Health and hemp
When Warren Dietrich was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in April 2017, he had to pull back from his studies at Memorial University and return to Halifax, N.S.
He soon swapped civil engineering courses for chemotherapy sessions, and his summer co-op position for a stem cell transplant.
“It was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever been through,” he said.
Throughout his treatment, Mr. Dietrich developed an interest in natural health treatments to supplement the traditional western medicine he was receiving. He started helping out at a friend’s company, Giffin Technologies, which produces hemp food products. That’s when he had the idea to partner with Giffin and create the retail division known today as Earthli.
In 2018, they started their trial run. While they managed to partner with numerous retailers, their packaging needed improvement. They brought on another co-founder who specialized in marketing, rebranded to Earthli and developed sustainable packaging made from recyclable and biodegradable materials.
Today, Earthli works with 11 retailers throughout Atlantic Canada in addition to running an e-commerce site. They’ve also joined with the Dartmouth Adult Services Centre (DASC), where adults with intellectual disabilities will be employed to help package Earthli products.
Mr. Dietrich is now in complete remission and back in Memorial University, where he is completing an entrepreneurial work term with the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship (MCE). He says that having the opportunity to work, learn and share experiences with other student entrepreneurs has been highly valuable.
Despite the challenges he’s faced, Mr. Dietrich maintains a positive view of his experiences.
“The diagnosis and treatment really gave me a more optimistic outlook in life – to take less for granted, live in the moment and be grateful for what you have.”
Earthli’s co-founders have big goals of becoming a national brand available across Canada. Similarly, Mr. Dietrich’s view of entrepreneurship is one of optimism and growth.
“Just go up there, try it and be positive. There’s so much experience you’ll gain just from going out and trying that it’s a great opportunity to learn and grow as an individual.”
Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey? Book a meeting with a startup coach today. To learn more about MCE’s early-stage programming, startup coaching or funding visit www.mun.ca/mce/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Earthli, visit earthli.ca or find them on social media at @earthli.protein. You can reach out to Mr. Dietrich at email@example.com.