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Tera Naturals Founders, Lara & Eddy Blanco talk plant medicine, family business, stigma, and more

We were super excited to pair up with Tera Naturals Founders, a dynamic father daughter duo, Lara and Eddy Blanco to talk about plant-based wellness, family business, stigma, representation and beyond. Tera Naturals is rooted in the simple but powerful pillar that life is better when you feel great! In today’s world it can be incredibly difficult to put yourself first and prioritize self-care, and so we think helping people find their own path to feeling great is such an important mission. They knew early on as a brand that your ability to be good to those around you is greatly impacted if you don’t prioritize being good to yourself. Eddy compared it to being on a plane and how you have to prioritize getting your oxygen mask on first in an emergency in order to make sure you are able to help those around you in need.

Same thing goes for life, if you’re constantly tired, anxious, in pain, or just not present then how can you be good to anybody else?”

Lara agreed with the wise words, “You can’t pour from an empty cup” as another great example of hyperextending and deprioritizing personal care.

The concept of Tera Naturals was born out of the pandemic. “It was obviously a time where there were a lot of big feelings and heaviness. People were scared, and there was so much chaos going on that we wanted to be able to provide something, to provide a product that helped people stay balanced and stay feeling good despite the chaos going on around them.” That chaos led to a lot of anxiety (which we definitely felt). At the time, it felt like no one knew what was coming around each corner and how life was going to change. Eddy spoke to this uncertainty, “When is the next shoe going to drop? When is the next shut down? What am I going to do? Am I going to have to lose work/work from home? What’s going to happen? That is no way of living. At one point you couldn’t even walk into a pharmacy, but IF you did, you couldn’t even find Vitamin C.” This was a pivotal point on a societal level that impacted many people's lives when it came to personal wellness. Lara spoke to this collective change,

“I think there was also just this huge shift culturally and societally where although there was so much chaos going on, it did force people to slow down and kind of take a second and evaluate what was important to them, and where their priorities lie. That was a big thing for us, is that we should be prioritizing ourselves.”

This is a realization that many people came to during this period, and we have seen represented through a variety of cultural shifts. While Tera Naturals does provide wellness options, they go beyond that by providing an opportunity to prioritize self-care and “wellness”. This ideology can fit into any lifestyle or schedule.

Take a small minute throughout your day to do something for you, so that you can be your best self, for everybody else that needs you. Whether that's your family, your work, your friends, whatever it is.”

There are so many different types of balance and wellness products, that navigating through all of them can be pretty difficult to do, especially in these chaotic times. Tera Naturals provides some amazing tools and products that can easily be added to any at-home care practices. They operate from the belief that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to wellness (something we hear reinforced regularly in the community). Lara went on to speak deeper about this personalized nature of self-care. “We’re all different people, with different lives, with different areas that we need support in.”

That was paramount when it came to designing the Tera Naturals line. “We didn’t want to launch with just a one-size-fits-all formula for everybody, because we know that everybody is unique.” So while you can select products that work best for you and your needs, the line was designed with the intention to be able to guide and provide balance in different areas of your life and day.

While Danielle’s personal life has benefited tremendously from cannabis and plant medicine, there are definitely times when stigmas have come up with different segments and audiences.

Eddy added context about how important focusing on building a healthy immune system is, and how if you have a stable and solid immune system, that is a massive step to overall wellness and feeling great. From reducing stress, improving focus, relaxing and getting a restful night's sleep, these areas are all important to balance and prioritize to feel your best. Tera Naturals provides wonderful options to round out your daily wellness routine. Lara spoke deeper to the connectivity and cyclic nature of balancing wellness and how a lack of balance can have a snowball effect on overall wellness.

“If you’re stressed out you’re going to have a hard time sleeping, if you are in pain or you are uncomfortable, you are going to have a hard time sleeping. If you’re not sleeping well, your immune system is not going to be operating at its highest ability. If you’re not sleeping you’re going to be even more stressed. It’s all connected, so that’s really key. We wanted to take a holistic or a comprehensive approach to the line we were going to initially launch with.”

Tera Naturals is quite literally driven by roots, be it plant-based roots or family roots! Lara and Eddy are a dynamic father-daughter-duo making tremendous changes in the space and community. The two shared a bit more about their journey spearheading the brand together, and how they both found their passion for plant based healing and nature integration. Eddy described the journey as an interesting one, coming from a traditional manufacturing and marketing background.

“There were a lot of aspects of this business that I was already familiar with to a large degree, but working with Lara (who comes from a younger generation), she kind of opened my eyes to other things that are very important that I probably would have just kind of gone right by. I wouldn’t have even thought about them, and it’s been a journey. It’s interesting dealing with your daughter BUT it is interesting watching how she has been learning all of these different things that have to take place, that have to come together to produce a product with the efficacy like our formulas at Tera Naturals. It’s not just slapped together and let’s go. Our team from the get-go, was very adamant about that. You have to feel the wellness of our products, you have to know they are working.” Whether it's 2-3 weeks or a few days, their goal is simply that you feel better because you feel the impact.

While the mission of helping people live their healthiest lives was clear, there were several other pillars that the brand wanted to prioritize. Lara was a catalyst in pushing forward sustainable packaging, and leaning into community social platforms and initiatives. Lara said despite some small blips, it has been a real treat getting to share the time and experience with each other. “My dad’s been in business for a lot longer than I have, and I had a lot to learn. This is my first entrepreneurial foray, and I didn’t know what went into launching a company or a whole product. So just from the business aspect I’ve learned a wealth of information; from manufacturing, ingredient sourcing, vendor management, fulfillment, everything from A-Z. I now have a wealth of knowledge that I am extremely grateful for.”

When it comes to plant medicine and nature-based wellness, Lara found her passion early in life. As someone that struggles with anxiety and depression, and has navigated the options of mental wellness and healing from therapy, medications and beyond - she found natural tools that worked better for managing her own routine and practices. “I wanted to build a toolbox of natural coping methods for myself. That journey has been going on for almost a decade. Whether it’s through talk therapy, exercise, journaling, meditation, supplements…I have been building a wellness toolbox of natural methods I can access all the time.” That has been a big driver for Lara when it comes to her continued journey into nature-based exploration and joining this industry to create a product where others can do the same.

For Eddy, who comes from a Hispanic background, everything culturally was rooted in nature for him growing up. “You don’t go to the doctor until it’s the absolute last straw, because you have tried every tea, every ointment, whatever it is that is natural, that should help whatever is ailing you. When all else fails, then it’s time to go to the doctor. It’s just a cultural thing, but I grew up that way. I don’t take any medication, now I would if I had to, but I don’t. I prefer drinking a juice mixed with whatever before taking any type of medication.” Eddy also does a lot of outdoor activities, is big on supplements, and likes to find ways to enhance his overall wellness that don’t involve medications.

Lara also noted that they don’t have an anti-doctor or anti-medication approach or viewpoint at all. “Take your medications, go to your physicals, do what you need to do. We’re just saying from a personal perspective this is the journey that we’ve been on our whole lives.” She continued to reflect on her experiences growing up where if she was feeling unwell, natural remedies were the go-to for a first approach. “I would get sick and you’d give me a tea with thirty different natural ingredients in it. It didn’t taste great, but the next day I felt better.” She attributes some of these plant-based practices to the building of her fathers knowledge and toolset on what these different plant based medicines can help with through his life.

Tera Naturals is a brand rooted in science with pillars rooted in efficacy, sustainability and satisfaction. The two shared a bit about why they aligned around these pillars as a brand. The pillars are beautifully basic, and focus on two main end goals, the first being making products that work. Lara spoke to this clear priority, “We aren’t interested in cutting corners and we’re not interested in selling something that doesn’t work.” Great in concept, but how is that achieved? Lara spoke frankly on this,

“We’re in an ever expanding industry where there’s a ton of companies, and some of them are snake oil salesmen. Not all the products work. We didn’t want to be one of those companies, so first and foremost they (our products) work. We partnered with some of the sharpest minds in the industry who have decades of experience formulating nutraceuticals; PHDs, MDs, functional medicine doctors. They’re all on our scientific advisory board, which is on our website.”

Lara and Eddy are big proponents in bringing in the experts when it comes to making science-driven studies and decisions for their products aligned with their goals.

Speaking of experts and synergy, Lara shared some of the fascinating details on some proprietary technology, L9 Bioscience technology, developed by one of their formulators. Which the team uses for their full CBD product line. To give you a little context, most of the CBD brands on the market only have a 4% absorption rate, which means that whatever you ingest, you are absorbing only 4% which isn’t that high. Tera Naturals wanted to make sure their products were as effective as possible, so the L9 Bioscience technology addresses bioavailability and gastric absorption at every touchpoint.

“We use nanosizing, emulsification and ionic polarization to shrink the size of the CBD molecules, making them easily absorbable and distributed to your cells. The ionic polarization allows your body to excrete the CBD as well. It prevents bioaccumulation, so you are getting more for less.”

Eddy went on to explain some of the barriers due to the Hispanic population when it comes to adoption of CBD or other plant-based blends that can help build out their wellness tools due to a lack of education. Just because a product says it has CBD in it, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true, and even if it is true you are probably getting very low absorption rates and you will retain and build up the CBD. Accumulation is something the two said is relatively unknown, they in fact did not know about it in depth prior to working with their formulators. “As a consumer, if I saw high milligrams on a bottle, I would be like cool, without knowing what’s going on from a physiological standpoint.”

Pillar two, for Tera Naturals once again is rooted in simplicity, “We don’t accept the status quo, and we don’t expect our customers to either.” This is beautifully highlighted in the brands packaging where Lara wanted to focus on sustainable packaging and although Eddy was initially a bit adverse due to the cost, he was a big believer in the value of the initiative and decision in the long run. Lara went on to explain why this was important to her as a founder. “It’s important because being business owners means analyzing our impact on the planet. I wanted to show that there was a way to produce a high quality, highly effective, and high end product (that doesn’t have a high impact on the planet).” Which they have done beautifully, she continued, “For all of our packaging we strayed away from plastic as much as we could, all of our packaging is made out of recycled paper. They’re boxes. Our pouches are made out of recycled materials, as well as reusable.”

All of the Tera Naturals gummy products are small batch and handmade with no artificial additives, sweeteners, flavors or dyes. All of the products go through third party testing and batch exact so what you get at home is exactly what has been tested and verified. Tera Natural’s eye on their global footprint continues into the post-product development stages as well, from not including packaging peanuts and other non-sustainable delivery materials, to using non-toxic food grade ink, and other clean rooted options. “We’re so confident in the product that we created that we have a 30-day money back guarantee! If you don’t like it, if it doesn’t work for you that’s fine. We will give you your money back.”

Talk about putting your money where your mouth is! We love that this gives consumers a way to test out what works best for them and their own personal journey. Eddy shared some advice that he would give Lara growing up, “If you are going to do it, do it right or don’t do it at all.” This combined with, “there is no time like the present” both apply to Tera Naturals overall mindset and approach as a brand.

When it comes to product favorites, Lara’s go-to’s are the Bliss and Sleep products, “I have such a hard time sleeping and focusing so Bliss and Sleep are super helpful for me.” She shared that Sleep was also a big customer favorite, which makes sense in a time that so many struggle with anxiety and insomnia related issues.

Eddy’s favorites are based on some of his favorite wellness activities. As someone who loves to be outdoors and an avid golfer, he loves the Bliss Formula and the Comfort Formula. “If you have ever played golf you know you have to shake off all the bad shots, because they can really ruin the best of your day. It’s a very mental game, and it (Bliss & Comfort Formulas) allows you to shake off the bad shots, and stay focused on what you are doing next, keep it moving along. That’s really important for that game. I take one before I start the round, take one at the turn and I’m golden. I also take the comfort formula because I’m 58-years-old, I am going to be 59 pretty close, and I don’t turn back as far as I used to. Certain things are not like they used to be, and that little extra that I can get without any discomfort throughout the round does wonders.” He suggests the products to his friends and they are all over it!

Not only is Tera Naturals creating beautiful plant-driven pathways and products, but they are doing tremendous work when it comes to community and stigma change. As Latino business owners in the cannabis and plant medicine space, they shared a bit about why normalization has been important to them at the community level and how they have addressed stigmas as they have presented themselves. Eddy shared some insights on his journey of navigating this sector. “Being Latino in this industry has been interesting because there’s a stigma right, especially with the older segment of the population.

Although, they will take every remedy or any tea to make themselves feel better from any ailment they might have. When it comes to CBD, they’re like ‘Oh no, that’s not good.’” Which is interesting because as Lara recounts for these segments, a topical CBD cream is fine, but ingesting it is a whole other story. Eddy shared a story about his 81-year-old mother who is in recovery from back surgery but still plenty fiery.

“I said mom why don’t you just take the comfort gummies? Right away, ‘I am not a druggie’, and I said Mom, this doesn’t have THC in it, you’re going to feel better. I’m your son, I would not give you something that gets you stoned and knocks you out. After finally agreeing and taking the gummy she was pleased with the results. She finally takes it and she’s like, ‘Hm mijo, that stuff works!’” This came to no surprise to her son, who happily provided her with more on request.

The benefits extended to Eddy’s 91-year-old father who was enticed by the packaging. After eating one of the gummies he was unphased when he learned that it contained CBD, “ He was like whatever, it makes me feel a lot better. My waist doesn’t hurt, my lower back doesn’t hurt anymore…I’m in!” His dad continues to take two a day (possibly more lol) as part of his wellness routine. Now both mom and dad are sharing the benefits and tools with their friends in the senior market, one that can benefit tremendously from plant-based wellness tools.

Eddy also spoke to how people in their fifties, similar to himself, that have older parents are doing a service to them by sharing education on CBD, and preparing them for what they will experience. “This is not going to get you high, this is another form for naturally making you feel better.” Which in many cases is what they have done for the majority of their life. He also stressed the importance of practicing what you preach, by making sure that we are in shape as an example for the future generations and those that depend on us. “It’s our job to teach our parents that there are different avenues for natural health.”

Lara shared that her father worked in the supplements market for decades. She raised the question to him whether he had seen a cannabis product become accepted by the Latino community through all that time, to which he responded a quick no to both CBD and THC across the board.

He said that a lot of this had to do with the fact that the Latino population is one that is highly blue collar where regular drug testing is occuring. There is a real fear that consuming any type of cannabis products will result in a drug test failure and possible loss of employment.

A fear that is not necessary when it comes to Tera Naturals products, “You can take our products all day long, you’re not going to fail that test.” Despite the fact that their products contain an undetectable amount of THC fear remains in certain sectors and communities. “It’s little things like that that we need to overcome and educate the market and the overall hispanic population because that information is not as available to that market as it is to the overall general population.” Tera Naturals is here to educate anyone who is interested in learning and building out their own personal toolsets. These types of toolsets are so important when it comes to erasing stigma in communities where preconceptions and fears are pretty high.

Part of making their products more accessible came down to making design decisions that feel less intimidating to those early on in their CBD journey. They wanted to differentiate from brands that had imagery that could be abrasive or cause fear in markets that were sensitive to stigma, for example packaging with a big pot leaf on them or something like that. Lara wanted these to be more accessible, “I wanted to create something that your abuelita would not be scared to take, or would not be hesitant to take. It looks pretty, it’s on her nightstand or her medicine cabinet and we give our products to my grandmother.”

As many of you know we love a manifestation moment here at SoStonedCo, so we wanted to know what Tera Naturals would like to manifest for 2023 and beyond and it is all about quality and new developments. Eddy shared, “What we would manifest for Tera Naturals is that we can bring a quality product and make it available to anybody who wants help with that balancing act called life. That people know that it’s available, and that our products work.” The focus is getting the word out and getting people to try it (which is at no risk with the 30-day satisfaction guarantee). Also new formulas are on the horizon to dive into some deeper and more specific wellness needs and pain points. While these are top secret for now we can’t wait to check them out when they arrive! We ended with a wonderful piece of advice from Eddy,

“If you don’t sleep well, tomorrow is going to suck. Not just for your mind, but for your body, and for everyone around you. If you sleep well, that’s a whole different ballgame. So try practicing the thought that tomorrow starts tonight, and if you can do that, you’re going in the right direction.”

It was an honor getting to talk with this amazing team about the fantastic work they are doing at the intersection of wellness, plant medicine, stigma change and beyond, and we can’t wait to see what’s next. To learn more about the brand follow them on IG @teranaturalsusa and check out their site, where you can take advantage of their Buy One Get One deal in honor of the new year, and get an additional 10% off your purchase using the promo code SOSTONED10 at checkout.

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