With more than a decade of confectionary experience, Sheila Dedenbach founded Heavenly Sweet, a cannabis-infused edible manufacturing company, in 2008. She was inspired after visiting a local dispensary with a friend and witnessing how poorly made cannabis edibles were and how plainly they were packaged. There were no nutrition or potency labels, and all of them were packaged in clear sandwich bags. At that moment, she decided that she could do better and began Heavenly Sweet in her own kitchen. She strove to set new quality standards in her products as well creating a potency schedule to help consumers make informed decisions. Ms. Dedenbach sought to further her education and earned a Bachelor of Arts in business and corporate communication at the University of Phoenix in 2009, cementing her skills as an entrepreneur.
In 2010, Ms. Dedenbach had the good fortune to encounter a new lab that had just begun testing cannabis cholas for potency and clarity, and she was able to convince them to test edibles. She reasoned that if they could test the flowers, they could test other infused products such as the cannabutter she used in her products. Her goal was to ensure consistency across her product lines. At the time, no manufacturers in California were testing for potency and clarity. Heavenly Sweet became the first company not only to conduct lab tests for potency but provide full nutrition labels for their products, which allowed consumers to make educated decisions about what they wanted to purchase. They were also notably the first edibles company in California to impose a dosage schedule, a decade before it was mandated.
Today, Heavenly Sweet operates out of a 9,000 square foot facility with 14 full time employees and offers 35 products that are available in over 600 retail locations across the state of California. As founder and president, Ms. Dedenbach is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, new business development, marketing and advertising. She continues to be directly involved with new product development, consumer outreach, oversees regulatory compliance, human resources and many other aspects of business management. Furthermore, she communicates with her employees when they offer feedback or suggestions for things the company can improve upon.
In 2021, Ms. Dedenbach partnered with a publicly held cannabis company to develop a manufacturing facility in Nevada. The project is currently underway. She states that it has been an incredibly validating experience to have others in her industry recognize her work and want to invest in the growth of her business. She is incredibly grateful for the team of exceptional and dedicated employees that make Heavenly Sweet what it is. Ms. Dedenbach is proud to have a team made up of mostly women, including all of her managers and she hopes that opening the new branch in Nevada will afford even more opportunities for women in the field.
Ms. Dedenbach attributes much of her success to hard work, dedication and a strong belief in the high-quality products offered under the Heavenly Sweet label. She states she has always prepared to pivot whenever challenges arise, noting that, “Success is always ahead, never behind you so keep moving.”
In addition to her work with Heavenly Sweet, Ms. Dedenbach also established SD Pantry Inc., a state-licensed manufacturer and distributor. SD Pantry Inc. currently manufactures Heavenly Sweet products along with other privately labeled cannabis brands. In 2021, Ms. Dedenbach became a contributor to the Rolling Stone Culture Council online magazine. She has written several articles and contributed to many expert-panel articles. She plans to continue to write and share her experiences to the benefit of others.
Retirement is not on her current agenda, but one day Ms. Dedenbach plans to involve herself in various philanthropic causes. She would like to extend business opportunities and training to other women, ensuring them a livable income to support their families. She wants to help others avoid some of the pitfalls she encountered when building her business.
For her excellence, Ms. Dedenbach has received numerous awards for her products and has been interviewed by a variety of publications, including Ask Growers, Edibles Magazine, Close Up and the Cannabis Edibles Expo. Having accomplished much over the years, she hopes to leave a legacy as a confident, dynamic professional who loves what she does. Born in Santa Barbara, California, to parents Fredrick and Linda Lilley, Ms. Dedenbach considers the highlight of her life to being mother to three amazing children. Her daughter is a professional graphic artist and group art director at McCann Erickson in New York City, her eldest son is a design engineer in Los Angeles and her youngest son is currently a student, living at home. She states of her children, “They are my greatest legacy.”