Valarie Sakota

The Barbari co-founder on postpartum creativity, growing up around substance abuse, and building an ethical business.


I just had my first kid. I feel very transformed from that right now, like I’m still riding that high. Giving birth makes you feel like God. It was almost psychedelic. I lost all sense of time in the moment of birth, and I felt a profound connection to the universe and to my body at the same time. I was both in and outside of my body.

My creativity has gotten a big boost since giving birth. I’ve been calling it my nesting syndrome, which people usually experience beforehand, but I’m experiencing it after. I’ve been enjoying making things that I can rub on her body, or that I can eventually feed her, and mastering the recipes I want her to remember and ask for down the line. Being able to see her learn what the world is and how to use her body and her hands has inspired me to create memories and experiences specifically for her to enjoy happily.

I was raised by my maternal grandparents in Oregon because my mother had substance abuse issues. Her addiction was a defining part of my childhood, and definitely a part of the story that led me to cannabis. I remember her heart the most. That was the thing that constantly kept me bonded to her, even though she wasn’t always present to mother me. Even in the darkest of moments, her heart would shine through. I did not meet my dad until I was 18, so my family is all my maternal side.


At that point my understanding of my mom and her substance use shifted ... to realizing it was a mental illness.



I learned in college that I preferred a low-dose weed experience rather than getting super stoned.



It’s a constant project for us to make sure that we’re working as sustainably as possible.