Downtown Q&A: Degelis Tufts and Kym Byrnes

by | Aug 9, 2019 | Culture, Dining, Featured, Health & Fitness, Power Women, Spirits, Wellness

DEGELIS TUFTS AND KYM BYRNES The founders of Tribe Tokes, they are cannabis activists dedicated to changing the perception of cannabis use.

 1. Name three women that inspire you, and tell us why.

  • Degelis Tufts:  
    • Sarah Blakely: Building a billion-dollar business (Spanx) from your home with no advertising? Women like Sarah get me out of bed in the morning.
    • Tina Fey: Anyone who can make people laugh commands my respect, but Tina holds a special place in my heart—she is not only hilarious but a total boss. We also have some similarities (both went to UVA, work with our significant others, and have an amazing girl tribe in our industries.) She is an inspiration to do what you love and with the people you love. 
    • My godmother, Judi: Part of the reason why cannabis has been destigmatized for me is that I grew up knowing that my godmother, one of the best humans I know, used to make her famous pot brownies for people as Christmas presents. I knew that good, smart, and kind people enjoy the plant—it wasn’t just for stoners and criminals. 
  • Kym Byrnes: 
    • My Mom: She had 5 children, went to school full time, worked parttime, and had cancer. I know I can achieve anything because of her strength. She passed in 1994, but she still inspires me every day.
    • Arthur and Speaker Gabrielle Bernstein: Her books are my go-to when I am in need of self-care and self-love
    • My sisters (I can’t choose): One has overcome so many challenges, including losing her daughter, and she still persevered. The other who took 16 years to get her PHD, but she never gave up. They are my biggest fans and I’m theirs.

2. What has been the secret to your success?

  • DT:  Relentless pursuit of what is working or making you the happiest, and relentless abandonment of what is not working for your business or making you miserable. Decisiveness around what to push forward on and what to shut down has helped me to make my ideas a reality. 
  • KB: The hustle is real. Work smart, and work hard! I don’t care what anybody says.

3. If you were going to pass on one piece of advice to a young woman, what would it be?

  • DT:  Find good people to work with. My framework for business partners is that they are smart and capable; hungry and ambitious; and kind and compassionate. So many businesses fail, not because of product or financials, but because of interpersonal issues. Find your tribe, and love them hard. 
  • KB: If you want to be part of the industry, you have to show up. When you show up for yourself and others, the universe will notice.

4. In the fight for equality, what area do you think needs the most attention?

  • DT:  Maternity! Women should not have to choose between being rockstar moms and their careers. There is a massive opportunity for child-friendly workspaces and other services or solutions for working moms. 
  • KB: The Gender Pay Gap needs to be addressed. Women and men absolutely should be paid equally. Men are great, but not better or smarter.

5. What are you most proud of in your career?

  • DT: I worked really hard bootstrapping our business to the size where I could afford our own private office and product showroom. This was a dream of mine, and I ended up finding a space in the Meatpacking district on one of my favorite blocks in the city that now serves as home base for our wonderful little work family at TribeTokes. This is somewhere we can host our partners, friends, and customers in the growing CBD community in New York.
  • KB: When Degelis asked me to be a Co-Founder and the Director of Distribution at TribeTokes. It’s been a dream come true to have a woman-owned business in the cannabis industry.

6. Where do you get your confidence?

  • DT: From my resourcefulness. People can take any material from you, but they can’t take away their brains, determination, or problem-solving skills. Releasing yourself from dependence on others can be liberating. 
  • KB: Before she passed, my mom told me I was destined for something amazing. She believed in me and would always be with me. I honor her every day by being confident and living a purpose-driven life.

7. What makes a woman beautiful?

  • DT: Owning it—owning it all, unapologetically. 
  • KB: Her uniqueness.

8. What gives you joy?

  • DT:  Snuggling with my french bulldog, Archer, and my fiancé, Greg, every night. Family snuggle time. We call Archer “the oxytocin generator” because he generates happiness and warmth everywhere he goes
  • KB: Teaching pilates and fitness.

Spring At The Seaport

Spring At The Seaport

There's something for everyone happening this Spring at The Seaport! All text courtesy of The Seaport. All images by...

Downtown Magazine