Editors’ Note: This is the transcript version of the podcast. Please note that due to time and audio constraints, transcription may not be perfect. We encourage you to listen to the podcast, embedded below if you need any clarification. We hope you enjoy!
This week we are joined by the CEO of the Parent Company Troy Datcher, Troy joins us to discuss his first few days, Parents Companies purpose and
- Portfolio of Brands
- Jayz and Roc Nation
- Making the leap from Clorox to Cannabis
Troy Datcher represents the first time a Black CEO has lead a major public U.S. cannabis organization. Previously in his career he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at The Clorox Company where Troy was responsible for the Company’s worldwide sales organization. During his tenure, Datcher deployed global sales plans for over $6.7 billion in annual revenue across The Clorox Company’s vast portfolio of brands…no big deal. Mr. Datcher’s business acumen has lead his career down many other interesting paths, including NASCAR and The Procter & Gamble Company
This show is presented to by 8th Revolution:
At Eighth Revolution (8th Rev) we provide services from capital to cannabinoid and everything in between in regard to the hemp & cannabis industry. Our forward-thinking team can diagnose, analyze & optimize every detailed nuance of your company to keep your business safe, smart, and profitable. Our flexibility and experience combined with ongoing research create unique insights into how to best grow your market share. Contact us directly at [email protected]
Bryan Fields: @bryanfields24
Kellan Finney: @Kellan_Finney
[00:00:00]Bryan Fields: What’s up guys. Welcome back to another episode of the dime I’m Brian Fields. And with me as always is Kellen Finney. And this week we’ve got a very special guest Troy Datcher CEO of the parent company. Troy, thanks for taking the time. How are you doing today?
[00:00:15]Troy Datcher: I’m doing great guys. It’s great to be here.
[00:00:17]Bryan Fields: dive in Kellen. How
[00:00:18]Kellan Finney: are you doing? I’m doing really good, excited to, to breed back to the west coast, to the roots. How are
[00:00:23]Troy Datcher: you, Brian?
[00:00:24]Bryan Fields: I’m doing well. And yes, Troy is on the west coast, but I think there is some east coast level we’ll get into today. So Troy, for our listeners that want to get a little background about you and how you got into Canada.
[00:00:34]Troy Datcher: Yeah. Yeah. Six months ago I was sitting at my desk at Clorox managing supply and demand issues during a worldwide pandemic. You can probably say my job was pretty cake as the leader of global sales for disinfecting products company. While we don’t wish any of those bad things on any one across the globe.
[00:00:52] And it’s been tragic. Clark’s worked for a hundred years to build a brand for that very moment. And that trust that comes along with that brand really [00:01:00] kicked into action. So yeah, my. Six months ago, I was managing those tough conversations with retailers. It was we’re balancing supply and demand across the globe.
[00:01:09] And I got this random phone call from a recruiter and I always take phone calls because they’ve led me to some interesting places across my career. So I was at Proctor and gamble for many years, left Proctor and gamble to go to Clark’s because I was. And heard the opportunity. I left clocks, went and worked in NASCAR for a number of years because I was listening.
[00:01:29] I went back to Clorox because I was listening. And then this call came through about cannabis. And I was one of those guys who was poking holes in the industry from the house. As it was developing, Monday morning quarterbacking, everything that was happening. And I thought it was pretty hypocritical for me not to at least listen to the opportunity.
[00:01:45] And then at the parent company, I got a chance to see all the ingredients and just felt like they had all the right ingredients is something great. And then you toss in the opportunity to shape an industry and be a part of that conversation. And working with JC and rock nation, [00:02:00] puts it over the top.
[00:02:00] So that’s why I’m here. And but I was in my dream job. I worked my entire career for 30 years to be a C-suite executive at a fortune 500 company running a global organization. That’s what I thought I wanted to do until I got this phone call.
[00:02:16]Bryan Fields: I am so grateful that you shared that, but given the timing of the situation, it wouldn’t have surprised any people if you didn’t, if you pass on that.
[00:02:23] So I want to stay with that conference. Was there something in that moment, was it someone that pitched to you? Was it something that connected with an intercourse, take us through behind the scenes on that conversation?
[00:02:34]Troy Datcher: I think w what really sparked it for me was the purpose piece of the conversation.
[00:02:39] The parent company has a stated objective to be the most impactful company in the cannabis industry. That’s not just dollars and cents of bottom line stuff. It’s also, how do you bring inclusion diversity? Equity into the marketplace. And that really spoke to me. One of the things about working for a company like Clorox was that we were grounded in purpose.
[00:02:59] Like [00:03:00] we actually knew who we were and why we existed and blended, they started to speak to me about purpose. They really lured me into the conversation. And that’s really the only way I could explain to my friends and family and my mom, by the way that I was going to go work in cannabis. And it was really about this purpose driven objective.
[00:03:19] And, we’re doing some things around social equity that are really important. We want to be the example when it comes to that work. And I’m having some great conversations with folks who are trying to figure out how to change some of these antiquated drug laws and get some people out of prison who are doing.
[00:03:34] Something that I did, I’m doing illegally today. That was considered illegal just a couple of years ago. And those kinds of things are really interesting and important. And, I think if we can shape the right equitable industry from the beginning and the parent company had a little bit to do with that, then it’s been all worth it.
[00:03:49] So that. The purpose piece was the reason why I came over. Other than that, like I would’ve never, ever left my opportunity to clocks. I, I’ve been with the organization for 22 years, you actually develop a [00:04:00] bit of comfort. I was part of the DNA of the company while the company had been at Ralph for a hundred years, I’ve been around for a large part of that a hundred years and was shaping culture as a company.
[00:04:10] I had a lot of freedom to be who I am. And that there’s a lot of cover that comes with that. But this was just too interesting opportunity to pass up for sure. I have a quick question
[00:04:20]Kellan Finney: about the Clorox experience. Working for Clorox, it’s a global company in over a hundred different countries and they manage chemicals, right?
[00:04:30] So probably a super highly regulated industry. How much of that experience translated over to two candidates
[00:04:37]Troy Datcher: from a regulatory perspective? The good news I think is that I understood that regulations have to be considered. You have to really understand the landscape you’re competing in. So that was helpful.
[00:04:47] Other than that, nothing translates. The regulations that a couple of like corks deals with the FDA and the EPA and others those. Those organizations, we know all the key stakeholders there. We know all the [00:05:00] rules and we were able to to, to work hand in hand with them.
[00:05:03] And I think as any emerging industry, you’re just trying to find your way. You’re trying to push the envelope to get the right conversation started around. Aren’t helpful to the industry. As we’re trying to to build it from the ground up, Clorox had decades of experience of working with those agencies and helping to shape and influence policy.
[00:05:23] And we’re just at the start of that but understanding that there are rules and regulations and that. Sandbox that you must play within that, that is very familiar to me and something that I took from that experience and brought to this one, for sure. Timelines and deadlines are often dictated and impacted by those regulations.
[00:05:39] And so those are the things you have to consider, especially as someone who’s trying to drive innovation and change in industry, you gotta keep those things.
[00:05:48]Bryan Fields: And then with Clorox, right? There’s an established industry. There’s big mega players. And right now we are still so in the infancy stage.
[00:05:54] So when you’re taking the reins, you’re like opening up the force and leading the direction, which I hand you a ton of [00:06:00] credit for kind of diving in and being ready to be uncomfortable again, because obviously with cannabis, there is that. So let’s start with your first couple of days on the job.
[00:06:07] Obviously cannabis is full of challenges and there’s tons of opportunities and tons of unknown. So for you. Who’s at the helm of a vertically integrated large player. What’s the first couple of days, like what’s the first objective you’ve taken on, take us through that.
[00:06:21]Troy Datcher: Yeah, for me, it was all about learning and the, at the core of that is listening.
[00:06:25] I spent a great deal of time trying to put myself in the shoes of people in the organization. So I’ve been playing a bit of undercover boss, showing up in places inspecting like. Happening across the organization. I should change the word it’s not really inspecting sexy observing I don’t have enough information to inspect anything or enough experience.
[00:06:44] They expect anything or tell someone they’re doing something wrong. It’s really just observation. On, on day two, I got a chance to meet with folks from Z team to really understand. The quality that’s expected for monogram and the rules of engagement with them. But on day three, I was actually out [00:07:00] on a delivery.
[00:07:00] Route with my delivery drivers to better understand that part of the operations I spent the better part of the week in our operations to understand cultivation all of our call it, the back end work that goes into developing a product and spent some time in our dispensaries next to our bud tenders.
[00:07:18] And they’re making recommendations to folks as they enter in in our location. So I really spent time across the entire. Ecosystem just trying to observe and learn. I think one of my jobs is to service as a general manager for the business, say, looking at all the the puts and takes of building a really great organization that, that includes seeing everything from seed the sale and.
[00:07:42] Really tough trade-off too, which is in between. And so my job is really to just listen. And next week, for example, I’m headed out to see our retail outlets. We have a new VP of retail, and I’m going to go out and just talk to our store managers and our, and the folks that work on the front [00:08:00] lines to just better understand what would we be doing differently.
[00:08:02] So a lot of listening is what I’d say the first couple of months have been. It’s really about taking some action Brought in a consulting group, the Boston consulting group, BCG, who I’ve actually have some experience with it at Clorox building a corporate strategy. They helped me just take a look at our strategy as a company, put a fine tune on that narrative.
[00:08:24] And then we’re now deploying that internally. And I’ll be talking about that externally to key stakeholders over the next couple of months, but observing. Now that I’ve observed a bit, gleaning into some decisions to really providing a really clear true north for the organization, which I’m really excited about.
[00:08:39] Oh the parent company
[00:08:40]Kellan Finney: is vertically integrated, meaning they touch each portion of the supply chain. So was there one portion of the supply chain that kind of came a lot easier for the learning perspective and another one that was more challenging?
[00:08:51]Troy Datcher: Yeah, no I’ve been in sales for 30, some odd years.
[00:08:55] And so understanding. The sales component of what we do was [00:09:00] easily translatable to the things I’ve done in the past. My, my family’s farmers, I grew up in Alabama, my. Farmers back there. I knew as a young kid, I didn’t want to be a farmer. So like I stayed away from all the cultivation stuff.
[00:09:13] And so I’d say I’m learning a lot about that. That’s been a interesting learning curve for me. I’ve spent a lot of time. Obviously in my consumer products pack skews days, and a lot of that stuff translates in terms of, how do you create an experience for shoppers and what things are important?
[00:09:29] So those things translate really well. What I’m not accustomed to is something you mentioned at the very top of the conversation is a lot of the rules and regulations. There’s a lot of that I’m learning. And just understanding the boundaries in which we’re.
[00:09:41] The box that we’re placed in a ticket compete is something I’m spending a lot of time learning. But the other, the vertically integrated approach is a very interesting one. One is expensive to do this, and and two it’s challenging because you really need to be good at everything.
[00:09:58] And what I find is most [00:10:00] organizations can be great at some things and okay. And I think the advantage though, of being vertically integrated is obviously we’re trying to build brands here. And in building brands, you have to build up, make a promise to consumers. And when you own every aspect of the relationship from seed to sale, you can make that promise in ag you an example.
[00:10:22] If the product colleague’s not good, we can blame ourselves. We don’t blame a third party cultivator. Because we own that part of. The relationship. If you walk into our dispensary and we, you have a really bad experience we own the dispensary and we own the relationship between the consumer and the folks who are in that dispensary.
[00:10:42] If your order shows up. At your home at your doorstep and it’s late and incomplete, we own that relationship. And so I know you guys have probably all use third-party companies to deliver something to your home, whether that’s a meal or something from your favorite store. And if the word is not on time and complete, who do you think.[00:11:00]
[00:11:01] Do you blame the store itself, the restaurant itself? Do you blame the entity? Who do you call? Like you guys know all the challenges associated with that, and this gives us the opportunity to own that relationship and learn along the way. Now, what I envision longterm is we won’t be doing all these things long term that the industry will mature.
[00:11:21] There’ll be people that you can rely on to help deliver the promise with. You will understand what your expectations are and making that promise, and you’ll be able to lean on them, but we’re just not at that stage yet in terms of maturity in the industry. I think we’ll get there. But we’re not there quite yet.
[00:11:38]Bryan Fields: And operational excellence that comes with that, owning every support of the supply chain means you have to spend resources and time and cost and have experts in every level, which has its own challenges, but then allows for extra data insights. And I know you’re a big fan of some data insights.
[00:11:52] So I want to pick your brain on that. Are there certain metrics that you use internally that applied from Clorox over to the parents company in order to understand more [00:12:00] about. That consumer experience and then be able to replicate that back through the supply chain to make more informed, better decisions.
[00:12:07]Troy Datcher: Yeah. Data is, in my DNA. And we, we don’t have as much, I, robust data as what I’m accustomed to. It’s actually been a bit liberating to, we can lean on our experience. I got a bit more here and I liked that actually it allows you to move with more speed.
[00:12:24] So you’re not waiting for more data to make a decision but data is our friend and one of the benefits of having this, see the cell relationship. This is director customer platform that we have is we’re collecting data along that journey. So we can be better innovators because we actually know what’s working.
[00:12:40] We know that we should have a more personalized relationship with consumers because we are collecting more data. That’s an expectation. Every. As today. And so I’m excited about the data journey that we’re all on. And I think that’s going to be our best friend but we have some advantages there that we’re starting to lean in and take advantage of.
[00:12:58] And I’ll give you an example. We now [00:13:00] know, for example pricing strategies, like what really works for what brands, we, that’s a really big learning, new learning example for us, you don’t have to discount everything that you sell. Somethings don’t respond. We know what brands really move the needle.
[00:13:12] So when we take our resources and put it against the brand that featured in our ecosystem, like what brand really moves the needle, instead of just throwing things at the wall, we can actually have a more. Intelligent cadence of promotional activity based off of what really works. So that’s, what’s exciting.
[00:13:28] And, I was just having a conversation with one of our partner brands and they wanted to move into a new category space primarily because. It’s a fast growing segment where we looked at our data and said, Hey, we actually don’t think your brand can travel to that new form factor, but here’s in our data.
[00:13:50] We’ve uncovered. Here’s a place where it can go. And so we can now make more intelligent bets when it comes to innovation and evolving our [00:14:00] portfolio based on the data we’re collecting. And so that, that part is really exciting, but we’re just on the very. Tip of what data can really do to help us be better and be smarter.
[00:14:09] And that I’m really excited about, but it’s going to take an effort bringing in the right level of expertise. People used to working with data to turn it into insight. Something I’m very accustomed to. And then secondly making sure you’ve got the right tech structure to to bring that to life and make it turnkey for folks.
[00:14:25] We’ve got some work to go make some investments in that area to really become the company that we want to be in that. How do you guys balance
[00:14:33]Kellan Finney: that like a kind of emotion, I guess in terms of that brand approach to, you said, we want to be in this for backer. So clearly there’s some sort of emotion driving that besides just the, they think it’s a good opportunity, right?
[00:14:45] With what the data says, because this industry is so new. So that mentality of making data driven
[00:14:52]Troy Datcher: decisions is probably not. Very
[00:14:53]Kellan Finney: robust in terms of how traditionally the decisions have been made in the space. So how do you balance that emotional aspect
[00:14:59]Troy Datcher: with [00:15:00] the data? If I don’t win the war by giving them the data, which I’m not convinced that always that works.
[00:15:07] The good news is that we actually have a contained ecosystem to test these. Before we bring it to the rest of the market. So for example, the case I just mentioned, I won’t mention the brand name of the person who’s pushing me on this, but I will give you this worst case scenario. What we’re going to do is we’re going to take the.
[00:15:26] We’re going to put it in our 11 dispensary’s and on our delivery platform, we’re going to test it. And then we’re going to bring the data back and say, Hey, either we were right. Like the data told us beforehand. And now we actually have confirmation that has no traction or. We were wrong and let’s lean in and pour fuel on the fire.
[00:15:45] And let’s bring this to the rest of the market, but we have an opportunity to, do a micro test and contained test of these ideas quickly, assess if they’re worth it or not, and then expand them out if they are that’s something unique [00:16:00] and not something that I had at my disposal, whether working at Proctor and gamble, Clorox really didn’t have that opportunity to test things before bringing the rest to market Most companies in consumer products, packaged goods, they’re working really hard now to build their.com business, that director consumer business, so that they can use it as a testing ground. But it’s something they’re trying to retrofit into their playbook versus the opportunity that we have here, which is just to do it from the ground.
[00:16:26] I think it’s all,
[00:16:27]Bryan Fields: it’s also so interesting too. You can do limited quantity drops to build the hype. And if it plays and aggressively moves, you can go back to the drawing board and say, Hey, maybe we need to do more established drops with this brand and push this because you’re right.
[00:16:39] Owning every piece of the supply chain allows you to understand these different areas and then allows you to test things and then pull them off the shelf. If it’s not working, it never really existed. But if it did. Now we’ve maybe uncovered something that allows that. So when you were joining the parent company, was the brands, one of the key assets in that decision making process, you were saying, Hey, the ability to align with these brands that are maybe just local [00:17:00] now, but could translate globally in the future.
[00:17:02] Was that one of the key parts in your
[00:17:03]Troy Datcher: decision? Yeah, that’s the exciting part. You really hit it on the head, Brian. I To have an opportunity to bill brands that can travel outside of the state of California. It’s really exciting. And I’m a big believer that California will have a large say.
[00:17:17] On what this industry looks like longterm, and I think brands will be at the center of that. I joke around with my friends, I say, Hey, they grow grapes in Georgia and in North Carolina, but you buy your wine from California. And I do believe the same. Thing’s going to be really true with cannabis.
[00:17:30] There’ll be. A lot of I think energy from California that was translated into. Building brands outside of the state. And if we can make it here, we can make it anywhere because the term like for New York, right? If you can survive California, where there’s thousands of brands and tons of clutter, if you can come out of this standing with a brand that makes a place in the market, you can then take that and translate that out to the rest of the market.
[00:17:57] I firmly believe that. And that’s, what’s exciting about [00:18:00] this opportunity. There are a few brands who have a headstart there, but not a lot. There’s going to be some folks who choose to be there, Walgreens or Costco of cannabis. Like they’re going to have a dispenser on every street corner that won’t be us.
[00:18:13] That’ll be some folks who are like the best cultivators. In the entire industry, those folks have a really good headstart and that likely will not be us. But what we can do is we can build brands that deliver against the promise that has not been fully captured. I think yet it hasn’t been that market hasn’t been cornered.
[00:18:31] And I think there’s an opportunity for us to do exactly that. And
[00:18:34]Bryan Fields: I think you have another asset rolled up your sleeve, which is the influencer partnership, because the reach that your team can bring is almost unpair mounted, right? There’s almost no one who, if you sent out a mass email, We’re making an announcement about this.
[00:18:46] Every one sent on our social channels. I can’t even imagine what that type of impressions would be. You would be off the charts. So from an influencer partnership standpoint, in the cannabis industry, it’s split perspective on if it’s beneficial or not given the relationship. So is that [00:19:00] a core strategy piece?
[00:19:01] And can we expect rock nation members to be a part of product categories in the.
[00:19:06]Troy Datcher: Yeah. I won one of the other things that attracted me to this opportunity, as I mentioned, was just relationship with JZ and rock nation and in a very crowded, cluttered space, you actually need people that can help you cut through that.
[00:19:18] And to influence culture. I think you got yourself a halftime show that JG produced. Like these folks can really drive and shape culture American culture, global culture, and that’s, what’s different about what we have in our back pocket versus everyone else. But the way that we think about influence in celebrity is it actually has to be born in authentic.
[00:19:40] And I think that’s, what’s probably missing what, some relationships that you see. And I was a lot of folks as I’ve joined the organization who say, what are we going to see? Jay Z in an ad for monogram? That’s not how this thing works. There’s never been the promise that we made with that relationship.
[00:19:56] JJ is a visionary he’s behind the scenes. He [00:20:00] actually helps provide that, that that long-term vision that any industry needs, any company needs any brand needs as they’re trying to be relevant, not only today, but for decades. And you’re not going to see billboards with, with Jay or being featured, they’re the way they they build brands is through.
[00:20:18] Authenticity and connection. And, the fact that monogram is really grounded in pointing out the POC prosy and the drug laws. And and that is built on the promise of providing equity and inclusion to the industry. That’s what’s great about monogram is it’s less about the Jay Z connection.
[00:20:36] It’s more about the purpose and which is grounded now, which J stands for, as I think about our relationship with Mariah. And Santana, it’s all about borne and authenticity. Cannabis has been a part of his life forever. It’s not, it’s not, we’re not looking for relationships with people that are interested in this industry because it’s an emerging growth industry that can collide people’s pockets.
[00:20:58] And it has to be born in [00:21:00] authenticity of like how the person’s used the product, how they incorporate with lives, something that is more born out of a connection. To, to what they’re trying to get accomplished versus just a name and and awareness because you’re famous. And so I think what you’re going to see from us is partnerships that are born in authenticity.
[00:21:19] If it makes sense authentically we’ll lean into those conversations. And trust me, we’re saying no to a lot of potential partnerships. When you’re entrusted to build a brand with Jay Z it gives you some Mr. Credibility. So I’m getting a lot of inbound phone calls from people I won’t tell you about on this call, who we have to say no to, because it actually is not, I can’t make the authentic connection to why they’re in the industry other than it’s a hot industry to be a part of.
[00:21:44] It’s pretty cool to tell your friends, you have a cannabis. And that’s really not enough to to really build something that’s going to be meaningful and sustainable. Long-term
[00:21:53]Bryan Fields: from a brand strategy standpoint, the, this question’s from AB, from Twitter, he wants to know about the higher end mids to [00:22:00] compete against local farms and cookies.
[00:22:01] Is there a plan in the future for
[00:22:03]Troy Datcher: that? Yeah. Mean if I tell you all the plans that I have to kill you guys. But yeah, we, we are right now we’ve got. Brands that are I think too crowded in terms of where they compete. And so we got to pull some of those things apart and make sure that we are developing brands that that deliberate gets a wide swath of consumers.
[00:22:24] I think we’ve got to figure it out on the high end. If you think about the luxury and a cannabis, which is only about 4% of the marketplace, that’s where monogram and Jay’s brand sits. And then we’ve got some brands in that mid tier range that are competing with each other. So we’ve got to do this work and we’re going to do some consumer work.
[00:22:40] And my next big hire will be a chief marketing officer someone that can help us with our brain journey and making sure that we’ve got the right portfolio that meets. A wide swath of needs in the, in, in the cannabis category. So we’ve got some work to do to pull those things apart, but yes, we are going to [00:23:00] be competing in a sec, all segments in tiers.
[00:23:03] And we have lots of ideas in that space. And it’s just not, it’s not no lack of ideas. It’s really around the strategic direction that needs to be. At the foundation of building those bands and we need to go do some work and we will be doing some work in that space. Yes, to answer the question more, to come there and about competing,
[00:23:24]Kellan Finney: Especially in the flower space, it’s probably the largest sector, especially in California and other states as well.
[00:23:30] And it is going towards more of a commodity marketplace or. And so I know that there is a movement within the California marketplace, if you will, to try to emphasize on like the appellation. And I don’t know, like where do you fall on that spectrum? Are you more favoring
[00:23:46]Troy Datcher: regulated.
[00:23:48] To, to
[00:23:48]Kellan Finney: shake the market as a, an Appalachian kind of marketplace somewhere to why, or do you think that regardless of that, it’s just going to totally head towards commoditization of the
[00:23:57]Troy Datcher: flour? Yeah, I do [00:24:00] think, the commoditization, the largest link largely seen as been on out. And the good news is that really quality indoor flower has as has held up a bit more resiliently in the face of commoditization.
[00:24:12] So hopefully that continues to play out. I do think that these Appalachians and regions will become important. Especially as you think about federal legalization and the ability to export the product to other states, I think people will look to region. I, as I entered this industry, I had a lot of people giving me some advice.
[00:24:31] A lot of people who I didn’t know were cannabis consumers until I came with the industry, a lot of people came to me and said, Hey, let me get you my point of view and perspective. And I’ve got some friends who, they come to my house and they, they they look at our portfolio of products and they ask questions around Appalachians and regions.
[00:24:49] And they’re like, I only spoke things from Humboldt. So I’m like, Very. Okay, cool. And without asking about quality or, or anything of that nature, like Humboldt, is it, that’s the [00:25:00] only reason I spoke and so I think there is something there I do. I’ve been spending some time talking to some folks who are, have a really long-term view of this industry who are working to build out destination opportunities in these Appalachian regions.
[00:25:17] And you go to Napa today for wine tasting and there are hundreds of wines. So I know that these towns that are known for their cannabis cultivation and the products that are grown there, the quality of the products they are thinking about, how do I create a destination for people who are interested in this industry to come out and visit, and they’ll build tasting experiences and sampling experience and education.
[00:25:43] And I’ve had the opportunity to talk to some folks who. We’ll have some interest in those areas. And so I do see that being something that we have all pay attention to long-term but yes, I think there’ll be a lot of that marketing and appeal because very similar to wine there’s there is some magic to the [00:26:00] topography and climate and those things that produce really good product.
[00:26:04]Bryan Fields: What’s one concept or fact that you’ve learned in the cannabis industry that would shock, let’s say, outside industry executives, looking to make the jump.
[00:26:14]Troy Datcher: That’s a good question. I it’s a great question. Always was me that one so far. I, the one thing that’s been shocking to me is really the quality and care.
[00:26:23] And in terms of the product that’s being developed I don’t think people understand that not Mt. Research development and science that goes into what we’re doing. I’m actually fortunate enough to have someone that I’m very familiar with who leads our innovation at the parent company.
[00:26:38] His things. Steve went to Steve actually was the R and D lead innovation leader for bird species, which is a part of clocks. And he actually was the R and D leader for Clark’s the billion dollar brain. And so I, when I got here, I knew that there was likely a lot of science technology. Quality behind innovation because Steve was leading it.
[00:26:58] And I know that’s what he’s [00:27:00] done for the last couple of decades. And I think for folks who are on the outside, they probably don’t understand like how much goes into that. And actually it goes into telling our story versus the illicit market. It’s a really interesting. Story that I think hasn’t been told incredibly well yet.
[00:27:17] But I think most people would be shocked at how sophisticated these operations are. It’s been shocking for me as I’ve traveled the U S and I was just with a a competitor. I used to worry loosely a competitor. Last week I was touring their facility and just taking a look at their operations and, the amount of And investment that people are putting into this industry is remarkable.
[00:27:39] And it’s actually reassuring because it, then you can really make promises that you can keep when it comes to quality and safety. And that part is pretty remarkable. And I think I, as an outsider, people probably don’t know the amount of regulations that are a part of this industry. That things are tracked really from C to say meticulously and and the costs [00:28:00] and complexity that adds to operators like ourselves and others.
[00:28:04] And I think those things would be very interesting, but I tell my friends, the water’s warm here. The S the ground’s pretty solid, you should take a look at the industry. And and I think that, as I continue to to talk to people who are only other side of the fence I, I’m sharing them that this is a legit industry that has a lot of longevity to it.
[00:28:25] And I’m seeing a lot of interest from consumer products, packaged goods and executives to, to move into the space, which I think has gotta be good.
[00:28:32]Bryan Fields: Long-term yeah, I think it’s good for everyone involved. And it really says something for you to say with your background about the regulations. If there’s a lot there, I can only imagine.
[00:28:40] Kind of the perspective you had pre and then going in and all that you’ve learned. So I want to stay with the science real quick. From the branding standpoint, is the parent company doing any science to validate the brands and to stand behind the products they create?
[00:28:53]Troy Datcher: Absolutely. And we spend quite a bit of time doing that work and.
[00:28:58] Th the really the [00:29:00] interesting thing that I’ve found in being here is we’re making, quality decisions, promised decision around, building a promise behind these brands that the consumer doesn’t even know about yet. We haven’t even found a way to talk to them about the amount of science and technology that goes into the product that we’re producing.
[00:29:23] And so I actually see it as a really a big upside for us when we get a chance to actually do a bit of that. I want to take people behind the scenes to, to look at. The science that goes into developing our products. I want them to go behind the scenes to see the things we say no to that they never see that comes to market because it doesn’t meet the quality or expectation.
[00:29:43] I don’t, I’m not, I don’t think people probably stay in that part from the outside, and I’m not sure if the illicit market has that same level of rigor. If you get a bad crop in the illicit market, do you still bring it through. Probably so with us, we’re saying no to things because [00:30:00] again, brand stand on a promise and if you can’t deliver on that promise on quality first, and then, it you can erode the trust.
[00:30:10] You’re building pretty quickly. And we take that stuff very seriously. I think it’s also
[00:30:14]Kellan Finney: serious for the industry from a cultural stigma
[00:30:16]Troy Datcher: standpoint. You know what I mean? Yeah. No, So
[00:30:20]Bryan Fields: one of my favorite things about what your team is doing is a social equity venture funds. So can you share more about that, the origin of that, and current aspects and the hopes of going forward?
[00:30:30]Troy Datcher: Yeah, I’m really excited about this work. As a matter of fact, I’m meeting with our leadership team next week to to work on our strategy. For the coming year in this very important area, you’ve seen the headlines on a couple of the partnerships that we brought to market in the course of the last year.
[00:30:45] One is Josephine and Billy’s, which is a female black owned a dispensary in Los Angeles. Shout out to Ebony and the team there. They’ve done a great job of creating a really interesting environment. For women to, to come in and learn and get educated [00:31:00] about the industry. They’ve curated some really great products and great line out to speak to that consumer and really proud of the work that Ebony and Whitney are doing in Los Angeles.
[00:31:10] And then Jesse Grundy. Who’s a young entrepreneur here in Oakland where I live. I love a lot about this town and this town has produced people like Jesse, who has created a brand called peaks, which is a brand that brings cannabis and culture and music together. And we were featuring Jesse’s brand in our ecosystem and spending time making sure that he has the capital means, but also the infrastructure and the know-how to be successful in an incredibly crowded space.
[00:31:39] And so we think that it’s important to. To invest in these young entrepreneurs to build equity and an opportunity for folks of color, to be a part of this industry. And, I mentioned in an interview just the other day that, I worked in a consumer products, packaged goods industry for 30 years, and we spent a great deal of time trying to retrofit the [00:32:00] industry to include folks where this industry has an opportunity to do it at the beginning.
[00:32:05] So you don’t have to go do. Other work too, like retrofit and have programs to dress it. If you can just build it from the ground up, then it will be reflective of the communities in which we live, work and serve, which I think is all that we’re all trying to do together. And so I’m excited about this work.
[00:32:23] I’m not very preachy, so I don’t tell people this is right or wrong. You should be dealing with. What we want to do is be the example of how to do it. And so we’ve got those two successful launches out in market. We’ll continue to work with them to ensure their success. And then we’re looking to add a couple other examples to our roster partnerships over the course of the next year.
[00:32:46] So important action over the. Absolutely words and pictures always have to match for service. I have a question about it.
[00:32:53]Kellan Finney: Can we say on that topic
[00:32:55]Troy Datcher: that, is that gone? No, I
[00:32:57]Bryan Fields: just want to
[00:32:57]Kellan Finney: Do your thing. All right. All right. [00:33:00] My question is what size of what size and stage of companies do you guys focus on what that equity fund is it any entrepreneur that’s got a business plan and kind of a glimmer in their eyes?
[00:33:11] Are you looking for more of a. Later stage post revenue, they’re looking to pour gas on the fire kind of opportunity or is it
[00:33:17]Troy Datcher: everything in between? It’s really, I’d say it’s probably been more the latter up until now. I think we want to open the door for entrepreneurs at all stages because if you think about most of these entrepreneurs, this is the first time they’ve actually.
[00:33:31] Venture into owning a business. And we’re doing a lot of work up front saying here are the types of things we’re looking for in order to make an investment. And so one of the things you’re going to hear from us is a call to action from other operators to join us on this journey. That we don’t see this as a competitive advantage.
[00:33:50] Like this, we’re not doing this for like market share reasons. We will actually want to do it as an example, inspire others to be a part of this and invite them to bring money [00:34:00] to the table so that we can service all of these entrepreneurs. The really sad thing is we’re going to have to say no to a lot of.
[00:34:06] We’ll have to say no to a lot of ideas because we don’t have the capacity or the bandwidth to executing this, all of them. And that’s, what’s really disappointing about this work is there’s no shortage of folks who need the help. It’s just a shortage of resources, time, energy in order to invest.
[00:34:22] And so we’re we’re trying to really expand that funnel to get with people who may just have an inkling of an idea. And that’s not been what we’ve done in the past, but we’d like to do more of that. So Tiffany McBride leaks at workforce. And the thing that Tiffany and I have talked about is setting aside a portion of our dollars for these call it long ideas.
[00:34:46] Now, any successful business when I was at Clorox or or my previous experiences, there was always call it 10% of. Investment fund called innovation fund. That was set aside around these like moonshot [00:35:00] ideas, like these really crazy ideas that you’re not betting the farm on because you’re actually, it’s like a 10% chance they’re actually going to be successful.
[00:35:09] But if it actually comes to fruition, it could be major. But the small, like the, it will be successful. I want to make sure we set aside dollars for that 10% that we take. So we lean in and take some chances and some areas where we’re not quite sure if it’s going to work, but somebody has a really crazy idea.
[00:35:29] I’m a really, and we like the entrepreneur, I liked him. We were more than, understand their business plan. I’ve seen so many examples of. Who’ve said I invest in the person because I liked them. I didn’t understand what they were up to. I didn’t know the plan, but I just believe in that person.
[00:35:44] I want to do a little bit of that. And right now we’re not built for that, but I love to get to a place where we can do more of that. And it’s so
[00:35:52]Kellan Finney: important
[00:35:52]Bryan Fields: To bet on the jockey, that in those opportunities. So I was eager to add. New York strategy, obviously with Jay Z and your [00:36:00] team, is there a thought process?
[00:36:02] Can we expect some parent company presence in the tri-state area in
[00:36:05]Troy Datcher: the. But we’re working really hard at that. And, we have a ambition to be in that Northeast corridor. As cannabis becomes recreational legal, we want to be there, but the first and foremost it’s about the quality of the.
[00:36:23] And whether or not we have the right partners to help get us the quality that’s required to meet the expectation that we have for monogram. I mentioned at the early part of the conversation, monogram is competing really in that really upper echelon of cannabis consumers, that four top 4%. Expect high quality.
[00:36:43] We’re having some interesting conversations with partners around where they are today with quality and what we need to see before we can say yes, the great news is there’s a lot of interests and there are people working really hard to get to that level of quality. But I can’t actually put a title.
[00:36:58] Line on it because it’s really driven [00:37:00] by the quality, not by like my timing as a CEO, I’d say yes. Let’s go to every state that cannabis is legal tomorrow. And the good news is that because we. JC and rock nation behind the initiative. There’s a lot of interest. The question is, can we deliver against the quality and we can be patient, we will be patient.
[00:37:19] And we ask for all those folks who are who are looking for. Experiencing the product to be patient with us because when we do deliver, we want to meet that expectation. Actually, we want to exceed it and that takes time and the right partners to do that. But I’m anxious to make those announcements.
[00:37:36] I’m interested in going to that Northeast corridor and beyond actually. And we’re just trying to make sure we have the right partners to help us execute that plan.
[00:37:44]Bryan Fields: Said, let’s do a quick, rapid fire. Sounds good. Most bullish category over the next 10 years.
[00:37:53]Troy Datcher: Wow. That’s a great one beverages, and I think cannabis consumption will be we’ll move to this [00:38:00] really social area where it’s not about if you’re going to take it out of the shadows.
[00:38:05] I think right now things are about being discreet and yeah. Again, I think people are stepping away into a. Being open about their use of cannabis. And I think I think different form factors will help with that. Beverages will be one of those. And the second thing is that there will be places where consumption will be allowed.
[00:38:27] And so that would the development of consumption lounges it’ll take away that stigma, I think as well. And so beverages, I think, will be at the center of that. And I’m excited about that being a part of that.
[00:38:39]Bryan Fields: Five to 10 years from now, a parent company brand will sponsor a world tour.
[00:38:45]Troy Datcher: Absolutely.
[00:38:47] And no doubt about it. We’re having some interesting conversations with partners today about that. Now we’re just waiting for the right opportunity, but absolutely part of what I think you’ll see from brands like ours [00:39:00]
[00:39:00]Bryan Fields: a year from now, we’re sitting here having a conversation. What has the parent company.
[00:39:05]Troy Datcher: Expansion of our brand portfolio outside of the state of California, in a limited focused approach. The other thing is I think 22 is going to be a year of carnage in 20 in California. And with that little access to capital, and I think in 23, we’ll be well positioned to go on a expansion, even further expansion aggressively in California.
[00:39:28] One of the things we have going forward versus others, candidly is our balance sheet and I’m working really hard with my team to protect that over the next 12 months. In 2023, we can look at what’s available. And I think there’ll be a lot of interesting assets available in 23. We want to be positioned for that since you’ve been in the
[00:39:47]Bryan Fields: cannabinoid industry, what has been the biggest misconception?
[00:39:50]Troy Datcher: I think that it’s that I think American sentiment is way ahead of. Like the, where our politicians and the laws [00:40:00] are. And so I think there’s a misconception of that. This is not as mainstream as it really is. One of the things that we’ve seen in the course of the last past year for us is a mainstreaming of mainstreaming and locations and where our dispensary said, I’ve got a couple of locations now that are in parking lots.
[00:40:23] Retailers like Costco and others. And I’ve got some locations that we had at the very beginning of legalization in California that looked like you’re going down an industrial road to do a drug deal. It feels like, why would I go down this road? Like it is only to do a drug deal.
[00:40:38] And so the more that we can actually mainstream it, I think American sentiment is already there. It’s about how do we catch up with. Zoning laws and all these other things, get those things fixed so that we can bring center my closer to the reality
[00:40:54]Bryan Fields: before we do predictions, we ask all of our guests, if you could sum up your experience in a main takeaway or [00:41:00] lesson learned to pass onto the next generation.
[00:41:05]Troy Datcher: Take the risk. I, I think this is my move to this. Industry’s all about taking a risk and I didn’t know what it was going to be. Like. I didn’t have many friends that were in. It’s gonna take real practical business experience from, these industries that have stood the test of time for hundreds of years to bring to this new emerging industry.
[00:41:22] And I’d say don’t be afraid to make the leap really well said. All right,
[00:41:27]Bryan Fields: prediction time, Troy, what mega policy causes more disruption to the future of the cannabis industry, federal legalization or interstate commerce.
[00:41:37]Troy Datcher: Ooh, you got to make me choose between those two.
[00:41:42]Bryan Fields: I’m going to have to last. So I got a
[00:41:43]Troy Datcher: worse situation than you.
[00:41:45] That’s a fair. I think federal legalization is just so far off. It just, it can’t, I can’t even wrap my head around it. So I have to say interstate commerce. I have to lean on that. Yeah.
[00:41:56]Bryan Fields: Why do you think it causes more disruption?
[00:41:57]Troy Datcher: I just think that We’re seeing a now a [00:42:00] microcosm from CA like Kennedy county, municipality, Ms.
[00:42:03] Fatality in California, if someone wants to attract cannabis to it’s it’s city, it just lowers the taxes. So you got like this really wonky thing where like I was meeting with a mayor of a city just a couple of weeks ago, and I was explaining to him like, Hey, you do understand that the NIS valley next door.
[00:42:24] As a very different tax rate, I’m not threatening you. I’m not saying that we’re going to pack up and move next door, but it wouldn’t make sense as a business owner to do that. And I think the stakes are going to compete. I think it’s going to be very interesting. If we don’t get in front of this thing, we could have a really wonky industry that is not built the way you would build any.
[00:42:44] For success. So I think we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out. I was
[00:42:47]Bryan Fields: going
[00:42:48]Kellan Finney: to go legalization, but that point you just made about taxes. I think that honestly, interstate commerce will be more disruptive because you could factually illegalize it. And every state could figure out how to do what they want with it.
[00:42:59][00:43:00] But if you. But interstate commerce happens. There could be states that never ever grow cannabis at all. They just literally import it the whole time. They never even had the opportunity to build a brand or build any market or anything. They just accepted what California has been building, for instance.
[00:43:15] So I’m going to go with. I’m going to jump on that boat. Sorry, Brian.
[00:43:21]Bryan Fields: No problem. I’m going to take the other side. So I think federal legalization is going to cause more disruption because I think currently in cannabis, we’ve got big MSOC, we’re all competing for market share, but I think the one missing piece of the current puzzle is these monster fishes outside, like Clorox, like Pepsi and Coke that are ready to come into the space.
[00:43:39] And I don’t think they enter the space. Maybe. Legal work, I guess on top and out loud until federal legalization happens. And when that happens, the game completely changed because it is just Titans fighting Titans and it is a very different game space. So I think federal legalization caused us more industry disruption.
[00:43:58]Troy Datcher: I can go, like I said, I think is a [00:44:00] very tough question. The interesting thing, I think, the company that I’m trying to build is one that That has that in state of mind. I think that if you think about the companies, the consumer products, companies that are sniffing around the industry, and it’s one of the reasons why actually I hired the Boston consulting group to help us because that’s the company people are calling, it’s just sniffing.
[00:44:22] So they actually know us better than probably any other company in cannabis. So that’s part of the secret sauce. But what was interesting is I think that those companies will look to. One of the balance sheet can they run a business, but to who’s running the business. And I think none of them will integrate these companies into their portfolio right away.
[00:44:44] They’re gonna acquire the company. Look, they want the benefit of owning it, but they’re not going to integrate. So they’ll leave them like on the sideline and they’re going to need really complex. People who have done this in major industries to [00:45:00] be the people that they trust to run those at those companies.
[00:45:03] And I want to build a company that speaks that language, people that have big corporates, fortune 500. Industry experience. They’ve talked to investors, they met with analysts, like bringing that experience to the table will make it more comfortable for those companies to invest in companies like ours, because they said, Hey these folks have done that, but they understand our language.
[00:45:26] They know what we want out of leaders, and they’re going to build a kind of couple we’re going to be product. And then at some point, federal legalization comes in. You integrate these things and it just becomes to your point, the Titans, I think, as we. 15 years from now. It’d be interesting to see who actually owns this space to your point.
[00:45:45] We should get together for a cocktail in 10 years, and maybe
[00:45:49]Bryan Fields: off the record, we can have our predictions, cause I don’t want to
[00:45:54]Troy Datcher: throw it away. And then that’d be great. Meet me in Vegas. We’ll have a bottle of ASIS spade and [00:46:00] have some monogram and talk about it.
[00:46:03]Bryan Fields: So for Troy, for our listeners, they want to get in touch.
[00:46:05] They want to learn more about you and the company, where
[00:46:07]Troy Datcher: can they be? They can go to you can just Google the parent company and find this there I’m on LinkedIn. And, I’m the only tour data in the world. I think I’ve found out. And and so it’s easy to find me. I can’t really escape or go anywhere.
[00:46:20] I’m looking forward to hearing from folks and trying to build team. W if you’ve got some talents you want to bring to California, bring those talents, you got some ideas, send them our way. We’re looking for good ideas partners in and like-minded people. Awesome. Will they get off in the show
[00:46:35]Bryan Fields: notes?
[00:46:35]Troy Datcher: Thanks so much for your time. Try. Thank you. We’ll talk soon.