This California Native Is Giving Ice Cream with CBD Some TLC

A few years ago while in culinary school, Lokelani Alabanza envisioned a new groundbreaking product, but back then her CBD ice cream brand was just a wild idea. In March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Alabanza decided to apply herself to turning that dream into a business and she now owns one of the first CBD-infused (Cannabidiol) ice cream products to hit the Nashville, TN market. CBD-infused products have been trending in the consumer marketplace for some time now, creating a whole new range of uses for CBD.

With its nearly endless list of health and wellness benefits, several businesses are infusing isolated CBD into almost anything you can think of, from coffee and skincare products to cocktails and even pet products. Alabanza has applied her culinary knowledge and background, and the love and cooking from her late grandmother, to move beyond merely enjoying good food to actually educating consumers on black culinary history. With flavors like roasted sweet potato gingersnap, turmeric ginger, and Juneteenth, we couldn’t help but explore and take the opportunity to chat up with this California native about her unique business.

MN: Tell us about yourself, what’s the origin of your passion for creating SATURATED Ice Creatm? Tell us your “ah-ha” moment that turned your business idea into fruition. 
LA: Since culinary school, I always knew I wanted a product. It would take decades to get there and that path prepared me for where I am today. A few years before starting SATURATED, it was just an idea. Something I would ruminate on. Fast forward a few years, and it would become a business overnight. The pandemic pushed it into fruition. It was really about timing. Prior to that, I was the Culinary Director for an ice cream brand, and that job would create the platform to jump from.

MN: How did you come up with the name SATURATED? Do you have any other names that you consider naming your company?
LA: I originally wanted to name it California Skies. Christmas of 2018, I was having dinner with a very dear friend and we were talking about the business. She said “what about naming it Saturated, since the market is saturated.” And that was that.

MN: What research and brainwork have you done before launching Saturated?
LA: Many many hours, weeks, months and years. I had spent a few years making dairy and dairy free ice cream prior to launching SATURATED. Yet the CBD research was pertinent.

MN: I noticed from your Instagram that you have some vintage, timeless pictures of people of color enjoying ice cream. Why are those visuals added to your IG content?
LA: It was very important that I tell the story of joy, especially with ice cream and people of color. It is a treat beloved by everyone. It is an essential part of my brand and storytelling. It’s not common to see vintage photos of Black America eating ice cream, for me it was necessary.

MN: Your passion is quite unorthodox (but in a good way!) compared to other black-female owned businesses? How do you stay noticed among other counterparts in your industry? How do you stay motivated?
LA: I’ve always done what feels right for me. And sometimes that can be off the beaten path. Everything has intention, everything. Staying noticed is interesting, I was always taught to keep your head down and keep working. But the world of social media has changed that. Motivation is the desire or willingness to do something, so in order to get something I’ve never had or always wanted, I need to be willing to do.

MN: Is your company self-funded?
LA: Yes.

MN: How has your life changed since running your own business? What’s the good, bad, and the ugly?
LA: It’s changed so much. Yet, it’s a different and exciting kind of stress. You are building something that you’ve daydreamed of, and that makes so much difference. It does come with challenges as well as wins. You will experience financial unrest, you will want to tear it all down and rebuild, you will make your dreams come true. Either way, you must keep moving forward.

MN: Outside of your business, who are you and what do you like to do? How do you stay authentically yourself in this unpredictable, chaotic world of entrepreneurship?
LA: Outside of the business, I am just me. Making time for yourself is very crucial. Spending time with your tribe is important. None of those things have changed. I have an incredible support group, they have been my life line throughout the past year. It can be a bit chaotic, but at the end of the day you must be at peace when the day is done.

MN: What advice would you give women who want to follow your shoes? Especially women who want to break into the CBD industry.
LA: Your voice, your story and your product matter. There are not a lot of people of color in the industry or women for that matter, which is even more of a reason to make yourself known in this industry. Together we make the difference.

MN: Which ice cream is your favorite flavor? And you can’t say all! You have to choose one!
LA: No favorites, but there are a handful that I am very proud of. Currently, it’s Magnolia with Geteme Honey.

MN: Who would love to try out your ice cream or any famous person you know have tried it?
LA: My grandmother. Forever and always.

MN: You have to give a fun fact about yourself!
LA: I am an ordained minister. I’ve married three couples.

MN: Describe your business in 3 words.
LA: Imaginative. Diligent. Loyal.


SATURATED Ice Cream can be ordered here.

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