Jacqueline Arnold (Jackie) (she/her/hers) always had an affinity for homeopathic and holistic medicine. “I got injured during tech in Moulin Rouge on Broadway. I was not trying to walk around smelling like a geriatrics ward with menthol while trying to treat the pain. Everybody the year before was getting into a particular brand of CBD sticks. I thought I could probably make this.” And that’s when Jackie, and wife Shannon Arnold (she/her/hers), the owner of “Oh To Be A Dog”, a pet care business, first started with The Kitchen Chemists.
Shannon explained that “cannabis has always been involved with our culture from where we grew up.” They knew they had to create a product that smelled good, but was also different from other products in that it could be physically massaged and rubbed on the skin. “It came out of necessity. The Self Care Salve: Miracle Rub was first. Jackie made it, brought it to work [at Moulin Rouge! The Musical], and everyone thought it was great. The dancers started using it, calling it their current warmup, and it started spreading.” Soon the crew of the show was using it for their own muscle pain, and shortly after they were dropping it off in tiny brown bags for performers at stage doors across the city.
During COVID they continued to develop the business and product. They knew they couldn’t have a product that would melt in the heat, and consistency was another issue. Jackie and Shannon also had to determine the correct amounts of cannabis to put in. “It is all a science from beginning to end” Shannon recalled, “Jackie is really good at the chemistry part.”
“The salves are the most popular. Extra strength is even more popular than the regular salve. The bath bombs are also really popular. I hate baths,” explained Shannon, “but I now have to take one once a week.” The Kitchen Chemists soon expanded to body butters, foot rubs, and other similar products, with the goal to replace some of the products they were already using with ones that were better about protecting their skin from environmental situations (other than the sun), providing more antioxidants, facilitating cell regeneration, and containing anti-wrinkle elements. “We equate it to the Windex from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a solution for everything.”
For anyone hesitant about using their products, they explained that “topical cannabis products don’t enter your bloodstream therefore there are no psychoactive effects.”
Other than really expanding this business during the quarantine, plenty has been on their mind the past several months. Jackie shared that “with everything going on: COVID, hate crimes, a second pandemic of Black Lives Matter, I just desperately want to scream have a little compassion for one another. It goes so far. I truly don’t understand why we have to teach each other to be decent.”
Shannon added “I look at it as a global reset button. We’re very environmentally conscious and about being a good human to other people around you and to yourself. It was the first time in ten years I didn’t have to be attached to my phone. I had a sense of freedom for a moment. I have to take this mindset in the new chapter, whatever it is. Pollution got better, the world got nicer, we had more understanding, people were earth conscious.”
“We have to do all our parts. We are not going back anywhere. I’ve watched so many friends pivot, and they have had the time and space to explore other interests they have. We put so much into our career and how to be the most lucrative. But we have to figure out what makes us the happiest. Do something you love and do it really well and the money will follow.” ·