Kim Geraghty, CEO and Founder at Madame Munchie, about the brand and their success story
published on September 18, 2020
See the story of the french origin brand behind the curtains. Kim Geraghty shares the unique experience in making edibles and much more in her interview with us.
Tia (AskGrowers) : What’s the inspiration behind the name “Madame Munchie”? Is there a story attached to it?
Kim Geraghty (CEO Madame Munchie) : The name Madame Munchie comes first from the double meaning behind the word “Munchie”, as in “getting the munchies”, and “a munchie” – something you can eat. The “Madame” represents all women, and the French origin of the brand.
To me, Madame Munchie is a fictional character who is a guide and inspiration for the company. A kitchen chef from the past who was known throughout France for her delicious pastries. Funnily enough, being a woman and the owner of the brand, people will sometimes call me Madame Munchie, and I embrace it as a representation of myself as well.
Tia : When did you start Madame Munchie? When did you first decide to get into the cannabis industry? What was your first official Madame Munchie pastry?
Kim : I founded Madame Munchie in 2014. I always knew I wanted to contribute to the legalization and destigmatization of cannabis somehow. In 2012, I formulated the vision for the company more clearly when I was living in NY and practicing baking cakes and cupcakes.
When I moved to San Francisco in 2013, I met people from the cannabis community who helped me get the company started. Several members of the Mendocino growing community in fact became like family to me.
The first official Madame Munchie pastry was the French macaron, inspired by my childhood in France, as well as by the high regard in which it is held as an elegant and refined delight – a sharp contrast to how cannabis is often perceived, or was back then.
Tia : Why did you focus on macarons rather than chocolates or other more common edibles?
Kim : Since moving the business to LA, I’ve expanded the product line to include pates de fruit (fruity chews, pronounced patte de free if you want to sound fancy), spreads (think peanut butter and Nutella), infused coconut oil, and prerolls (“FLEUR” which means flower in French).
I like to focus on edibles that are both delicious and a great way for consumers to access THC. With the macarons, the consumer gets to experience something delicious, a trip to Paris and a trip for the mind. Our current macarons come with 40mg for high tolerance consumers who go through a lot of edibles and want to taste something different. The pates de fruit have the advantage of providing a micro-dosable experience, with 3.5mg of THC per unit and 30 servings per box; made with real fruit, pectin instead of gelatin, they provide a delicious alternative to traditional gummies.
When I develop new products, I want them to be as healthy as possible and made with natural, simple ingredients. But I also want to create something exciting for consumers, a form of art through cannabis consumption, that elevates their day and constitutes an experience in and of itself.
Tia Q: We noticed the beautiful pins in your online store. Do you have plans for any other Madame Munchie merch?
Kim : Thanks! It’s a fun way to express my creative side. I’m always hoping to bring more to fruition. I’ve received several requests for t-shirts and am working on some other items. The kitchen crew all have their own custom Madame Munchie face masks now.
Tia : How long does it take (on average) to make one batch of macarons?
Kim : Making macarons following traditional French techniques is time-consuming. It pretty much takes at least 3 days: the first day we make and bake the shells. We also try to get the filling done on the first day. The second day we spend decorating and filling the macarons, weighing each one individually to ensure accurate dosage. The third day we complete the process by wrapping and packing them up to store in their boxes in the freezer.
Tia : What’s the main difference between making THC-free and cannabis-infused macarons?
Kim : The main difference is you have to make sure your dosage calculations are accurate. We do this by getting our in-house cannabis coconut oil and cannabis butter tested in professional labs with high-precision equipment before we start the recipe. Then we weigh out the amount needed based on the number of servings. Baking already has a lot of math involved and this adds more! It’s a good thing I love numbers. The ratios between ingredients are very important for pastry recipes, but when infusing with cannabis everything has to be calculated and weighed with a degree of accuracy that is even more meticulous.
Tia : You have a wide range of cannabis products. Are all these products made with fruit and cannabis grown in-house, or do you source these ingredients from other companies?
Kim : All of our cannabis is grown in-house, on our farm in Mendocino county. It is all sungrown and uses private well water, meaning our plants are environmentally-friend, healthy and clean. Our food ingredients are sourced from local companies. We believe strongly in minimizing our environmental footprint, in supporting companies from our local community, and in providing our customers the highest-quality products available.
Tia : How many people work for Madame Munchie currently?
Kim : The current kitchen crew counts 5 people. In addition, the company relies on partnerships both on the cultivation and distribution ends. There’s really an entire community of extremely talented growers and sales reps that are currently supporting Madame Munchie.
Tia : Is your team trained in-house, or did you bring in outside cannabis experts?
Kim : The kitchen crew is trained in-house. I’m a self-taught baker and have benefited from a very hands-on approach to learning how to bake, including spending time in high-end professional kitchens. Most of us have learned about cannabis through experience since it’s not really available as an option in most traditional learning fields. I feel so lucky to have such a talented, hard-working team.
Tia : Who’s the target consumer for the Madame Munchie brand?
Kim : When I first started the company, the target was new consumers who would be drawn to a cannabis experience by the indulgent allure of the macarons. Our macaron THC dosage was lower back then. But over time I realized that those who consume edibles the most, and therefore need it the most, have much higher tolerance levels, and I wanted to create products tailored to them. Our new macarons come with 40mg of THC, our spreads have 100mg per jar, and our coconut oil has 1,000mg.
I still wanted an option for new consumers as well, so our pates de fruit only have 3.5mg of THC per serving.
Tia : How has COVID-19 impacted your business?
Kim : The initial stages of COVID-19 impacted the business quite a bit. We initially had to shut production down. But things started picking back up around June after cannabis was labelled an essential business in California, which it really is for all the medical patients. We’ve been in full production mode ever since.
Tia : What’s your current favorite strain and why?
Kim : One of our strains I really enjoy right now is the Royal Smoothie: it’s a smooth and fruity Sativa-dominant hybrid. At the moment, I only consume cannabis occasionally, in the evening, but I like how it helps me focus while also making me feel happy and relaxed.
Tia : It’s amazing that you give 1% of your profits to School on Wheels! Why did Madame Munchie decide to partner with them specifically?
Kim : Giving back whenever I can, even modestly, and supporting my community has always been important to me.
When I first moved to LA, I volunteered with School on Wheels, an amazing non-profit with a location on Skid Row. I really felt like they helped me more than I could ever help them, providing me with a place to go and feel useful at a time when the business was going through a very rough patch – I was waiting on license approvals before I could even dream of resuming production.
Their mission is to help kids who experience homelessness with schoolwork, but it’s really much more than that. They provide kids with food and a safe place to be after school, adults to talk to, access to computers, instruments and games, and an entire community to hold on to and turn to for guidance. I was so blown away by their work that I immediately thought of them once I finally had the opportunity to support a local partner.
Tia : Does Madame Munchie have specific plans for new products in the near future?
Kim : We’re expanding our pates de fruit flavors. In addition to our strawberry flavor, we’re coming out with two new flavors soon, Mango Calentito and Peach Cobbler, inspired by the macaron flavors from our summer Fruity Pack. Each flavor will come with a specific cannabinoid profile: we’ll have Sativa, Indica and Hybrid.
The macaron flavors are always changing. I want to keep things exciting for the consumers and ensure our loyal consumers have surprises to look forward to (I know I love a good surprise!). And we might have some other exciting products coming soon, so be sure to follow our Instagram account for updates!
Tia : Does Madame Munchie have any expansion plans, into other areas of the US or maybe even Europe?
Kim : For now, I’m hyper-focused on California: cannabis is a very fragmented industry in the US, where the legal status of cannabis varies from state to state. California is the biggest market and has a savvy cannabis consumer community, so there’s a lot for us to achieve here.
As someone who grew up in France, I’ve always dreamed of helping with legalization efforts there. Speaking French and Spanish helps me appreciate the thriving cannabis communities in other states and outside of the US. And who doesn’t want to expand to new markets?
Tia : We really appreciate your time answering all our questions. That was very exciting!
To learn more about Madame Munchie brand head on over to their Website
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