Many teenagers would probably be perplexed if their parents approved of their involvement with marijuana. However, Shayda and Sydney Torabi’s mom, Jennifer Torabi, was not only for it, but sparked the idea for the sisters’ successful Austin business, Restart CBD.
Story by Linda Hamilton
Photos by Maya Dandashi
Restart CBD opened up a little over a year ago. Sydney, 25, and Shayda, 28, are both Austinites, born and raised, so planting a new business in their city was right up their alley to “Keep Austin Weird.” As children, their mother was into natural ways of healing, usually “prescribing plants over pills,” Sydney said.
“We always went the alternative route instead of taking medication,” she said.
About three or four years ago, Shayda was involved in a car accident that left her with a broken pelvic bone in two places and pain that just wouldn’t seem to stop. She was in her early 20s when she was hit as a pedestrian and what was a traumatic and unfortunate scenario, helped create a mogul who is fueling the CBD business as it grows in Austin.
While Shayda was more of the sister to try things recreationally, she said, the idea that CBD could be something to improve her health and physical state wasn’t too far fetched, but it never really occurred to her. About 8 months after her accident, she was still in pain despite taking prescribed medication. Her mother began to research CBD on the internet to help Shayda’s chronic pain, and Shayda began taking the CBD sublingually, applying it under your tongue, and topically, applying it to the surface of your skin. After trying CBD, Shayda said that after about 3 weeks she felt an improvement.
The two sisters come from a nutrition and marketing background. Sydney earned a degree in nutrition sciences from the University of Texas at Austin, and Shayda graduated with a bachelor’s in strategic communications from Concordia University Texas. Entrepreneurship runs in the Torabi family— with Shayda and Sydney’s parents also having their own business, Austin Insurance Group, located next door to Restart CBD. Their parents have always been open-minded about their recreational activities, mainly Shayda’s partaking in the world of CBD for purposes as far as health and the healing properties tied into them, she said. Restart CBD specializes in CBD for wellness, be it mental or physical.
The main goal for the store and the sisters is to educate the public on what CBD is — the facts, not the opinions. In recent times, CBD has become popular in relation to anxiety, pain relief, overall wellness and a new market for business and revenue. The Permanente Journal— an online peer-reviewed journal on medical science, social science in medicine, and medical humanities— conducted a study showing that CBD has brought positive results when improving sleep disorders and anxiety. CBD is short for cannabidiol which is a phytocannabinoid found in cannabis, discovered around 1940. THC, another popular substance, properly named tetrahydrocannabinol, is used for similar purposes, but it isn’t apart of the CBD immediate family.
“CBD is present in marijuana just like THC is present in hemp,” Shayda said. “We reference them as cousins, not as siblings, so same family but different makeup.”
Restart CBD’s products mostly contain more CBD to have the effectiveness of healing rather than the feeling of being high. The CBD world is growing and expanding every day, and today, there are about 17 CBD stores in Austin.
“The reason why cannabinoids work is because you have two anti-cannabinoid systems in your body that regulate how your body functions and operates, so CBD plugs into those receptors,” Shayda said.
The launch of their business came into play when CBD had recently become legal in the United States. After years of back and forth about the benefits of CBD and its legality, CBD was was made legal in Texas in June 2019, according to The Dallas Morning News. However, the unfamiliarity of CBD’s healing benefits to the public can still sometimes be touchy depending on the individual, the sisters said.
Both said there was a time where they believed at some point, a cop would come into their store questioning the legality of selling CBD, but that has yet to happen.
“We learned it really just depends on the cop,” Shayda said.
The expansion of their business has only grown since the start. Their connections in Austin have included Tiny Pies— who have created a pie infused with CBD caramel sauce which was sold at Austin City Limits this year— as well as an ice cream parlor that has done a CBD ice cream. Shayda and Sydney have made it clear that businesses can only thrive when you include others are included.
“One, it is highlighting the brands that we love locally,” Sydney said. “Two, it is introducing CBD to people in a way that is familiar.”
Although their business was inspired by their mother, Sydney and Shadya said they are still shocked when they learn some of their customers have similar stories to theirs about being introduced to CBD.
“We get customers, and we ask them where they heard about CBD, and some say, ‘Oh, my parents use it, and they told me about it,’” Shayda said. “It’s just super cool to know that it is something that families can share with each other.”