Madge and Mercer welcomes women over 40 to cannabis

The self care-focused brand is appealing to a neglected demographic by speaking its language.

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The cannabis industry has exploded in recent years, but one demographic has remained a challenge to reach: women over 40. But that didn’t stop cannabis provider Madge and Mercer’s founder and CEO, Shauna Levy, from vehemently aiming to reach this underrepresented cohort.

Why? Because Levy understood the benefits firsthand, and knew it was her mission to spread the word to her peers.

Finally finding relief from chronic pain with the use of cannabis, Levy recognized the struggle in other women’s stories as they recounted similar symptoms such as anxiety, stress and sleep issues. But when she relayed the success she’d had with cannabis, she was met with reluctance, fear and stigma.

With these barriers in mind, Levy created Madge and Mercer Modern Apothecary, a line of cannabis self-care products designed specifically for women, with the intention of offering relief while appealing to a demographic that may be harder to reach.

According to Madge and Mercer’s consumer research, Gen X women are often a neglected demographic, despite the fact that they have disposable income, are highly educated and are extremely brand loyal. The company aimed to speak to the demographic’s cultural and generational touchpoints – even the brand’s name is in reference to recognizable moments in history for the age group (“Madge” is in reference to a Palmolive commercial as well as Madonna’s nickname, while “Mercer” represents design, fashion and all things contemporary).

The company even holds modern-day “Tupperware” parties where a hostess invites her friends to gather and hear about Levy’s knowledge of the human endo-cannabinoid system, the cannabis plant and her own personal story.

Every step of the way was intentional, according to Levy. After focus groups, interviews, consultations and sourcing experts in medicine, cannabis, design and culinary arts, “we created a brand that reflected our findings,” she says. “For example, the taste and scent of cannabis is masked within all our products, and we only use hard-working and purposeful ingredients. Our products are discreet and are as comfortable in a handbag as they are on a bedside table. They seamlessly integrate into a woman’s wellness regimen or self-care toolkit.”

But for Madge and Mercer, there were even more obstacles to overcome if the brand wanted to reach its target audience. “Cannabis is a heavily regulated industry,” Levy explains. “You aren’t permitted to make health claims or recommend dosages, use influencers or boost social posts. We also know that our target customer is still somewhat uncomfortable entering cannabis stores.”

Levy’s solution? Speak the language of the customer. For Madge and Mercer, that meant hosting private shopping nights with retail partners, being present where its customers were likely to frequent such as ladies’ yoga and golf events and designing educational and welcoming digital platforms. “I’ve experienced many of the challenges that our customers have, and so I present an authentic voice in the cannabis space – it’s truly a by-women-for-women approach,” says Levy.

Madge and Mercer’s latest launch, Apothecarts, will include a series of interchangeable vape cartridges designed to provide sleep assistance and calming properties, as well as a tablet that provides long-lasting relief – a first of its kind in the market. These products are set to be available this summer and fall.

As for the future of the cannabis industry for women 40 and over, Levy believes purchasing and entering stores will become more commonplace.

“We have to remember that this demographic grew up with the ‘Say No to Drugs’ campaign,” she says. “But there’s power in word of mouth, and so in the not-too-distant future, there will be a tipping point.” She also believes that Canada, similar to the U.S., will eventually see a decoupling of CBD from THC products that would allow them to be registered as a natural health product, which would make them sellable in stores such as Sephora, Holt Renfrew or indie boutiques.

But what does Madge and Mercer have up its sleeve until then? As always, strategic partnerships and product launches that speak to its clientele, including expansion into “non-cannabis products, and some very cool hospitality partnerships,” Levy reveals.