We recognize how the makeup of each and every family is entirely unique, and this is certainly the case for William Zitser, our father feature of the day. William stands at the helm of both his family, as a single father to his daughter Nikita, as well as the Founder/CEO of his growing business, Flor de Maria, an artisanal line of chocolates infused with CBD. We recently got to chatting with him about the evolution of his business, and how he gets through the day as both a dad and entrepreneur. Here's what he shared...
What inspired you to start Flor de Maria, and where does the name come from?
Several years ago I found myself recently widowed, jobless and deeply depressed. What started as a trip to visit a friend in Ecuador, turned into a sabbatical year of learning about cacao, the post-harvesting processes and chocolate making. At some point I wanted to get off of antidepressants and find other healthy ways to help ease my mind. At the time, someone recommended CBD, which ended up really helping with my morning anxiety. When I saw it in chocolate form, I tried it, but hated it. That day I went home and bought all the CBD chocolates I could find, and after tasting them all, I decided I was going to make my own.
The name and branding came all at once. I was sitting at Caracas Arepa Bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and as I was looking at their amazing rum bar and its bottles, I was thinking that we (Venezuelans) take pride in our rum and our cacao... I wanted a brand that could fit in with all those bottles. That's when Flor de María just came to me. Maria is slang for cannabis, and the flower of the cacao tree is said to be sacred and forbidden to touch.
Tell us a little bit more about your business, Flor de Maria, and what makes your products special?
We make CBD-infused chocolates. What sets Flor de Maria apart from other infused chocolates is that we source our own cacao and make our chocolate from scratch.This gives us the ability to work the cacao from the beginning of the process, and effectively pair it with the hemp, (much like a winemaker's approach). By working directly with the farmers, we can also guarantee a fair and robust supply chain.
How do you balance raising your daughter, as a single dad, while growing your business?
I don't! There's no balance, only madness.
Do you have any words of wisdom to share with aspiring entrepreneurs?
Start talking to people that have experience in what you are trying to do, and surround yourself with mentors and advisors! A partner to split the work is helpful too! Outsource the things that aren't your forte, and get it done efficiently by people that know how to do what you can't. These are a few of the things I learned after doing it all myself for six months - when I eventually found my current production partner who has helped me produce fives times as much in a way more cost efficient way.
We usually ask mamas to share their favorite motherhood centric products but… What is your lifesaver when it comes to parenting?
As goes with the territory, cannabis and microdosing.
Another must have in my arsenal is the Chill blend by TONIC