Q & A with Imelda Walavalkar of Pure Beauty

Pure Beauty is a Los Angeles based cannabis company that specializes in boutique-style flower. Throughout the many subtle and more obvious art history references that surface on Pure Beauty’s feed– this cannabis company invokes far more than just an enchanting perspective in the world of cannabis. Pure Beauty truly defies the banal nature of mainstream cannabis culture and is actively working towards creating a more holistic and sustainable future.

Pure Beauty is known for their perfectly structured nugs- which are always bursting with unique terpene profiles and covered in glistening trichomes. This is the experience you will have with all of their flower; an unforgettable signature-style grow that always exceeds our expectations, no matter how much we smoke. 

Their cannabis cultivation aims to decrease the harmful impacts of environmental waste that cannabis creates, by first, “only using water collected from air and not the California tap”. That means they are never pulling from a source that is already drought stricken, like so many cannabis companies do. They never have run-off, only use “safe” fertilizers/nutrients and donate all used soil to public parks.

Pure Beauty’s business model is uniquely synergistic and mirrors the undeniable bond they have with nature and the cannabis plant itself. This is even considered with their packaging… which is made of mostly paper and plant starch.

In honor of Women’s History Month, I was able to speak with Imelda Walavalkar, the CEO and co-founder of Pure Beauty. I have always been drawn to the platform that Pure Beauty has uniquely defined. To me, Pure Beauty pervades the socio-normative signature style of cannabis culture and absolutely redefines it; by inciting thoughtfulness and offering universal access, Pure Beauty promotes inspiration and change through action.

I would love to find out a little bit more about the backstory on Pure Beauty and how it was founded. I am deeply connected to all of your art references and was wondering if that was always the intention behind your brand or if it is a mutual love that the women of Pure Beauty share to bring art into the cannabis world? 

Imelda Walavalkar: Thank you. I think that is certainly part of it. Creative expression has been at the heart of Pure Beauty since its inception. And art is definitely looked at for reference, but we want to take away the pretentiousness that is oftentimes attached to it.  We want to make it feel like everyone can be a part of it and celebrate it and hopefully learn something from it. 

As the industry continues to grow, do you feel like women are represented as integral components or are there areas of improvement that you would like to shed light on from personal experiences? Historically speaking, it seems like a lot of the environmental weight is too often put onto women’s shoulders. I think your sustainability model is monumental as it reflects an even larger issue within the industry, as so many men-led companies are unwilling to take these steps [like you did] to not only sustain, but also improve the community they live in.

Imelda Walavalkar: In many ways it does feel that way, and I think it is also kind of parallelling what is happening worldwide with respect to women and representation.  Women in this space seem to be very aware of the need to support other women in a way I’ve never seen before and that’s been really bolstering for me personally. That being said, the reality is that women still only occupy a small percentage of the ownership and leadership positions in the cannabis space.  And this divide appears to only be growing–just look at the mastheads of the biggest, most capitalized companies and this becomes very clear.  And this is not just women but all minorities. While women and inclusion have been a huge part of the “cannabis conversation” it is something that, in action, we as an industry could be doing much better.  But my hope is that the powerful awareness and vocalness among the many smart women (and men) in this space, coupled with how nascent the industry still is, will result in a more equitable future.    

And I think it is true, for many reasons, that women-led companies tend to be more socially conscious. There is research that suggests women are more likely to show altruism and empathy and have a more mindful perspective of the future. And that we are also more socialized to care about others and be more socially responsible. This definitely feels to be the case in the cannabis space, at least from what I have observed in my own, unscientifically studied, experiences! 

I feel like Pure Beauty has become a brand that the cannabis industry needs. The connectivity within your community is powerful, as well as, your willingness to provide education, resources and opportunities that lead to creative inspiration. I personally would like to say thank you to everyone at Pure Beauty for giving me “hope” towards the future of cannabis and reigniting the idea of making a difference. 

Imelda Walavalkar: Thank you. We appreciate that so much.  We put a lot of thought into everything we are doing and trying to do everything the “right” way, things like thoughtfulness around packaging and our cultivation practices, diversity within the company and our partnerships and trying to also be mindful and doing our part in addressing social equity and criminal justice reform. Because of this I think we attract like-minded people that really value these same things. Our hope is to do more and more of this as we become a bigger company–we would like to show that you can do things unconventionally and succeed.  

That being said, I want to acknowledge that we are certainly far from perfect and I obsess every day over the things I know we need to improve on or are not doing good enough (which I’m not going to go into here!).  I mean, I wish our packaging was made from leaves and worm castings! 

You can find out more about Pure Beauty at the links provided below:

Pure Beauty Products
Pure Beauty Instagram
Pure Beauty Newsletter

Written by: Renee Smaldino

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