This is a really awesome episode. Today I’m joined by Shayda Torabi the CEO at RESTART CBD, The Texas Cannabis Queen and the Host of To Be Blunt: The Podcast for Cannabis Marketers.
She is a leader in the Cannabis space specifically in Austin, Texas where she owns and operates her own CBD wellness brand called RESTART CBD. Its mission is to help educate consumers in a rapidly changing and emerging industry like Cannabis.
You can find Restart CBD here: https://www.restartcbd.com/
Cannabud Marketing is the top digital marketing agency for Cannabis Dispensaries. Our specialized expertise will put you in the best position to succeed when working with us.
How’s it going, everyone. We’re back with another podcast episode. I’m your host, Brandon Quan the founder of Cannabud Marketing. The number one marketing agency for cannabis dispensaries, both in Canada and the United States.
And I’m here hosting the dispensary marketing podcast with Shayda, the CEO of restart CBD the Texas cannabis queen and the host of the To Be Blunt podcast. As you can see in the background, the podcast for cannabis marketers, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me branded I’m excited to dive into today’s discussion.
No worries. So let’s hop right into it. So first things first, tell us a little bit about yourself and a little bit about, I guess, the many businesses that you do. Yes. Yes. Well, I’ll start by saying I’m based in Austin, Texas. So for people who are familiar with cannabis, Texas is not the first state that you think of for like, yeah, I’m gonna go open a cannabis business.
So our story is a little bit unique I say are because I am the CEO of restart CBD, but we are a family run business. So I own the business with my two younger sisters. And yeah, I, I guess it’s always fun for me to say out loud that I love cannabis. I’ve been a cannabis consumer for many, many years. And, you know, I never really thought that I would work in the cannabis industry professionally.
It was always my fun pastime. I very much instigated family trips to legal states like Colorado and California. Um, but again, being in Texas, I just didn’t really see a clear path for how I was going to work professionally in the industry. And then in 2015, I was in a car accident. I was hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian, and I broke my pelvis in two places.
So here I am loving cannabis and now being confronted with chronic pain, right? So we all know that cannabis has medicinal properties. I was smoking a lot of weed, but I didn’t really understand how my endocannabinoid system worked, how different cannabinoids worked, how even different consumption methods could work and really had no understanding of doses.
So when my sweet mother suggested I try C B D back in 20 15, 20 16, I was like, you’re crazy lady. Nobody’s talking about C, B, D what the hell even is CBD. And again, you know, the timeframe hemp didn’t become federally legalized until 2018 kind of end of 2019. And then Texas would also legalize hemp in 2019.
So from a market opportunity perspective, even though my mom had introduced it to me, it wasn’t like I saw the CBD hemp market unfolding. And I was like, I’m gonna start a business. Right, right. This is just something that me and my family became familiar with, comfortable with. It was helping me mitigate my pain so much that I was able to get off opioids and, you know, solely be using cannabis for my recovery.
And that was kind of the foundation being laid. Right. And so, in addition to that, prior to starting restart, I have a background in technology and marketing. I have a undergrad in marketing and a master’s in business. And so for me, entrepreneurial, um, mindedness is very much a part of my day to day. My parents are small business entrepreneurs and the insurance agency.
And it was just something that I knew eventually I would be a business owner, but I didn’t know how to get there. And so it’s just kind of the perfect storm. I ended up getting laid off from my job as a director of marketing for a digital agency, we had just founded restart C B, D as a side project. Because again, when hemp first became legal, it wasn’t this massive, like race off to the races, like rush.
It was still a little bit, is this gonna get me high? What is C, B, D and how does this actually work? And is this legal in my state? So we really leaned into education. We really leaned into marketing. I always refer and talk about, you know, leaning into your strengths and not getting caught up in things that you’re not good at.
So we just leaned to our strengths. I think that’s where we started to find a lot of our footing. And it was really resonating both my recovery story, my passion for cannabis. And yeah, just being a Texan who is trying to help other Texans understand cannabis was the entry point for us to now get into the industry.
And this year we will be celebrating four years in business. We were, thank you so much. Just voted the number one C B brand by a couple local publications. So I like to think we’re doing some things. Right, right. Um, but also learning along the way, as, you know, as your listeners know, this industry is very difficult.
Right. You know, I think it seems like, Hey, let’s go use this particular tool. I know before we were recording, we’re talking about MailChimp, for example. Yes. That is not cannabis friendly. So depending on what platform you are building your foundation for your business upon, right. Those are things that you need to be conscious and considerate about.
And so, especially when you’re getting into marketing. So yeah, that, that’s kind of how we got into the industry, just out of personal passion and personal, um, need. And then I launched to be blunt as my extension of just wanting to have high level cannabis conversations to kind of lean into professionalizing the industry, professionalizing the conversation.
Right. And so, yeah, I talk about marketing business, all the things science certainly gets entangled in there because if you don’t understand the science, how are you going to market something? So exactly. It’s been a fun, wild ride and journey, and I’m very grateful to be here and excited to continue our conversation today.
Wow. What an intro there’s there’s , you know, we see, you know, we see why you’re a professional thank you. Thank you. There’s a lot to unpack, you know, unpack and I really wanna get started on that marketing stuff. But before that, just entrepreneurial curiosity, you guys, you and your family actually starting the business in itself.
What were those like first couple months looking like, like, did you try and source products? Did you have people that were interested in this already? And you were like, Hey, I’m gonna do this. Did you have no clue what was going on? And just started off with the website and an Instagram page? Like, how did that look? Because what I wanna do, because I you’re in Texas and there’s a lot of other states that are in a very similar boat, you know, with you, I’ve had a few people reach out to me saying, Hey, you know, this and this, so, and so is gonna legalize shortly, but we’re like low THC or only CBD and he same thing.
Right, right. So, you know, what were the first things, I guess, that you did in terms of the journey to start re restart CBD, and then I would say what you think people should prioritize, you know, on like, what were the lessons learned essentially? I’m just yeah, no really good question. I think to kind of jump to your second question first and kind of going off of what I was sharing in my intro, how you build your foundation for your business is extremely important.
So like looking back as a four year old business in the legal hemp, but very much cannabis space who operates. So we have a brick and mortar in Austin and we also do e-commerce. So I’ll kind of intertwine things now that I’m kind of thinking about it, right? So we are limited with what technology we can actually leverage to operate our business.
If you’re gonna go make a t-shirt company, oh, who’s gonna take my payments. Maybe it’s strip, maybe it’s square. Well, what’s a good POS for my retail. That’s gonna tether into my eCommerce when you’re in cannabis, that opportunity of available applications and platforms shrinks dramatically. And if you are hemp C B D versus marijuana, there’s even more differentiation because now you’re seeing in the marijuana space, there are certain POS platforms that are coming to market that are specific for marijuana businesses, but also with marijuana kind of C you know, aside, you’re now seeing businesses go online, but they still can’t sell direct to consumer or ship to consumer.
So that adds again, more complexity. But for us, you know, my background coming from tech originally, I actually used to work at a hosting platform company. Um, the company was in the WordPress ecosystem. And so I stand by open source. So when you’re looking at again, foundations building your business on what platforms, fortunately, I had the foresight and the history understanding open source versus closed source platform.
So I knew, I don’t wanna build my house on a closed source platform because they can pull the plug. They can shut me off. They can, you know, prevent me from doing what I’m trying to do on their platform, which is why I personally do not recommend platforms like Shopify, even though Shopify has come out very publicly saying they support cannabis and C B D I’ve talked to their team.
I, I, it’s very limited again with what they’re actually going to let you do on their platform, but that’s an example. So I picked WordPress. So to answer your kind of first part of the question, when we launched restart, I mentioned that it was a little bit of a side hustle. This wasn’t my main, I’m gonna go to business and do this.
So, because I come from platforms and technology, I was like, oh, what is every millennial’s dream is to sell eCommerce products. Like I can be on an island, I’ll have my operations set up, we’ll drop ship products to people. It’ll be great. I don’t need to have a brick and mortar. This is gonna be awesome.
I can do digital. We very quickly learned by launching eCommerce first, how difficult it was partially due to the timeline that we were launching. And so when we launched in 2018, it wasn’t as understood. So we found a lot of hurdles where people just weren’t comfortable buying something that they couldn’t hold in their hands in a retail setting, or talk to a human being in a, you know, direct one-on-one conversation.
And so we were really fortunate, even though we had this eCommerce business that we had started and it was, you know, operating, we were seeing like sales come in, but it wasn’t anything like we’re seeing, you know, over the last couple years of growth. Right. But we were fortunate. One of our marketing plays to touch on a little bit of marketing, right? We are content creators first and foremost.
So like I said, leaning into your strengths, my sister Sydney and I who’s my original co-founder. So there’s me, the oldest, Sydney’s my middle sister, Nika is my youngest Sydney. And I are what I would call influencers. I hate that word. It’s gotten, you know, muddled over the years, but we are people that have built followings online.
And when we say, Hey, try this, you know, shirt out or go to this restaurant. We have an audience of people who engages with that, um, you know, influence. And so we had built these followings. I used to be a food blogger and a wellness blogger. My sister Sydney is a fitness blogger. And so we had these audiences who were looking to us for what to eat, where to work out, you know, how do you take care of yourself from a wellness perspective that because we had those environments and those personal brands already set up, even though we were eCommerce, we had in person opportunities.
So the most, you know, kind of prominent one that kind of bridge the gap for us, I’ll never forget it. Cuz it was the first thing we did. My sister used to work at this gym mm-hmm and I would go to the gym and train at that gym. And we were going like every day, so much so that we even bought a house near the gym, cuz we loved this gym so much.
It was a great gym. Shout out to athletic outcomes. If whoever in Austin, Texas, they’re my favorite functional fitness gym, but they were open to programming with us. So we kind of put our heads together and we’re like, Hey, how about we do a CBD 1 0 1, we’ll bring goody bags for all of the people in the class and we’ll do a workout and then we’ll talk about CBD.
And that was the first kind of aha moment. Validating people do care, but people wanna talk to people and they wanna see products in their hands. And so that event experience that in-person experience really validated, Hey, we probably should open up a retail. Didn’t know what retail looked like, but thought, Hey, we gotta get this in front of people in a one-on-one direct setting and we can’t just solely be online.
So, to kind of sum it up, we launched online e-commerce first realized it was really challenging. But I think fortunately for us through C, especially, we didn’t have to think of how we were gonna get online because we were already online, but we have to now bridge the gap of what does eCommerce look like to retail.
So that’s where, you know, my tip of it’s not that your foundation can’t change, but you kind of wanna make those investments as thoroughly as possible upfront so that you’re not having to replatform or reshift your business at a later time, which can cause decline or attrition and, and other problems with integration.
So yeah, no that look that makes sense of sense. You had a online following, right? That is your asset. It was your own digital asset. You’re like, Hey, let’s do econ. Cuz it would make, make made a lot of sense. And you’re like, okay, maybe retail, you know, is the play to go. If you were to restart, would you start with retail first and then say, Hey, we have a couple products econ that way.
Or you know, would you do everything you did the same? You know, I still probably would pick to do eCommerce first. Right? Especially now I think the marketplace has certainly opened up. I mean, we were one of those businesses who maybe you’re familiar, maybe your listeners are familiar with the big like Elon exit Elevon was the only payment merchant back in 20 18, 20 19 that really supported C B D businesses.
And so we were really fortunate to be one of their customers early on, but there was a moment where they exited outta the industry and they were shutting people off with like less than two weeks of notice. Yeah. So that was a really difficult thing that if that was still the case, which it payment processing is still an issue.
Right. But there’s so many more opportunities and providers today that I would still pick eCommerce first because you can reach a much broader audience. So it just kind of depends. What’s your play. Do you wanna do local? Do you wanna do eCommerce? And I say that also acknowledging and admitting the majority of our business comes from retail.
Really interesting. Yeah. We’re predominantly retail. Yeah. Wow. Um, I guess now that’s touching, touching into that. So obviously you have a huge following between, you know, you and your sister, um, you know, what other marketing efforts are you using to try and drive the most amount of sales? Yeah.
So kind of going off of local versus eCommerce, I think for us, our, our wish and our push and our direction is certainly to do more eCommerce. Right? So we’re investing in more of that than more, I guess, localized marketing efforts. So I would say kind of like localized marketing efforts that we’ve implemented are things like promotions in store.
So trying to figure out what are perhaps slow days and what are promotions that we can run in store to drive sales or to drive traffic on those days that are maybe not a Friday or Saturday. Right. We also come from an event background. So part of my role working in corporate technology was actually to build out that tech company’s whole event profile and brand marketing.
So events is kind of second nature to me, whether that’s putting on an event yourself, whether that’s doing a popup at somebody else’s event, right. I always love to kind of reiterate, you know, public speaking, being on podcast, right? This is marketing right. So that’s something that I like to practice and I think that I’m pretty good at it.
So I like to lean into it. Um, there’s other things that we are not doing that are more from a retail perspective, for example, like traditional print or billboards. So we have competitors and peers that we’ve seen gone after billboards locally, as well as nationally. I see a lot of California delivery companies leveraging billboards, right.
Obviously on a major road and you have that visibility, people are seeing it. But I think for me as a marketer, it’s always like, how do I attribute and track the billboard? Yeah. I don’t know. You know, they’re great. It’s great that a hundred thousand people, you know, a week see it, but how do I know that those people are actually coming in? So those things are a little bit harder to track versus things that I can do online.
So online, for example, We implemented about, probably like three or four months ago, and this has like a dual purpose, right? We started doing webinars where we’re talking to our audience on topics. We’re an education forward brand. I feel like a lot of brands say that, but we really try to live it, breathe it.
And so for us, that’s taking topics like this month, next week, I’m doing one since may, is for mother’s day. We’re talking all about C BG because it’s known as the mother of all cannabinoids. So we try to pick topics that are educational. Uh, last month I did one on how to talk to your parents about cannabis.
We’ve done them on cannabinoids and also just more community type conversations, like how to travel with cannabis was another one that I did. Those are not only good opportunities to position us as a thought leader, create content, right? Collect emails, which is great to be marketing too. Yes. But then we also take those videos and we were talking before we were recording, right.
I take those videos and I either live stream them to my YouTube or Facebook, which gets more visibility or what we’ve really been leveraging is I take those videos and I just put them on my YouTube. So that content has dual purpose. Now it’s not so much just, I did a webinar. It’s okay. I did a webinar and now I have video content that I can put on my YouTube channel and being able to track it.
So we started implementing coupon codes in our videos. So we can track specific videos of people are redeeming them. It’s imperfect still because you know, people are faulty and they don’t always apply the coupon codes or click the link that you want them to click that cuz that you can trace. But those are things that I think that we’ve started to lean into in ways that we can again, market.
But also I’m all, I’m all about working smarter, not harder. Yes. So how can I do something that can have multiple applications? And then I would say the final thing just because it’s really, I think our bread and butter is content in general, right? So whether it is a video it’s Instagram, it’s a blog post.
I think we do a really good job of creating dynamic content, whether it’s reals playing in TikTok, as much as we can doing these videos, trying to do blogs frequently working on our SEO. So you can see there’s obviously multiple channels and strategies that we have at play. But I think the overarching umbrella is trying to give them, give some themes, right? So we try to create themes for every month and, and try to track that way.
But yeah, we’re, we’re having fun and trying to test new things all the time, but sometimes, you know, sticking to the, the basics is, is really what works best. No, I mean, look, you guys are absolutely crushing it. Like, it just sounds like you’re doing an absolutely bang on job with all the marketing and stuff.
I mean, me, you know, kind of doing my marketing, that’s kind of the level of, of what I wanna do. You know, I’m doing webinars, I’m also doing podcasts like this, but I don’t think to the extent that you guys are doing so definitely applauding you for, for all of our stuff. Thank you. Thank you. It takes the team.
People always ask who, who does all of this. Right. And you know, a lot of it started internal originally. We’re really fortunate. We’ve now like hired out certain whether they’re internal employees to come on or agencies to come support some of these, of course these directions. But I also want people to realize you don’t have to hire people or pay people to do things like start with what you know, and the beautiful thing I think about social media, that’s shown us, you can have the whole glamorous filter and the perfect, you know, microphone set up and then you see a video that was shot on like, you know, a half blurry iPhone screen that wasn’t clean and you can barely hear the audio, but the guy’s like super engaging.
And that video has more views than perhaps sometimes the most polished video. So it’s not that you can’t work towards better quality, but it, the whole shtick is like just putting things out there. Right. And iterating and testing and just being a steward of, you know, don’t like good be the enemy of great.
Just keep trying to do things. Yeah. No, I’m no a hundred percent with you on that. Um, so on my end from, you know, my marketing standpoint as an agency, uh, you know, I’m big on the numbers too. It’s right? Like, is, is this action directly or maybe pseudo, indirectly resulting in at the end of the day, me making more money.
Right. You know, clients, whatever it is, but is this providing a positive ROI and not just ROI on money, but an ROI on time? Like, is it worth doing all these different things? Right. So I know when I first started, a lot of the thing was outreach. Like, like, Hey, I have this service. I think you’d be a good fit.
Do you wanna work with me? But obviously, as we know that only gets you so far because of trust and authority, isn’t there, you have to hit the person at the right time. You know, they might be in the MI with the right mood. Uh, maybe they might not have the money, like whatever it is that they maybe you’ve just gone burnt by someone else.
Right. Or maybe it’s tax season, they got a big, you know, some, you know, whatever it is. So what I’m doing right now is like, I’m focusing a lot on this content play, right. Podcast, webinars, YouTube videos, all that fun stuff. Um, so I’m getting caught in the like, not necessarily that like, you know, uh, good as the enemy of perfect kind of thing, but trying to figure out how should I be optimizing like content per se.
Right. Cause as you say, like we’re putting out content, we’re cutting up clips, we’re trying to find intriguing guests and we, you know, make production quality better and stuff like that. But to what point do you just like, say, Hey, I’m just gonna get this stuff out. Let my inputs be the inputs and then optimize like later on.
Or do you have a specific kind of, um, strategy on how you wanna optimize, whether it’s your podcast or more listens or YouTube for more views and stuff like that or optimizing for subscribers? I hope that wasn’t a long-winded question, but I just wanted to know, you know? Yeah. How does your optimization process work when putting out the content? Cause like there’s so many things we can change, right? Yeah.
That’s a good question. I can’t say that I’m an expert at optimization. I think it’s a little bit of a double ledge sword. Right? You can do the research, which I always encourage people to do the research. Like if you don’t understand, like, let’s say using podcast for an example, because we both have a podcast and I had never done a podcast prior to podcasting, so I didn’t know what I needed to have and what I didn’t need to have.
So I think there was part of that, that I was iterating as I went. And part of it came from feedback from my guests. Hey, what did you like? What did you not like? Or being a guest on other people’s podcasts? Oh, they sent this particular email out. Well, I would like to send that particular email out. So let me go pull that idea and implement it.
But on the front end, before I even started, I did do research, which I think everybody should do. Right. It’s not just, okay. Shada said, do a podcast and don’t let you know great be the enemy of good. So I’m just gonna get on that pocket. It’s like, no, do some, do some research. Like I think people know when you are being silly versus being serious.
Right. And not that silly isn’t serious or has a place. Cause I think you look at YouTube and there’s all these people doing crazy crap and their videos are super engaged. Right. But what are you like, what is your goal? I think you do have to understand, like, what is the outcome? What do you want people to do when they listen to the podcast or they engage with you on social media? So whether that’s looking at your branding, you know, yes.
What is the visualization of that look like? Does it look cohesive? Does it make sense? Does people, do people see when they read, for example, to be blunt and then they see a picture of me, do they get, do they understand this is a cannabis conversation or is blunt, you know, something else. Right. And part of it’s interpretation and part of it’s the packaging.
So you can have a word and a name, but how do you market that and how do you bring it to the, the market? So I would say it is a combination of both. Like I said, when I started, I didn’t know anything about podcasting, but I invested time in getting the foundation set up. I had a microphone that was not this microphone.
I had a recording studio that was not this room. I had graphics that were not my present graphics. Right. So I’ve iterated over time and it’s not always, and maybe some people’s preferences, I gotta have like this big launch and it’s gonna be sequential. Like I remember getting on the phone, somebody reached out to me after I’ve been doing the podcast for about a year and they were like, Hey, your podcast is great, but we think we can edit it better.
Do you want to, you know, try our service out. Cuz I, I work with a podcast editing company and they were telling me that they work with clients that do seasons for their podcast and they kind of break it up. And so you’re having different chapters. And I was like, whoa, that’s not what I was thinking. So if you look at my podcast, I’ve released a podcast every Monday for two years straight, I do not have a break.
I do not have like a, okay. And now we’re gonna like podcast going away. Like, I don’t know if I ever have an off button or off switch and that’s just kind of how I’ve interpreted it. But those are all things that you can kind of iterate as you’re going. If your decision is that you wanna do full stream of consciousness, like you’re kind of talking about unedited.
Right? Do that, try that, see if that works. I don’t do video. I’m talking about implementing video. That wasn’t, that was actually my original thought. Then when I launched the podcast, I retracted that. And now I’m thinking of video again, you know, coming up on my two year marks. So I think the answer is a little bit of both.
I think you have to be open to iteration because if you’re like, this is the best and it’s always gonna be the best. Instagram is a great example. I have a lot of friends who are photographers. If they just post photos, Instagram’s algorithm changed and they’re not going to prioritize your photos. So now my photographer friends are like son of a gun.
I’ve gotta go learn how to do reels and I’ve gotta go learn how to do video content. If you do not put yourself in a posture of evolution, then it’s not that your content won’t still get attracted. It’s just the platforms that you are putting your content on. Might not always reward you unless you are evolving as these platforms and algorithms continue to change.
So yes you should absolutely always be optimizing and iterating and taking feedback. And then also at the same time, trusting yourself and just launching things that you think are, you know, equality that you’d be proud of. Right? At the end of the day, you have to be, have ownership of what you’re producing and putting out there.
Right? Look absolute, you know, tons of golden nuggets right here. I mean, haven’t even gotten into the tactical stuff like that yet. I mean, you know, I’m sure I’ve said enough, but you’re, you’re absolutely crushing. Right? I appreciate it. I’m just doing what I, you know, I don’t think I’m great at everything, but the things that I’m aware of being good at, I try to lean into those and it, it is an iteration.
It is an optimization. It is a process. It is a journey. And you know, if you would’ve seen me, I started public speaking just to interject this thought. Cuz I think when people look at me now they’re like, oh you’re so polished. Even one of my retail associates. She’s like, did you, did someone teach you to public speak? Did you do training? No I didn’t.
But I remember the first time I public spoke at a conference in my previous industry, in the WordPress industry and I was petrified. I didn’t know how to command a conversation, command a room and you have imposter syndrome. Right? And so how do you chip away at that? Well, you put yourself in uncomfortable situations to challenge yourself and you keep doing it and over time you get better.
So I’m a big fan of consistency and just putting yourself in uncomfortable situations and getting better as you go. And so I think if you have that attitude, you have that stance in life, then you really can do anything because what separates you know me from, I don’t know, I’m like a big podcast, right? Yeah.
Joe Rogan. He’s controversial. Right. But Joe Rogan, he’s this number one podcaster on Spotify. How do you get there to be that level? Well what does it take? And so kind of, you know, looking at it and dissecting it from that perspective and then just showing up every day and plugging in and doing it makes sense.
Makes sense of sense. And Joe Rogan is always the, the default with everyone, for me too. Like as soon before you even said Joe Rogan, I was like, Joe Rogan was, yeah. Your brain’s like, oh, okay. You, I would try trying to, you know, is there a female that I can maybe be like, but like Joe Rogan is just the defacto, like the guy, right.
If you like him or don’t, whatever it is, it’s, it’s just always Rogan’s podcast. Right. yeah. I just feel like he has kind of cornered the podcasting market. Yeah. And it’s a universal name that people are like, oh podcasting of course. Yeah. Yeah. So right. Aspirational maybe. Um, so let’s talk into social media.
Uh, so professional, I know you don’t like the word influencer, but that is what you are. You have a professional, you know, influencer and a following. Uh, what’s some like tactical advice you would give for some of these dispensaries trying to grow their social media. Cause I, I see a big issue going on and it’s like, you know, they’re, they’re getting all these, uh, uh, bands and you know, there’s compliance issues, not just like government compliance legislation issues, but like what Instagram allows you to do and what they don’t allow you to do.
I think that like this is an opportunity, right? If, if all of these dispensaries are getting banned by doing the things that everyone else does, why don’t you try something else that might be outside of this scope of what dispensaries traditionally do, but by having a good social media following, you can essentially build that brand up.
So I was wondering if you had any more tactical tips on how these dispensaries can, you know, maybe go about not circumventing the rules, but just leveraging Instagram and social media more than they already are. Yeah. I think one of the things that comes to mind is Obviously if you’re a dispensary you’re selling cannabis products and people are enjoying those products, if you’re in business or you know, you’re growing your business.
So how do you empower those consumers to help create content? So in our world it’s called user generated content, right? So you can do multiple things with user generated content. I’ve seen brands, we don’t necessarily do it, but let’s say I go into dispensary, ABC and I bought this fake pen and I love it.
So I took a picture of it and I tagged them. And if I’m dispensary, ABC, maybe I take shade’s picture and I’m gonna repost it on my feed. So there’s your feed. And then there’s your stories, right? So some people are taking that content, they’re putting it on their feed. What we do is we try to encourage user generated content and then we reshare it on our stories.
Our feed is a little bit more reserved for our content that we are trying to promote. But I think user generated content is a great way to get around some of the circumventing of you posting that content. And it’s someone else posting that content. And so how do you activate that? Right? What do that, what does that look like in tangible terms? So simple things, maybe it’s not simple to everybody, but do you have, you know, an easy to understand Instagram, I get it when you’re in this industry, you’re forced to kind of like two paths.
I mean multiple paths, but two paths that come to mind, one, you can’t always, you know, everybody can’t be like the green road. Like everybody’s that name? Right? So then you’re the green road, Arkansas. You’re the green road, California. You’re the green road, whatever. But trying to pick a name that is unique and easy for your consumer to latch on follow, engage on social media, you wanna be top of mind.
And then the other thing too is when you’re getting disabled. So I have a lot of brand friends that I see, you know, they had to add underscores in their Instagram or they have to add the number one at the end that does make it more difficult. If your account gets deactivated and then your forced into some of these scenarios where like, just earlier today I was trying to tag, um, this brand.
I don’t, I don’t need to name them, but they have multiple Instagrams and I’m trying to tag them and I’m like, well, which one do I use? Right? Like I want to tag them, but I don’t even know which one to use. So how do you make that consumer understand this is my social profile and this is where you go to me for the best information.
So some of the ways that a brand can activate on that one, putting displays in your retail location, that’s like, follow me on Instagram, get a vinyl sticker, printed, put it on your front door, you know, have little flyers that you pass out. Hey, by the way, we’re on Instagram. Um, this kind of goes hand in hand too.
I think with reviews, right? Being able to build up reviews on certain platforms, especially if you have a brick and mortar part of the time, it’s just people don’t ask, you know, I’ll go write a business, a review. I, as a consumer, we’re not always thinking, oh, how do I help this small business that I love? But if I’m the business owner, which I do, I ask our customers, like, especially if I notice they’re having a good experience in the store and you can tell by the conversation like, oh, by the way we have an Instagram or did you like this education? I’ve got a YouTube channel and oh, by the way, we’re on Yelp.
Do you mind going and leaving us a review? So being thoughtful and having those conversations and then tangible ways that you can point someone to your Instagram or hand them a physical, like we literally printed little business cards that have all of our information on it. And we put those in every customer’s bags.
Yeah. So when customers are checking out their walking out with this information, Hey, did you like this product? Like mention us on social media? Like we love seeing how our customers are engaging with our products. Yeah. That’s a great call to action. Another thing that you could do is if you’re doing email marketing, put it in your email, marketing signature and things like that.
So we have it in our signature. Our email team did a really beautiful, it’s almost like a gift. So it looks like a phone. And then like the phone is like scrolling on our Instagram. So when you’re getting our emails, you can see, oh, they have an Instagram. Right. I should go engage with them on social media.
And so it’s again creating some of that connection for the consumer to like steer them in the direction of engaging with you on these platforms. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, yeah. Cuz like you, you get them in and it’s like, sure. They may just be like perusing your Instagram one time. But now you’re top of mind for whenever the next time they wanna buy any DVD related product or like you pop up on their feed kind of thing.
And it’s, it’s like that, that whole Omni presence strategy where like you’re on social, you here on email, text, SMS on the website, you know, all of these things kind of put together and it really helps drive overall brand awareness, you know, for, for the store for any other dispenser that wants to do that as well.
Well, you said it too. It takes people like seven or you didn’t say seven, but I’m saying seven cuz that’s I believe the correct number that’s updated actually. Sorry, maybe nine. No, you’re fine to 21 or something like that. Oh geez. Well probably because of the amount of like onslaught of content that we’re being served at any given time, but that’s exactly, it is interesting when we’re in retail, we have it in our POS and my retail staff knows to ask like, Hey Brandon, how did you hear about us? Right.
And it’s remarkable sometimes people’s recollection it’s I think my friend told me about you, but then I saw a YouTube video and then I ended up on your website, but I didn’t sign up, blah, blah, blah. So it’s hard to attribute sometimes. Yes, yes. But it is one of those things that, you know, if you can just like empower that conversation to be happening and again, kind of steer people into that direction of engaging.
The other thing I’ll say about social media too, that can be really reciprocal is giveaways giveaway. I don’t know, you know how it is implemented in every scenario. So for example, you probably can’t give away cannabis products, but something that we’ve started doing is, well, we know our customers like to go to concerts and they like to go to comedy shows.
How about I give you tickets to a comedy show that’s coming up in town and obviously this is more localized from a retail perspective versus, well, it makes sense online, but Hey, they’re gonna go, they’re gonna tag their friends. They’re gonna, maybe you make it, Hey, you gotta repost this picture to get entered in multiple times.
And so that’s another way to post content to get engagement. That is not you posting about marijuana yeah. Or cannabis explicitly, right? No. That makes sense. Are you using all like when I say all like the main ones, Instagram TikTok link, LinkedIn, for the most part, um, and Twitter, I guess, are you using all of them? Are you, have you dipped your toes in a few of them only Instagram we’ve dipped our toes in all of them.
I would say the strategy right now is have a Twitter. Nobody’s really on it from a consumer perspective. I see brands like Wendy’s for example, they’re so witty and funny and they’re like bantering back and forth. That’s fine. If you have the team or that’s like your knack do that, right. We have a Facebook page and a private group that we’ve created as like a community group that we’re pretty active in.
And it’s also like community driven. So the community who’s a part of the group creates some of the content in there. I’m very active on LinkedIn, I believe from a B to B perspective of maintaining relevancy in the industry and just building your network up. Like I found a lot of personal success with LinkedIn for me, but we don’t really promote, restart on LinkedIn.
And then I would say our most popular channels are between our Instagram and our YouTube. We have a TikTok, but TikTok is very murky for us just because it’s not that we’re not getting flagged on Instagram. It’s just TikTok also is kind of creating some of the chaos and we have more engagement on our Instagram.
So we just default to Instagram. But I think it makes sense depending on who your customers are and where they’re hanging out. Yeah. Like I have a lot of friends brands who are on TikTok and they have a lot of success on TikTok. Yeah. Not that again. I couldn’t be there find success. It’s just, that’s not really, you know, where our customers are going versus like, let’s say you’re doing brick and mortar versus e-commerce, that’s a different strategy.
Yes. Where are people hanging out? So all things to kind of consider, but I’m, I’m never a, a promoter of being on every platform. I’m a promoter of get your handles on every platform. Yeah. Own your brand on every platform, whether or not you go on TikTok, you absolutely wanna own your handle and your name, but being on TikTok doesn’t make or break my business.
Right. You know? Right. You know, find the platform do really, really well develop infrastructure, the systems and processes. If you can delegate that, automate that great. As long as I’s doing well, then, you know, move on to that next one. Right. I saw an interesting stat about TikTok. I don’t know if this is true or not.
Apparently the average age on TikTok is 55 years old. Now it blew me away. I was like, there’s no way. That’s like, like really? Are you, are you really sure because I’m hearing like that’s the default age of all the bots that they’ve like implemented. It has to be because I’m hearing in, you know, in the agency world that like people are like they’re landing clients or, you know, lawyers are landing clients on TikTok.
And I, I don’t know if these are just like one off things being used as case studies for TikTok anything’s possible. Maybe it might be worth, worth, worth a shot to, to take a look at. I’m not even on TikTok. So I, you know, I wouldn’t be able to tell you, but I feel like I’m an elder millennial. It’s one of those things when I was coming up in social media, you know, you kind of have that thought like, oh, I I’m so good at social media.
I know everything. And then now as I’m getting older, I’m kind of aging out of these new platforms. And I’m like, I don’t know how people do it. I don’t have the time. I don’t have the capacity. So in that instance, maybe a company decides, Hey, I’m not gonna be on TikTok because I don’t understand that I’ll be on Instagram or YouTube, but maybe you have a retail staff member or you’re hiring a marketing person who’s in that age demographic.
And you’re like, figure it out, play around with it. What’s the worst that can happen. And then they understand it and can kind of do something with it. But I think it is indicative a little bit of, you know, what is your comfortability with social media in general? And so for me, I’m like, I learned Instagram I’m even of that camp where I learned Instagram for photos.
Yes. I do not understand Instagram reels. I’m trying very hard. Um, and I’ve had a couple successes go viral, but it’s really difficult to attribute what is driving some of this virality. And so then I get overwhelmed. I, I just hate social media. I love to hate it. You have to be on it cuz you’re a marketer, but like social is not right.
Fun for a myriad of reasons. Right. Just comparison culture in general. So it’s like, how do you use it as a tool but not get sucked into the tool? Yeah. I mean, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s necessary. You need it. But like on a personal level, it’s like, you know, I wouldn’t be using if I really didn’t need to kind of thing.
Right. So exactly, exactly. Um, okay, great. We, I think we went really into detail on the social media stuff. I mean, I even took some, those myself, you know, I’ll steal a little bit of your, your tactics and your strategy go for it. Um, but now on the, uh, the retargeting, sorry, not necessarily retargeting ads, but okay.
You got a bunch of customers. They come in, you’re getting a bunch of emails. You’re getting a bunch of phone numbers. How are you? Or if you are, how are you using kind of email, you know, for as part of your marketing strategy right now? That’s a really good question. I don’t think that we’ve mastered it.
If I’m being honest, I think it’s part of our optimization and iteration as we grow. So going back to platforms, right? We are in an interesting mix where most CBD businesses are built on square for a POS. It’s kind of like the rudimentary, like only option that we have and square is a closed platform, right? So square doesn’t like to integrate with other platforms.
There’s some, you know, within reason, but for the most part, they’re like you’re on our platform play with our tools. So because square is square. An example I’ll give is let’s say I go to a coffee shop and they have a loyalty program. Or I use my credit card for whatever reason Square’s system knows that it’s me.
Based on that time I went to that coffee shop. Yeah. So now if I go shop at restart CBD and I put my card in it doesn’t even sometimes give the system an opportunity to prompt you as a new customer. So when you’re talking about asking for information so that I can retarget or remarket to you, retail is a different beast than email.
I mean, than eCommerce, right? eCommerce, Hey, to get an order, I gotta get your email cuz I gotta send you your order information. So that’s like a no brainer. So there is this interesting shift where we’re realizing we have all these eCommerce customers and we have their email. So that retargeting is going fine.
I mean, we have segmentation where it’s, Hey, we know these customers buy these products or at this frequency, we’re going to remarket them. When those products go on sale or on the other end of that spectrum, let’s say you have customers that haven’t shopped with you in a while. And so our system knows that and will send, follow up emails saying, Hey, we haven’t heard from you in a while.
Here’s a discount. Why don’t you come shop with us again? So again, I think eCommerce, it’s a little bit more native to understand how these lists and segments can be used for remarketing purposes. It’s the retail that’s really, really challenging because it’s a manual process for my team to go say, Hey Brandon, thanks for shopping with us today.
It’s your first time would you like to make an account? I need to get your email. Obviously customers are like, I don’t really wanna give my email. And then we also re recently have run into this. This is not explicitly the same, but like tangentially the same cannabis businesses. For the most part, if you’re dealing with marijuana cannot take credit card, right? That’s kinda like the big, like we need the safe banking activity passed and we need people to be able to use their credit cards.
So these businesses are forced into a cash operation. So there’s that one aspect. Then you have the other side of that coin, which is, I don’t want, I don’t want anybody to know where I’m spending my money and how I’m spending it. My job can’t know my credit card statement just the other day I was at our retail and we overheard this gentleman.
He’s like, which we don’t take cash all, you know, interestingly we’re a CBD brand that decided not to take cash because we don’t have to be forced into that. It is a safety issue for everybody. I was just on LinkedIn and saw another colleague of mine and another state. He just was posting about his relocation getting broken into.
So that’s a real fear obviously for our industry. But going back to the sentiment, this customer I’m overhearing him. And he is like, I don’t want this, you know, to show up on my credit card. And we as a business do the due diligence. It’s not like it says restart, CBD, restart cannabis. It says a restart LLC.
So you know, what is that? But this customer felt so uncomfortable giving us his credit card, let alone me getting his email address to be like, Hey, why don’t you come back? Right. So we have to be creative. We promote our webinars in store. Again, we do a lot of, um, you know, basic marketing strategies like printing out pieces of paper that say, here’s my website, here’s this thing.
Yeah. Um, we partner with certain organizations that are maybe more friendly for the consumer to want to engage with or give their information to like a webinar or like something else. And so those are kind of side doors that we can go get that information from customers. But it’s honestly really difficult.
I think from a retail perspective. I mean, going back to promotions, having an incentive for customers to want to back into the store, pricing goes into it. You know, retail display goes into it, the effect the store has the, the experience that they’re having with the bud tenderers, that all makes somebody be like, oh, I do or don’t wanna come back to the store.
So I think those all equally matter, which we’re really conscious about coaching our retail staff, you know, when we first launched, we were the, all of it it was me and my sisters. And so yeah. You know, interestingly enough and lovingly enough, I love our customers very much, but we became known as the CBD sisters.
And so people would come into the store and it was me and my sisters. And so it’s like, oh, which sister are you? Oh, I talked to Shaa. She was the one in the accident or, oh, I talked to Sydney, she’s the athletic sports one. Yeah. So we built these personalities. And then when we wanted to step away from the retail to do operations and we’re bringing in retail staff, you had customers, Cuz I was sitting in the back and I was listening, are the sisters here? I wanna talk to the sisters.
They assume we are the keeper of the information, which is not true. So how do I empower my retail staff, which now, you know, we’ve done a great job of that. Our retail staff is more, you know, well, not that we’re not love, but our retail staff gets as much love if not more than we do as the sisters. Right. Because they’re knowledgeable, they’re educated.
So what do we do? How do I educate my employees? How do I update them on laws, changing here locally or nationally products that we’re adding into, you know, our, our retail op or retail storefront, or e-commerce storefront, just new deals that we’re running so that they know, Hey, this is how I can communicate to the customers again, to kind of fulfill on that, welcome to restart, you know, what are you looking for? How can I help answer questions that you have and being very friendly, being an extension of the brand that we are building and trying to establish in the marketplace.
Nice. Okay. That, that makes tons and tons of sense. You said something in passing that I, you know, I think I really want to touch on, it’s sure you were looking at what products your customers were buying and seeing the frequency at which they purchased and then decided to send them out whatever, like email or S you know, for the purposes of this conversation, we could just say whatever, you know, way you want to contact them.
Right. Walk me through that process as to how you got, you know, you don’t have to share any proprietary secrets, but how does that look on the back end? Do you have a software that looks at what these, these guys and gals are, are purchasing? Um, then you’re like, Hey, I’m gonna send out this email and text message blast.
Like, or is it more personalized than that? Um, yeah. Walk me through that. Cause I think that’s an interesting marketing strategy. Yeah. It’s a, it’s a fairly like broad approach. I would say for us, for not getting into like, oh, Brandon bought this product and we’re gonna remarket this product specifically to Brandon, but broader like, Hey Brandon bought gummies.
Yes. So Brandon bought, let’s say Delta eight gummies. Well, Brandon must really like Delta eight gummies. So when I come up with a new Delta, eight gummy, maybe a different milligram or a different flavor, I have that historical information from my eCommerce platform or my retail platform. So it’s not magic.
I wish there was more science kind of behind it. Right. But it’s just, I can pull a report and it says, Hey, in the month of April, you sold, let’s say X amount of gummies. Then I know, okay. Gummies is my top category. Okay. Then I can distill it down further with that segmentation of, okay. Gummies is top. Well now I notice Brandon and you know, these 300 other people bought most of those gummy.
Right? So now I can segment that list out and say, okay, now I’m gonna send them a list saying, Hey, we launched this new gummy flavor and just go straight to them with that. And I wouldn’t say that that’s our strategy. It’s our agency strategy that they, you know, suggested to us to implement in terms of all of this stuff happening.
Um, but if you look at it, it is a pretty basic strategy. I mean, it doesn’t take a lot of science or thought to think like, oh, if shade really likes, you know, black clothes, which I do, people I’m fact just posted on Instagram, I only wear black clothing. Well, I’m gonna market it to her. This shirt that is black.
Right. Obviously she bought it. We know she likes it. I have her email when I’m coming up with another product in that category, how do I send it to her? But yes, the systems that make it function, you certainly wanna make sure that you are capturing that information again, we use square. So square does a really good job with reporting.
I can’t speak to other POS systems. Um, and it’s not that square is great by any means, I don’t really know any other opor, uh, alternatives, but square does give me, you know, that data of this is what you did today in sales. This is what you did this week, this month, this year. And then I can distill it down into products.
And then that is also mapped into our eCommerce, which again, like we talked earlier, my eCommerce is more email attribution versus my in-store is more just, oh, we sold a lot of this category of product this month. And I sometimes don’t know how to remarket that to those people. Yeah. Cause yeah, I think list segmentation is something, you know, if we’re talking about the next level of kind of marketing in terms of iterations and optimizations, like list segmentation is another opportunity that I found a lot of people not doing.
Cuz I know within some of the platforms you like Duchy, iHeart, Jane meadow and all these things, they, they, they give you at least the service level of these data, right? Like what categories you’re selling the most of obviously how much you’ve sold. Um, and then even sometimes bringing that down into like top 10% purchasers and stuff like that.
Um, so I’m not sure, you know, how many companies are doing this, but like if you know that these guys are your top 10% of purchasers there, the chances that they’re gonna write you a Google review is pretty high. So you can then send out a Google review. Right? Right. Absolutely. Being able to leverage it for those things too.
Exactly. Hey, we know that your top customers, this is something I’ll share that we’ve done. I don’t know how, uh, applicable it is for everybody. But for example, whenever it’s our anniversary. So our birthday every year. We are trying to think of how do we reward our loyal customers. So I think it was last year, which if I’m being honest, it, I don’t know how it really played out because you’d be like, we basically pulled a list of let’s say like our top 50 customers.
Sure. And we pulled the data on what their most popular products were that they purchased. I mean like individual, like Brandon likes these gummies Shaa likes this vape. And we wrote them a note and we sent them that product on our birthday and said, thanks so much for being our customer. We appreciate you.
Like here’s a little, you know, treat for supporting us over the years. And I think we had maybe like, I’m pretty sure we sent out to like 50 people. I think like maybe five people were like, oh my God, thank you so much. Like love you guys. And then everybody else was just like, okay, crickets, like didn’t hear from them.
You know? And not that it doesn’t translate into their loyalty in other ways, maybe not everybody is, you know, gonna go reengage with a brand at that time. But as somebody who’s very hyper aware of like, anytime anybody sends me anything, I’m like, I’m gonna go shot from the roof because I understand what that does for a small business.
And so that was just an idea that I wanted to mention, you know, it was creative for us to think, okay, how do we celebrate this event? And because we’re selling CBD, we can obviously ship our products right. To consumer. Um, we predominantly sell our own products that we manufacture. So I’m not resell or trying to, you know what I mean? Like selling somebody else’s yeah.
So it’s like, this is my decision. I’m gonna gift you guys these things. And so we did that based on who were our top loyal customers. And then what products did they purchase from us the most? Did you, um, did you tell them that they were the top customer when you sent it to them? Or did you just say here’s a gift? I think we said that they were a top customer.
I think you were like, thank you so much for your loyalty. You’re one of our top customers I’d I forget the specifics, but I have to believe yeah. We said something along those lines. Well, because like I’ve seen, I think that’s a brilliant marketing idea, but I’ve also seen it. Like that’s super great, like super customized as well.
Yeah. For the person. Right. So I’ve seen on the flip side where something that’s so customized, they’re almost freaked out. They’re like, how do you know that is the product that I bought? So I’m curious to know whether or not like, if that was, you know, their impression of that to, to at least to a certain extent.
Right. I didn’t hear anything about that. Um, because yeah, there was a, you know, short, short story or long story short, there was that one. Um, I think what happened, they were sending, uh, like targeted ads. It was like target that sent like ads to, um, someone. And it was about like babies and they sent baby diapers and baby formula stuff and all that stuff.
So apparently one of the parents in the household went and said, Hey, why are you sending this here? Like, blah, blah, blah, we don’t need this. Um, and it turns out that, you know, whoever was searching his up was actually pregnant and they send thing. Right. So, um, you know, so I’m hearing that, you know, how, how granular can you get in terms of the customization? I think it is a fantastic gesture.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but I was just curious as you, like, did that affect anything at all from, from that side of a marketing strategy? Was there no, not negatively. Cuz I think we were like, Hey, it’s our birthday. We appreciate your business. We wanna, you know, celebrate with you.
I think that was like the messaging. So it was more just like my ego of like, Ugh, like we went out of our way to like do all this work and write these letters and like hand, you know, sign them all. And not that again, I was expecting everybody to be like, oh my God, restart. I love you guys. Let me tag it and post it.
But you wanna another 10%. Yeah. I wanna see the effort, you know, validated. Exactly. Yeah. So yeah. Are, are we gonna do it again? Probably to some extent just because that’s, you know, kind of our sweet way to like think our customers, but um, yeah, always trying to, to gauge how effective it is in the long run.
No, that’s, that’s awesome. Um, how much, uh, how much time do you have left? I have a call at three 30. So in 25 minutes. So in 25 minutes. Okay. Um, a couple topics that we can touch on, then we can do the branding stuff. We can do the challenges in the Texas space, um, or, and you know, and pick one. Cause I, I think for branding, you’ll have a lot to say as well, like how you built the empire that is restart CBD.
Um, which I think is pretty cool. But then also I think there’s also value in talking about like what are the challenges to running a cannabis adjacent business, right. In a place like Texas. So whatever you think is more relevant, I can, I, I’m not a decision on me. Um, okay. I’ve I’ve had, I’ve had a branding, um, agency come on already.
So I guess they spoke a lot about branding, but let’s just touch on kind of sure. If you have, I don’t know, three to five points about branding for what I guess, not necessarily what that means for you, but if you were to start and rebrand, restart C D what are the next five steps you would take in order to get it to the best place you possibly can? Let’s just do something like that.
Oh man. What a good question. I think I’m a little haphazard , which is awesome because the perception of us is like, Like I remember getting this question by a pretty big like design agency. They’re like, who did your brand? and I’m like, it was me, my sister, like we did it and I used basic tools.
Like I love Canva. I love coolers. C O O L E RS or C O L RS. It’s a really great, it’s like a color picker. So if you’re like, okay, well what are like five colors that can go together? It kind of helps you look at them and it can like auto populate colors. That’s how we picked our brand colors. We used tailor, made brands to make our logo.
I tweaked it a little bit after we made it in there. But for me, branding, isn’t always again the, what is the Nike swoosh? You know, like what is that big, magical thing I have to do, but more the cohesiveness. So it’s okay. What is my name? Going back to my earlier point. Can I get this name on a.com? Can I get this name on social media platforms? That for me is like, step one is the URL available? Cause if it’s not, then it’s not a unique position for you to create a brand around.
Right. Um, the brand is the look and feel, but the brand is also then the extension of that. So what is your brand identity? How do you want to talk to your customers? How do you wanna be perceived? Are you a fun brand? Are you an informative brand? Are you a serious brand? Those are things that we thought through.
And I also will be honest. A lot of who we built restart for was for us, which we learned both helped us and was off base a little bit. Right. So what helped us was we do know marketing and we do know from an influencer perspective, how content works and how to create content and how to create consistency. So using the same logo, using the same colors, the same fonts, like uniformity from a brand perspective like that was check, check, check, done.
Where I think that we, when we were building our brand for us, we got a little bit off script, was thinking that we were building a brand for millennials, hence a little bit why we wanted to be online first. It’s like, oh, people know how to use the internet. Duh . That was really difficult though. Given the timing that we launched and also realizing once we opened our brick and mortar mm-hmm the person who started walking into our retail was not the me.
Yes. Or my sisters of the world. Right. It was a much older demographic and they were looking at it from a different perspective. So it’s not that I wasn’t taking CBD for chronic pain, which is again, going to my accident story. The real reason I got introduced to CBD, but I think cannabis has this recreational aspect.
And so we were, oh yeah, we’re gonna be this cool CBD brand. We’re gonna like help people who are like busy professionals. And they’re like fitness people like us. And then those people walk through the door, but it was also their moms and their dads and their grandparents. Right. And so we had to readjust, okay, well, I can’t be the fun, playful brand because I have an audience who is like, wants to be not serious.
But once the education, like how do you deliver education in a way that’s meaningful to them and speak to them. And that has now bled through a lot of things. I mean, we have customers who call us and you can tell that they’re senior and they don’t understand social media and technology. And I’ll never forget this one lady she’s clearly like 65 plus.
And she’s like, honey, I don’t have a cell phone. I don’t know how to use like my email. So like you can send me an email, but like I don’t give a shit basically is what she said. So she’s like, you gotta think about how to get in front of me and my friends. And I’m like, that’s a really great idea. You know, if that’s your customer, where are those people hanging out? So I think for us as a brand, it is fluid going back to kind of the earlier point, you wanna be able to iterate, but at the same time, understanding, you know, your brand ethos, how you wanna present yourself to the world, the cohesiveness, those are really important and should be considerate.
Yeah. When you are building your brand. Um, because again, going to my earlier point of, you know, the green road, there’s so many like green, green, green, yeah. That’s cannabis. We get that. So yeah, you can’t be everything to everybody who is your brand for, and so how do you build a brand to speak to your target audience and create some differentiation in a really saturated marketplace getting more and more saturated, you know, every single day.
So it’s, it’s, it’s super, super tricky. Um, okay. Let’s hop into, uh, some of these challenges and stuff. So I know, I guess there’s compliance issues. There’s the legislation issues. And then there’s also like what tech allows you to do really. So I know we’re short on time, so I just wanna make it as, as consumable as possible for whoever’s listening.
So we’ll take it back again to, to restart everything. I know I’m reusing this question, but I think it, it it’ll provide the most amount of insight, especially for this specific question. Um, so I was touching on, you know, had of listener outta Maryland. Right. And you know, they’re like, yeah, I’m just listening to your stuff because like, I don’t know what’s going on and when it’s gonna happen, but I’m just listening.
Right. So I guess more so directed to, to that person who’s listening, who’s maybe in a state where like, yeah, maybe it’s just CBD THC and it’s, or it’s medical only, and they’re, they’re going into recreational, like I guess yeah. Like Walk me through some of the stuff that you’re dealing with and maybe the best ways to overcome it.
I that’s the easiest thing that I can say. yeah. It’s a tough situation. I think from our perspective, you know, we were a first mover, so I think timing does matter. Right. I also do think that the best is yet to come. So if you are not getting involved, because you do think it’s saturated, that’s not the right attitude to have.
I do think that there are brands thriving and there are brands crumbling every day. And so don’t look at that as a dation, like to deter you. Right. But also you wanna be realistic. So for example, here in Texas, we opened up legally a hemp market in 2019, the state of Texas legalized, um, in line with what the farm bill legalized.
Okay. Up to 0.3%, Delta nine THC in a dry weight basis, blah, blah, blah. So we saw people launch with CBD products. So we as a brand launched with oils first, and I remember our team kind of deciding, Hey, let’s start to sell Mable flour. And at that time I was like, whoa, this looks like marijuana. This is crazy.
Yes. You’re telling me I’m gonna sell this in Texas. And a cop’s not gonna come and be like, this is weed. So it was very trepidacious for us. Like, okay, well we’re gonna make this decision. But at that time, the market was opening up. And so it was a very gray area. Like, am I gonna have a cop pull me over or come into my store and bust me down.
So that fear is not there explicitly presently, but there’s versions of that fear that still exists. So when Texas legalized, they opened the market up, but you’ve started seeing this progression oils, topicals, edibles flour. Yes. Smokeable. Then you started the introduction of Delta eight THC.
So two things that happened in Texas that touched on that statement. Right? So pretty early on into legalization, the state of Texas decided that they were going to outlaw smokeable products. What is the most bioavailable way to consume cannabis, right. Smoking inhaling it. So that means no loose flower.
That means no pre-rolls that means no, um, vapes or concentrates. And then kind of the word from the legal side of things. And I’m not a lawyer. So always check with your own, you know, lawyer. I’m not a doctor check with your own doctor, disclaimer, for us as well, always talk with your lawyer for everything that that’s right.
Always disclaimer. But they were influencing saying, well, if I can prove it in court that you aren’t selling this for smokeable, then you can sell it. So a pre-roll with a filter for smokeable, a cartridge that’s screwing into a battery for smokeable, but loose bud wink, wink, nudge, nudge, that’s nons smokeable.
So then as a marketer, I’ve got this headache of, I gotta relabel things. I gotta repackage things. I now gotta recommunicate to customers when I’m already in a new market, trying to tell them what the hell C B D is, is yes or hemp is. And now I have to tell you, oh, this product that I was just last week telling you, you can smoke.
You can’t do that anymore. But also, you know what to do, right? Brandon, but the amount of customers who messaged us being like, what the hell is this TST stick? And you’re like, it’s a pre-roll Linda. Like it’s a, pre-roll put it in your mouth and smoke it . So that was a challenge that the state of Texas is still dealing with in 2022.
So a couple companies sued the state, they removed the band. The band now has gone back and forth in litigation. Most recently, it’s now pushed to the Texas Supreme court. So you have that going on, potentially they will remove smokeable from the Texas market. Then you have the Delta eight ban going on.
So Delta eight got introduced in the market kind of 2020, I wanna say. And ever since 20, 20, 22, it’s been at a federal level difficult. The FDA just sent out these Delta eight warnings. I believe that was more on packaging and labeling for medical claims more than it was on actual Delta eight. Right. Efficacy.
But it still goes to show that Delta eight is this tumultuous. It’s not illegal in every state. Right. So Texas is dealing with that too. A Delta eight ban that was in the Supreme court most recently. And they kicked it back to the appellate court. So again, If you’re like, oh I wanna get into the cannabis industry.
Yeah. Uhhuh do it. Yeah. what are you gonna sell? And how long are you gonna sell that product? So I always use this example. One of my friends, he owns a pre-roll company in, um, a suburb of Austin. Well, if he’s only pre-rolls and Texas takes away smoking in the state, well then what is your business? Right.
You know, you can’t really be in business to be a pre-roll maker. Right. So it certainly makes it harder for businesses who want to like hang on until legalization or to just sell those products in general, because you really believe in smoking and inhalation. So those are challenges that it’s just, that’s the name of the game.
And so unfortunately when Texas legalized, you saw a lot of people get licenses. They wanted to go grow. They wanted to open dispensaries. And the reality is not all those people are in business today. Right. So it’s not just, COVID, it’s just the reality of, can you hang on, can you differentiate yourself in a market? Do you have the right price point? Is it the right quality? Are you working with suppliers who are selling you? What they say they’re selling? I mean, using Delta eight, again, as an example, I don’t believe Delta eight is bad, but I believe bad Delta eight exists.
So, you know, if you are selling Delta eight and you don’t really know what you’re selling, you don’t really know who you’re buying it from. And maybe you’re the brand at the gas station. It’s like, I’m probably not gonna buy your brand. But versus, you know, you’re going to an educated store. That’s doing the due diligence to check with their vendors and get things tested.
That’s a different scenario. So it just kind of comes down to what risk are you willing to step into? And what is your strategy knowing that the rug can be pulled out from underneath you at any given moment. And that’s not just our market, right. You’re seeing that reflected in California, they’re dealing with all these overtaxation and just like all these hurdles.
How funny is that? So you gotta have thick skin to be in cannabis in general, but in these emerging markets, it’s really, I think important to, and this is a, a theme that has bled through in my podcast as well. Everybody I talk to all over, you know, the United States, yes, we want federal legalization. We want federal decriminalization, but how do you make the most change in your own backyard? So I spend a lot of time in my local politics.
I sit on cannabis boards here in the state of Texas. I sit on headboards at a national level. I am involved in the conversation, giving public testimony, a advocating, and activating my customer base. Hey, it’s not just me going up and giving a testimony. Not that again, every customer wants to come out and say, I consume cannabis and you shouldn’t, you know, make smoking illegal.
But how do you empower people to realize this is how politics works? And I think for me, that was the biggest shift. When I went from being a consumer to a business owner is realizing, oh, this is how legalization is done. Right? And we sat in the last legislative session, which our next session comes up next year.
It’s every two year, two years here in Texas, you’re sitting, hemp sits under ag in Texas. Okay. Ag is huge. You’re sitting in this room in house hearing. They’re hearing all these house bills to vote on them and to get public testimony. And you’re after these veterinarians have an issue in their industry and the beekeepers have an issue in their industry and the people who are growing Oak trees have an issue in their industry.
And you’re just one yes. Of a dozen things that the state gives, you know, importance to. Right. And so that’s really humbling. I think when you realize how change actually gets made, I don’t, you know, discredit or fault anybody who’s like, I’m gonna go wave a weed flag at the capital. Right. Right. But it’s like, to me, that’s not how change gets made.
unfortunately the reality is showing, Hey, I’m a business owner, Hey, I’m a mother, Hey, I’m a person who’s, you know, dealing with chronic pain from this injury in this accident. This is how I use cannabis. And this is my testimony, calling your senators, calling your policy makers and having real conversations and not treating cannabis as this.
Like, well, we need to have legalization because, right, right. You’re one thing on a very long list of things that they care about. And so that’s what I try to stand behind and being a good steward and a good example to the state of Texas. So self-regulating an industry that lacks a lot of regulation. You know, we don’t have to have childproof containers.
Nobody’s holding a, you know, gun to my head, but my packages are childproof. Like you have to, you know, I’ve seen many adults struggle with those packages, by the way, it’s, it’s, it’s really funny. It’s a marketing opportunity. How do you educate them and create more content? But it just goes to show there’s a lot of people who wanna be in the industry, but they don’t wanna take the ownership of what it actually takes to.
I also talk about too. You’re not trying to build a brand for today. You’re not trying to build a brand for tomorrow. My goal is to build a brand for 5, 10, 15 years. Exactly. So what do I have to do now to get myself there? And you know, you’re, you’re on the ride. And so are you strapped in and are you ready to face what’s coming well, yeah.
You see it all the time. Right. People wanna benefit from, and it’s not even in the cannabis space, but we’ll use this as an example, like people wanna benefit from the candid space, but they don’t wanna do what it takes to, you know what I mean, to, to get what they want right. In the sense of like, are you doing productive things to move the needle forward in order to, you know, fight for whatever it is that you’re looking for.
Right? And then when you realize that everyone else has their own issues and problems, and it’s not just your own issues and problems and that like this one entity as, as you know, you know, as good as you want it to run has so many other things to worry about. It’s just a big issue. Right. Um, I, so I know you’re your, you know, I don’t want, I wanna give you enough time before your next call and stuff like that.
So I’ll just finish up with these two last questions. Um, uh, last thing is, you know, do you have any golden nuggets for any dispensary owners, uh, that wanna take their business to the next level? And you define next level to whatever you want, right. Operationally financially on brand wise, like growing their following, like what, you know, golden nugget would you give to, to the listeners on the call right now? Mm, I think the best golden nugget I can say is to Be consistent with what you’re doing and whether that’s, you know, implementing a social media strategy or implementing promotions in store, or if you’re an educator like really hanging your hat on education, some of the best brands outside of my own brand that I really love supporting and engaging with are because they, they show up to the conversation.
I see them communicating with me again, it’s communicating consistently with me. It’s highlighting things that I care about, whether it’s a promotional deal or an organization that they support or just creating content. So it’s top of mind on social media channels. I think sometimes if social is not your, you know, main skill, it’s a secondary or tertiary, you know, thing like, oh, I guess I gotta be on Instagram.
I gotta post some stuff. Yeah. Or, okay, I guess I gotta do this. It’s how do you prioritize those things that are going to really activate and connect with your consumers to make them loyal, to make them champions? And so that’s the best thing that I could say is how do you make your customers champions? Whether that’s you supporting organizations that are non-cannabis related.
I know this one dispensary in Arkansas that I really admire. They have a really great relationship and campaign around local artists. So they have a whole wall on the side of their dispensary and every quarter, or like maybe twice a year, they work with a local artist to come paint a mural. So it’s a focal point.
It’s something pretty that they can take a picture in front of it’s graphic. Right. But it’s also giving back to that community aspect, this arts community aspect. Those are cool, interesting ways that you’re marketing your business, but you’re also extending yourself into other conversations that aren’t just, I’m, you know, a dispensary and I’m open and I sell cannabis and you should come to me and there’s gonna be those brands.
I call them transactional brands. You sell weed. I got money. I need it. Yes. Great. But if you want that repeatability, a reason for someone to come in, what are you giving that person? Right. And, and understanding your customer. Yeah. You really gotta understand your customer who’s coming in and what matters to them.
So maybe the nugget is talk to your customers, ask them questions, give ’em a survey. right. No, I mean, look, that works right. It’s it’s a lot of people think, yeah, let’s do all these marketing things, but if you don’t understand who you’re selling to and what you’re selling to, to the people that you’re selling into that you’re not a big issue.
So last thing is where can people get in touch? If, if you know, if they wanna find you, I mean, I know you have your podcast and stuff like that, but here feel free to plug in all of the different things that you do. Thank you. Yeah. I think people can check out restart C, B D we’re on all the channels, YouTube, Instagram restart CBD.
And then my podcast to be blunt, you’ll see my face to be blunt pod on Instagram. And then if you wanna connect with me directly, my name is shade Torabi. I’m on Instagram as at the shade Torabi. And I always genuinely mean it. I tell people this, but like reach out like we’re humans. Like I think people glorify this conversation like, oh, it’s Brandon and SHA.
And like, I can’t interject. Yes, no. Literally, if you heard something that we said, or you have a thought or you wanna challenge something, like I welcome all perspectives. Find us on LinkedIn, find us on social media, ask a question, you know, just share and create the community that you wanna be a part of.
Right. And so I always like to extend that to people as like, I’m not just a glorified, like talking head, I’m a person who really loves cannabis and really loves marketing and building great consumer brands in the cannabis industry. And how do I, how do I help people? So please connect. And I really appreciate you for having me on the podcast.
I love this conversation. It’s great. no worries. Like I, you know, if, if you weren’t strapped on time, I’m sure, you know, we could have made this a very, very long podcast, which I’m a fan of, right. Organically having a conversation about absolutely everything to do with cannabis, I think is really, really fun.
But yes, just wanna say thank you for, for, for hopping on the podcast. Really appreciate it. And you know, hopefully we’ll have you on for, for, um, couple future episodes. Maybe. Thank you. I look forward to it. Yeah. All right. Well, thank you very much and thank you to everyone who is listening and take care.
Bye bye. All.