Wendy Bronfein: Putting the ‘Can’ in Cannabis

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Far and Dotter’s playful palette is relaxing and inviting | Photo by David Stuck

Father and daughter—it’s what the name of Wendy Bronfein’s venture in Lutherville translates to—drawing on her own familial connection in starting her medical cannabis company with her father years ago.

In rebranding its retail location, Bronfein was having a hard time finding English names that paid homage to that history.

Everything was taken, so “I opened up Google Translate, and I put in ‘father,’ and I started changing the languages,” she says.

When she came across the Swedish “far and dotter,” something just clicked—it felt familiar while also standing out.

Far and Dotter, a medical cannabis dispensary and wellness spa from Curio Wellness, recently reopened with a new name, an updated color palette and a more natural layout and flow.

Wendy Bronfein (center) mingles at the grand reopening of Far and Dotter | Photo by David Stuck

Bronfein hoped it would be an opportunity to create a space that customers, and especially women, of all ages felt comfortable exploring.

Meant to be fun and light—with bright colors and cheeky product names—but also with product backed by a scientific advisory board, the environment is set up to be an accessible introduction to cannabis for many.

Photo: David Stuck

Bronfein’s own journey with cannabis started back in 2014. Born and raised in Baltimore County, she saw a law had passed allowing cannabis licenses in Maryland, and she ran with it.

“At the time it was kind of a throwaway, like ‘this is interesting,’ but … began to flourish as an idea,” Bronfein says.

Her marketing background at NBC Universal and her father’s background in healthcare and private equity made them a good team. Bronfein also liked the product. “When you’re in a space that leans more towards a given product, you need to love your product,” she says.
Since then, her rise in the cannabis industry has been significant.

Photo: David Stuck

Because Lutherville had a site large enough for both cultivation and manufacturing, Bronfein saw an opportunity to grow. Curio’s original site underwent a 100-square-foot expansion last year, and its manufacturing moved to a nearby facility.

Today, the company sells wholesale to more than 90 dispensaries and is one of the few with multiple licenses (to grow, process and dispense) or wholesale operators in the state to be locally owned and operated. Curio has been a market leader from its beginnings thanks to its performance and, in part, a growing medical patient population.

With Far and Dotter, the goal is to get the products in front of more people and normalize having ones that are easily identifiable for treating specific needs, just like you’d go to the pharmacy and request headache medication, Bronfein says.

A new app focused on personalized experiences accomplishes that by guiding patients to the right cannabis treatments for their symptoms.

Curio was always meant to be medicinally-focused, and Far and Dotter extends those benefits beyond cannabis alone.

To make its wellness offerings more accessible, Bronfein incorporated a warmer in-store color palette, swapped a waiting room for a larger pharmacy with integrated seating and traded a physical classroom for wider-reaching online material.

Photo by David Stuck

Patient privacy in the dispensary is important, but visiting Far and Dotter should be “comfortable for grandmas and soccer moms,” she notes. Natural light passes the dispensary glass, so it’s not a shadowy activity.

Bronfein’s next step is to franchise, including a $30 million investment from a diverse pool of investors in franchisees who are BiPOC, women and disabled veterans.

The industry has lots of ways to increase diversity but, “You’re gonna need hundreds of thousands, if not in some cases millions, of dollars to start these businesses,” she says.

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