How do you measure success? I learned slowly that all gains were really made up of incremental wins and losses.
It would make no sense to celebrate just the big victory, as I would not only miss honoring the smaller gains that made the big victory possible, but I would not gain the momentum necessary even to reach the big victory at all.
In other words, honoring the small wins wasn’t just being thoughtful. It was necessary to my survival. I’d argue it is essential to yours, too.
In our end of year outreach, we asked over 50 cannabis entrepreneurs to share with us, milestones that they achieved this year! Dive in and let’s recognize and celebrate each of these entrepreneurs milestones for 2018!
Lisa Snyder, CEO of Tokeativity
Tokeativity is the Global Cannabis Community for Women. We work to empower women at the root level and forward the normalization of cannabis. This year we launched our online platform and social network, Tokeativity Connect, launched 7 chapters in Portland, Eugene, Bend, Seattle, LA, Denver and our first international chapter, South Africa!”
Rick M Batenburg III, SVP Investor Relations of Cliintel Capital Management Group
“Cliintel Capital Management Group, is an incubating venture capitalist company specializing in start-up emerging market growth within the cannabis industry. This year, we became the first firm to receive Qualified Institutional Investor (QII) designation, allowing us to establish a whole new type of investment opportunity for Colorado’s cannabis sector. We proudly own the IP of The Clear, one of the most widely recognized concentrate brands in the cannabis market, and have quadrupled the net asset value of its fund in the past eight months alone.”
Andrea Burnett, Founder of 4TwentyGroup
“The 4twenty group is a women’s cannabis lifestyle pr firm in the Bay Area. We help women-owned, and women-centric businesses maximize the visibility of their brand and move the needle on sales. A goal was to have a successful first year, grow and be profitable (like everyone hopes for!) and we achieved this, thanks to our amazing and loyal clients.”
Joshua Mehzer, Founder of A Pot For Pot
“A Pot For Pot has developed a complete kit to grow at home- everything you need from seedling to harvest. Everything you need is in the box. Just add water, sunshine, and a little bit of love. We empower and educate people to grow their own natural flowers at home. Starting with very little we now have a business what is shipping worldwide and growing organically.”
Peter Vogel, CEO of Leaf Wire
“Leafwire was built to help connect investors with cannabis companies looking to raise money. Fundraising in cannabis can be challenging due to the nascence of the industry, so we built a platform that would help entrepreneurs connect with investors and also provide resources and education to help entrepreneurs succeed in their raise. We also wanted Leafwire to serve as a hub for cannabis executives to give all cannabis professionals a place to share industry news, announce new products, promote events, post jobs and of course, connect with each other.
We have hosted successful pitch events in cities around the world in the last 4 months, including Miami, Los Angeles, Denver, Oakland, and Vancouver. We’ve spread the Leafwire message across the US and now into Canada with a great event at O’Cannabiz in Vancouver in early December. We’re building Leafwire into a globally recognizable and respected cannabis brand, in a short period of time and will grow even more quickly in 2019.”
Chris Abrams, Founder of MJ Life Insurance
“Our mission at MJ Life Insurance is simple: To help marijuana users get approved for life insurance at the lowest rates. We know the insurance industry inside and out and specifically which companies are least expensive for marijuana users. We’ll guide you to best policy for your situation at the lowest price.
Every time a client contacts me in a different state, I need to get licensed in that state to help them with their life insurance. Our business has grown organically across the country. My team and I are now licensed in all 50 states. We can help clients anywhere in the US.”
Mark Grindeland, CEO of Coda Signature
“Coda Signature, makes premium cannabis-infused products for medical and adult use. Our award-winning edibles, topicals, and concentrates are available in almost 600 dispensaries across the state of Colorado. We achieved several milestones this year, but three stand out:
This year, we achieved #1 in market share for recreational chocolate in Colorado (according to BDS analytics). We were recognized by mg retailer as one of the top 50 cannabis companies to work for in the United States. We won 7 awards at the THC Connoisseur Competition. 4 for edibles, 2 for topicals and one for our concentrates. Our products are only as good as the people who make them. These three milestones highlight that our strategy seems to be working.”
Eliza Maroney, Founder of the Cannabis Yogi
“The Cannabis Yogi is a lifestyle brand offering infused yoga classes throughout California and beyond! My mission is to offer cannabis-infused yoga classes that take elevated wellness rituals to new heights. Whether you are a beginning yogi or seasoned practitioner, know that you are home. Bend & Blaze is an all-levels class that focuses on alignment-based instruction. I was featured in Forbes, LA Weekly, Playboy and MORE in my first year and am so excited to collaborate with more people and brands in the coming year.”
Joshua Caruso, CEO of the Honey Flower Collective
“The Honey Flower Collective, hosts cannabis events that lift spirits up and take communities to new heights. Since inception, we have hosted events such as the San Diego Cannabis Farmers Market, the San Diego Cannabis and Hemp Job Fair and Business Mixer. This year we are excited to announce that we received our state license and have contracts with mainstream public event organizers.”
Nicole Elkind, CEO of STO Responsible
“STO Responsible is a company selling a suite of CR certified, sustainable, brand-able packing which has been designed specifically for the cannabis producer and consumer. Our packaging is also 100% made in the USA. We feel most proud of the fact that we have brought an affordable option to market that allows producers to make a sustainable choice. Too often the sustainable choice becomes the most expensive choice in packaging, but not with STOâ€™s packaging. We strive to be both affordable and sustainable.”
Suzanne Shpall, Founder of Highland Pantry
“Highland Pantry celebrates the wisdom, elegance and incomparable beauty of older women through cannabis. In today’s flat age society, the Highland Pantry woman is thrice as cool at 75 as she was at 25. Fashion, culture, cannabis whatever she’s experiencing, she’s doing it with class. Our recent milestones are; we have started fundraising (which is daunting, to say the least) and have already made it half-way to our F&F round’s goal. Additionally, and in part due to our ability to raise some initial capital, we are in the process of getting our S-License in partnership with a manufacturer that we could not be more happy and excited to be working with for the foreseeable future. We have many more steps to climb ahead, but I’m proud, humbled and grateful for the progress we’ve made in just a few months. ”
Kathryn Awada, CEO of Azara
“Azara is a set of web and mobile tools that keep your cannabis business compliant. By eliminating traditional paper files, we make regulation documentation easy. Azara stays up to date with regulations and assists in reducing your risk of fines from State audits. Allowing your business to focus on growth and not paperwork.
This year we brought on early adopters then the product to market overcoming many startup obstacles. We were invited to join the CanopyBoulder Accelerator which has shifted the way we think about business!”
Heather Lambert, Co-Owner of ˈärdər botanicals
“My company is ˈärdər botanicals, which I co-own with my mother, Nicole. We wanted to create a brand of luxury products that not only appealed to women at every stage of life, but also incorporated the incredible healing properties of cannabis, and other natural medicines. While CBD (and other cannabinoids) act as our “magick ingredient,” we place great importance on making sure every component going into our products, allow them to stand on their own. For instance, even if you take away the CBD from our Detoxifying Bath Bomb, it’s still a spa quality soak with a therapeutic dose of magnesium, and other beneficial ingredients. We do all of this while focusing on sustainability. We’re proud of the fact that ˈärdər can provide high-end products, that are also organic, all natural, and environmentally conscious.
Beyond our hope to bring a unique perspective to women’s self-care, we want to help normalize cannabis to a wider audience. There are still so many people who view the plant with stigma, even fear, due to the decades of propaganda and misinformation surrounding it. Our goal is to help educate people that may not have considered cannabis before, by reaching out to them through our products, blog posts, educational-nights, or other forms. Show them there’s nothing to fear, and that natural medicine has many beautiful faces.
By far the biggest thing to happen to us as a company this year was being invited to attend The Oscars 2019, by TMG International. The cannabis agency Madison 8 is partnering with MG Magazine for a luxury CBD lounge within their gifting suite. We’re beyond excited, and truly grateful for this amazing opportunity to showcase our brand!”
Kelley Bruce, CEO of Canna Mommy LLC.
“The Canna Mommy is a full sun cultivation company. We cultivate cannabis with motherhood in mind; curating products that support mothers in pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. The company was founded to provide safe, natural, sun-grown craft cannabis to the world. We promise to use only natural ingredients in our product lines. To cultivate cannabis under the sun, never using pesticides or chemicals. From our farm to your family; we promise to do our best. We secured five cannabis cultivation licenses for the state of California.”
Patty Roe, CEO of Pink Haze
“My partner, Summer and I, own Pink Haze, a brand for women seeking the ultimate indulgence in cannabis products and community. We were laser-focused on building a smokeable product brand starting with our single gift pre-roll. We’ve reached many milestones on that journey. However, our greatest achievement this year has been the evolution of our simple need to connect. We started a get-together in January with ten people, and it has organically evolved into a sisterhood we didn’t see coming. We continued this group called Pink Sesh Society throughout the year and have watched new relationships become best friends, female businesses support each other, and a new social network evolve. We’ve asked our tribe throughout the year what they want in Pink Sesh Society, and we continue to build the platform and business in which to continue this positive momentum. From a smokeable product for women to a female social network, the values of our brand came full circle.”
Henry Finkelstein, CEO of Cannabis Big Data
” Cannabis Big Data is a comprehensive data toolkit for licensed and ancillary businesses.
This year we launched our Research, Outreach, and Insights (ROI) team, and have performed over 20 free lunch & learns for retail stores in Colorado about best practices in inventory management. Feels great to give back to our community!”
Jessamin Swearingen, Head Instigator of Gaudium Enterprises, LLC
“Gaudium Enterprises is all about cannabis education. We offer a cannabis retreat in Massachusetts where recreational cannabis was recently legalized and develop educational materials for everyone from yoga instructors to nurses.
I am super excited that we’ve launched and I’ve started to meet all the great people in the cannabis industry.”
Jazmin Aguiar, President of The Working Group
“The Cannabis Working Group support owner/ operators and government officials in the transition to the regulated market by coordinating the necessary efforts to build a sustainable framework. Milestones: we made it through 2018 ?.”
Stay tuned for our next article as over 50 cannabis entrepreneurs share their advice for the new cannabis entrepreneur coming into this space.
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