Photos by Hillary Ehlen
The Cannabidiol or CBD market in the United States is exploding. According to gallup.com, 14% of Americans are using CBD products. Though the market for CBD clearly exists in our country, our community has been slow to catch up. However, one local entrepreneur, Weiwei “Vivian” Fellman, founder of Kota Organics, North Dakota’s first retail store specializing in selling premium organic CBD products, is looking to help people in our community improve their wellness.
Fellman, a current user of CBD herself, says that she started using it in an attempt to alleviate anxiety a few years ago. After having success, Fellman began to develop a passion for CBD. Her passion eventually blossomed to the point where she decided to move on from her job at Discovery Benefits, where she had worked for the past three years, and start Kota Organics.
With Kota Organics, Fellman now uses her passion to help customers who walk through her doors looking to alleviate things like anxiety, sleep issues or sore joints and muscles. Customers can buy everything from CBD tinctures, capsules, pain cream, chocolates, and skincare products like lotions and beauty serums. They even sell CBD products that are safe for dogs and cats to consume!
However, Fellman wants to be clear that her store isn’t just a typical CBD retail store, it’s a CBD lifestyle stop where they help their clients achieve mental and physical wellness, starting with the use of quality CBD products. Their clients will have access to the industry-leading brands while they live in the FM area. They will also have privileges to attend wellness events that they will be organizing such as meditation workshops. Their mission is to create an organic wellness culture and help the community to improve the quality of life.
Can I Legally Take CBD
Although the CBD has no psychoactive effects, people often still associate it with marijuana and its psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), due to misunderstanding. Although there is a small amount of THC in some of the full-spectrum CBD products that she offers, the amount falls under the federally mandated limit of 0.3%, meaning that the THC in the product will have no psychoactive effect on the user. However, Fellman also sells broad-spectrum CBD products and CBD isolate products that are THC free for customers concerned about staying completely clean for a drug test.
The selling of the products became officially legal in the area with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill which allows the cultivation of Hemp with THC levels lower than 0.3%.
Taking A Leap Of Faith
Like most entrepreneurs, Fellman took on a huge risk by starting her own business. However, starting a business is far from the first leap of faith Fellman has taken in her life.
Born and raised in China, Fellman met her husband, Jeff Fellman, a Fargo native, in Beijing while he studied mandarin and worked there for Daimler Chrysler in 2004. Jeff moved back to Fargo in 2007, the couple got engaged in 2008 and Vivian left her marketing job with Mercedes-Benz China in 2009 to move in with her husband here in Fargo.
Vivian says that the change from a city of 21 million to one of 120 thousand was huge but she now embraces her new home with her husband, two sons and their golden retriever “Chunk”.
“Fargo is my home now,” said Fellman. “I feel really blessed to be here in this great community.”
With already having the experience of making such a drastic change, Vivian has embraced another leap of faith in starting her new business.
“There was definitely a risk to starting this,” said Fellman. “I think it’s worth giving a try though. I feel like if I never gave it a try, I would never know. This way I won’t regret it. My husband, my kids and my family and friends have been extremely supportive.”