When COVID Shut Her Spa Down, She Turned It Into A Hemp Dispensary – Green Entrepreneur


Maya Gilliam’s advice to entrepreneurs looking to pivot: “Make what you love a source of income.”

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August 27, 2020 4 min read

Maya Gilliam owned a spa called Ma’ati Spa. It was a good business… until COVID-19 hit, and this place of relaxation suddenly became a financial liability. “It’s important to have multiple streams of income, especially in times such as these,” says the Winston-Salem, North Carolina entrepreneur. So instead of sitting tight and hoping for the best, Gilliam rethought her entire career.

She put the spa to the side and turned it into an upscale hemp dispensary called Hempress Farms. She also opened a farm about 30 miles away. Once lockdowns eased and she was able to reopen the spa, she did so — having both businesses share the same space. But now she’s especially focused on new opportunities. “Most of our time, effort, growth, and marketing is geared more towards Hempress Farms,” she says.

This summer, Entrepreneur magazine put 137 people on the cover to celebrate how entrepreneurs have adapted and stepped up during the crisis. Gilliam was one of the people included. Here, she explains how she made such an abrupt change — and how any entrepreneur can make an important change.

Related: The 35 Most Influential Women In Cannabis

You went from running a spa to being in the hemp business. Did this new path require a lot of education?

Absolutely! I actually have been studying how to become a master grower for the past year before COVID-19. When the Governor shut down all of the spas during the pandemic, it enabled me to focus solely on growing hemp indoors during that timeframe. All of my distractions were completely taken away and I

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