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Meet Karina Marconi, CEO + Founder of Antedotum

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karina Marconi.

Hi Karina, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I’m originally from Puerto Rico (also half Cuban) and spent my formative years getting way too much sun exposure on the island. I went to school in DC and also Paris and eventually found myself working at Chanel Beauty back in the states, which was the foundation for my immersion in the world of beauty. Eventually, I met my husband, and we moved from Miami to Aspen while our kids were fairly young. I love the healthy, outdoor lifestyle in Colorado, but living at 8,000 ft above sea level, with these high country conditions, wreaks havoc on your skin. The harsh effects of high altitude, extreme cold, dryness and wind, exasperated my hyperpigmentation and melasma, which I had accumulated from not being diligent about sun protection as a young girl living in Puerto Rico. So many people in this valley struggle with preventing and/or correcting the damage from such an unforgiving environment. Antedotum was initially created as a remedy for the skin issues we were all experiencing here. I discovered CBD at the farmer’s markets in Aspen, where it is plentiful since Colorado really is the birthplace of the American cannabis movement. I was so curious about all the buzz and decided to try it out… the product experience itself was unpleasant – heavy oils, which smelled like pot, unattractive packaging, inconsistent availability, but wow, did it change my skin. Then I got really curious and began immersing myself in the world of CBD, wanting to figure out what this ingredient was that had transformed my skin like nothing else. I discovered that this plant compound (CBD) is astounding both topically and as an ingestible and has so much beneficial and therapeutic potential. I felt that there was not truly a luxury skincare brand that was utilizing the full possibilities of potent CBD and presenting it in a quality, safe way. Antedotum is about creating healing remedies for the skin that are wonderful to use and will really make a difference.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Starting and running a company always comes with multiple challenges and risks… We have been so fortunate in so many ways, but we also struggled. One of our wins was being selected by Canopy Boulder as one of the few companies they nurture in the CBD category (Canopy Boulder is a business accelerator and venture capital fund for the legal cannabis industry). Antedotum was one of 10 companies (out of 400) selected for this distinction. They helped the company and me personally with complete immersion in this world and really were our rudder and guide, and still are. We learned the nuances of the CBD industry, and we got to meet a lot of the important thought leaders and pioneers in this space. We also learned how important the right team is. We are grateful to have found it. Of course, our greatest obstacle was timing… We never anticipated we would be launching in the middle of a global pandemic, which has impacted all our plans across the board – distribution, product development, marketing. Etc. It required us to pivot and implement different strategies that we probably would not have done – at least immediately – had we not been hit with such shifts in the marketplace.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I love the energy of entrepreneurship – there is of course, a lot of risk, highs and lows, and it’s hard work, so gratifying. I love meeting our customers needs and giving them products that have changed their lives and that truly make a difference. It was important for me that Antedotum was created as an intentional brand, where everything we do is thought through and meets specific standards. We have partnered up with The Posse Foundation, which is a leadership organization that supports young people from diverse backgrounds. Former president Barak Obama selected them as one of a handful of organizations he gave his Nobel Peace prize award money to. We are doing a mentorship program with them and give 5% of our proceeds, as well. Other initiatives will follow. Antedotum is Minority Business Enterprise certified, meaning 50% of the company is minority-owned and operated. I’m so proud that were are helping set standards for this emerging new category. We recently enlisted Dr. Shawn Demehri, a principal investigator in the Department of Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School who is now Antedotum’s Chief Medical Advisor, to assist in understanding the science behind CBD, cannabinoids. Etc. no one else has done that in the luxury CBD skincare category… My ultimate intent is to cultivate happiness through healing by building luxuriously beautiful, plant-powered skincare to promote self-care and self-love. And I am proud that I am setting an example for my daughter – so she understands and sees it is possible to set big goals for yourself and accomplish them with a lot of hard work, drive, and dedication.

Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
I definitely could not have accomplished all that we have by myself. Plus, it is way more dynamic to collaborate and implement our vision with solid teamwork. Canopy Boulder has been hugely instrumental in immersing me in the CBD category, showing me the ropes and connecting Antedotum in ways an outlier start-up never could… So grateful for them. My husband Chris, provided immense support and encouragement for me to follow through on this idea. He was a critical part of laying the foundational structure for the company, making sure we were sound and secure financially and was also a great sounding board for ideas. Aspen itself has also been a big part of our success. Both from the incredible local community here who nurtured us and were big fans of our products and what we were doing… Aspen is a great proving ground for a start-up in the CBD (luxury skincare) category and the pristine surrounding are a constant source of inspiration.

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