The first time I tried UNOIA’s unique line of CBD Honey & Agave, I was fighting through a wave of nausea that threatened to overtake my entire morning (cues Monica’s Don’t Take It Personal). I fixed some ginger tea and stirred some of the CBD infused honey into my mug. On the back of the packaging, I read a reassuring message: “I am kind to myself. I allow love to fill me up and guide me in all of my actions.”
I reflected on the words as I sipped on the mixture and found relief soon after.
From the branding, to the messaging, to the soothing effects, UNOIA is that vibe you can feel, and I definitely caught that no THC high the moment I jumped on the phone with co-founders Brande Elise & Danielle Gray.
“I’ve always been really into wellness—cannabis, you know, things of the Earth, and more holistic ways of going about things,” Elise, a former professional tennis player, explained. “I spend a good amount of time outside and outside with my dogs. So I feel like the lifestyle that I live is very different from a lot of people, and it’s really cool to show it out loud.”
As an athlete, Elise has always been very disciplined about what she puts in her body, and that mindfulness extends even to her pets. She decided to create UNOIA after her dog got sick, and CBD was the only thing that brought the ailing pup relief.
“She was so small that you couldn’t just give her anything,” Elise explained. “She was at least two pounds, tons of seizures and just a lot of joint issues. And to see how it helped her, and how gentle it was with her little fragile body, I was like, ‘Okay, people have got to be hip to this.’”
The marketing support Elise needed to make her idea come to life came in the form of a supportive friend turned lover. Elise met Gray two years ago through mutual friends, but sparks didn’t immediately fly. As the duo started to work closely together to develop the brand message around UNOIA, their lives and business goals merged into one shared vision.
“I said, you know, I love the idea, but how can we make this a brand with soul?” Gray, owner of DG Marketing Co, told ESSENCE.
“With marketing, people talk like they’re robots, and it doesn’t feel soulful, and it doesn’t feel like people are actually behind it. So I did my research, and I realized that all I saw was CBD for sale and CBD sold here. There was no love in it. There was no brand that was behind it. And I said, ‘Let’s create a brand that feels good to the people.’”
UNOIA is a take on the Greek word eunoia, which means beautiful thinking. For Elise and Gray, UNOIA is not just the brand name, it’s the guiding principle that informs how they run and operate their black, queer, woman-owned business.
“We don’t want to just sling you some CBD products. We want to educate you on what it is that you’re getting. This is brand new for so many.” Gray explained.
UNOIA is made from completely legal CBD derived from hemp. There is no THC in the products, which is the main substance that normally gives people that high feeling. CBD offers users the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of relaxation without any of the side effects linked to THC. Because of this, CBD sales have exploded into a $11 billion dollar global industry. To cut through the saturated CBD market, Gray and Elise approach UNOIA as a lifestyle experience, encouraging people to integrate plant allies into their wellness routines.
“We’re coaching, and honestly, just empowering people to know that you have control of your life. And that’s what beautiful thinking is: When you get rid of all the anxiety or the chronic pain or the inflammation or whatever that is, you can ignite beautiful thinking. You can really focus on creativity and being your best self,” Gray said.
UNOIA CBD is available in honey & agave packs, tinctures, and in a muscle relief roller here. They also have pet products available for purchase.