Sam: What did you do before entering the cannabis industry?
Whitney: Before working in the Cannabis industry, I was a reality television development executive in the Entertainment Industry. I developed reality TV, syndicated programming, and branded programming for networks and cable companies.
Sam: What sparked your interest in the Cannabis Industry?
Whitney: Working in the Entertainment Industry can be super stressful and I have anxiety. I was diagnosed with anxiety from a doctor and after trying some medications that I did not like, I was suggested to take a look at Cannabis. It wasn’t something that I was very familiar with but I looked into it and started to do my homework. That got me interested in the Cannabis space as a whole because I saw how even in my world (as being an entertainment person) I had absolutely no idea of how effective it was for a host of medical issues. I started looking into the industry and I realized from articles from Forbes, from Times, from Entrepreneur Mag, how big of an industry this was and how much opportunity there was in it. And at the same time, I was starting to have issues of my own with Cannabis storage because I have a child and a pet — I was hiding it from myself in my house so my dog and my kid wouldn’t get it but then I’d lose it or it and by the time I find it, it’s like dried out, and a horrible harsh smoke. And I realized: how come no one have made an awesome Cannabis storage system? How come I have a wine fridge, I have this bar, I have a humidor for cigars. How come my Cannabis is still in the shoe box under my bed? How come I’m a 30-year old professional smoking out of a shoe box? That didn’t make sense to me.
Sam: What does a normal work day look like for you?
Whitney: So on a daily basis, my job is to run Apothecarry and that changes everyday on what our needs are. So, you know, I get up and get into it. Reading emails becomes the drain of my life, but I have to stay up on top of it. I consult on a weekly basis with my marketing guy, with my supply chain management person, giving them what our plan is for the week. I stay in close contact with our manufacturers to make sure that they have the materials needed and that we are running according to schedule. I take meetings on a weekly basis with cultivators, and dispensary partners who are looking to move our cases. I personally develop our branding and marketing materials and get those out. I attend functions to support Apothecarry. Whether that be going to women’s grow, going to some sort of conference or events. All of that sort of stuff… Then it’s usually noon, ha!
Sam: What have been the best and worst moments working in the industry?
Whitney: When we first started out, we started out as an Indiegogo campaign. halfway through the event, we got shut down for being paraphernalia. That was one of the hardest things that happened to me because I put so much time, and money, and effort into it. So I boot strapped it and I bought a hundred cases to do MVP testing. And those 100 cases sold out in 6 weeks with no advertising. That was a fantastically proud moment for me because they told me that even with no money left to advertise, that this was a product that people wanted, and that it could move. So that was fantastic to me. And then I guess the next proudest moment is that after coming through Canopy San Diego and doing all of the work that that takes, we re-launched our product. You know, we talked to our first customers, iterated on the case and made it an even better value.
We’re currently in the middle of a round and are over half committed. Always looking to meet with people who can see the vision of Apothecarry who want to be on the frontline of luxury Cannabis storage going forward. I think that this is a pick and shovel business for the Cannabis industry. If you want to be involved in the cork screw of Cannabis,
I’d love to have those conversations.
Sam: Advice to job seekers?
WHITNEY: Yes. I do. My first piece of advice is to go out and network. Talk to people who are in the industry. Talk to people who are doing what you want to be doing. Talk to people at larger companies to find out breadth of what you could be doing. This industry is not just growers and dispensary owners and products from people. There are spaces for attorneys and CPAs. Just like there are spaces for sales people and security, banking. Go out and understand the breadth of the industry. I would suggest that if they really want to get down and dirty that they talk to entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are people who are getting their business started. Consider what are you willing to do for free to get into this company or on commission or do it for a couple of companies and make money that way. Think outside of the box. This industry is not set up fully yet. There are so many opportunities for you so you come up with a way that you can work with companies and brands that you like that might not have been thought of yet. And, especially if you can come in, can be one of those first 10 people. Maybe you can find a way to make a little money and to have an equity stake in some of these companies that you really believe in. This is not a place where you can just sit around and wait for a job posting to pop up. it’s better that you be proactive, that you reach out. You let people know what you can do and what you’re willing to do it for and have those meetings. And even if a company that you love is not hiring at the time, see if you can offer to take staff person out to coffee, out for lunch. Sit and talk to them about what their needs and what they’re working on and find out if there’s a way for you guys to collaborate.
SAM: Do you have any plans to hire in the near future?
WHITNEY: We just brought on our first hire and we are starting to look in the next couple of months for some people to work with us on new business, business development and sales.
You keep your wine in wine fridge.
You keep your liquor in your bar.
Your cigars are in your humidor.
Why the heck would you keep your high quality cannabis in a shoebox under your bed?!