People of ProsperUS: Enid Parham
By: Torisa Johnson
A chef all of her life, Detroit native Enid Parham puts a twist on food by combining her passion for cooking with her love for cannabis. After lots of careful research on the topic, including testing groups, Parham started her business, Lucky Pistil, in 2016. Lucky Pistil is a far cry from traditional cannabis edibles found in dispensaries. Parham’s dishes and catering services are gourmet dishes with up-scale food and service, though she does offer the option of casual settings as well. Lucky Pistil also serves as an educational and spiritual experience for many people.
[Enid described her meals as] “a healing ailment and temporary relief from pain and anxiety without having to pop a pill.”
It took about a year for Parham to start the company after registering its name, because Parham faced additional barriers due to the cannabis-related nature of her business. Because of the cannabis element, the legal registration process was longer, more difficult, and most of all expensive.
The cost to legally start a cannabis business is a whopping $6,000. Although cannabis is legal for recreational use in Michigan, businesses face their own set of regulations and require expensive permits.
Finances overall were a major setback for Parham when starting her business. Finding the funds for a catering license, website, and marketing proved difficult. Lack of a vehicle made the situation even worse, as she was unable to attend as many events as she may have liked.
These setbacks are not uncommon, especially in Detroit, where 36.4% of the population lives in poverty, the median household income is under $30,000, and one in four households does not own a car. Parham first thought to find a partner to run the business and share costs with her. However, after long efforts, she found no one as passionate as she was, so she continued by herself.
Being a niche food business, Parham first felt hesitant about joining FoodLab, even worrying that the organization may not accept her. However, she realized she could bring something to the organization by being the first cannabis business. This coupled with the benefits FoodLab could offer her, solidified her decision to apply for the FoodLab x ProsperUS collaborative Tapestry Fellowship.
Parham found her decision to apply and join the Tapestry Fellowship rewarding. Being surrounded by supportive entrepreneurs in the same field as herself was an inspiration to Parham, as she shared resources with and learned from the other fellows.
Additionally, with Ederique Goudia as a mentor, her business stayed on track and progressed further each week. Although Parham had mentors before the fellowship and was familiar with the process, the structured mentorship within the Tapestry Fellowship program was helpful.
Entering the fellowship, Parham had several goals she wished to accomplish before the end of the program. However, with the drastic effects that COVID-19 had on Lucky Pistil, achieving these goals began to seem unobtainable to her.
“When [COVID-19] killed my business I kind of died inside myself.”
The effects struck her so hard she stopped working on her business for months. Support from friends and her mentor helped Parham get back on her feet, and she has since made great strides. Parham has used the funds from the lending circle to obtain her catering license and market her business. Despite difficult times, Parham remains optimistic about what the future holds for her.
“I see myself as the Martha Stewart of cannabis.”
In the future Parham dreams of walking across a national TV stage to promote her products.
- Instagram: @luckypistil