SPOTLIGHT ON… Apothem's Plant Expert

Guest Author: Colleen Quinn

date: 16 October 2019

Apothem is a brand built on expertise. From the suppliers we source our hemp from to our formulation experts and the designers who help bring the brand to life, everything is created by a team of professionals who are the very best at what they do. Here, we shine a (well-deserved) light on Colleen Quinn, Apothem’s resident plant and aromatherapy expert, AKA the person whose job it is to help bring these unique and very special products to life. Read on to discover how she got started, where her passions lie and why she thinks Apothem is up there with the best of the very best…


Tell us a bit about your background…


I am what’s called a clinical aromatherapist; I started my studies in the plant world when I was 18, doing most of my clinical study in Provence, France where aromatherapy is treated as a health aid not a gentle therapeutic aid as it is in the UK. I work with the plants’ DNA when I formulate – their chemical makeup is my priority and how the combined chemistry of combined plants affects the body and mind is where my curiosity lies. I had my own complementary therapy practice for 10 years and in that time, I became a Macmillan trained therapist, which lead me to work with terminally ill cancer patients. In 2011 I built my own certified organic aromatherapy brand, Lucy Annabella and in 2012 I built LabAroma, a plant science software tool designed to teach aromatherapy, herbal and hemopathy practitioners the chemistry behind their plants. 


How did you get into hemp?


Hemp is a wonderful plant like so many other plants I work with every day. The big difference between cannabis and hemp and its therapeutic power, is the endocannabinoid system. I became so fascinated by this world and the new research that was published in 2015 that I decided to spend some time in California learning more. There I worked with brilliant farms cultivating unique hybrids while also formulating terpene-rich blends with different formats of cannabis for both the skincare and pharmaceutical worlds.


Why do you love what you do?


I love to discover new research and to get lost in new plant chemistry and aromas but mostly I love finding new ingredients to incorporate into the formulations I create. Taking a team or a founder’s vision and working to source and discover innovative plants and ingredients in order to formulate effective products is a gift, but seeing customers incorporate these formulations into their daily routines is the greatest gift of all.


What makes Apothem different to what else is out there?


Apothem’s consistently high CBD concentration rates and innovative botanical formulations make them a powerfully unique brand. Their insightful understanding of what we as people with active lifestyles need to support our day to day lives, is amazing.


What inspires you?


The people I work with, especially my team, who bring new ideas to the table every day. They are visionaries who sit with me and explain their hopes for their customers which truly inspires me as does their passion, bravery and the drive they display – all of which is empowering. 


Apothem is a brand that’s proud to be passionate about what it believes in. What are you passionate about?


Sometime ago I realised what a privileged position I’m in, getting to have fascinating conversations with innovative scientific minds and inspirational founders on a regular basis.  I wanted to share this wealth of knowledge and experience that I was privy to each day, so I started the LabAroma Podcast. The podcast is a perfect blend of cannabis researchers and scientists and plant workers coming together to discuss their collective passions. It has been the most enriching experience of my career so far. I also speak about plant science, cannabis pharmacology and cosmetic formulations globally which is challenging and nerve-wracking but once delivered so, so rewarding!


The idea of rituals is central to Apothem’s philosophy. Do you have any personal routines that help enrich your everyday?


I love to run along the Thames early in the morning while London sleeps. That, or stretching in a hot Vinyasa yoga class. Honestly though, if I think about it, a weekend spent seeing the world through my niece’s and nephew’s eyes is the most magical way to spend time.