Kiva Confectionary: A Chat with Co-Founder Kristi Knoblich Palmer
The bond between music and marijuana is a surprise to no one, but it is the legal celebration of the bond that is just beginning. To show how close the two lie, San Francisco’s Outside Lands became the first ever music festival with legal recreational cannabis use. Just as the festival has drawn infatuation from its stage-adjacent “Wine Lands” and “Cheese Lands,” festival goer’s (of legal age) now had the privilege of wandering into “Grass Lands” filled with their favorite pot products and secluded smoking sectors. Standing in the middle of Grass Lands was the Kiva Confectionary; the beautifully ornamented home of the products from the worlds leading edible brand, Kiva.
Kiva has been many cannabis user’s go-to edible brand for years, famous for their flavored chocolate bars and now offering products such as Camino Gummys, Petra Mints and Terra Bites. Co-owners Kristi Knoblich and Scott Palmer began Kiva Confectionary in their own kitchen almost 10 years ago, being some of the first pioneers of the modern cannabis industry. Their brand caters to real people in need of safe and regulated relief, such as young professionals, mothers and seniors. And… Kiva bars are delicious, to put it simply.
I had the chance to pick the brain of Kiva co-founder, Kristi Knoblich Palmer, at the Grass Lands confectionary. Read our interview below and get a sweet taste of how being an engineer of edible cannabis can change the lives of so many.
Did you ever think this would happen- where a festival where weed was legal to consume would be in your reach so soon?
I think I’m a bit of an optimist- so I would say yes! I think we were positive that someday cannabis would be treated like alcohol, and would be available to consumers in a setting like this.
It’s amazing to see how much it’s changed in just a few years, and it’s thanks to people like you. When did this all start for you?
My husband and I started Kiva in 2010 in our home kitchen in the house that I grew up in here in the Bay Area. There was a trade show that we did a few weeks after we made our first Kiva bar, and it got really great acceptance from the consumers there. That was when we went, “Okay, we have proof of concept and this is real and people love what we’re doing!”
What is the best feedback that you’ve gotten since?
One of my favorite stores was an email we got years ago and a woman wrote in and said, “I have not been able to sleep for eight years. I ate one of your Kiva products and I had my first full night sleep in eight years.” I know how I feel when I don’t sleep for one night, so can you even imagine what this poor woman was going through? Stories like that help me get out of bed in the morning. Very motivating. The team too- the enthusiasm there is palpable. It’s all very exciting.
I think those stories are so important to hear because it shows that you're not only opening up the cannabis industry, but the mental health industry as well. Do you use the products yourself for those reasons?
I do consume. I currently am not consuming actually because I’m pregnant…
Thanks! I’m taking a break, so it’s a little painful but important. There’s not enough research to show either way so I’m just abstaining, but I’m definitely a consumer. The Petra mints are my favorite, and Scott- my husband and CEO- says Petra was a product made for me because I have such a low tolerance. It’s that product that you can have one of and still write a work email and communicate with your co-workers and you’re not too far out of your comfort zone to where you are uncomfortable.
Do you guy have products for those who do not consume THC?
Yes, we have CBD products. Those are sold in dispensaries as well. In our mint line we have a CBD only product. No THC, or less than 2 mg in the whole container, so trace amounts. They have 2.5 milligrams of CBD per piece. They’re really nice for inflammation, for pain, and for a general sense of well-being.
Do you have any advice for other women hoping to be CEO’s in this industry?
For women in the cannabis industry, I think it’s important to be aggressive. There’s a lot of opportunity for women in this industry at the moment, but it’s still anyone’s game. It’s not too late to get involved, so if you’re looking for a job in the industry then get in there, get excited, be present, network and get aggressive! It’s anyone’s game.
Anything else coming up?
We just launched our churro bar which I’m particularly excited about. We’ve launched a lot of new products in the past 8 or 9 months so it’’s really exciting to get some fresh new items into the hands of consumers. We will be sure to come up with new formats and new products to the best of our abilities.