We had the good fortune of connecting with Gina “GG” Golden and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gina “GG”, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I’ve always practiced both visual & healing arts. I have a BFA from California College of The Arts and an MFA from NYU. I’m also an herbalist, massage therapist and doula. In 2005, I started working at a cannabis grow to support my art & design career. I found myself surrounded by a lot of plant material that wasn’t being utilized by the grower who I worked for. She let me take anything extra and that became the raw material for R&D.
As an artist and healer, I was naturally inclined to utilize this abundant plant medicine. Since childhood, I loved to forage plants and learn their medicinal properties. My mother was a midwife who gave us freedom to play and create in the natural world. My instinctive relationship with plants was nurtured in the ocean, chaparral and eucalyptus forest that surrounded our home in La Jolla.
I see myself as a collaborative partner with plants, bees and trees. They do the bulk of the work and I do a bit of alchemy with herbs, flowers, honey, spirits, wax and oils. I’ve had the privilege of working with cannabis and hemp for more than 15 years. I make infused honey, tinctures, skincare and natural perfumes with the finest organic ingredients available.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It’s been a journey with plenty of pivoting that has kept me on my toes.
I started learning to cultivate in 2005 and by 2008, I had my own brand of products called Golden Goddess Botanicals. Many of my products were the first of their kind in the legal cannabis market in California. During the Prop 215 era I was able to sell to all the dispensaries and delivery services. We built a thriving network of entrepreneurship and community. Even as a single mom with limited resources, I was able to find a place at the table.
When the laws changed with Prop 64, many legacy creators were locked out of the legal market. Without investment funding, it was nearly impossible for small companies to survive. I had to get inventive and find ways to stay afloat. Luckily, I had already started working with CBD extracts. At the time, it was a rare cannabinoid that was expensive and hard to find. I sought it out for my son, who had developed a seizure disorder.
Eventually, I was able to source whole, organic hemp flowers and do full spectrum extractions. With my medicine, my teenager has been seizure free for 3 years. I’ve also been able to help several friends beat cancer and cope with the side effects of their medical treatment.
In 2016, I opened a brick and mortar shop called “Wild Child” in Oakland. I featured our CBD products in the shop’s apothecary and loved sharing them with my customers. I continued to develop new products with a focus on skincare and natural perfumery. I received wholesale orders from Urban Outfitters as well as a number of salons, spas and boutiques.
A couple years ago, the pandemic forced me to close my shop and leave The Bay Area community I’d built over two decades. Golden Goddess Botanicals CBD line is still in production but it’s been a challenge since I lost my retail space.
My son and I returned to my childhood home in San Diego, where I’m currently rebuilding my business with a focus on elevated experiences. This new endeavor is called “Breathing with Flowers.” I facilitate wellness events in collaboration with sound healers, breath work and yoga teachers. Curating these elevated events is really exciting to me and I get to integrate my products into the flow.
I’ve also partnered with exceptional chefs and farmers to serve infused, farm to table meals for private groups. We create a custom, seasonal menu that takes the guests on a sensuous journey without ever leaving the table.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I recently had friends visit from Oakland.
We met up at Wind n Sea and played in the waves, smoked a CBD rich rosette from Garden Society. The flower “Harmony Rose“ comes from my favorite farm, Emerald Spirit Botanicals in Mendocino. My partner (a chef from France) and I are creating a dinner with their farm next month!
After playing in the water and catching up in the sun and sand we went to a local taco shop, Rigoberto’s, for fish tacos. Then we headed to The La Jolla Cove for snorkeling and chilling with sea lions. After that, a sunset hike through Torrey Pines Park.
We cleaned up and headed to my favorite local restaurant for dinner at Herb and Sea in Encinitas. I love their seafood menu and the location is beautiful! I approached them with an opportunity to add my Moonlight Elixir (CBD infused honey) to one of their cocktails. Unfortunately CBD is still a little risky for some folks to integrate into their offerings. Eventually we will get there. But there is still a lot of stigma surrounding these plants, even CBD Hemp.
Till then, you can experience our creations by contacting us through the website or Instagram. Please DM if you want to try our products or find out about events. We available to create private dining experiences and offer wellness experiences for individuals, couples and groups.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to thank all the wise women who came before me.
Shout out to the ancestral healers of my matrilineal lines who kept their children healthy and well nourished. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.
Shout out to green witches everywhere who know the ways of plants, flowers, trees and fungi.
Instagram: @goldengoddessbotanicals @breathingwithflowers
All photos by @goldengoddessbotanicals or @thestuudio