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In 2004, Trista Okel first started making CBD oil in her kitchen with a Crock-Pot as a DIY endeavor to help her mom manage pain. It was well before cannabidiol or hemp were in the headlines, but Trista was convinced of the plant’s power to help people reduce discomfort and lead more fulfilling lives.

Sure enough, mom loved the oil - it did wonders for her, and word spread like wildfire. Trista began sharing her oil blend with friends and family members to rave reviews. They said her formula was nothing short of life-changing.


After taking time to perfect the formulation, Trista founded Portland, Ore.-based Empower Oil in 2013 with a single product – Empower® topical relief oil, thoughtfully crafted with organic CBD, organic lavender, bergamot, wintergreen and organic jojoba oil.

An advocate for cannabis who had long been on the frontlines of the medical and recreational use movement, Trista realized Empower CBD products could help increase awareness of the vast benefits of cannabis and hemp. With an increase in mainstream acceptance, Empower secured a spot as a voice in helping others with shared goals, knowledge, and values.

A year later, Trista renamed the business Empower BodyCare to encompass a wider selection of wellness products. She expanded the company’s CBD-infused topicals to include soaking salts, lotions and, later, the Luxe Collection – a higher CBD line developed specifically for Nordstrom.

We were thrilled when our Empower products began popping up on shelves at New Seasons Markets across the Pacific Northwest in 2017 as well as in natural grocery stores across the US. As a result, Empower gained a large following.

Trista, too, gained a reputation as a CBD and cannabis pioneer and thought leader. She is regularly sought out by industry associations and media to share her passion and knowledge about natural remedies, the immense potential or hemp and cannabis, and the need for testing standards and transparency.

Chief Operations Officer Michele White joined the team in 2016, helping to elevate the company in numerous capacities. Having managed and advised several nonprofit organizations, she implemented a stronger organizational structure and leveraged her background in advocacy and community organizing to expand Empower corporate social responsibility initiatives. 

We donate a portion of every sale to community organizations, focusing on LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and leveling the playing field for those negatively affected by cannabis laws. 



The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill allowed many CBD companies to enter the quickly growing national market. But with an influx of companies looking to hop on the bandwagon, the industry witnessed a lack of oversight and credibility, as well as an abundance of misleading (if not downright false) claims.

We took a decidedly different path by:

  • Forging close relationships with small, family owned organic hemp farms throughout Oregon. Ethically and organically grown CBD that is vigorously tested for cannabinoid content and numerous contaminants.
  • Working with Columbia Labs, an experienced testing laboratory with close to 30 years of experience in food, cosmetics, and topicals testing, they publish batch-specific certificates of analysis so consumers know exactly what they are putting on their bodies.

While our products are no longer made in a Crock-Pot and we are known far beyond Portland, our steadfast commitment to delivering the highest quality remains unchanged. Today, we're thrilled to be an award-winning brand and leader in the CBD topicals world, setting the standard for transparency and quality. 

Growing a national CBD brand isn’t easy, but we have developed a mutual support system that elevates our teams' individual strengths, our mission and all of Empower – rooted in a shared desire to make a difference in our world.

Empower your experience with our award-winning, made for mom and built for everyone, plant-based products to enhance your wellness routines and quality of life. 

From our family to yours, 

Trista and Michele

pictured below: Trista and Michele

Michele and Trista

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