Listen to The Dime Podcast’s episode today as Bryan Fields (Twitter: @bryanfields24) and Kellan Finney (Twitter: @Kellan_Finney) discuss
Cannabis as a CPG with Colin Landforce (Twitter: @landforce)
In this episode learn about:
- Aggressive Advancements that are happening in the world of Cannabis
- How BudTenders enhance the Cannabis Experience for New and Veteran Users
- Experiences for a Newbie when they walk into a Dispensary for the first time
- Terra Tech Merger with Unrivaled Brands
- Consistency as a pillar in the STICKS™ pre-roll brand
- Biggest Misconceptions in Cannabis
Colin Landforce is the CTO of Unrivaled Brands https://www.linkedin.com/in/colinlandforce/
Colin Landforce, co-founder and President of LTRMN, is a versatile entrepreneur that has taken his 10 years of experience in regulated and emerging consumer spaces and brought that to Unrivaled Brands, Inc. team. A tactical leader, Mr. Landforce is responsible for bringing three consumer brands from concept to shelf while leading the growth of one of the largest cannabis distribution networks in country, serving more than 1,000 storefronts to date. With deep experience at the intersection of recreational cannabis and CPG
[00:00:00] Bryan Fields: This is the dime, dive into the cannabis and hemp industry through trends, insights, predictions, and tangents. What’s up guys. Welcome back to another episode of the dime as always. I’ve got my right hand, man, Kellen Cindy here with me. And this week we’ve got a very special day. Twitter famous Collin land force.
[00:00:20] Collin. Thanks for taking the time. How are you doing today? Thanks for having me guys. I appreciate it. I’m well, thank you. I’m doing well. I’m doing well. Just enjoying the weather out here in Colorado, right? Yeah. I’m excited to kind of dive in and before we start calling congratulations on the recent announcements and the going public, that’s a huge success.
[00:00:38] I’m looking forward to kind of diving into some of those topics.
[00:00:41] Collin: Absolutely. Thank you. I appreciate it. We’re excited as well.
[00:00:44] Bryan Fields: So let’s talk about how your background and how you got into the cannabis space.
[00:00:48] Collin: Yeah, definitely. I’m a lifelong serial entrepreneur. And as an adult, that kind of translated for me and.
[00:00:55] A lot of service providing, particularly in Mar marketing and product. So I had big clients, little clients, kind of everything in between. And ultimately ended up serving a lot in the restricted consumer goods spaces. So firearms, drones, skincare, cosmetics, couple other in that realm. And then finally we landed in cannabis.
[00:01:14] The origin story is some guys that I grew up with started flipping packs to dispense. There’s a heavy marketing and product focus in that group. So I, I jumped, jumped, the shark got in and the rest is history. You know, it started doing, I think, 4 million, like I said, bulk flour to dispensary’s in 2017.
[00:01:34] And now we are CPGs all the way to the moon.
[00:01:37] Bryan Fields: Over the last four years, you’ve probably seen a pretty aggressive progression of the industry just from where it was and where it is.
[00:01:46] Collin: Yeah, I think generally, I think I tweeted this morning that it’s still on the first setting. I think that’s probably about right.
[00:01:52] But it, it moves very, very quickly as you guys know, and it’s, it’s definitely come leaps and bounds for us. We didn’t know what products it was going to be. We knew that if we had the network, we could adjust and, and move accordingly. And so that’s what we’ve done. And the more refined consumer goods, the carts, the edible.
[00:02:11] I think there’s a huge play there. We also really like the extracts, the flour, but the core stuff that’s been around.
[00:02:17] Bryan Fields: So I think almond question that’s always gets asked, and I’m curious to know if that’s for you, is Tom what’s that day, like for you, you know, take us through a normal day to day.
[00:02:26] Obviously, no days are the same, but just from a regular basis, you know, what does your role entail and what you’re doing for the company?
[00:02:32] Collin: Yeah. So with the announcement yesterday and us going public, my, my title is now CTO. I’ve always been pretty focused on technology, our tools and our software stack.
[00:02:42] And I’ll be doing more of that in the future. Day-to-day though I’m in the mix. I think a lot of people, especially in the MSL and then in the public space, get abstracted from what, what we’re actually doing. And what we’re actually doing is, is making CPG with a super volatile, super inconsistent rock.
[00:03:00] Good. So I’m based in Portland. We have a hub and light manufacturing, more assembly here. We have hubs mirrored, very similar setup wise in Northern California, Southern California. And I’m in the mix trying to make things better, improving processes making decisions about how we’re routing raw materials, what product lines.
[00:03:19] And just fighting the good fight. Really?
[00:03:20] Bryan Fields: Yeah. It seems like you’re got your hands in a lot of different buckets at the same time.
[00:03:25] Collin: I think that’s, that’s how entrepreneurship goes and you know, I’m excited to be playing on the biggest stage but we’re still in the weeds. No pun intended. Well,
[00:03:34] Bryan Fields: so let’s dive into one of those brands sticks in the past.
[00:03:37] You’ve described them as BeltLine. Can you share a little bit more about how you kind of came to that comparison and leading into.
[00:03:44] Collin: Yeah. So like you said, STIX is a value brand for us. And it was, it was the first product that we set out to do in my side of the origin story of unrivaled. And like I mentioned, we have the network and we’re waiting to figure out what products we’re going to start with.
[00:04:02] And the pre-roll is such a staple and such crap. I think even to this day, you go into a store, you buy, you buy a joint, it might be good. It might not. And especially four years ago. So we set out to make a really, really fantastic pre-roll and something that I’m often surprised by people outside the industry, not understanding like the difference between sun-grown and indoor We we set out to make just a really good staple. And that was, that was just outdoor pre-roll accessibly priced, easy to get out the door. So for us, that meant a lot AB testing. We imported a hop milling machine from Germany and we did, I think in the end it was 12 different variants of particle size. And density.
[00:04:41] And we made these little test packs and we send them out into the world and we just got tons and tons of feedback and it came back very, very clear that density a particle size, Y this is the recipe for a great pre-roll and then we’ve made several million of them since. And then we’ve also got a different, a different recipe for the indoor indoor materials, much more resonance.
[00:05:00] Much more finicky to deal with. And it did not come out the same when we did the same testing exercise down the road. So I think we started with sticks, origin story. It started as a pre-roll brand. We extended that on the value shelf rather than in the pre-roll category. So we have carts, we have flour moon rocks are a big play for us there.
[00:05:19] I think a moon rock skew is very bang for the buck value oriented skew. And so we’re going big on the, the combined category. Excuse me. .
[00:05:28] Bryan Fields: And you want to dive into that from where you’re located. Is that kind of the same process you’ve seen?
[00:05:34] Kellan: Yeah, it is the same process I’ve seen. And I think that starting with like a pre-roll, which is a staple from the traditional markets, I think is, is really intelligent.
[00:05:43] I have a random question for you. They’ll call in. Do you guys see a lot of variance in terms of different indoor material, or is it something that you’ve got have just found the right vendors to work with as far as supplying that indoor material to create that same consistency? The same with the outdoor material.
[00:05:57] Is there other kind of vetting. Situations, or I guess, is there other variables that you guys require before you bring in a batch and go through the milling process to pack the pre-rolls? Because we not all outdoor is created equally the same with not all indoor is created equally.
[00:06:15] Collin: Absolutely. We definitely have regular partners, but as a starting point, we’re talking about agriculture and then with the diversity across strains, grow methods, harvest it’s all over the place.
[00:06:27] So even, even with those same regulars, there’s just a super wide net of, of what product ends up looking like and something. I say and talk about internally here as we, we design for efficiency and optimize for flexibility because it’s going to be all over the board. And so that’s kind of the approach we’ve taken.
[00:06:44] You can only plan for so much in that, that realm, that being said, we definitely do have specs, right? If it’s coming into a jar, this is what the inputs need to look like. And then this is the spec for the product that comes out the other end and the same thing on a pre-roll. Here’s the input spec and what we expect out of it.
[00:07:01] And, you know, hopefully the worst case scenario there is, we just have to adjust. We, we obviously avoid sending back product. Generally only do that in the case where it’s just materially different from what everybody understood. We were getting. Yeah,
[00:07:13] Kellan: I think that’s one of the most from my experience, it’s one of the most undervalued aspects of doing business in the space is the experience of procurement team has and how much that actually affects all of the downstream products from concentrates to vape pens, to pre-roll.
[00:07:28] So I give your, your procurement team, all the credit.
[00:07:31] Collin: I’ve watched a lot of really seasoned supply chain folks come into this and, and be a lost puppy. The same. It’s just not that the good news components are packaging is that stuff is, but when it comes to the core it’s these are not tomatoes.
[00:07:47] Kellan: 100%.
[00:07:48] We’ve actually had clients that have made very, very large mistakes in terms of going out and signing supply agreements with the wrong partner. And it turns out this wasn’t the right way, and now they’re committed to a massive batch of material and it just, it never works out that way. So one of the most undervalued aspects of the supply chain is that that experience.
[00:08:09] From a procurement standpoint
[00:08:10] Bryan Fields: from the bud light angle, I’m intrigued by that. Like I walk into a dispensary. How, how does Y understand or gravitate towards that product? If that’s the one I’m looking for
[00:08:20] Collin: every brand’s got amuse, right? I liked the bud light one with sticks. Just everything about the brand energy.
[00:08:25] You could also take it to the color. Right. Bud light has a very distinct blue. The sticks. Green is a fantastic green. I love the stick screen. I can’t remember. It’s actually. Name, but those colors are very prominent. Our brands, right? Cabana blue is a very, very specific blue, but I think the dispensers do the work for you there, right?
[00:08:44] Consumer walks in and the bud tender is going to point them where they want to go. And if it’s value oriented, that’s an easy call. I think everything in our industry is, is still very much dictated by the bud tenders. So we don’t have to do much of the work, having the brand that aligns with that ISA ethos and collateral that aligns with that obviously helps.
[00:09:01] Kellan: I think it’s super intelligent because I think that’s one of the largest segments of the market is the value buyer right now. You see it across the board in every state.
[00:09:10] Collin: Another thing we lean on, which is really across category, but I think especially applies to sticks is we, we price out wholesale with the end consumer in mind.
[00:09:18] So tax is a big variable. Of course our wholesale pricing is all intended to have that land out the door. At a price that makes sense to a consumer. So whether that’s, you know, 8 30, 3 ends up 20 bucks out the door for 17 ends up 10 bucks out the door and that’s, that’s within assumed, you know, assume Keystone and 20% those things vary, but we price everything so that it makes sense to the end consumer.
[00:09:42] Kellan: Do you have, do you have MSRP conversations with dispensary’s and are they willing to, do they like hear you guys out from that perspective?
[00:09:49] Collin: I think it varies widely by the operator. Generally. Good luck. Right. Yeah, you can have that conversation, but I think the biggest operators, their whole, their whole game plan is, is to get, get a lower cost.
[00:10:02] It allows them to undercut the MSRP. So, yeah. Good luck.
[00:10:08] Bryan Fields: You’d probably do any sort of educational with these budtenders because they play such a vital role in the experience for these consumers.
[00:10:14] Collin: That’s the whole game. We call it education and appreciation. So in the past, you know, pre pandemic, we had a suite at the Moda center, which is where the blazers play a suite at the staple center which I’m sure you’re familiar with and education and appreciation.
[00:10:28] But tenders are the influencers and the tastemakers at a one-to-one level. And they’re going to talk to people about and sell people, the stuff that they know and the stuff that they like. So arming them with talking points and helping them feel educated and be educated and serve their customers. The path.
[00:10:47] So appreciation and education with budtenders is, is our game
[00:10:51] Bryan Fields: well said. Do you think that’s the future though? Do you think as the industry kind of evolves, people will continue to rely on bud tenders for guys? I mean, obviously naturally that’ll be an easy, conversational point, but do you think that’ll always be such a heavily reliant relations?
[00:11:07] Collin: I think it’ll probably vary by category. There’s a lot of good parallels. You can draw with booze, they get a little different between liquor and wine, et cetera. But I think that this is a good one in that there’s a lot of beer when I’m buying the bud light, I’m just grabbing it out of the freezer act and, or the cooler and I’m out.
[00:11:23] I also could go into a bar across the street and get a very specific cocktail that’s recommended to me by somebody that’s super knowledgeable. So I think in game is like probably the full end of this.
[00:11:35] Bryan Fields: So let’s dive into the other two brands. Do you have kind of associations similar to the way you, you compared to the bud light?
[00:11:43] Collin: Yup. So I’ll give you these, and these are from my head. This is not, this is not our, our formal position to me. Cabana’s like a move CLICO right. Corova is, is a Jack maybe it’s probably higher price than a Jack. So maybe it’s maybe it’s a Johnny Walker black label. Again, this is, this is out of my head, not my department.
[00:12:02] But I think, I think that paints a good picture, right? Krav as the 800 pound gorilla in the room for us. And my favorite thing about really what we’re doing is how ingrained in the culture Corova is Brian, you see my tweets about this? I think a lot of them SOS are making these brands that are for hypothetical cannabis consumers.
[00:12:21] Was here for the people that want to get high and that aren’t afraid about anybody knowing about it, right. It’s built on high potency, the thousand milligram black bar, which is a legend in the cannabis industry is where we came from. And there is no. There’s no soccer, moms eaten a thousand milligram black bar.
[00:12:39] Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of people eating on because in California, that is not a recreational product, but there’s actually a 2000 and a 1000. We have a licensee in Arizona, in Oklahoma. So you can go even crazier. If you want to there.
[00:12:52] Bryan Fields: What do they sell for, for 2000 milligrams?
[00:12:54] Collin: I don’t know, off the top of my head.
[00:12:56] Bryan Fields: Would someone consume that in one second?
[00:12:58] Collin: I, I think so.
[00:13:00] I can’t speak to that type of consumption very well. Right. I, myself, I’m a pretty casual user, but I think what I was just hitting on is really like a key thing for me. There are so many companies that have a marketing agency build an avatar and create a brand that’s light and fluffy and, and for the soccer mom or the yada yada.
[00:13:20] That’s nice. In the meantime, we’re going to sell products to people that actually use weed.
[00:13:25] Bryan Fields: Yeah. I mean, listen, from marketing sense, everyone’s golden goose is always the soccer mom, right? Like whenever you started off, that’s who I want. Always. And that’s great, but like realistically, what are they buying?
[00:13:35] And is it any of these products? Likely not, but I think their future down the road server, when can build those brands for them. Right. You know, what you’ve kind of established out is like, we’re here now. And we’re going to build that market share because I think rans and marketing will be what kind of transfers over state lines.
[00:13:52] As we, as people start to get a little more experienced and understand, Hey, like I got this product, I loved it. Now I want to get it here. And then they start kind of angling from that perspective.
[00:14:01] Collin: Our golden goose is people that smoke weed. Yeah.
[00:14:03] Bryan Fields: Well then you’re in the right industry. So I want to kind of slightly switch gears, but say in more of the dispensary.
[00:14:10] You walk into a dispensary for the first time you’ve smoked flower in the past, how would you call and simplify the experience to walk a uneducated consumer through a product selection choice in order to kind of get.
[00:14:26] Collin: Sure the best answer to this question is go to the spot in Santa Ana or bloom and San Leandro or Oakland and find out.
[00:14:33] But I think that budtenders start with, with a seed, right? So I’ve smoked flower X, right. Start with a seed and go from there. That’s a tough one to answer. But I think that accessibility comes into play. Right? And so things like pre-rolls are more accessible than flower that they’re made out of just from a hardware needed standpoint.
[00:14:52] And then other skews go from there. I may be a little bit dodgy there, but I think you get what I’m getting at every one of those scenarios is so hand to hand. And I think that is kind of the beauty of that bud tender relationship and the cannabis experience right now. And like I said, I don’t think it’s going anywhere.
[00:15:10] Maybe certain categories, right. And at a distillate based edible, much easier to, to go. Great. I just want that one. It tastes like strawberries. But I don’t think flowers going anywhere and extracts going anywhere. And I think that’ll be catered to every single one. So for Colin, it’s probably a joint maybe.
[00:15:27] Bryan Fields: Because I the reason I asked you that is when I was with Kellen in Seattle, we walked into dispensary. It was one of the first ones that walked in and there might’ve been 10,000 products. It felt like there was a thousand different flour choices hundreds of different edibles. And I was just kind of like, I don’t even know where to start.
[00:15:42] So I kind of like asked him and he’s like, well, what do you want edibles? And that’s a common question we get asked because most of our listeners are east Coast-based. They’ve only been to one or two dispensers, but they’re excited about the opportunity with New Jersey, New York, Connecticut coming online.
[00:15:54] So they’re like, which product category should I start with? What should I go for? And that’s why I was curious someone like yourself, you’ve got an educated brand, strong consumer focus, you know, what would that experience be like for you?
[00:16:05] Collin: Right. Our experiences are very one-to-one. That’s a great, great example.
[00:16:08] I think a lot of retail formats, retail formats vary across the industry, but all of ours are one-to-one bud tender relationships. So for me cart, probably right. Especially in that vein, but the one-to-one relationship and the budtenders ability to guide the conversation around your preferences is a super valuable one.
[00:16:27] And so that, that one-to-one is a big part of our retail experience. And I think we’ll be going.
[00:16:32] Bryan Fields: I agree with that. I mean, I’m a flower guy and I been a cannabis consumer a long time, and I’ve worked in the industry for a long time. And when I go into dispensary, It’s that one-on-one relationship. And every single time I’m like, and I’ve seen a ton of different flower and every single time I asked them what what’s new and we have a conversation and they guiding even my kind of buying decisions in the dispensary, because it’s just way of that whole interaction.
[00:16:58] And it’s a comfort level too. And I don’t think that it’ll go anywhere until you can go into a store. Like with bud light and you can pull it out of the refrigerator without anyone being there, kind of as the gating agent associated with those kinds of products, then
[00:17:12] Collin: you have certain categories where that’s just never going to happen.
[00:17:15] Right. If I, we just got some Trop cherries, and that’s the best weed I’ve seen seen in a while. If I go to a store looking for that strain, like you may have that strain. But if you’re the bud tender, you know, oh, well this is, you know, this sun-grown is last year’s, this is last year’s harvest or yes, it’s that, but I’m not really sure that it’s, that, you know, the label says that it doesn’t look like trap cherries I’ve seen before in the past.
[00:17:36] Right. And that those inconsistencies that are going to be present in a lot of these categories are all, is going to make, make that a super high touch conversation. Yeah.
[00:17:46] Bryan Fields: The process of adding another product to your brand, you start with the customer perspective in mind, or do you start with the product type and then kind of work out to flushing out the.
[00:17:54] Collin: Yeah. I mean, we have a fairly famous 117 point checklist for this kind of a thing. I think it starts with, it starts with the market,. I think a lot of the times in a lot of industries, consumers may not know exactly what they want. So the first step is the market and seeing what is out there in the category, what the pricing is like so on and so forth.
[00:18:12] And from there, you can back into things like cost models and beyond our moon rocks, our sticks moon rocks are a great example of this. I think there was not much of that in the market in Oregon, before we launched. There are a couple, I don’t want to, I’m not trying to presume that we were the first, but there was not much demand.
[00:18:28] I think a lot, there was a lot of uncertainty with our sales team about if there was actually a demand for that. And we were confident there was, we looked at what’s out there, we back into the cost model. We source the components and and, and. So I think it’s market first, which is kind of maybe backwards, right?
[00:18:42] And with that product market fit, doesn’t always come
[00:18:44] but also from a product
[00:18:46] Bryan Fields: market fit standpoint, the market is still kind of developing as consumers kind of adjust what they’re really looking for and kind of how that experience entails. Just to clarify, what is he moving?
[00:18:55] Collin: So a moon rock is flour mixed with oil dusted or rolled in.
[00:19:00] So it’s kind of, it’s a little bit of everything jammed, jammed into, into one. So we do in California, we do three and a half grams, so eighth, and then one gram moon rocks, and Oregon. We do one grand moon rocks. And I think the there’s probably, if you Google it, you get these images of these nugs with like oil losing out of them.
[00:19:17] When you go to do a, a CPG that’s one gram, every time you can’t really do that. So we developed a process around that. Milling the flour to then get a consistent one gram every single time moon rock. And like I said, it’s, it’s a great bang for the buck product.
[00:19:32] Bryan Fields: Yeah. I don’t like enough to try that one time because through the recent announcement, right?
[00:19:36] Like how long was that process going through? Can you share some details of kind of, you know, what that was like? It must’ve been obviously an exciting one, but. A ton of probably paperwork and information, you know, from a commitment standpoint, whenever you kind of merge with another one, there’s a big kind of going forward moment.
[00:19:53] So, you know what, take us through a little bit about that.
[00:19:55] Collin: Yeah. So for me in this drain, this is my second round of M and a so second big integration of two companies and and then reaping the rewards and the struggles and challenges of doing that. So for us, there’s this massive. Influx and infrastructure.
[00:20:09] Right? We got cultivation infrastructure to build our brands on a, in both states. We’ve got facilities, we’ve got more retail, all that. And in terms of the process you’re absolutely right. It’s a slog on the back end. You’ve got the audits. You’ve got really the integration of the humans, right? This is a massive undertaking.
[00:20:26] There’s obviously redundancies there’s processes that mix or mesh, or don’t their strengths. There’s weaknesses. There’s a change curve. You Google change. There is a, I don’t know the actual name of it, but a widely known change curve that like, Excitement acceptance doubt or something somewhere. Right. And it drops off a cliff and then it, and then it levels out.
[00:20:47] And I think that there’s never been anything more accurate that changed per graphic with some emojis splattered on it has been in several decks of ours internally, and I’m excited to finally be here. Like I said, it gets us onto a bigger stage and I’m really excited to be, you know, the west coast MSO.
[00:21:04] There’s a lot of people playing at a very high level. All over the country, the nature of the industry is that it’s super fragmented. And for the time being we’re the west coast folks, I’m excited on that value proposition on that focus and what it is because California is as big as it gets in terms of economies and in the United States or the world.
[00:21:22] And so it’s like, it’s a good area to focus. Plenty to do.
[00:21:25] Bryan Fields: Yeah. I would say that’s pretty fair. So how long does something like that peak from, I’m not saying from like the initial conversation, but just kind of like rough ballpark on like, Hey. Is might be some serious. We should probably kick it around internally.
[00:21:36] What we’re thinking like, just from the ballpark timeframe.
[00:21:39] Collin: I think that our merger with Terra tech that ended yesterday with unrivaled brands was uncharacteristically quick. Three months it was announced, announced in March, obviously in the workflow works longer than that. We announced the close yesterday, which was the 8th of July.
[00:21:55] The first round we did with cannabis. You have these regulatory approvals. Ours happened through the middle of COVID. So we had a purgatory period. 19 months or something in the first pass at this right. Where everything is done. We’re just waiting for, for somebody at the government to check a box and call it, call it done.
[00:22:14] So from that standpoint, that, that creates a lot of unneeded angst, just from a leaving it up. But I think something we’ve done is just once the LOI is, are signed, it’s full speed ahead. Right? And there’s, there’s certain mechanics you put in place to address a possible outcome of, of things not going through, but full speed ahead on integration and, and working together.
[00:22:36] And then on days like yesterday, all it really means is great. Everybody’s got the same email address now and a redirect website. And we’re finally doing this, but we’ve really been in it for months. Alrighty.
[00:22:48] Bryan Fields: I think that’s, that’s perfectly said. So I guess the next question would be what’s next. What’s the next target?
[00:22:53] What’s the next. Kind of outcome. What are, what should we expect from you guys in the, in the short and near term?
[00:22:59] Collin: Yeah. So we’ve already announced our acquisition of silver Streak which is exciting. We really liked the DTC space. You know, we have our retail stores, but I think the entire trend of DTC is a really interesting one.
[00:23:11] And I think that knowing that we’re not going to be on a USPS truck anytime soon, I think kind of thing. Mixture of cannabis retail, and then bringing a faux DTC experience or an on demand experience is a really interesting one and was silver streak it’s as big as it gets delivery service wise in Northern California.
[00:23:29] And we’re excited where else I can go. And then I got to kind of stick to our guns with our CEO’s comments on this yesterday, we’ve got more deals in the pipeline. We’re excited to keep expanding and adding strategic pieces that, that line up with. West coast MSO and serving cannabis consumers rather than hypothetical ones.
[00:23:47] Bryan Fields: My follow-up question would be like you, you left out a coast. What are we expecting from the east coast?
[00:23:53] Collin: So our west coast focus is for today. Can’t speak too much to the future. Obviously we have big ambitions and there’s a lot to do. There’s a lot of ONTAP markets over there for now it’s west coast.
[00:24:03] And I think that kind of focus is super productive for the day to day of a business, which is outside of the obstructed MSO and is like really what matters. And so that focus has been super productive for our team’s vision. Day in and day out and mine as well. So we’ll, we’ll just have to take it one coset at a time.
[00:24:19] And, and while we’re on the topic west coast
[00:24:21] Bryan Fields: , make sure to edit that part out. So do brands travel, so you walk into a dispensary, you see a brand you love do, do brands travel like that, and if not, what do you think the industry needs in order to conduct to have that established brand. Like a Coca Cola, like a Pepsi where you walk in, where you’re like, that’s the product I’m looking for.
[00:24:40] How do brands get to that point?
[00:24:42] Collin: So brands travel logos on packaging, don’t travel. I think there’s a lot of the ladder in the industry, right? The real brands in cannabis are the ones that are embedded in the culture. And those brands, all travel cookies travels, right? Kiva travels. Corova travels sticks, travel.
[00:25:02] A lot of the brands that we see you can’t say that for. Right. And that’s because they’re manufactured by a marketing agency in the last 24 months or similar. So brands absolutely travel. And that’s what we see with Corova right. Corova is licensed in Oklahoma and Arizona and has a huge presence there.
[00:25:20] That’s that’s off the brand. And you can not say that for a lot of the brands.
[00:25:25] Kellan: I agree with that so much. I’ve seen there was a one brand in particular that I know, I, I just, I was debating whether I even say it just now in my head, but I’m not going to, I’m not going to there’s one brand in particular that was acquired in the past.
[00:25:39] And it was acquired by a larger company than what they were, and they completely change the entire formulation. And it’s different when you. State to stay in one state. It’s, it’s a specific solvent type type extraction concentrate in another state. They decided to use a different solvent. And so it’s just like, just like you said, it’s same logo on the packaging, but it’s a completely different product inside the packaging, which is just they’re shooting themselves in the foot.
[00:26:06] Then they’re just not being loyal to the industry and the consumers. And once everyone kind of. Figures it out. It’s going to be, it’ll be rough water moving forward. So yeah,
[00:26:16] Collin: consistency is, has always been a pillar for us and it’s for that exact reason, right? You don’t get to do a brand even, even one state at a time.
[00:26:24] If I can’t walk into the store, down the street and buy something and then go, you know, over the mountains, through the woods for the weekend with my family and walk into a store there and buy the same thing. Then that there’s not an actual brand happening. There’s there’s a package with the logo.
[00:26:38] And then at a bigger scale, the same can be said across states, right? That is a package with a logo. They’re not even putting the same stuff in it, much less, much less the same stuff with the same processes, a consistent form factor. That is how a bud light happens. That is how a generational brand happens.
[00:26:55] That’s how M and M.
[00:26:57] Bryan Fields: And is that because of cost saving, you think that’s what they’re doing?
[00:27:00] Collin: I think it’s the combination of cost saving and trying to like speed the market disorganization internally. I don’t think it’s one variable. I think it has to do with kind of multiple variables. Right? Like they expanded too quickly.
[00:27:16] They entered the market, they weren’t prepared to enter. Then they were like, okay, well we launched the brand and all of these dispensary’s are asking for us to carry it. What else can we put in it? And then from a top down, there’s just individuals that are in decision-making positions that don’t have experience in the space, which you see that time and time again.
[00:27:37] I think we touched on it earlier in terms of the experience with procurement, right? Like most undervalued position. And so there’s people making decisions that are like, well, it’s all TAC. So like, what’s the difference? You know what I mean? So I think that you can’t really pinpoint it to one specific variable.
[00:27:53] I think it’s a combination of a lot of different variables in my experience, from what I’ve seen,
[00:27:58] Kellan: I think M and a is a big piece of it, right? On a spreadsheet. It’s all the same. And so that’s, that’s especially the case. If, if that brand expansion happens by with rows in a spreadsheet, then it makes it that much easier for that to happen.
[00:28:10] Right. You buy processing lab X, they have this hardware great ship, the logo. And then, and then.
[00:28:16] Bryan Fields: We’ve talked about all that time, that, that really finite balance of like the optimization and growth, like how these, these big hematomas are feeling so, so fast and ultimately the consistency of the product, it’s going to be almost impossible to kind of replicate as they’re kind of just scooping up all of these places, because like you’re saying, they’re likely to shipping the logo and just saying, throw it out.
[00:28:36] Collin: Right. Yeah. I mean, the industry is so challenging. Like when I was in, I spent some time in Northern California working and it was like, you could get an OJI from Northern California and then you would get a batch of OJ from Southern California and they are completely different batches and they’re going to create completely different products.
[00:28:52] So even from that perspective, it’s just that the industry is. Fragmented. And that’s going to create all of these issues from a branding perspective, which again is why procurement is so important too, to building that consistency within, within a brand. Yep. I agree.
[00:29:07] Bryan Fields: Biggest misconception in the cannabis space.
[00:29:10] Collin: I think the biggest misconception in the cannabis space is the hypothetical cannabis. user Right. Again, drummed up in a marketing agency, an avatar for a customer that may or may not exist, or if they exist, they buy that little vape pen every six weeks. Right? We’re going after folks that go to the dispensary every day or they go twice a week or they go three times a week.
[00:29:32] Those are the people that consume cannabis. Those are the people that are loyal to brands. Those are the consumers. And I think that there’s a huge divide. Across those. And I think it’s perpetuated by the fact that a lot of the large MSOs are operating in limited licensed states where whatever exists is what exists.
[00:29:49] Right. And they’re setting that tone. When you come to the west coast, there’s been legal cannabis for 25 years in Oregon, in California, maybe it’s 20, right.
[00:29:59] Kellan: It’s 25 96 is when I would say technically it was legal in California. Right? Right.
[00:30:03] Collin: So the brands that have grown out of that and the consumers that have grown up.
[00:30:07] In the culture and the industry that’s grown out of that is not a manufactured one. It’s the most authentic in the country. And that means that I think the most influential brands in cannabis globally will come out of the west coast. And I think in my opinion today, it’s cookies and it’s for all of those reasons,
[00:30:24] Bryan Fields: what we do, prediction time, we ask all of our guests the same question.
[00:30:28] If you could sum up your experience into a lesson learned or main takeaway who pass onto the next generation, what would that be?
[00:30:38] Collin: Build? I have a strong bias towards action. I think everything that gets done in general, anywhere in any industry in any space is by people that did it. And that may seem obvious, but I think a lot of people sit on the sidelines and wait to be asked to do.
[00:30:54] Or guided to the light and builders belt. You just do it. That’s how we get here
[00:30:58] Bryan Fields: 10 years from now. What will be the main differentiator when consumers are selecting a product in the dispensary? Brand product category influencer, fulfill recommendation.
[00:31:09] Collin: I think 10 years from now, we will be getting into a more mature market where brand really makes a big difference today.
[00:31:17] It’s much more wide opening in California. Brand is a huge factor. And in Northern California and Oregon genetics and growers are much bigger piece of the puzzle, but I think the more mature it gets, the more the brand will. And 10 years from now, we won’t even be close to mature, but we’ll be headed down that path.
[00:31:35] Bryan Fields: What ending do you think we’ll be in, in 10 years? I bet it will be in the second half of it. I bet. I bet. Five or six, just based on the speed. Right. With alcohol, it took a hundred years is not going to, or I guess we’re a hundred years into alcohol. I don’t think that that’s one of the places where the comparison falls off.
[00:31:51] I think we’re going to be in fully, pretty mature industry 10 years from now, especially if we get federal legalization in the next 24 months.
[00:32:00] Kellan: I think Colin set up perfectly. I think brand is really what’s. Everyone’s going to kind of write home about if you will. I think that’s, what’s going to dictate decisions and I mean, just like people don’t buy RC Cola and if they buy Coca-Cola right, like you don’t hear people talking about RC Coke, you don’t hear you.
[00:32:15] Don’t see. A world famous soccer player, pulling a RC Coke bottle off of the stage. Right? So I think at the end of the day, it’s going to be brands that are going to dictate it.
[00:32:24] Collin: Let me tack onto that. I think an important caveat to that is brand is not logo on a package brand is expectation setting and consistency and community and culture.
[00:32:35] And so with those things as brand and logo on a package is easy to confuse, but it’s not.
[00:32:41] Bryan Fields: Just big spin on that it’s trust, right? Like there’s a, there’s a trust factor when you select a product there’s expectations that consistency of the product is going to be what you’re expecting because in this industry, at least from what I’ve seen, sometimes consumers have an off-putting experience the first time and are likely deterred from going back down that route again.
[00:32:59] They’re either they had a bad experience with an edible in college. They, they did this, they did that. And they’re unlikely to kind of consider that in the future. So I think if you’re saying trust is so important for this experience and sometimes the first experience is that delicate balance. So for me, obviously, brand is the high choice.
[00:33:15] I think it’s both a recommendation. And you’re from now, I’m going to believe that we’re going to be way past where we are now, probably for thinning, maybe third, but I think they’ll still be a big group of consumers that haven’t kind of migrated into mass adoption. And I think they’ll still be hesitant just because I think the stigma, at least from the east coast standpoint is still so stomped on come people that they’re unlikely to attempt it.
[00:33:36] I’m talking more about like the boomers age. I think they will be a little more hesitant to try it. And I think in Kenya, They’ll still have that stigma where I think the other generations will be more likely to go forward. So I think for their soldier recommendations, I think the dynamic of a friend saying I had this product when I went out to Oregon, I had tried tried six.
[00:33:54] It was amazing. You got to go grab it. I think that’s huge because I think someone here that goes out there for the first time is looking for that specific type of brand and trust. So. Cool. So Colleen, before we wrap, where can our listeners get in touch with you? And we’ll pack it all in the show notes, they want to learn more.
[00:34:08] Collin: Yup. Twitter guy. So my last name is land force. Exactly how it sounds. L a N D F O R C E. And at land force on Twitter, I’ve been making a conscious effort to do tweets last six months and I will continue to do so. And then for us on rivaled brands.com, just like it sounds you can get a great rundown of what we’re up to our brands, where to buy.
[00:34:32] All that good stuff right there.
[00:34:34] Bryan Fields: Cool. Well, appreciate your time.
[00:34:35] Collin: Thanks guys.
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