the hoi polloi story
You can change the world and still pay the bills!
Like many during the COVID era, we recently found ourselves at a turning point. We knew we wanted to help people in a way that hadn’t been done before. And so we put our heads together, sparked up a joint, and came up with something new.
Over the last year, our team spent a lot of time networking in virtual meeting spaces aligned with plant medicine. We noticed there is a groundswell of new businesses forming in hemp, cannabis, and psilocybin. We also observed that many of the people behind these businesses could use support getting up and running, from managing the technical aspects of starting a business to mastering social media to finding their heart-filled brand message.
And so, we decided to jump in and use our unique skill sets to support these burgeoning cannabis, hemp, and psilocybin businesses. Our goal is to connect with business owners, orient to where they are, and help them build a strong foundation of success. We will prep our clients for takeoff and provide in-flight guidance so they can relax and enjoy the ride.
What does Hoi Polloi mean?
Well, we named our business Hoi Polloi during a cannabis-fueled brainstorm. Of course we did!
Hoi Polloi is a Greek term that was used in ancient times to refer to the common, everyday person. It was often used as a derogatory term, something that the hoity toity Greek elites uttered about the commoners from their beautifully manicured balconies and bathhouses.
But we believe in reclaiming this term - Hoi Polloi - and embracing what it stands for. We celebrate the concept of Hoi Polloi because we believe in the ideas of the everyday person. The strength of the middle class. And the power of small businesses, operating in collaboration and toward a common vision, to change the world.
We are Hoi Polloi. You are Hoi Polloi. Let’s work together to help each other succeed and spread the good word about plant medicine.
"We celebrate the power of small businesses, operating in collaboration and toward a common vision, to change the world. "
What is our core mission?
We want to help turn people’s great ideas into something truly special. Our mission is to support small business owners who are driving innovation in hemp, cannabis, and psilocybin. We are committed to empowering small business owners and guiding them toward success... however they might define that!
Our ideal clients are business owners who are driven by purpose and supporting people over profit. We want you to deepen your financial security and be able to pay your bills, of course, but we are very excited about supporting businesses with a strong “why” driving them forward. If you want to disrupt the industry and use your business to serve people, well then - we are so happy to serve you.
Through our work, we are committed to prioritizing inclusivity, equity, and social responsibility. We want to help everyone carve out their own seat at the table. We will support the people who have been told “no” by other traditional business advisement firms.
To us, equal access is foundational. We believe that success in plant medicine should not only be available to the people with massive capital investment. Rather, we want to see businesses thrive that have been founded by passionate individuals fueled by their purpose, drive, and love of the plant. The American dream hasn’t always been available to everyone. Knowing this, we are looking to change the current paradigm and provide equitable pathways to advancement.
We also believe strongly in the power of young people. They are truly the wave of the future. We embrace the younger generation because they do things differently. And we like the way they’re going about it.
We will help you understand how you can design your business to appeal to the younger generation, because we see this as an important aspect to building a thriving venture. And, if you are a young business owner, we would be honored to help you pave your path - your way.
What we provide our clients
Business consultation and advisement that is designed to meet you wherever you are and help you build up, stand out, and take off
For more on the specific business areas we can help you with, check out this comprehensive list here
Tiered consultation packages that allow you to right-size the Hoi Polloi experience to your unique budget and needs
For more on our packages, visit our Service Offerings page
Connection to a deep network of partner organizations
Be sure to check out our expansive list of partners in our Pilot Lounge
meet the flight crew
conjurer of creative
grew up on a large horse farm, learned to drive on a tractor. can green break a horse,
and is really good at
social media maestro
grew up in a small town near Buffalo, NY, then, at 19, moved to Weed, CA, just because my boyfriend and I wanted to live there. 2 decades later, I found myself smack dab (ha!) in the cannabis industry in Phoenix.
Beth van Elswyk
the hemp huntress
will be titling my autobiography ”Too Fat for Long Pants” — sharing tales of managing drag kings, dominatrixes, domineering men, dogs and domesticated bliss ;)
Drove across the country to relocate from Philly to Phoenix!
Fun Fact: I got fired as a flight attendant for smoking weed so now I smoke weed and take flight LOL.
The Hoi Polloi Team
Here at Hoi Polloi, our team is made up of individuals with a wide breadth of experience in business and plant medicine. Our skill diversity is our strength, and we look forward to extending these skills and assets to you.
Beth van Elswyk, co-owner and hemp huntress, has decades of experience in retail operations, advisement, and business management in the cannabis, CBD, and hemp industries. She’s an advocate for American-grown hemp, a self-described disruptor of capitalism, and ready to bring her visionary approach to your endeavors.
Heather Nanstiel, co-owner and conjurer of creative, is our marketing guru. She brings years of experience from the creative, marketing, and web-design side of things and is ready to help you market your brand and differentiate from all the rest.
Amy Donohue, advisor and social media maestro, brings 15 years of social media expertise and passion for psilocybin medicine to the team. She’s ready to get you up-to-date on all things social media and show you how to make your social media assets work for you.
Nakiah Washington, project manager AKA Puff'n PM at Hoi Polloi, brings a fresh perspective, innovative ideas, and good energy to the flight crew. She has about 3 years of business operations, project management, and finance experience that she is eager to bring into the cannabis industry. She's an advocate for combining cannabis, crystals, and essential oils to heal energy.
We’re launching this business at a unique moment in time, one in which the possibilities of plant medicine business have never been more abundant. Right now, we are seeing the wave of cannabis liberalization unfold, and there is even talk of expanding access to other plant medicines, including psilocybin, across the world. We are seizing this moment to help propel people who believe in the power of plant medicine.
What you can expect from Hoi Polloi
Trusted words of wisdom from people who have personally stepped through business formation and expansion. Here at Hoi Polloi, we have entrepreneurial and startup experience, including the recent formation of our own business. We have stepped through the “ins and outs” of business management and look forward to sharing our learnings and insights with you. We seek to provide words of wisdom rather than advice; we trust your agile business mind to make the best decisions for you and your brand. But we’re here to provide guidance and support as it is helpful and meaningful to you.
Connection to the greater Hoi Polloi family. Depending on your individual needs, we seek to connect you to the right partners who can help your business thrive. We have deep roots in the plant medicine community and employ a robust referral model. If there’s anything we can’t help you with, don’t worry — we have a plan for that! Our partner organizations have expertise in many aspects of plant medicine business management, including legal, distribution, packaging, banking, and DEI services.
Understanding of the legal complexities in plant medicine industries. While plant medicine related policies are rapidly changing and liberalizing, it’s also true that the legality of plant medicine businesses is tenuous. We have navigated much of this complexity throughout our careers, and we stay “in the know” about what’s happening in terms of new legislation and other efforts to free the plant. We will help you step through the unknown and CYA (you know… cover your bum) so that you can stay compliant as you build your business.
A commitment to collaboration over competition. There’s no question — if you have been in the hemp, cannabis, and psilocybin space for awhile, you have probably noticed that there is a lot of competitive energy out there. But, the old model of competition, with its ruffled feathers and puffed up egos… we don’t want any part of that. We’re seeking to create something new and build upon a model of collaboration, family-style connection, and trusted partnership. We’re trying to come up with a new way of doing business and play a role in the modern business revolution. Won’t you join us?
A new business vibe. While we will always maintain a professional and practical approach to supporting your business,
we also want to throw it out there — we’re different here! We aim to provide a chill, fun, and human approach to doing business. You have big dreams and have put a lot of sweat equity into your endeavors. That said, we also want you to enjoy this experience and have a blast as you build your budding empire. After all, plant medicine is about health and happiness.
We want to help you fly
The “industry standard” imagery for startups is usually a rocket ship. We get it… a rocket ship requires investment, planning, and it eventually launches into the sky with a fiery burst of energy.
But many new business owners are decidedly starting small and scrappy, and may not be in a position to invest billions of dollars on a rocket ship launch like Mr. Musk. So, you may or may not resonate with the whole rocket ship thing.
That’s why our mascot is an everyday paper airplane. The kind you made as a kid. Perhaps you’ve seen it around the website. We see the paper airplane as the rocket ship of the Hoi Polloi.
As long as you have a piece of paper, ambition, and a great idea, the Hoi Polloi team will help you get your idea off the ground and into flight. We want to help you take off and steer in the direction you have been envisioning!
Why do we believe in cannabis?
Cannabis is truly the plant that connects us all. This amazing herb... it wants to work with us. Much like roses, tulips, and apples, the cannabis plant has shown that it is willing to partner with humans to assume the uses and cultivars that we guide it toward. Cannabis also has this beautiful spiritual element to it, and we understand that the plant helps people expand their minds and tune in to greater awareness. We also see cannabis as a valuable agricultural product and we are passionate about supporting the farmers who grow it in all its forms.
How about hemp?
Ahhh, hemp. We are really stoked about hemp! As Jack Herer pointed out decades ago, hemp is something that can clothe us, feed us, shelter us, and even heal us. We look forward to seeing — and supporting — further hemp innovation in the market. In fact, it turns out that hemp can be turned into a pretty darn-near-perfect building material. And, can you imagine the splendor and bounty that could be realized if America was filled with lush, green, family-owned hemp farms? The possibilities are endless. If you have innovative ideas about the future of hemp, we want to hear from you!
And last - but certainly not least — why do we align with psilocybin?
Scientific research and anecdotal evidence alike have suggested magic mushrooms can help people find relief from mental anguish, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Those who have microdosed this natural medicine have found that it can also boost cognitive performance. Psilocybin is a gift from the Universe that provides both medicinal and recreational value. You know this… and that’s why you’re in the psilocybin space! We’re excited to support your business endeavors and perpetuate the acceptance of this natural healing medicine.
It’s time to shake things up. Can you feel it, too?
A lot of people have used the “pause” of 2020-21 to rethink their lives, their businesses, and their worlds. Here at Hoi Polloi, we’re here to hold space for your new ideas and help them take flight. We are honored to be your guide along this journey and we look forward to working with you!