The Kind of CBD You’d Give Your Own Mother
In 2004, Trista Okel first started making CBD oil in her kitchen with a Crock-Pot as a DIY endeavor to help her mom manage pain. It was well before cannabidiol or hemp were in the headlines, but Trista was convinced of the plant’s power to help people reduce discomfort and lead more enjoyable, fulfilling lives.
Sure enough, mom loved the oil and word spread like wildfire. Trista began sharing her oil blend with friends and family members to rave reviews. They said her recipe was nothing short of lifechanging.
Empower BodyCare Finds Traction in Wellness World
After taking time to perfect her formulation, Trista founded Portland, Ore.-based Empower Oil in 2013 with a single product – her signature topical oil, thoughtfully crafted with CBD, lavender, bergamot and jojoba oil. An activist who had long been on the frontlines of the recreational use movement, Trista realized her CBD products could help increase awareness of hemp’s vast benefits. With mainstream acceptance, her potential to help others would grow exponentially.
A year later, Trista renamed the business Empower BodyCare to encompass a wider selection of self-care products. She expanded the company’s CBD-infused topicals to include soaking salts, lotions and, later, the Luxe Collection – a high-end line developed specifically for Nordstrom.
As Empower BodyCare began popping up on shelves at New Seasons Markets across the Pacific Northwest in 2017, the company’s following snowballed. Trista, too, gained a reputation as a CBD pioneer and thought leader. She was regularly sought out by industry associations and media to share her passion and knowledge about natural remedies, the cannabinoid’s immense potential and the need for testing standards.
Chief Operations Officer Michele White joined the team in 2016, helping to elevate the company in numerous capacities. Having worked for several nonprofit organizations, she not only implemented organizational structure, including an advisory board of accomplished executives, but her experience in fundraising also helped position Empower BodyCare for growth. Moreover, Michele leveraged her background in advocacy and community organizing to expand Empower BodyCare’s corporate social responsibility initiatives. The company donates a portion of every sale to organizations supporting houseless communities, LGBTQ and women’s rights.
Setting the Gold Standard for Safety, Transparency and Quality
The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill allowed many CBD companies to enter the quickly growing national market. But with an influx of companies looking to hop on the bandwagon, the industry witnessed a lack of oversight and credibility, as well as an abundance of misleading (if not downright false) claims.
- Forging a close relationship with East Fork Cultivars, one of the first USDA-certified organic hemp farms in the United States that is Sun + Earth certified – which means it takes a three-pronged approach to growing, including earth care and cultivation, human empowerment and community engagement. The result? Ethically grown and safe CBD that is vigorously tested for cannabinoid content and contaminants.
- Working with Columbia Labs, an experienced testing facility versed in cosmetics and topicals testing, they publish batch-specific certificates of analysis so consumers know exactly what they are putting on their bodies.
While their products are no longer made in a Crock-Pot and the company is known far beyond Portland, Empower BodyCare’s steadfast commitment to delivering the highest quality remains unchanged. Today, Empower BodyCare is an award-winning brand and leader in the CBD topicals world, setting the standard for transparency and quality.
Growing a national CBD brand isn’t easy, but Trista and Michele have developed a mutual support system that elevates their individual strengths, their mission and their company – rooted in a shared desire to make a difference in their world. They live in Portland with their two rescue dogs, Lucy and Riley. And, yes, the dogs do have their own bottle of CBD oil.