Buds I have trimmed

Heather R

The Emerald Tribune wants to share the stories of people in the industry, in their own voice. Heather’s story about how she got into trimming will be familiar to a lot of us. To share your story with the world, contact us by social media, by text or phone at (707)234-7513, or by email at

My first time trimming was in the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in high school, shortly after I moved to Humboldt.

My grandma brought me out to her cousin’s property, and we stayed there for the summer in a teeny tiny little cabin that he built. He had scraped the mountain behind the cabin, threw a carpet down on the dirt, and put up some greenhouse walls. While there was a fireplace and some kitchen counters in there, when you opened up the cabinets you could see raccoons and animals in the bushes staring back at you. It was an indoor/outdoor kind of a house. Not quite up to the building code, but gorgeous anyway.

“After working all day, you can’t smell yourself, but everyone else can!”

When I wasn’t playing around outside or helping with projects, I would go out and just chat with my grandma during the day while she would trim.

The funny thing is, my grandma would always brag about how tight a trimmer she was. No matter the weed, she was trimming it like high-grade indoor, and she was super proud of that. She could have been making serious bank, but she would always make just enough to pay her bills.

I wasn’t supposed to be part of it, but I wanted to help her go faster, so that summer I started helping.

After that, jobs began to daisy chain together as I made more local connections in the industry. At first, I was extremely slow. One of my first jobs was on soaking wet weed. When I told a friend of mine that I had worked for many hours and wound up only making $60, she said there must have been some mistake, and she was worried I was getting ripped off.

On my next job I worked for her. Afterwards she pulled me aside and said, “Remember back when I thought that guy might have ripped you off? I’m pretty sure he didn’t, because you’re really slow!”

Hands down, the biggest mistake I made as a beginner was overthinking. I blame my Grandma’s voice in my head, bragging about how tight she loved to trim. I was trying to cut every single little point sticking out, and spending one minute for each bud. After the first few paychecks, I saw that my friends were making a lot more than me, and they weren’t getting any complaints about quality.

“Remember back when I thought that guy might have ripped you off? I’m pretty sure he didn’t, because you’re really slow!”

I realized if that’s what buyers are OK with, then I need to learn to relax and let go a little bit. After that, I picked up my pace, and the money turned from a fun bonus to real income.

Now, years later, I’ve been trimming for half my life. Along the way, I’ve picked up a couple of college degrees, and a few trimming tips for beginners that I can share.


Keep your trimming clothes separate from your regular wardrobe.

Be prepared to bring your own work supplies and food. Be prepared to work in any conditions. It could be in a freezing cold room, or hot outside in the sun. Find out where you’ll be working and what kind of clothes to bring. Usually you should ask the person who hooks you up with the job about the location, pay, expected hours, and what to bring. That’s how you will decide whether or not to take the job. Don’t just assume.

Keep opinions to yourself, and fit in the with crowd. I’m sure you have very interesting ideas, but you might not want to spit out too many political or religious views right off the bat. I’ve seen people get kicked out of a job recently for this very reason. Just keep your judgments quiet, because you’re working with a lot of different people from a lot of different backgrounds. Basically, keep your past to yourself, especially if it’s crazy.

I used to wear jeans, and that was stupid, because even when you wash them, you sit down in a restaurant and get whiffs of weed! So no jeans; no regular clothes at all. And no makeup. PJ’s and yoga pants are great. Get dressed to go to the gym, and then keep those clothes separate when you’re done. After working all day, you can’t smell yourself, but everyone else can!

“Trimming is the reason why I don’t have student loans from my education.”

Trimmers should always follow their gut feeling about taking or staying on a job. This is where intuition comes in. Specific red flags to look out for are if you hear a lot of sketchy stories, such as a lot of theft happening, or if the grower has been busted a few times before. Don’t stay alone on the property, and always try to listen to your gut if a scene feels suspicious.

Be prepared to wait for your paycheck a little bit, and don’t bug the grower if they are legit, because if they haven’t paid you out yet, it’s likely because they haven’t sold their stuff. I’ve always been paid from every job, ever. Be patient and be grateful when you get paid, this is usually really good work.


Aprons are a great idea.

Trimming is the reason why I don’t have student loans from my education. I had some scholarships and some financial aid, but I didn’t have to take out any student loans at all. Trimming money is the reason why I own my car. It even goes to school, paying bills, and paying stuff for children like school fees or kid’s sports. The main reason why I like trimming so much is because the schedule is so flexible. I can work around my son’s school schedule and days he spends with his dad. I’m able to pull 12 to 14 hours on my free days, and 6 to 8 hours on the days that I need to be a mom. My job allows me to take care of my family, and still have time to take my kid to ceramics class or a pumpkin patch.

I’m not ashamed of what I do. Even if it’s still not totally legal, I don’t want to hide what I do from my child. It has provided for me, it has provided for him, and it’s something that I wouldn’t be opposed to him doing, to pay his way through college like I did. I don’t want my child to see it as that forbidden fruit. I want him to know that’s how I make a living, and that it’s an option.