This little shop could be the next big thing in CBD.
About a year ago, married couple Nicola and James Stephenson got with their friend Tim McDonald to create a more accessible brand of CBD products. That dream came to life in oHHo, a sustainably-produced line of oils and other goodies to help everyday people have better everydays. Now, that dream steps into New York City with a charming brick and mortar in the Bedford neighborhood, the Little Shop of oHHo.
Everything about oHHo, from the name to the new shop's cottage-core aesthetic, is meant to welcome the world, from CBD enthusiasts to curious newbees.
“We just wanted something approachable and friendly and, you know, it's also a palindrome,” Nicola said.
CBD and THC are indeed harvested from the same plant, but while THC is the compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties, CBD contains no THC and so offers users all the physical benefits without the mental side effects.
“Everyone has the cannabinoid system, and [it] really puts your body into balance,” Nicola says. “If there are parts of your body that were inflamed or in pain, if you're suffering from anxiety, or you can't sleep, this endocannabinoid system is potentially out of balance. Cannabinoids basically nourish your endocannabinoid system. Say I suffer from anxiety, I can take CBD and it will really support my system to do what I need it to do on a cellular level.”
oHHo's Nicola and James Stephenson
Upon its launch, oHHo sold CBD oils made of products from farms in New York and Colorado, but has now expanded to include Vermont and Oregon in the mix. The ingredients are grown at small farms to stay true to the company’s sustainable mission.
“We [work] with small independent growers, helping them sustain and farm sustainably in order to produce beautiful bonds that we can make amazing CBD with,” Nicola says. “We’re a member of 1% for the Planet, so we donate a percentage of our revenue every year to that cause as well.”
Their oils were wonderfully successful, but Nicola soon heard from customers that were using the product as moisturizers. This sparked a conversation among the oHHo family around topical beauty products.
At first, they were hesitant to delve into the CBD-beauty world, but the Stephensons decided to listen to their clientele. Hydrating lip and body balms were developed, and those started flying off the digital shelves, too.
Next, oHHo dove into edibles, working with chef Nicole del Pino to develop CBDots, oHHo's take on the perfect gummies.
“We have apple and rose, pear and fennel, blackberry and earl gray,” Nicola says. “They have just been a runaway success. People can take them as they feel. They're very approachable.”
The company also sells pre-rolls and CBD flower, alongside other products. With all these offerings, Nicola and the team hope to reach as broad a range of customers as possible.
“I feel like Millennials and GenZ really understand me,” she says, "but the older crowd—my generation, Gen X—people who got really stoned at college and had a bad experience, [they] really struggle to wrap their heads around this new world whereby they can participate in hemp and it's legal, so that they don't have to have a weight and feel terrible.”
Thankfully, oHHo's customers are as passionate about the brand as oHHo is about CBD. Nicola says word-of-mouth was oHHo’s biggest form of marketing, which was huge for the company which launched mid-pandemic. For their next wild pandemic trick, the company took the giant leap of opening the Bedford physical location.
“It started as a little pop-up," Nicola says. "At the end of the day, people still really—myself included—love retail. They love experiences and they have questions."
Nicola says Bedford community has “embraced” the Stephensons’ shop and blown their expectations out of the water.
“We've created a very fun environment where you can learn about plants, you can buy books, you can buy teas, you can buy CBD,” Nicola says. “The most important thing is I get to speak to people about what they need and what they're worried about.”
Nicola also hinted at a few exciting prospects to come this summer for oHHo: a dip into sunscreen and the New York City market.
“I'm working on new products all the time,” she says. “We're constantly collaborating, and we're going to try and keep it interesting.”
Net time you're in Bedford, visit the Little Shop of oHHo at 13 Court Rd., although you can always learn more about oHHo, their products and their sustainability practices from anywhere in the world by visiting oHHo online.
Photography by: Jane Beiles