When you’re looking for products to heal your body, mind, and/or spirit, you want to purchase from a brand that has your best interest, and not their own pocketbooks in mind. It can be difficult to figure out which companies want to help you and which companies want to help themselves. Unfortunately, this happens much more than it should in the burgeoning wellness industry, and no one understands it better than Erika Hanson, founder of the plant-based medicine brand Suu Kuu.
“Suu Kuu started very organically. Honestly, it was not something I initially sought out doing,” recalls Hanson. “My goals for studying herbalism were not to start a business, but to take care of myself and my family, as well as deepen my connection to plants.”
Hanson’s interest in plant-based medicine began when she was an art student studying drawing. After dabbling in botanicals through her art (and a good deal of exploring in her grandmother’s garden), Hanson decided to dedicate time to study herbalism in a more traditional way after graduating in 2005. It was here that she realized she was more interested in the plants she was drawing than the art itself.
Fast forward to today and Suu Kuu is known for their high vibrational plant medicines. Hanson and her small team have their hands in everything from product development and sourcing ingredients to social media marketing, accounting, and more.
They are a brand committed to being open and transparent about what is going into each of their products and where and how they source their ingredients.
They even list all of their stockists and product lab reports on their website so customers can vet the sources themselves.
Hanson prefers to work with farmers who are “making good choices for the Earth” — which means making sure their suppliers make sustainable and ethical choices when growing their plants through organic or biodynamic farming methods.
“It’s important for people to know what they’re getting, especially with hemp,” explains Hanson. “It’s also important for us to know that what we are offering will be effective and that our claims are true. Through these practices we receive rich plants that, in turn, offer their medicinal properties to heal people.”
One of Suu Kuu’s most popular products is their Sea of Serenity Adrenal Support blend. (And, in today’s culture of stress, overwork, and overstimulation, it’s easy to see why.) Full of herbs that offer cleansing and support in the body, it is formulated with no GMOs, herbicides, or pesticides, and is perfect for those looking to heal their nervous system and find their inner calm.
Ultimately, Hanson hopes her products can help customers experience a higher quality of life. She’s noticed that, despite its association with cannabis, hemp usage is “breaking the stigma” around alternative medicine in mainstream culture. However, now that more people are aware of the benefits of plant medicine, big businesses are also aware of the money they can make.
“When I started this business, I did not realize it was such a money-focused market,” admits Hanson. “A lot of people are starting hemp businesses from a business perspective rather than a connection to wellness. Our lab even shared with us that many hemp products are not testing where the label says they are.”
But that shouldn’t discourage any budding herbalists and alternative medicine practitioners from following their true calling. In fact, pursuing that desire to heal should be the driving force should you decide to start a business in this space.
“Consider the health of the earth and the people you are working with and create a vibrant relationship with both,” advises Hanson. “Stay true to your values, and notice what it is about the work that brings you joy — then focus on that.”
Logan Cross is a writer, editor, and dancer based in Los Angeles. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter, or listening to every fictional podcast her phone allows her to download.