you the day the carton came in, the ingredients that went into the formula, the product’s expiration, and the warehouse it came from,” Catherine says. “These systems are so important to ensure that the product is reputable and safe for the consumer.”
Catherine’s quality standards ensure her products are safe to ingest. They also guarantee every chocolate bar is as deliciously mouth-watering as the one before.
“Some distributors found our products by chance,” Catherine says. “As soon as they’d pop one of our edibles in their mouth, they’d rave about how delicious it was. Bhūmi’s growth has been 100% about people loving the product and word getting around.”
As a result, you can find Bhūmi’s hemp-derived products online, in 300 retail stores, and of course–at every Brevard Hemp location.
But Bhūmi is about more than luxe ingredients and quality-tested formulas…
“Bhūmi is also so women-focused and women-empowerment forward,” Catherine says. “A lot of that came out of my struggles as a young, attractive woman with debilitating pain trying to navigate the healthcare system.”
Before cannabis, while working for the dietary supplement industry, Catherine developed a terrible chronic pain condition. “The pain that I had was female pain, and no one could figure it out. It took about two and a half years until doctors finally diagnosed me with spastic pelvic floor disorder,” she says.
“The long discovery process taught me that if you’re a woman and young, especially if you’re attractive, people want to believe that you’re OK and that your pain isn’t as intense as you say. So doctors assumed I was making a big deal out of nothing.”
But Catherine was in severe pain, and part of what helped get her through it was cannabis products, like suppositories, oils, and edibles. The whole experience inspired her to ultimately build a brand that focused on women’s health and needs.
“We put quality first, and we make products for everyone. But we’re proud of the products we make for women, and we make sure that women know we’re here for them.”
Her favorite Bhūmi products & innovations
So, if Catherine had to pick her favorite Bhūmi product, what would it be?
Like many of us, she’s a stickler for chocolate.
“We are well-known for our artisan edible line. We have dark and white chocolate, and chocolate-making is a huge love of mine,” she says.
Catherine also raves about Bhūmi’s new line of THCV chocolates, which contain powerful flavonoids alongside this energizing cannabinoid. Quercetin, for example, is a flavonoid found in chocolate, as well as cannabis, that has strong antioxidant and immune-boosting qualities. While expensive to produce, Catherine loves THCV because it works with other cannabinoids to amplify their energizing effects.
“THCV is so awesome, and it’s been an incredible aid in my own life,” Catherine says. “It’s great for clarity-of-mind and focus, like the effects you crave from coffee. But instead of getting the jitters, THCV makes you feel so focused and lucid.”
Most manufacturers stay away from THCV products due to the high costs involved. But not Catherine.
“Even though the margins are tiny, it was a no-brainer for us,” she says. “So many women suffer from things like fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and general exhaustion from the life of trying to balance nurture and nature. I believe THCV is a cannabinoid solution to that, so I’m committed to making these products.”
Catherine also loves Bhūmi’s Goddess line of oral oils designed for women’s health. “These formulas contain essential oils and full-spectrum CBD distillate, plus potent herbal remedies for symptoms that women face throughout their lives, like hormonal imbalances, cramping, or menopause. I just love making products that are carefully curated and crafted for a specific need,” she says.
While making luxe Bhūmi concoctions, empowering women, and running Brevard Hemp stores, Catherine has another mission–to close the hemp education gap.
When it comes to hemp and cannabis retail stores, Catherine believes shopkeepers lack the education they need to inform people about the products they sell. As a result, consumers struggle to pick the right formulas or understand the proper dosing for their needs. Fortunately, with her background in regulations, testing, and quality assurance, Catherine felt equipped to tackle the issue.
“I wanted my shopkeepers to be informed enough to give customers meaningful advice. I don’t train them to make health claims, but they are incredibly knowledgeable about the entire hemp plant and industry,” Catherine says.
To facilitate training, Catherine wrote a 54-page manual about the hemp industry, cannabis products, and how to direct customers in the right direction. On top of that, she wrote a 40-page manual dedicated to Bhūmi’s products, ingredients, and benefits. Before starting work, Brevard Hemp shopkeepers must read through these manuals over three weeks and pass written and verbal quizzes.
As a result, Brevard Hemp employs some of the most educated staff in the industry. And locals know it. In fact, people line up and wait, sometimes for hours, to speak with Brevard Hemp shopkeepers, who spend nearly 30 minutes assisting each customer.
“Our reputation in this town has become pretty much gold. Doctors and veterinarians recommend people to our store all the time,” Catherine says. “That’s a result of all the work we’ve put in to being a gatekeeper for quality products and knowledge.”
Catherine’s fearlessness and intense passion are nothing short of inspiring. Her dedication to producing high-quality, third-party tested products is precisely what the industry needs more of today. And her story of triumph is exactly what every woman and human needs to hear, so they believe in themselves enough to take risks in life and business.
“As a woman entrepreneur, I’ve learned to stick to my guns. So my advice would be to figure out what matters to you — what truly matters — and filter every decision you make through those core values. Because a business with purpose has real power.”