Each week we highlight entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry for our viewers to learn more about the leading cannabis executives of our time.
This week, we highlight Phil Dépault, Founder of Maitrileaf. Maitrileaf is a Canadian cannabis brand providing tools, accessories, and education to the creative achievers. Maitri (sanskrit word) express the wish that every human being experiment with happiness and knows the cause of it to share it with others.
In our interview with Phil, we asked a variety of questions to gain further insight into his mission, launching a cannabis business in Canada and more!
First off Phil, congratulations on being featured as this week’s entrepreneur of the week! Can you please share with our readers a little bit more about you?
Phil Dépault: Of course, a little about myself, well I am passionate about sustainable branding, cannabis, and entrepreneurship.
I spent most of my life on a mountain bike saddle in World Cups or between two national team training camps until my physical condition did not allow me to continue the High-level athlete lifestyle (note that to this day I was anti-cannabis). This is when I was introduced to medical cannabis. My doctor signed me a prescription to treat my symptoms (fibromyalgia, chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep disorder). My misunderstanding for the plant has turned into a passion for branding, cannabis and entrepreneurship.
I am now graduated in chemical engineering from Université de Sherbrooke and dedicate all my time to the success of Maitrileaf, mountain biking, yoga and a ton of things that I find interesting. Maitrileaf is a brand I have cherished for a few years, and I decided to take action to share my passion with everyone!
What ignited the spark in you to start to launch your business? Or how did your idea evolve?
Phil Dépault: I was a mountain bike athlete for a Canadian national team with the dream to go to the Olympics (I was anti-cannabis at that time). In 2012 I developed fibromyalgia symptoms, and I had to quit my active lifestyle. From everything I’ve been prescribed, cannabis is still the product that gives me the most benefits with the least side effects.
The more I learned about the plant, the more I wanted to know. We launched Maitrileaf with a line of accessories made locally in Canada because I find there is a gap to be filled in the accessory world. I did not feel at home in the classic head shop and did not recognize myself with the available choices at those points of sale. Our accessories are designed to be sober, simple, with noble materials and handmade in Canada.
How are you positively helping the cannabis industry?
Phil Dépault: EDUCATION AND DESIGN. Our mission is to destigmatize the modern cannabis consumer who uses cannabis as an instrument to enhance her/his productivity, creativity and wellness. We provide tools, accessories, and education to help them achieve their personal and business objectives along with a healthy lifestyle.
Who is your role model, and why?
Phil Dépault: I have tons of inspiration, but if I only have to mention one it would be: SIMON SINEK. I love is view on our world, I connect with his dreams to make workplaces safe places where people fulfill themselves and enjoy every day.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Phil Dépault: marketing, finances, creativity
Where did your organization’s funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it?
Phil Dépault: I founded Maitrileaf with 40k. I managed to get 60k from a private financial investor and 50k in service from corporate investors.
If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Phil Dépault: Steve Jobs. I’m in love with the community he created, the products he developed and his vision.
How do you stay balanced? Any hobbies?
Phil Dépault: Consuming cannabis is part of my lifestyle and is definitely a way to stay balanced. I practice yoga daily, and cycling is still one of my greatest passion. I still bike 2-6 days a week. I have a wonderful girlfriend who helps me with the business and awesome best friends I see every week.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to others looking to launch a company in the cannabis industry?
Phil Dépault: Become the most knowledgeable person on earth about cannabis. Then learn marketing and finances. But first, be sure to know everything there is to know about the plant and stay up-to-date.
What’s the hardest part of founding and running a startup?
Phil Dépault: Accepting that mistakes are inevitable and part of the process and for a startup: generating enough profit.
Is there anything that surprised you about being an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry?
Phil Dépault: How beautiful this industry is and the people who’re in it!
Being a founder, we are bound to make a mistake or two, what is one mistake you made that turned up being one of your biggest learning lessons?
Phil Dépault: One of the most significant mistakes I made was losing my balance. You need your balance as an entrepreneur. Balance = creativity, enlightenment, joy, healthy and ultimately increased productivity.
What book has inspired you the most?
Phil Dépault: Originals – Adam Grant (I read 2-6 books per month. I love reading, and it is a wonderful source of knowledge. I could talk for hours about all the books that inspired me)
Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Phil Dépault: Privateer Holdings, Tesla, Loops juices
How can we as an industry continue to make a positive difference in society?
Phil Dépault: EDUCATION, EDUCATION & EDUCATION. Every cannabis company should educate their community. As the industry is brand new, we believe it is VERY VERY important to be mindful of the environment, the product, packaging and always to use sustainable materials to work with.
To learn more about Phil and Maitrileaf, click here.
To learn more from other entrepreneurs we featured, click here.