I’m joined by the amazing team over at Rabbt Hole. We had a fantastic conversation on all of the in & outs of marketing your dispensary. There are tons of golden nuggets in this conversation that you don’t want to miss out on.
We talk about:
- Emotionally polarizing your customers for better results
- Reducing mistakes when you first start out in the cannabis space
- How to differentiate yourself from your competitors
- How to work around restrictions
and much much more!
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.
Let’s keep in touch:
👉 For more info find our website: https://cannabudmarketing.com/
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What’s going on guys? Welcome to another episode of the Dispensary Marketing podcast.
I’m your host, Brandon Quan, the founder of Cannabud Marketing. If you’re looking for marketing for any or all of your dispensaries, both in US and Canada, I’m your guy and I’m joined here, by Sarah, the owner and curious curator of Rabbit Hole Dispensary located in downtown Ottawa to the right or to the left of her drinking the coffee in the purple Outcast shirt is the co-founder of Hybrid Farm.
You may, recognize Hybrid farm because I also did another podcast with Raim, the other co-founder, of that location. It’s Canada’s first and only pharmacies serving all aspects of medicine, including medical, cannabis and alternative therapies. And then last but not least, joined by Ming.
She’s been involved in the cannabis space for over 10 years now. A Titan, a former leader of the Legacy movement, and now she brings her expertise to the legal space in Ottawa. Welcome to the show, guys. Welcome. Hi. Thank you. Thanks for having us. Thank you. Awesome. So we’ll hop right into it. So, Sarah, we’ll start with you.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, a little bit about Rabbit Hole, and we’ll get the ball rolling that way. Okay. Hi, I’m Sarah. I’ll also go by Alice here in the store. I am, I guess you could say an entrepreneur, . I have a couple of companies. I’ve always dreamed of being in cannabis, but it was really the pandemic that kind of drove me as I think a lot of people to kind of take the plunge and do something that I’ve always wanted to do.
So we’ve, we started working on this cannabis store about a year ago and just opened up a couple of months and just really excited to be able to be a part of it, so. Awesome, Awesome. Ming, how about you? God. I been in the cannabis industry for over 10 years now. started off pretty much, got into it within the ca the medical side of cannabis, and then worked my way around the different, like avenues, especially recreational.
Now I work in the recreational market. Been a very big advocate for mental health as well, and the use of cannabis for mental health and for, chronic pain too. And yeah, now I’m managing Sarah’s dispensary in Ottawa and it’s been a blast. Fantastic. Angelo? Yes. thanks again. So, as you said, I’m also co-founder of Hybrid Farm.
And then I’m, a business partner in, Peak Farm Labs, which is a medical cannabis PO that just came to market. I’ve been in cannabis for over 20 years, doing this a long time. I’ve worked for LPs in the past and whatnot. I came across this opportunity, through Maine who introduced me to Sarah, who needed some assistance in opening this new beautiful space.
Awesome, awesome. So, Sarah, I know, you know, we had some technical issues on the last podcast that we touched on this briefly , but, for the rero of the podcast, how about, you know, you tell, you know, the rest of the audience, how you got, you know, this, this killer team, together.
I I guess it started with me tell the, the love story of the Met. Yes, yes. She slid in those dms. Yeah. Yes. So, I kind of like, I mean, I, I’ve loved cannabis since, you know, before we should ever recommend that people love cannabis. And, I knew for a very long time that I wanted to get involved and I had started like different kinds of social media marketing things with some friends from university and like, just kind of dabbled in the industry.
And so at one point I’d paid for a list of all the biggest cannabis influencers and started following them on social media, all the biggest ones in Canada. And that kind of marketing dream died down. Cause I realized I hate social media, but I did keep following Gaja babe because she was just so cool and I just loved her vibes and I just thought she was so awesome.
So when I decided to open the dispensary and I wanted it to be located in Ottawa so that I could be close to politicians and maybe help with some lobbying for the industry, right? I was like, Man, can you imagine like, can you imagine if Ming would like run my store? So I right split in her dms and was like, Hey, I don’t know how busy you are these days and if you’re open to it, but like, would you be down to like, maybe talk about a job offer? And she replied immediately.
And I think within a week we met and then within a couple of days we started drafting the contract. So Yeah, pretty much. Yeah. So then, and it’s been wonderful. Like, I think from my perspective it’s been awesome. So we’ve been blessed because it’s like, you know, when you meet people, especially through Instagram, like I didn’t, like, I had no idea who so was, she had no idea who I was both meet through social media, but doesn’t really know who I am.
Right. A hundred percent. And it just worked out very well. We did one trip together and we didn’t kill each other. So I told Sarah, I’m like, We’re good. I’m like, we’re gonna be fine. Yeah. Cause when you go on trips with people, it’s a do or die thing. And we, like, we were, we work really well together. Yeah.
And as well with Angela too, I met Angela what, like, almost like 10 years ago within the medical, aspect of cannabis. And then I knew it was a new brainer to have Angela come and help us with the brand and start the dispensary. Yeah. Ming introduced me to Angela probably within two or three weeks of us starting.
And it was, yeah, we, we have been together ever since. Awesome. That’s, that’s, Look, you guys are using social media for what it was originally made for, to, to cultivate relationships and not just, you know, flex on the gram, you know, with your Lambos in the background and stuff like that. So that’s, that’s fantastic.
It’s changed so much. I was actually, it’s funny you mention that. I was, I’ve been on Instagram since the beta, I had beta access, luckily. Wow. Wow. Many manys. Many I really need to get your autographs in. It sounds, you know, you’re, you’re the go-to guy . But, Instagram, at that point in my life, it, it, it truly did change my life cuz it was the first time that people were sharing the way they view the world with just a simple photo.
Right. And this is before it was even photos of meals and stuff, so Right. It was really easy for me to, to search for the things I’m passionate about, like cannabis, skateboarding, comics, graffiti, blah, blah. But then this whole world came up, around that time my youngest was born, he’s now 11. So that gives you an idea for a lot of people on Instagram.
That was the first baby they ever saw. Born online. I got gifts given to, to me from like Australia, Get outta here. No nuts. The amount get outta here. That truly did in my, like you just said, that was the purpose of social media. Now things have changed drastically in the past 11 years, but capitalism, yay, , the way things used to be.
It truly was life changing for, for myself. Yeah. that’s, So you were one of the first social media influencers then . Yeah, definitely not an influencer, but I, I, I do, I do use that tool daily. Daily for all my jobs. I You technically your son would be the first. Yeah, I guess. Yeah. Your son son’s the one that got freebies from the, the strangers on the internet.
Yeah. Awesome. So, let’s, let’s get a timeline for the listeners. So you guys hooked up about a year and a halfish ago? 20 year? Yeah, 2021 in July. Well, like July 31st. It was like August of Yeah. Yeah. 20. But we were talking early, like during Covid, like Sarah and I were, I think I back, if we go about she totally did.
If we go back into messages for sure. 2021, Sarah messaged me and then, yeah, it was just the beginning of Covid I think. And I was like, Yeah, we’ll talk in the, like we just had like different exchanges and then finally it was like, she made up, I just like, I got, we’re gonna do this. And then we met up, I, I started working with Sarah officially in August of 2021.
And then we opened the store in end of March, 2022. Yeah. Very end. early April. So sir, did you have your license before you got in contact with Ming and like, had all of that sorted and then developed your team? I’m just trying to paint a picture for like, so for example, you know, getting a few inquiries from, you know, especially in the states where they’re first starting to legalize someone outta New Mexico, they just got their first license.
So just trying to paint a picture on like how that timeline works in terms of when do you have to do the legal stuff to get all the stuff ready, When should you get the team organized? And then how do you execute on that? So like, in terms of the timeline of like how you started things, it was like, you know, you got all of the legal stuff, the licensing set up already, the real estate and you had that already and then you brought M on or did you No, I brought m on, like, I didn’t wanna make, I figured spending extra money on intelligent people with experience who knew more than I did was way better.
Especially when you’re signing long leases, like in the cannabis industry, you still are treated as if you are like, almost like a criminal. Like I can’t have a regular bank account. and so it, there’s like a lot of mistakes that you can make that you can’t unmake. And so I just wanted to make sure that I actually was surrounded by people who knew things better than I did to gear me in the right direction.
So I brought them on before I even started looking at real estate. In fact, the, the agent that we used is an old friend of Mings that helped her, like before with locations and stuff. Yeah. So, yeah, no, I definitely, did nothing until I had this team. I was just, Yeah. Except pick Ottawa because I wanted to be close to politicians, so Nice, nice.
This, this team helped me build up everything. So yeah. Okay. That’s, that’s awesome. I mean, yeah, like you, you wanna reduce the, the compounding effective mistakes and like by bringing on good teammates, I think that makes, you know, a huge impact no matter what industry you’re in. Right. If you don’t know what you’re doing, like the cost of making mistakes is the cost that not a lot of people look at.
They’re like, Yeah, I’ll save $10,000 on, you know, not hiring this person, but then you’re gonna spend millions of dollars in the long run because you either can’t do it fast enough, you can’t do it at all, or you just move in the opposite direction, which is just like, Hey, you know, that’s complete failure.
So, and also like Sarah, were like, what legalization up in 2018? Sarah was opening, like, we were opening the store way after a lot of stores have been established. So like the fact that she’s like, No, I need help already so that we can, like, from people like Angela and I worked in this school I worked in with Angela in dispensary as well.
And like, he already had that experience, so it was just very easy to Yeah. Help her guide, help guide her in a sense. Like, we’re obviously still learning a lot of, like, we still learn every day about different things, but just getting the basic of the business figur out, what neighborhood to go in, what kind of like theme we were going with and what we’re gonna curate on the inventory, get saturated the market is Yeah.
And what to realistically expect. You know, like just things like that where she Right, right. Yeah. I, I feel like I, all I did for the first little meeting, Sarah was just disappoint her by saying, No, you can’t do that . Literally, I’m like, Yeah, if we go to media, they’re like, No, and not, you can’t.
I’m like, Okay, but we can hand out. They’re like, Nah. I’m like, but if we had me, No, no, no, that’s illegal. I’m like, well how the hell is anyone making any damn money in this industry? Like, I don’t get it. So. Right. Right. Yeah, it’s, yeah, it’s very important. . So I guess the question now is to both Angelo and Ming, like how did you learn or figure out what you needed to do to then, you know, have the right path for Rabbit Hole? Like was it trial and error? Did you know a lot of people resources? Did you I think personally, I think we both have like, combined experience for both of us be a legacy is like 40 years.
Right? So Right. Otto is a small city. Everyone knows everybody. Yeah. Right. That’s the person. Foremost. And that’s why I love Ottawa. So the cannabis community is very, very tight in Ottawa. Again, when it comes to, for example, LP reps, there’s maybe 15 to 20 in town. We all know each other, we all get together at least once a month.
Right. so I think it was just learning from past mistakes, learning from past businesses. Yeah. Cause from Legacy, you know, Ming used to run, and do yeah. Three locations in the past. I, I, I own a medical dispensary slash pharmacy. and I used to run, an organization in the past called National Access Cannabis, which is, that’s where we met pre, pre legalization, but a lot of still very busy with medical access.
So I took all the lessons learned from those organizations and companies what not to do and what to do. Right. I also, I ran the one plant here in Ottawa. I, I helped, I helped introduce one plant to the Ottawa landscape a few years back. Right. I think the best example I give current owners to today, cause I still get asked questions daily, is that back then there was eight dispensaries in Ottawa.
I was the only one of the eight that had a parking lot. And I was also situated across from a Costco Wow. , I was making 24 to $32,000 a day. You’ve done this podcast long enough that I highly doubt anyone is doing that in a week right now. No, it’s especially right now, very . Yeah. So that, that right there, meeting someone like Sarah who, you know, is bright eye and bushy tailed and has ambition.
Those are the people I wanna work with. But at the same time, it’s my job to say, No, this is the reality that you’re about to get yourself into. Right. So that you have to prepare again from our life lessons, just knowing, knowing kind of what’s gonna work and what’s not right now. Yeah. That’s, that’s awesome.
Because like, so, you know, the first takeaway for everyone who’s listening, you know, find yourself a team that can kind of clear the fog, you know, clear the pathway. Because when I have my initial kind of consultations with people, like, it’s a lot of times just a business owner. They’re kind of not sure what’s going on, but I’m doing these podcasts, learning and all these things, and I tell them like, look like you have a pathway in front you in front of you that’s gonna lead to a specific goal.
But, you know, there might be like snakes on one side, there might be quick sand on another side and you need to like chop down the bushes in order to get to that right path. And if you don’t have the right people to kind of, you know, kind of shine that light, on where you need to go, then you still may end up where you want.
But it’ll be very, very difficult to get there. So. Exactly. I have you and your team of taking way too long to get to my destination . I like people who are like, no, like, stop getting distracted in this focus, Sarah. That’s why we’re, I think, I think it’s also important to see how many boundaries you can push.
Very gross. This, this isn’t my first location that I’ve helped open, so I already know where I pushed it. Right. So with this one, we’ve definitely pushed it three steps farther than anything else I’ve done in the past. Yeah. And we’re just getting started. Yeah. People are very receptive. So we’re, we’re happy that we’re, we’re getting good feedback on the store and like how we’re the, how we’re creating the pro products and just the vibes that we’re giving and that we’re creating for a community.
Cuz like Angela said, the community is very small and we don’t have a lot of safe spaces. And I feel like our store is slowly becoming like a cool safe space for people to just kinda like, talk and show Nice. Come as you are, bring a weird, you know, That’s it. Yeah. Nice. So, I mean, that, that brings me perfectly into the next question is, so, with all these dispensaries popping up, it was very much like, Yeah, I’m here.
I’m, you know, I got the license, I got lucky in the lottery, I can sell products. But now these days, there’s just so much competition. You know, you don’t get the novelty of selling this new legal thing anymore. You have to have like a key differentiator that sets you apart from everyone else. So my question to you guys is like, what have you done with Rabbit Hole to cultivate this key differentiator so that you have new people coming in that otherwise you wouldn’t have come in or you keep your existing customers, you know, staying on board? I, I feel like I wanna add that, like, for that we made it inviting for people to come in.
When you walk in front of our store, the windows aren’t frosted. It’s, I’m not gonna too our own horn, but it’s gorgeous, Gorgeous. Like, it’s not like your apple looking store that everybody had at the beginning of legalization for that time. When it started, it was working. Now people like, we all have access to the same products.
And you’re right. It’s like, how are we gonna differentiate ourselves by like, across the street we have another dispensary. Like, what’s the difference? You know? But people like the vibes, they love the staff and it, it’s just very, like, when you walk in, it’s kind of like we, a couple of the reps have told us it’s like a breath of fresh air walking into our dispensary.
I think it’s important to note that our entire staff is all from Legacy. Every single one. yes. Well, except for, Except for one. Except for one. But we don’t hold it against them. But no, Yeah. Person I in is actually working here right now. Great. Yeah. Another thing I told Sarah when I met her is I said, My expectations for this location is for cannabis sales to be secondary.
And that was only my goal anyway, to be first for the customer, because again, speaking, I know we’re gonna be going to a lot of now and then, like the way it used to be, you know, speaking to what she says about, an apple looking cannabis store, housing, you know, 65 sensory jars all full. There was a time where people were coming out of the cannabis closet.
This was a new product, This was a new experience that was needed that is nowhere near needed anymore because people have been banged, like banged over the head. Right. So it’s, it really, like, I didn’t know if this would risk my position with this team for me to kind of be firm to say, I see the vision you have.
But from my experience now where every single person that walks into a dispensary goes directly to the cash, they no longer have a look at the ambience accessories for that matter. Cause I also, I, I live in the accessory world. I, I worked for Zigzag, one of the biggest brands in on the planet.
But it’s, you’d think it’d be, very simple for me to walk into dispensary people and be like, just, Yeah. Yeah. I’ll take zigzags. But Right. Auxiliary goods are not paying bills. Right. even sales of the, the product that houses us aren’t paying bills. So I’m really trying to push the whole experience factor on it.
Which brings us to, I’m gonna add on here, so please do. Okay. So every, I heard this coming in and I didn’t even realize it was happening as it was happening, but it, it did. I created a store that kind of reflects like the inside of my brain a little bit. . So when you meet me, like, you know, like when you meet my store, it seems like really well put together.
Little bit of like old school vibes with like, some some feminine and masculine elements. Like very fucking co Sorry, I swear a lot. Very cozy. That’s fine. Fighting. and then we have a second floor mezzanine with this beautiful bay window, that we’ve painted like very dark colors and we’ve, we’re trying, we’re still in the process of like adding some extra effects to it.
Right. But it’s coming this like twisted weird lounge space that we’re calling like the Curiouser curiouser lounge. And it’s like, as you go up the stairs, which would like symbolize going into that rabbit hole, it’s like you start to see more of like that cannabis culture. So we have things like, I’ve taken an Alice Wonderland kind of style table, flipped it upside down from the ceiling, and my sensory jars are in teacups that you can pull down from the ceilings to look neat.
Wow. So when you come up, you see this like this, this, this tea party scene upside down. Right. we have like a wall of pictures where like some of the pictures don’t tell anybody. They open up and they’ve got buttons in them you can press that’ll do things. And so there’s all these like little hidden things that, like I find like when you’re, when you’re someone who spokes cannabis, you know, there’s like, there’s like immense pleasure in these like little right boys.
You know what I mean? Yeah. And the other thing that I wanted to recreate was that feeling that I had back, pre legalization. When I go over to my, Really, it was your, everyone had a buddy. Right? In every circle of friends there was a buddy. They got a guy, I got a guy. You know what I mean? And it’s like usually like one guy in your group of friends and you go over to his place and every you go and you’re like, hey.
Like, Hey, what’s up? Like, I didn’t know you’d be here. And then everyone sits down and you, and you share and you, and you look at it and you have a conversation. And that’s really, more of the vibes that we wanted to go to instead of this like, corporate, it’s not really cannabis. It’s like super legit and like, and like, No, no, no.
We don’t even call a weed anymore. We only call it cannabis. Like this is more of that like, your buddy’s place you go, you hang out. It’s like, you know, we we’re basically bringing the culture back to the industry because I mean, it’s kind of been bland for the last couple of years. Yeah. Go ahead and say I’m not a breed to Yeah.
I mean, like, I, I, I work in Eastern Ontario with sag. I’ve been in literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dispensaries. Right. And, you know, 15 year old me is happier than a pig shit that this exists. But , I now, I need something different to really excite me now at this point in my life.
Cause like she said, we’re all buying the same product. Right. There’s a few unique drops and things that you can get in certain areas, but, you know, going back to like why we decided to do like 3D glasses, like that’s something very simple and kitschy that we do. Right? yeah. We got 3D images everywhere.
Yes. Including our social media feed. Yeah. So our social media feed, if you do have 3D glasses at home, you can see a lot of our stuff in 3d. Especially if you go to one of our stories, our buttons, I believe it’s our website too. Yeah. Our website. Like, it’s, it’s just those little nuances that make that difference.
Yeah. I think the big thing too is that like one of our first ideas, Angela would always bring up, like, he’s a huge Disney fan, so it’s always going down to like the Disney experience. Experience. Yeah. Right. Like, what’s gonna make, Angela said this one day and it was like, really click to my head. It’s like, what’s gonna make you buy the ears at the end of your tour in the store? Yeah.
Like, it’s like, cause you know you’re gonna buy wheat, but also like, you’re gonna probably walk in and buy, You want one thing, but then after that experience, you’re gonna buy way more than what you can. Yeah. There’s a reason that every Disney rides ends at the gift shop. So if you can come into the rabbit hole and we can convince you to at least have a peak upstairs, engage in a simple conversation.
Maybe you have one thing that you learned. As long as you learn one thing while being here, we’ve done our job. You’ve already, you’ve, if you come into the rabbit hole or any dispensary, you’re coming in for weed. That’s, that part’s already been established. Yes. Yeah. So how can we do something a little more different so that when you go home or when you bring that weed to your friends in session, you’re gonna be like, You’re never gonna imagine this place I went to today Yeah.
Made these 3D glasses. And I stood upstairs and watched a few videos and it was just so different. And like, I can’t wait to go back. Right. So yeah, we, we didn’t want it to be like another chore on your list of things to do. We wanted to be something you look forward to coming in. Right? I mean, yeah. You guys are right.
Like, it is increasingly becoming a sterile, whether it’s to fit specific regulations and what people do, or, or maybe it’s because that’s what peop you know, dispensaries think this is what they should do. Right. But like, ultimately you’re speaking to the core of what I think your consumers want and you’re doing what I would refer to as like you’re emotionally polarizing them, like positively.
Right. Cause Angelo, you mentioned it, like, okay, they’re coming into the shop, Obviously they’re gonna buy some sort of cannabis product, whatever it is. But the key differentiator is that you can emotionally polarize them to then purchase those, you know, those ears. But in this case, give you really good word of mouth or buy more product than they already have.
And you know, I think this is all gold. this is some really, really awesome stuff. And this is be just already, I know that this is one of the videos I’d recommend for the people that are saying, Hey, I’m starting my dispensary. Do you have any tips and tricks? I’m like, Just watch this video. This is, this is, this is really, really awesome.
Angela, Yeah, the market changed, but you guys are doing some really awesome stuff. So, you know, I’m, I’m a big fan. I’m a big fan. Thank you. so now going into the marketing and stuff, what I typically see for most dispensaries is that you have your loyal following. You have like, you know, the bulk of your purchases coming from recurring people, unless you’re in like a tourist area.
And then some of them are coming in from new. that does vary here and there. But for the most part, it’s like a larger split of recurring and then new. So it’s a little bit harder to get new people coming in because I found, again, might not be your guy’s situation. but a lot of times dispensaries are focusing on like, the bottom of funnel activities, like the good in-store environment once the customer’s already there.
The loyalty programs, you know, that sort of stuff. What are you guys doing on the top of funnel in terms of your marketing mix to get people through the door? and yeah. Just to like try and drive new traffic to come in, let take it. Want me to take it? Wanna take it? Yeah. I mean, I think, our grand opening, which we had not too long ago, was a good example where we talked to the restaurant across the street, which is a Mexican restaurant.
And we made a partnership with them in regards to a certain amount for free tacos that night. Right. We had an LP that sp that was here talking about one of their edibles. So anyone who spoke to that LP was given a ticket for a taco just relating food to food. Right. Right. Hot sauce. Hot sauce. Yeah. So hot sauce.
Hot sauce and tacos. Right. Yeah. So, I mean, and again, just really engaging things that are outside the box. I was talking to the girls today, I’m planning on an event here soon where we’re gonna find Pokemon players and we’re gonna start Simpson and Dragons. I saw your eyes saw you and we might even do, Yeah, we might even do like a d and d night.
Like Yeah, we did a Simpson Horror movie night last week, and this week we’re do night before Christmas. We did so far, we did two movie nights on Thursdays. And then cause we have this lounge Yeah. Watching, we want people to come. The question, I guess the biggest thing we’re doing is, I would say Gorilla Marketing in the, we don’t really have a set plan.
Our social’s not done with Hoot Suite. It’s done on the fly. It’s done too. Right, Right. Because again, you know, but for the people listening who don’t know, Hello, you can’t market. So I can’t pay for a Google ad. I am not allowed to even, like, technically, even just having a sign in front of your store is like a gray zone because you can’t attract someone underage to come in and use cannabis.
So it’s not like I can, like, you know, like if I, if I did pay to have a male campaign, like I could risk, you know, getting in trouble for that. So, so you really have to be very, think outside the box. Think inside the box. So again, like with these movie nights and stuff, we can advertise that there’s a movie night, Right.
Because we’re advertising cannabis. Right. So it’s, you know, there’s like ways kind of around regulations that people are finding to try to do. Another great example, I’m gonna do a plug here for another dispensary actually. Twist Cannabis just came out with Twirl cannabis, right? So they’ve got like a, like a candy store cannabis.
Sorry, Twirl. Sorry, just twirl. And so Twirl is like an, a candy store. It’s connected, that’s connected to the cannabis store. So twirl can probably do advertisements can’t. And so it’s like finding ways like this that you can maneuver within the industry, to try to like go out and, and do that.
Like what you call the upper frontal or whatever, prospecting that right now is not legally that possible. Yeah. You know, even though the brand in Toronto Ghost Drops, they have their dispense free and then right beside they got the donuts. Yeah. The six donuts. I I think that’s what they’re called. Called.
But like you’re getting munchies and you’re getting Yeah. It’s right beside each other. Yeah. I guess. And then last example would be in BC there’s THC located right beside Bank Mart. And every Friday’s fresh drop. Fridays where they have a f fuck outside. It’s, it’s again, all of this goes back to being in your friend’s basement, being in your friend’s backyard, being at a college beam.
Cannabis has brought all of us together before legalization, put a damper in things, but also helps things. Right. How do we, until lounges exist, until the OCS is gone and we can have freedom to order Yeah. Both dreams right now, but until those things happen, this is, and this is what I stress to owners.
Cause like I meet new orders all the time who are very cannabis naive, but they’re nice people. And one example is some guy has a very small place, every single square footage of display, he put product in shaking my head and I go, You realize these are all just colored bags, Nothing stands out. And I said, at this point, no one is gonna be like, that’s what weed looks like.
You need to take all of this square footage and put all auxiliary goods and accessories to balance where you’re making your money from. He has switched and he’s improved, I think by I’d say maybe 14 to 16% in, in his auxiliary good sales, which for most locations you’re lucky to hit 8%. Right? Yeah. So it’s like, Yeah, no, that’s like there, So there was a study done like on this thing called like decision fatigue.
And like they’re trying to sell, I forgot what it was. Well, let’s just say they’re different Kansas soup or might have been juice or something like that. And they were trying to sell like 15 to 20 different types of whatever it is. And they realized that they actually sold more of the product when they, you know, brought it down to to three.
Right. Because they’re just so many products out there that it’s just like, okay. Like, like it’s kind of overwhelming for, for, for, you know, to try and figure it out. Right. so I mean, like, yeah, like I said, you guys are absolutely crushing it. So anybody, you know, if, if you wanna learn anything about marketing your dispensary, you know, these are the guys to listen to.
Thanks. on the Gorilla partnerships, I’m super interested in that. Like when you mention Gorilla, like I literally just wrote that down because like before I started all this types of marketing, I used to work with a company that also used to do a lot of gorilla marketing. what have been like your favorite types of activations that you’ve done to kind of help, whether it’s with Rabbit Hole or with any other store would’ve been some like really creative ideas that you’re like, ah, that one was a man, one I so many creative ideas.
I mean, like, we’re just getting started. Yeah. That we, I mean we’ve only had a grand opening like two months ago, so we really just started with the movie night and I think, I think the 3D glasses, I think it deserves like a fun little check. I think it’s outside the box. Yeah. one I did in the past with a pharmacy, cuz we had, we had an award nominated campaign called Pharmacy that showcases how most medications are rooted in nature.
Right. the best example I could give you is probably, it’s a beautiful flower called Madagascar Periwinkle. It looks gorgeous. That’s actually what’s used to make, the chemotherapy medication known as Bing Christine. that came in like a little baseball card style that I created.
This was three, four years ago. A few LP sys now have done that. I think back 40. I’ll give ’em a little shout out. Cause they’re little, their newest style baseball card, which went into filters and I love the look and feel of the Alt school to it. Right. What we did for Gorilla is we took, Kinder Rs, we broke them in half, we filled them with soil and little fake plotted plants.
And then we just printed the pharmacy logo. Ah, we hid I think 10 of these around Ottawa in like places with like a lot of botanical areas and big flowers. And we ask people to find them. Anyone who found those little kinder eggs with the fake appliance, they would bring them in for 15% off a purchase at the pharmacy.
Wow. Yeah. Wow. That’s nice. I think it takes a little hard work to get your hands dirty a bit, making these things. But in my opinion, another great one that it’s not my idea, but in Westboro, there’s a great artist here who does miniatures, so no, me Yeah. Little Nome. Yeah. Little mini hot dogs. Sarah, I more about the secret garden stuff.
They, they’re well detailed, they’re gorgeous. And what he does is he’ll make little mini replicas, even like houses of a business and he’ll put that replica on the business and he asks people to go and find them, take photos and then through, through your community. and especially things like the bia, I can’t, I tell every owner like, have you spoken to your bia? Yeah.
Right. Because if you haven’t, and especially if there’s dispensaries that are currently existing and they haven’t. That’s a great opportunity for you to show face to your community to say, I’m here to help, I’m here to let you guys know who I am and, and what my priorities are for my business.
Right. That’s a, that’s a big, a big thing that I recommend to any owners to, to contact your, It’s like the number one thing I would tell people once you go into a neighborhood, go talk to your bia, your bia. Let them know that you’re there and that you’re willing to help and do something about. Yeah. I’m ask what BIA stands for? Cause I don’t remember Improvement Association.
Yeah. I think I always forget. I mean, so it sounds like, you know, because of so many of these restrictions and regulations with like traditional forms of marketing, be it billboards, bus shelters, all that fun stuff, you’re saying, Hey, okay, screw all that stuff. I don’t need it, but like, let’s do what businesses should be doing, interacting with the community, cultivate, cultivating those relationships with people and then the word of mouth will spread and that will happen organically.
And it sounds like, you know, that’s kind of, you know, it’s working so far. Yeah. I think our, our next big goal that we’re gonna be starting in November is we want to create like, like a charity. Like we’ve been trying, I mean like everybody, it’s, you know, we’re not looking for a pat on the back. I mean a lot of companies do it, but, but because we, I kind of approach this as if, like this wasn’t like, you know, I own other businesses, this is my passion, this dispensary.
Like maybe in 10 years it’ll be like a beautiful monopoly chip, but for now it really is about community. And so we wanna create a rabbit R A B B T acts of kindness. Right. And that would be like something that we would go around the community and like, we even thought about doing like rabbit paws and give mittens to homeless people in the winter.
And like just different activities where then we could have like our logo even on the mitz, you know, so it would be like kind of marketing, but it would say rabbit acts of kindness instead of rabbit hole and like maybe just that brand association. but yeah, like, you know, it’s like, again, it’s trying to branch away from cannabis and figure out, I think how to become a part of a community so that people recognize you without advertising the cannabis itself.
Right, Right, right. It’s like says, if you wanna reach a nation, you gotta start from your corner. Like a goosebumps. So that one is, you know, covo boom, that’s gonna be social media post at the bottom. Yeah. Yeah. That’s the smoke. That’s a smoke. No rabbit. If if, if you look at our Instagram feed, you’ll, the last thing I’m gonna post typically is weed.
Yeah. Why? Yeah. Why everyone else is doing it. And guess what? Everyone’s selling the same brands. We all have our favorites and they’re getting shut down. Have fun. The biggest thing I want anyone to take away from this conversation is that if you’re not having fun selling weed Yeah. Without it, you’re not doing, That’s really wrong.
What’s the point? Like, get outta the way, let the ones you’re having fun take over, you know, . Yeah. I mean, look, I think a lot of us, myself included, just any business owner, you kind of like, you wanna start a business to kind of get that freedom that you wouldn’t otherwise get when working your regular job.
Or just having a good time and then you like get your own business and then you’re even more stressed out about everything that’s going on and then you’re just like, ah, like why did I do this in the first place? I’m even more stressed out and I’m not enjoying the day to day. So it’s like, and I’m making less money in a lot of cases.
Right. So, you guys are absolutely right. It’s like cliches, it sounds, it’s like it’s all about the journey, not the destination, blah, blah, blah blah. But like, it truly is like, and you know, it really is. It really is. But we’re in business, right? So it’s like it’s at the end of the day, it’s like we can’t shy away from that.
But it doesn’t mean that we can’t do some good try to bring back the culture into the community. Because within the first, like since legalization, a lot of us has have lost our way within the community. And there hasn’t been much culture and there hasn’t been many events that we can go to cuz we still don’t have lounges.
We can’t do anything. So we’re creating events that we, within the regulations that we can do to show people like, yes, we need safe spaces, we need all these things to be able to live our lives and just, Yeah. We’re not bothering anybody. Cannabis smokers need a space to get high where they’re not gonna be groped by drunk people.
. Right. Listen to me, Government of Canada kinda diffuse it. Don’t wanna be groped in a bar. Thank you. Here in Ottawa, this space, they just had spark in the park here in Ottawa and that was, that was run by a few, you know, LP reps and stuff. And it’s not, it, it just shows that if you build it, they will come.
Right. Putting the time and effort into to create a space or even just an event for like-minded people to get together. So yeah. That’s all chill, right? Yeah. And it’s, it’s nice to work in a place where you know, that everybody is here because we’re passionate about it. You know, like we’re, we’re really here every day because we love to do what we do.
So like, like Sarah said at the beginning, it’s like we all have that one thing in common and it’s like our passion for cannabis. Yeah. Even if we, that’s the only thing we have in common. You can like sit down with people for like hours and have good conversations and we’re sharing a joint or whatever. It’s just, Or just stare at a cat.
Yeah. Just stare at a cat. You know, we’re living. But it’s just to bring that sense of community back and I feel like we’re really doing something cool here. that’s fun. That’s, that’s, that’s super, super fun. on the, the digital side of things, are you guys doing anything special to, incentivize like Google reviews? Cause I know that’s also like a pretty big portion of if people are looking online, they just automatically look at the reviews.
Wait guys, I don’t wanna break. I don’t wanna break. Okay. But we have a level six local guide. Local guide in the store. Yes. yeah, I don’t think a lot of dispensaries have that flex. So yes, he has been instrumental in helping us. He’s the reviews. Our, our employee has been great at like navigating the Google, replying to the Google reviews, get customers.
I know we were waiting for like our QR code that we wanted to get done and then get the sta the customers to live the Google reviews and then we’re like, Hey, we can discount ourselves. Also, it’s Ottawa like people are so friendly and helpful here. Like you can, like everybody just wants to help each other here, I find.
So it’s, it’s a really nice space to be small business owner. Cause you just ask someone, you’re like, Hey, do you have a good experience? Or you mind leaving a review and like, you know, nine times out 10, if not almost 10 outta 10 people are like absolutely. Like, Yeah, yeah, yeah. a cool trick that I learned was from another owner was that in terms of incentivizing four reviews, you don’t actually really need to incentivize the customer because like, if they’re coming back, like they’re incentivized by just wanting to do good for you.
Just like that general reciprocity of, Hey, you have a good product, I’m gonna buy, here’s a good review and I wanna support you to make sure you guys are doing well. if you have a lot of bud tenders, I know you said you have your, you know, your superstar level stake guide running the show. but they found that incentivizing the people who would ask for the reviews, resulted in like a higher uptake.
Because all it really is, is the differential between how many people you ask will then lead to how many reviews that you get. Right. so the more people you ask, the more reviews that you’re gonna get. and for some of the stores, if you know this, you know, client had four locations, so they had to talk to all the bud tenders.
They just had so many moving parts. So they did like a, a store incentive for whoever got the most reviews from that store. Those guys won. And the incentive wasn’t to the customer because the customer, as you said Sarah, like will al typically already do the review. but if you incentivize the ask, they will then ask over and over and over and over again, which will then lead to more Google reviews.
So that’s a tip that, you know, if you didn’t know now, you know No, a hundred percent. Actually, whenever I deal with, with zigzag, if I have multiple locations that are same owner or franchised, Right. I’ll do that exact same thing thing. I’ll say it for the next 30 days, Whichever location sells more zigzag papers, I have this incentive for your price.
Not for the people coming in. For the people selling the product. Right. So, Exactly. It’s, I wouldn’t wanna be an, an LP rep nowadays in the sense of having to shelf space. Yeah. I’m a little safer in my position where the product I have every, everyone needs. Like if you need rollies for everyone’s weed.
Right. So I’m in a different area there. a little more neutral too. Yeah. A little more neutral. So I, no one’s gonna, Not exacts like . No. It’s, it’s again, from, from this podcast and from your Instagram, I personally, cause I’ve seen a lot of your episodes. I learned. Thank you. I I You’re welcome.
I’ve learned many things too. You know what I mean? Like, it’s, it’s important You have a very large different scope, scope of guests too, Right. Which is, which is interesting. And I actually like to learn from the people who have franchises to understand what’s working and what doesn’t. You know, like in Ottawa, there’s I think, I forget it’s if it’s a shiny butter spirit leaf, but they took over at Tim Horton’s.
Drivethrough definitely. So you can’t physically go in, I don’t think our initial, whatever Sarah’s initial plans that she wanted to drive through and then we couldn’t find, like we couldn’t find can’t, you can’t get them from Starbucks and the, like, I tried bidding on them and they’d be gone. Our really cool one, it’s pot of Gold and Cornwall has a really cool drive through.
Oh yeah. Like an old one from like the seventies in this building. So it’s like, it’s really cool. And Cornwell’s a gorgeous city. Anyway. That’s really, Yeah. That’s cool. I mean, if, if there’s another, I guess to name drop another podcast, Angela, there’s a, the Euphoria Wellness podcast. the owner there and the managers there.
Really cool that, you know, that’s where I got that tip from. And they have a lot of just good kind of ideas. Again, like, it’s funny because like I’m doing this marketing thing and it’s kind of turned into this pseudo consulting gig because like I’m talking to the same people. You guys are just in different parts of the world, but you pretty much have the same problems, right? It’s like, how do you sell product? How do you talk to your customer? How do you do these different things? and it’s really cool me hopping on these podcasts cuz one gets a brand out, all that fun stuff.
But like, I’m just like learning a lot, like a ridiculous amount because I’m talking to people who are in the trenches actually doing work. Not like, Hey, I started a veterinary clinic and you know, now I’m an expert in all businesses. It’s like, no, I’m talking to actual dispensary owners or people in the space that are like doing the thing.
Right. so that’s another really, really good one. If you want to go take a look at it. I will. Thank you. Yeah, no, I’m actually, I’m dealing with Peak Farm labs. We’re, we’re sending suppositories to Australia in the next month. Congratulations. So it’s like perfect example of me learning what’s going on in that climate.
It’s basically like Canada four years ago. Right. So those conversations for me are exciting cause they’re like, what about this, this and this? I just start laughing. I’m like, Ugh, . I’m like, even guys don’t even have a yeah. But you know, that is, it’s not Australia. Yeah. It’s not. You gotta go.
It’s not exact the same. There are some things that I’m learning from those things as well, but kind of to speak, speak to what you’re saying. Yeah. It’s always there. There’s, you can always learn something new and if you’re not learning something new every day in this industry that you not learning something new every day in life, you’re wasting life.
. Yeah. . so what are you guys doing on the email and SMS side in terms of kind of leg leveraging your existing customers? Personally, I, is there anyone in the world that likes these things? You know, like, I wouldn’t mind a text message maybe like three times a year from a company, but I would much prefer a personalized phone call.
So one thing that we do is if you come in, we have an Excel document that’s been there since day one. And we always started with a tiny little inventory, which was actually a recommendation that I got from a couple of people, including our, buddy rep. And yeah, shout out to Buddy.
Yeah. Shout to Buddy. Yeah. Hey Miles. And, so we started off with a small inventory and then when people come in, I ask them, listen, like what do you think of our inventory? What do you usually smoke if I were to bring in what you like, because I expect my clients to kind of, you know what I mean, know what they want.
And so we’ll order it and then we’ll contact people to be like, Hey, your stuff is in. Like, do you wanna come in And like, you know what I mean? See what else we got. So, Right. if we were to do direct contact, it would be like consent was given. Right. it like maybe somewhere down the line. but personally it’s not really my, it’s a big investment though.
I, those are very, like, I just this week typed, I typed stop too, one that was coming in. So it was for dispensary. I, it’s funny cuz one of the questions you gave us on your list was about this. So I was like, you know what, I’m gonna see what this is going on. In a sense. I did it. I, the first time they sent the text, it was kind of bland.
I, I feel like they could spice it up a little bit, but I hit the link, I get the point they’re going for, but in my mind I was like, I just don’t need this right now. Yeah. And by the time I do need weed, I’m already gonna forget about this text. Where the deal’s gonna be done. Yeah. Like, so that being said, I think with our size and growth right now, it’s not for us, but at the same, same time, I’m not poo-pooing it, I just don’t think I personally know enough of who’s, who’s gaining what from it.
You know, maybe that’s me. You can even let me know if you think Yeah. Seriously. I just, I love a positive story or feedback from this. Yeah. Yeah. Like I just, I, yeah. Anyway, just a personal preference for me. And I, and I have a background in sales, like I am business development sales, like promote my career and it’s just, I don’t find it a very good sales technique.
I think that, you need to know what a customer wants before you can recommend anything. And so that outbound sales technique where you just start like telling people what you got. Right. I find it’s not as effective as having that like, you know, where you qualify their needs and walk the product they actually need.
And that’s why when you come in, we don’t even have those rotated menus. Just have a standing there and we’re gonna ask you like, what are you doing? Like, how big of a joint do you need? Like, or do you want, you know, anyway, we just intention and if somebody doesn’t want to talk, we do have the tablet and menu tablet they can look at, but we’ve completely opted out with the big screens.
It’s a waste. Yeah. And the tablet’s like behind the counter, like what You gotta ask for it. Yeah. Another shout out. Like there’s a location in Ottawa called Plateau. Plateau is literally a circular room with like, it looks like a, like an old cave. And especially when they have it like lit up at night, there’s nothing in there.
It’s just a bud tenderer and it forces you to go and have a conversation. So you can say to them, Yes, I’m obviously here for week, that’s why I came in . But again, just say, Hey, what are your, you know, what, what notes are you looking for? What flavors do you like? That to me is, is where it’s going to Now, let’s be all honest about this, it’s not gonna be there for 10 more years.
But when I walk into the L cbo, and if it’s my grandfather’s birthday and I wanna drop $300 on whiskey, I need to talk to someone who knows, who knows whiskey. Yeah. Not just someone. Right. So that’s, I kind of think when we originally met, the idea that she gave me was, you know, t lounge, v i p, a little more Hoka tour, a little elusive.
Like think about sitting down and having a waiter come to you and say, Smell this. Well, this, you know, like little private like screen rooms, you know, so you get some private data. So I feel like US now is preparing this as a brand. That then those opportunities arise. This brand makes the most sense for that.
That is the rabbit. That’s why we’re doing the spinoff to the R B B T. That is why we did the R B B T. Is that like, I know that a dispensary for the next couple years, we’re gonna be, we’re, we’re not gonna be becoming millionaires off of this, but there is so many opportunities to make this industry better.
that it’s like trying to incubate the brand. Everyone’s just like treating it like a goal rush. Everybody went out and expanded as fast as they could and nobody came up with anything clever. Right. Right. So like there’s not a, there’s not a, personally, I feel like there’s not a dispensary on the market.
There’s a couple, like, not, not that there’s not a dispensary on the market, but not any of the ones that expanded. Right. Like, I think like well there’re just chains at that point. Right, exactly. There’s no, there’s no, like for brand, I’ve never been there, but apparently there’s a dispensary in the GTA somewhere that the owners are huge Grateful Dead fans.
Yeah. yeah. It’s so, And the whole place is just for Deadheads. It’s so cool. A lot people would say that’s a very small demographic. I’m not a deadhead, but I, if I’m in that area, I’m going there. Cause I know like it’s an experience. It’s, it’s a little bit beautiful outside the box. Right. So, Yeah. No, exactly.
Yeah. Yeah. That’s, we wanna do the same thing, just like kind of incubate, create a brand, really understand our market and then, you know, in a couple years when the dust settles, like maybe there’ll be opportunities to expand or do other things in the industry, but Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Well, like, I mean, look, you’re doing the right thing cuz when you delay the ask in terms of asking for your customers for whatever it is, right? And you expand the time horizon in terms of how long you ask.
Like one year, two year, three year. When you ask for that third time because you have given so much over that period of time, you can then cash in that ask that good favor to be like, Hey, okay, now’s the time. You know, thank you for coming together. I don’t know if you, you know, you would call your customer, you have a fan name for your customers or anything like that.
But like you can say, Hey look, you know, we’re doing this cool thing. Let’s, you know, let’s, let’s conquer the world with the world with it and then you’ll get that exponential growth, right? Yeah. but to quickly just touch on the email in sms, you guys are absolutely right about all those different things, right? But I do think it’s the exchange of value that is being lost when using these SMS and email things.
And what I mean by that is, Sarah, you, you know, you have BDR experience. It’s just, can you hit these metrics? Can you hit X amount of closes and x amount of reach outs by X amount of people? And just kind of talk to them repeatedly. And until they say no, like you will keep following up with them a million times, Right? It’s very like, like just quantitative driven right now with these emails.
People are viewing it the exact same way. They’re like, Hey, I have a thousand people. If I blast a thousand people, if 20 of them end up purchasing, then I get to add, you know, this amount to the, to the monthly spend on, you know, the monthly revenue right now, to your guys’ credit, you’re seeing that this is not the right way to do it.
So, the platform or the strategy itself, I don’t think is the thing that’s wrong. It’s about how people are using it specifically. and you know, I can’t go ahead and tell you like, you do exactly this and this will be the end of result. But it is on that brand building sense where you’re not just peppering them with a text message every single day saying you have a 10% thing off.
Like, okay, I get it. Like, fine , you know, send it to me every, you know, once in a while. And then you can kind of sort that out. And then even on the email, it’s even slightly longer form. So like, what are long form messages that you can send to your existing customers that they will truly, truly enjoy to where when they open up that email, they’re like, you know, I’m super happy I’m reading this.
Or like, it’s Monday. I can’t wait for the new rabbit hole email. And we’re, we’re peppered with e-commerce things like, you know, shirts and hoodies and you know, all these different things and discounts and all of this stuff that like we’ve become numb to kind of this email marketing stuff. But you’re not pull, you know, bringing it back to the polarization and like the, the Disney hat.
Like you need to emotionally polarize people. and the way you do that with emails, you do the thing that other people aren’t typically doing. Right. and there isn’t like one size fix all. But you know, Angela, to your point about like, you know, does it work, does it not work? Like yes, it does work.
It’s about how you use the thing, the tool, in order for it to be truly effective to reach your specific goals. and you know, that would be my 2 cents on that. No, I appreciate that. And like for sure, but it’s trying to figure out, I guess, how to use it properly. Cause I even think about reps like no offense, there’s some reps out there that do an excellent job sending emails every single week to tell me about their new specials.
They personalize them. And like, if I’m gonna be real, I might read the subject line and the first line of that email. You know what I’m saying? Like, I just know in my experience, and I know I’m not everybody No, but it’s trying but you’re opening up my my mind to this because it’s like, it’s true. Like, is there a way, you know, like if I had any background in software development or something like that, I would try and make it so that the, we would know in the account what they bought and then the text would be two days later say, How was X strain? Yeah.
I mean there are that why for good click n for for bad, you know what I mean? And that’s an engagement. Like I’m sure there are ways to use these tools where it could be much more effective. I just haven’t figured out a way that doesn’t seem like just an annoying, I think one, I think one thing I’m guilty of is because we are outside the box.
I think that sometimes we feel that everything we ha yeah. Everything has to outside the box for it have to be that way. But like are, you know, so when it comes to an email campaign, and I go through this with my other businesses where it’s like, how much is too much? You guys are not annoying though for well you guys not annoying.
Exactly. For example, for hybrid. We do, I think for a month now there’s, there’s, there’s, there’s more reasoning behind that. Different clientele. This is B2B business, right? So I personally think force too much. so with this, like again, besides again, the obvious of cannabis, how can we use this tool to entice people to still click but still gather that data? Gather the sales, right? Yeah.
Whether it’s, here’s two pictures, find the differences. Like that’s the kind of stuff that I must offer people. Right? Right. You know? So I think my, my thing is finding the right tools to do it and something that’s cool enough that I’m happy with. And then also hopefully the HG C kind of like revisits the regulations and stuff like that to allow us to do it.
Cause you know, more than once we’ve heard from G Seal people that we’re really not, we’re, we’re not a threat to the kids and whatever that the, like the politicians have always been saying like, you have protect the kids. We’re not gonna let a 12 year old in. But also when I’m saying 18 year old in exactly 18 year old, either , hopefully they’ll loosen up on regulations to allow us to be able to utilize screen tools because it just makes it really hard for people to like, you know, sort as like, I can’t do anything.
Yeah. Like gotta, we have to like wrap our, we gotta figure everything out. yeah, it’s still a big industry with a lot of opportunity that there’s, that there’s like, you know, well this is why the biggest events, the biggest buzz you hear in Canada is, you know, the kind summer fair kind winter fair hall of flowers.
People are trying to reinvent something like the expo. Cuz I was at the first lift It was, Yeah. Back then it was shut, it was mind blowing. Right. Cause it was the first of its kind. It was different. It was, it was a very interesting mix. Cause it was in Toronto right after the project Claudia raids. Yeah.
So people visiting this event were either for or against legalization. Yeah. So there was a lot of clash. There was a big clash that someone who’s working in legal booth, I had a lot. Like I had to a lot of hate grin and bear a lot that weekend. You could cut the tension. Right. But I feel like I, I really got through to a lot of people because of who I, when they saw me behind on that side of the fence, they were like, Why are you there? It’s like, well let explain to you why I’m here.
Yeah. Because we have to be here in a few years. Either you get on board now or you’re all gonna be left outside in the cold. Right. So, and like legalization started, I just wanted to make t-shirts and sell them and said, I don’t want your Walmart weed or I don’t want your Amazon weed. And like thank god that some people got in the industry and like, cause you know, a lot of people that started off in this industry were like old tomato farmers and started trying to grow cannabis and stuff.
You know, Like it wasn’t necessarily people when you were looking. Yeah. Literally. I got stories. Yeah. It’s, anyway, I think we went off on a tangent there, but Yeah, no, no I love it. I love it. I mean, yeah like I think the email thing or just anything for that matter is just what is the proper exchange of value and how do you over deliver on the thing.
So Sarah, for example, when you’re getting the every week emails from your LP saying they have a new product in store, they’re getting that from everybody, right? Yeah. Now if that rep was like, Hey Sarah, I did some analysis on how many people are purchasing this specific product in your specific area when it comes Christmas time, this does really, really well.
I highly recommend you choose this product over this product. You’re gonna be like, Damn, I’m gonna take a serious look at this. So listen it what we’ve done, however I can tell you, but like what I’ve started to do is I’ve been delegating those emails good to the staff because I have to like, I’m Sarah’s right hand man.
I can’t be looking at emails all day. I have so many other things. Exactly. That’s what I was gonna say. But I even read an email, the staff has been doing it like one of my team leads, she’s been taking care of it and then like I’ll read them quickly, but then I’ll have a follow up with her, be like, Hey, what did we read? And then make sure to also send, cause the reps will censor in like example seven.
They just came, they came out with a dual cart. Sam sent us an email and it had like the instruction manual in it. But it doesn’t come with the package if I’m not mistaken. As it come with it. Yeah. It doesn’t come. So I sent that to the staff and that was like perfect. It’s in there and that’s it.
Yeah. So they’ll send certain information, but like Sarah and I will miss it sometimes. So that’s delegated to the stuff . And what I mean, it, it comes to the point to where like how do you make an email so good that you don’t miss the email? Like that is the level of value that we’re talking about. Not like, like I think you should, you know, delegate, systematize, automate, eliminate, those are the four kind of things if you wanna build a business.
But, and I’m not saying it’s easy, right? This is purely theoretical. It’s just like how do I build an email so good that I want people to, to read it. So for example, what I’m doing is like obviously I’m still doing my outreach, that sort of thing. But like I have my email list and all the podcasts that I have, I will quickly summarize the top five points on what we spoke about on this call.
So if anybody finds it relevant, they will then just click the video and look at it. Right? Yeah. It’s good faith in terms of just moving forward, depending on how many podcasts I might do, I might send out one a week. I might be one a month. But for the most part, like I’ll tell you that my open rates and and read rates are a lot higher than what you would typically see in the marketplace.
Cuz I’m not like, hey expiring deal, here’s Black Friday work with my agency services for 30% off. And I’m not just sending that all the time. But if I can continually sell, not sell, but show valuable information, to the people that I’m putting it towards, it typically works out best now. Yeah. For you guys, it would just be trying to figure out what that secret sauce is.
Yeah. And that’s the key. I think what is gonna end up being is these little mini events that we host is that we’ll reach out to people to be like, Hey, come on by also, here’s the new products, right? So like, hey, we’ve got this like really crazy like movie night happening. We’re gonna have like chips and like pops and everything for free, just for donations for charity.
And then like, by the way, here’s the products that we just dropped. Yeah. Yeah. You know what I mean? Like we’re, I mean it might be something like that. We’re still, I mean we’re still in the baby faces, so yeah. We’re open to all, there’d be lots of testing and I think it’s better, you know, as long as you have the foundational things put in place and you’re not putting the business at risk.
Thinking about all these kind of like, outside different things. Like it’s just test, test, test and what works will work and what doesn’t. You just don’t do it. If you’re movie nice work, great. If they don’t, just don’t do them again. Right. Exactly. You’re gonna do sports events or ufc you know, whatever it is.
Like it’ll just pick the thing once it works, just do more of it. Yeah. I wanna risk my, yeah. Like me taking, I’m taking a dice roll on this whole Pokemon event. Right. But it’s like, I know enough people who consume cannabis and play cards or even are in the collectible space. Cause I come from that world.
It’s like we have a second floor that’s just sitting there that if you don’t wanna get together, and again, that’s, that’s what cannabis does. It brings people together. If I can get, if I can squeeze a bit of revenue out of this, you know, and what’s the harm, Right? And again, it might work, it might not in, in two months I might have a whole cannabis Pokemon league going, but we’re brought to you by for all we know at flops and we just do like an event.
I think like, like we all said, these movie nights have been a bit of a gauge for us to say, okay, if we offer a space for, for something will come the purpose behind it. Right. We, we know they’ll come, but I want you to purchase things when you come. I want you to enjoy the experience but still, you know, put money in my pocket.
So how do we, how do we do that balancing act thing? So it’s pretty positive, I’d say for the most part For the month. Yeah. Well, my 2 cents on that one would be, And have you, have you started the movie nights already or no? Yeah. Yeah. We did it. We’ve been doing it for, we did the first one with just a couple of people and then the last two ones have been open invites and Right.
You’ve had a couple people from, we have a few people from other dispensaries. We have reps that come Right. Hang out with each other. Like Angela said, the community is very small. So what, like teen reps or so, and everybody, like, they all, we all hang out. Like I’m, what I said is like this, this spot’s becoming kind of a safe space and like a hangup spot, which we really be like, I just like, well we can’t complain about that.
Definit. Well what, what I would try and do, again, just my 2 cents for my corner is that like, movies, people can watch movies anywhere, right? Just if they want to go watch a movie, especially like, you know, especially if it’s not a movie that they don’t wanna watch, like, you know, who’s really gonna come.
Right? Right now it sounds like you’re getting a lot of people just cuz they like cannabis and you’re dispensary, right? So you already have the people in your community. That’s great, Right? But can you organize events where people don’t normally or easily find other people who do the same thing? Yeah.
So I think that Pokemon thing is a good idea, right? Cause like how many people do Pokemon stuff together and now you’re getting people from a different niche, a different demographic, and then combining the two worlds together. but maybe it’s not Pokemon, maybe it’s Ugi, maybe it’s Sanja and Dragons.
Maybe it’s like it will be one of those, right? Yeah. it’s about which one will be again, emotionally polarizing enough to be like, Hey, I’m so, so on cannabis, but like, I need to be within this group of people that I truly resonate with. Right? Yeah. And I’ve found that like if it’s just movie night, movie night’s great, don’t get me wrong.
But if you don’t like the movie one, you’re not gonna come and two, like, I can watch a movie on my couch. Exactly. Do anything I want. Right? but if the movies are super successful for you, then go for it. But I would even try, like if you’re doing movies, you could even go to a specific theme of movies that you do.
Right? So maybe there’s, that is like all how Yeah. Huge horror community. But again, like, you know, people who would want to go watch a horror movie probably would just get a bunch of friends and watch it anyways. Just, you’re right. So what can you guys do that people normally can’t do? And then that would be the value because you’re providing something that they won’t normally have access to or be able to organize by themselves or whatever it is.
And then you guys can become the community for that community. I like that. Yeah, I agree with that. Thank you for your Thank you Brandon. No worries. Blinking. We we’re, we’re switching ideas with each other. but I mean, look like I, I think just based on just our general conversation, we touched on a lot of the topics that we, that we had, you know, just that I gave you before.
But I do want to finish up with like, what would you guys say and no cheating, I wanna get one from each of you , to the dispensary owner who’s looking to take it to the next level. Whatever that means to, to, to you. Whether it’s building a better team, making more money, building a better community, What would you say to another owner that’s like, Hey, I think you should implement this, or at least focus on this strategy to get to that next level ? I would say push the, push the, push the envelope as, as far as you can.
In what way? If you think that, I don’t know, example, like regulations hold us back from selling certain things or doing certain events. Try it once and see what happens. . Try one. Just as long as you’re answer I love as long as you’re, Yeah, that’s, that’s just me. But as long as you know, you’re, you know, what you’re doing is okay then it’s not like something bad, but just push the envelope.
Because if you’re, if you’re willing to take the rest of the first people will follow suit and then hopefully that will make regulations change. Yeah. There’s only, I believe, I could be wrong, there’s only two other locations in Ottawa dispensaries that don’t have frosted fronts, Frosted glass windows.
They took the time to do their space proper. I think one is the good cannabis company. And when you drive. But it is beautiful, gorgeous, big, beautiful windows and like I feel for dispensaries who don’t have that service. So that’s an example of us pushing the boundaries. Nice.
I look a little nervous at first. Lo and behold, AGCO comes for their visit. They said, You guys are totally fine cause we don’t promote any cannabis on the first floor. Problem solved. Right? They literally bought the wall and had all the stuff. The contractor was there, we were measuring out, we were starting to build the wall.
And I was like, No, stop. We were not. I’m like, I don’t want a wall. He’s like, What? I’m gonna go home. I’ll pay you. Go home. I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna build a wall. We’re just gonna see what happens and we’re, we’re fine. my answer will be a very, business minded entrepreneurial answer. You’ve got to watch your costs.
If you’re gonna be opening a dispensary or I guess if you already have one, it’s too late. But like, you wanna have the lowest rent possible. Negotiate all your contracts. Like you can negotiate on every contract ever. She’s great. Negotiate by the way, you know? Yeah. Like put pressure on people to constantly trying to get better prices.
Like in this environment you need to have your costs as low as possible. And the other thing I would say is don’t cheap out on your staff. Do not cheap out on human beings. They are the ones that are gonna make or break your dispensary right now. People, it’s like your local corner store and the only thing that makes you buy milk from one guy over another is the person on the counter every time.
And so cut, watch your expenses, but don’t cheap out on people. And that would be the advice that I would give. Nice. Nice. I’ve been asked this question 10 times a day for the past 20 years, so I always say the exact same thing. It’s not maybe so much business related, but it’s like bond money, get an agency office, whatever you do well in life, Right.
Incorporate cannabis into that. Don’t, don’t do it the other way. Yeah. So, you know, four or five years ago when everyone’s like, How do I get into weed? How do I get into weed? How do I say, Well first of all, retail is gonna be no different than working at the Gap. So slow your role. Yeah. so you know, are you a good cook? Start cooking with cannabis, Do you have a green thumb? Start looking at the gardening community, the growing community.
You know, are you a standup comic? Have a five minute set on cannabis jokes. Like what you do well is what you need to bring to cannabis. You don’t need to bring cannabis to you. Cuz if you have a license, if you’re about to go down this journey, my honest response is don’t do it. right now. Anyways.
You know, and if you are gonna do it again, like it might, it’s maybe not the most sound business advice, but I I’m just such a firm believer that you have to do things differently. Right. And you have to think outside the box. I use myself as an example. I smoke a lot of weed, I spend a lot of money on, on this service and, and, and in this world, if you can convince someone like me to come to your location, you’ve done your job, right?
like, from a collector’s point of view, from like, you know, someone who’s a fan of like comics and cards and that world, you always wanna physically leave with something, right? Like it’s, I’ll come back if I know I can get number two of that series next week, like I’ll take the trip out.
Nothing to do with we, maybe it’s a cup holder from an LP and every week they’re, they’re launching a new style. Right. And I need all four, I have to have all and I’m gonna come back. Even if on one of those days I don’t need weeks. I know that’s the day’s dropping. I think McDonald’s is a great example of everyone here.
They did those adult Happy meals a few weeks back. What? Yeah, there you go. There for those who don’t know McDonald’s, if you just two weeks ago had salad, adult happy meals for 48 hours and the toys in these happy meals are from a toy, an adult collectible toy brand that took beloved characters.
I’m 43 years old, so, So I know Grimes and Birdie and all those people. Yeah. But they were all messed up and they had like four eyes or two mouths because of the brand. That right there is genius. McDonald’s doesn’t service people. They’ve stopped servicing. Like I’m going on a, on a rant now, but like, you know, McDonald’s used to brand to kids with the caboose and the clown and all, and then it stopped if you guys ever get just, it stopped.
It stopped. They, they shifted and then it was like, we’re loving it and fresh and fan and then it, that all kind of stopped. That choice they made to do an adult Happy meal was genius in my opinion. Where nothing changed. It’s still either McNuggets or a Big Mac. There’s nothing new added to the menu. So your overheads, like the, all they did was give you a bigger box and a toy that grown men and women needed to get within 48 hours and it, it worked.
Right. So they’re, that’s my advice is like, if you can be that person to offer something unique, the one idea we had here that we haven’t followed through with yet, cause we’re still looking at logistics, but you know, it’s, it’s no secret. Alibaba has everything you can order. Right? And we found these really cool old school looking Alice in Wonderland style, postage stamps.
Simple loyalty card. You come in here every time you get a stamp. Yeah. It’s one thing to get a stamp. I’m the kind of sucker that if you tell me every one of these stamps is different and like an old school scene, I want the stamps and I’m gonna probably keep that card in my drawer just for nostalgic purposes.
Right. So from a collector’s mentality and point of view. and the reason I say that is because in the past few years, the collecting world has tripled in value. A lot of things has been saturated. But if you look at the mentality of, blind box items and sales for, for the younger generations, people are willing to pay money for something that they don’t know what they’re going to get inside.
We’re gonna have trick or treat bags for sale start today at the rabbit hole. Thank you very much. They’re mystery boxes. Mystery boxes for, Yeah. Trick or treat bags for sale. There’s my home. Awesome. That was, that was fantastic. And lastly, where can people find you guys if they wanna get in touch or buy products from you? They can find us at Rabbit without an I.
No, I On Rabbit without an i hole.com and on our Instagram rabbit dot hole. Or you can find me Gaja babe with two Ass of the Babe. you can find me on all social platforms. I go under smoke, The stigmas I go by, smoke the stigmas, and you can find the dispensary at 5 0 3 RTO Street. That is 5 0 3 RTO Street, downtown Ottawa next to Sandy Hill, Ottawa.
You students shout out to you. We’re waiting for you if you’re over the age and I come through come through. Awesome. Awesome. Well thank you guys very much. that was it for this episode. like I said, I’m your host, Brandon Qu, founder of Canna Bud Marketing. the marketing agents CEO of Choice for all the special, both in Canada and the United States.
Thanks for watching. Bye.