Meet Shayda Torabi, co-founder of RESTART CBD, cannabis activist, as well as owner of With Shayda, a food and lifestyle blog. As a native Austinite, Shayda recently joined our Women Building the Future: Rising Women of ATX as a panelist at The Riveter for our Austin launch.
RESTART CBD was founded by sister duo, Shayda and Sydney Torabi, after Shayda recovered from an auto-pedestrian accident back in 2016. From there on it was that moment that Shayda was then introduced into the world of health and wellness properties of CBD.
Why did you start your company and what motivates you every day?
I co-founded RESTART CBD with my sister Sydney. We launched our brand just a little over a year ago. But the story of how we got into cannabis starts at the intersection of my families history with plant based medicine, and my personal affinity for recreational cannabis. Those two paths collide when quite literally I was in a car accident where I was hit as a pedestrian by a moving vehicle leaving me with two fractures in my pelvis. I was immobile for a month and it left me with chronic pain that I still have to manage today. CBD came into the picture when our mother learned of it’s healing properties, and since she knew I was a fan of marijuana she suggested I give CBD a try when my traditional remedies weren’t working (pain meds, steroid injections, physical therapy, etc). So I blindly started consuming these home concoctions my mom was putting together and within three weeks I started to feel pain relief, and the rest they say is history.
Except we didn’t launch until 2 and a half years later. When we launched, it wasn’t state or federal legal yet, but thankfully there was some buzz about it that we were able to get going in the early phase of this cannabis movement. But we really intended our brand to be education first. There is so much misinformation about cannabis, hemp, and marijuana, we really felt we knew this plant and wanted to share that knowledge. And that’s really the motivation. We know that we don’t know everything, and we never pretend to, but we always like to highlight we’re consumers first and business owners second. Thinking through how consumers are coming in contact with this plant and the stigma that presently exist, and how we can use our brand and platform to help educate on a personal level is transformative, and we truly see peoples lives being transformed by this plant every day! It isn’t a magic pill, but it’s pretty magical!
What are some of the major lessons you’ve learned along the way?
One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned is that there is a LOT of misinformation out there, a lot of bad products are hitting the market, and unfortunately as things sit presently (it’s changing thanks to USDA and FDA regulations that are coming) things are unregulated so people can kind of say whatever they want on their labels. So unfortunately not everything in a bottle labeled CBD oil is a quality product. Which is where education is key. We try to educate our consumers on the differences between full spectrum- products containing trace amounts of THC under the .3% federal legal limit, and isolate- products with no trace amounts of THC and are considered pure CBD. From there milligrams vary, I’ve seen products with 3mg per dropper/ml and 100mg per dropper/ml and that’s a HUGE difference in the efficacy of how someone uses the product. So again we’re learning what the market is saying, what consumers are being educated on, and how to connect the dots for them to best experience CBD!
Tell us about a setback you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
The one that comes to mind is what led me to going into RESTART CBD full time. Which is an elaboration from my initial point up above. My sister and I launched this brand while we both were working other jobs. This was my “side hustle”, and with any and all side hustles, I was taught to not quit my day job for my dream job. And so I worked for my full time job during business hours and then in the evenings we started to build and launch RESTART CBD.
But I wasn’t ready or in any position to go full time with it, until I was laid off from my full time job. They were downsizing the marketing department and it just happened to happen when and how it did and to be frank, I was scared.
1.) It was extremely embarrassing for me to acknowledge that I had been let go. I immediately started looking for full time work, and started taking interviews, and even ended up with a few job offers which offered stability. But 2.) I decided to lean into the voice inside my head that said “this is your chance”, “this is the universe making space for you”, and told my parents I was going to try to give this whole entrepreneurship thing a go and turned down those job offers, those 401k plans, the insurance and benefits, so I could give myself the chance to see where RESTART CBD could go if I just gave it 100% of my attention. And it was, and is, still super scary and exhilarating, and at times a little concerning how I don’t have an on/off switch with work, and how I am responsible for how my day goes and what gets done, but it’s been the biggest lesson in perseverance and in believing in something so much you want to work your hardest to see it succeed. I can say it’s been a challenge for sure, some days are really tough mentally, and I’m still learning day to day, but it’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve done with my career and I’m just grateful for this space and time to do something so fulfilling.
What advice do you have for women who feel stuck in their careers?
The best piece of advice I can give you is to show up for yourself. With bills and responsibilities it’s hard to just throw your hands in the air and make a major shift. But just remind yourself you are in control of your life. Show up to your dreams, write down, state your intention, breathe life into it into the universe. If you don’t know where you’re driving then how do you know where to drive? That’s step 1.
Step 2 is to physically show up, go to networking events, ask people for coffee, follow people who are doing something that you wish you were doing with your career. You might not have the right credentials, but positioning yourself in that mindset and community can lead you to people who can help you make transitions.
Step 3. Find a mentor, friend, someone who has been there and done that. Connecting with women who have more experience is good for the soul, and always a good mental check to remind yourself that we’ve ALL BEEN THERE. We’ve all had self doubt, we’ve all had a mini crisis (some more than others!), and we’ve all come out stronger on the other side. Look for women who can pour into you, and then do the favor and look for women who you can pour into!
We all know how difficult work/life balance is, how do you draw the line to create separation in these two spheres?
Work life balance to me has always about figuring out how to blend instead of separate. What I mean by that is, I very much enjoy my industry and especially as an entrepreneur when everyone is trying to figure out how to create a separation, I’m constantly looking for unity. I leverage my personal life and interests for my business and vice versa. For example, I’m an Austin influencer @withshayda, and enjoy creating content on that platform, but it’s because of that platform that I now can and have transitioned to talking openly about my love for cannabis. Something I couldn’t have done working a corporate job. So on one end, I have great balance and it’s because I don’t have to pick and choose what is work related or what is personal. However, on the subject of drawing lines to literally disconnect, that I am ruthless. I have no problem turning my phone off, or leaving it behind to go for a walk, I think because so much of my work and personal life is connected socially my balance comes from disconnecting socially. Catching up with friends without the need to be on my phone all evening, or when an email or text comes in from work letting it be until the next day knowing no one is going to miss if I wait to reply. Of course, use your own discretion and this may be a harsh saying, but in my world, for example- no one is going to die if I forgot to send that one last email out. It can wait, and so being able to step away and actually step away is key. That and I go to acupuncture once a week, and you can find me in the gym every morning 6x a week before work because that is my me time to disconnect and do something for myself. That might not be your thing, but I suggest you find some routing of disconnecting that you can practice daily!
We love to support women-founded ventures. Is there a company/product that you’ve come across recently that you think more people should know about?
One of my friends Claire Siegel recently went out on her own too and she’s easily one of my favorite businesses and woman to watch grow. Her company is called Nutritional Freedom, and she empowers you through real life content and education about how we love and talk to our bodies by helping you build a healthy foundation of nutrition education. It’s like the anti-diet, not that any diet is inherently bad, but how those diets can cause bad mental habits and how through treating your body in a kind and loving way can help you build better body confidence and self worth– which is what we’re all after! Seriously go follow her and Nutritional Freedom, you will learn new tips along the way and hopefully walk away (like I have) with a better method for how you take care of yourself!