On this episode of the Dispensary Marketing Podcast I’m joined with Alexandra Jona & Genevieve Maiani from BYLD (formerly Brand Barr).
They have graciously taken the time out of their busy schedule to share with us some of their expertise on how you can better brand your dispensary and why it’s important.
You don’t want to miss it!
You can currently find their contact information on their website: https://www.brandbarr.com/ however, in the coming days you will be able to find their updated information here: www.byldcreative.com !
And you’re gonna find out about that on the call. I’m not gonna tell you what it is right now. Um, but I’ll let them introduce themselves on what they have going on for you guys. So take it away. Hi, Brandon. Hey Brandon. What’s going on? What’s going on? Yeah. So as you said, I’m Genevieve. I am the design director at brand bar, um, with my partner, Alex.
Hi, what’s going on? What’s going on? All right. Let’s, let’s, let’s hop right into it. Let’s hop right into it. So before we started this chat, uh, you know, uh, Alex, you and I connected, uh, talking about brand bar and all that stuff, but you recently told me that you guys are branding, uh, to, uh, build.
So why don’t you tell me a little bit about that? Yeah, so we, uh, have been in business since 2014. So, uh, when you invited us on, we’re kind of at this turning point in our business, Jen and I, so we are partners. We are rebranding our favorite thing to do mm-hmm , uh, to build, um, and the reason why we’re rebranding at this point, and for anyone, you know, in the industry, and obviously Brandon, as you know, we’ve evolved, we’re changing.
We have changed the core offering, um, that we give to our clients. And so at that point, you know, if there’s a big shift in your services, your products, maybe your location, just anything like that. Um, for everybody out there listening, this is a, that is a good time. If you’d like to change your name or maybe add something to it, that’s the right time to rebrand.
So going off that best practice, um, you know, here we are, we’re changing our name and, um, why we’re doing that again is we really, we started in 2014, we identified this gap in the Metro Detroit area, Jen coming from, um, a design background, I’m a psychology major. And we, you know, had a small team and we just, we were noticing, I was noticing that there was this gap in the market for, so you either had to go to like a big agency and spend a ton of money, you know, to launch your business or kind of find out like friend of a friend or, or, you know, this is kinda like before Upwork and, um, you know, things like that became really popular, but it was either do it yourself, find a freelance designer or spend a lot of money.
So we, we were gonna the Metro area on, you know, emerging and midsize businesses really on brand communication. So when we started, we were always in the space, but we weren’t, as we are today on identity design, we did stuff like, you know, a lot of email marketing, a lot of social media, a lot of flyers, a lot of little small tactical things, kind of letting the owners, um, or clients, you know, drive what we were doing more than today, a little more grown up.
Um, you know, we’re really married to our process. Our process is our product. Um, so that’s kind of how we got here. Nice. So how, you know, I’m super interested in like these entrepreneurship stories, like, uh, you know, what was the thing? So you mentioned your psychology, right? Um, so I’m assuming, you know, you can correct me if I’m wrong that, you know, kind of starting a business, probably wasn’t the first thing that you’re thinking of.
How did you exactly kind of transition to what you’re doing right now? Like what was the first step? Like how, how, how does that look? Well, the first step was being a recent graduate, you know, I’m a millennial, um, being a recent graduate and not really, I mean, to, to get into the true details of it. I had a series of jobs.
I was working out in California. I had a number of bosses. I really loved business. Um, I was working for a startup out in LA, so I got trained on things like MailChimp. And then I worked for a mortgage company and it was like, oh, you can use Twitter for business. And so like at that time, in 2014, we were really discovering that social media for business was becoming this thing.
It was not to us like this personal space anymore. So really I have to say, as you know, I mean kind of like where we fall in terms of, you know, there were the baby boomers and like that overwhelming kind of, I have to have a website, I need a social media presence. Can you mess with my Facebook for me? So I had moved back to Michigan and I started helping you on my own.
Just kind of use these tools and then the role of graphic design. So going back to the psychology piece, you know, I always take the water industry as an example. That was something that, um, we studied like over at, uh, at Michigan, you know, it’s water, right? But like these consumer choices are being made on what does the company stand for? Where is it source? Is there a cause marketing behind it? Who are the founders? So all this transparency and like really like human perspective aspect was driving like that branding piece.
That was much more than just tactics mm-hmm . And so that’s when I started hiring graphic designers, J was one of the first graphic designers that was on my team and she really drove, um, the train, if you will, on how and why design is like undervalued, generally speaking and how it can take the company from kind of like mediocre to just that first impression that really, really carries you through when it comes to consumer choices.
So why, how I started the business was purely just out of like, it was sort of happenstance, just helping people. I wanna make some extra money. Then I realized I needed a team. So it was like kind of an accident, but not really. And I do, I mean, I do love business. I love entrepreneurship. And I think going back, John, you remember this like working on your own terms, having flexibility.
Yeah. Um, you know, not having to clock in and clock out, being comfortable at work. That was really, really important to us. Um, so that was one of the things that drove me to start my own business was that I wanted to work for myself. And I wanted to work with people who valued that, that work life balance, which, you know, I think a lot of at that time millennials were looking for, yeah, I look, I can echo the exact same thing.
It’s like very similar, right? If you’re in graphic design, I was doing the web design stuff. That’s, that’s how a lot of us start. Right. We do it ourselves, realize there’s a bottleneck. Then we need to hire. Then we start an agency. And then our, our experience grows. It’s not so much, Hey, I just wanna make money.
We now provide an adequate level of value to society itself, whatever it is, our clients right before it was like, Hey, I think I can make a, at least for me, it was like, I can make a couple dollars here or there, I can work on the internet, that sort of thing. But I think that is shown a lot through your rebranding and stuff like that.
Cuz technically you don’t need a rebrand. Right. If it was just about the money, then it’s just, you know, yeah. Now it’s about something else, but you’re, you’re so spot on with that. Is that how you, is that kind of how you came to do what you do too? Yeah. I mean, you know, you know, not, not to take over the podcast or anything like that, the way I started was, you know, I, uh, was working for a company.
Um, I did engineering, I was engineering my trade. Uh, but I was like, I don’t know if I wanna do that stuff. Um, so then I worked for a company that did venture creation. They built a bunch of businesses in house. So I was able to kind of dip my toes and everything, but all businesses needed relatively the same stuff.
Like they needed a website, they needed SEO, they needed some level of marketing in some sense. So I kind of took that and I actually started my own table tennis club right in my city. And then I used the same thing I used, you know, uh, best table tennis club in insert city. We started ranking very, very well.
And then I got a bunch of people coming in. We tripled our membership. Fantastic. Then I was like, ah, I have something here. I have a business. Right. so then I went to a couple other people and you know, charging very, very little, um, for my services was like, Hey, I have this service, you know, I think it’ll be useful for you.
Do you wanna give it a world, build up the clientele base and just like you just very much freelancer. Right. I think, uh, starting a business is slightly different from just like doing freelancer stuff cuz freelancer stuff. You’re just kind of, you, you made your own job for you. Right. But when you build a business, you have the brand behind it, you have partners that you’re gonna bring on, you have all these different things.
Right. So kind of evolved into that sense into, you know, how do I structure out a business so that I can hire the right people, put the right processes in place and you know, kind of get to where I am right now. And you know, I’m doing the cannabis stuff and that’s kind of where I am. Um, but yeah, you know, that that’s pretty much it, but like I said, I don’t wanna take over.
But um, so Jen, you know, Alex said that, you know, she brought you on as a graphic designer and stuff like that. How was that start for you? How did, how did, how did that kind of come about? Yeah. So, um, I was still in college when Alex happened upon me. Um, so I started as an intern there and you know, over time was seeing that kind of gap of like graphics were constantly being needed for communications.
Um, but there was never like this adherence to one style like per client. It was kind of, you know, just making what I to get the communications out quick, you know, um, quick turnaround type of projects where, you know, I see value in the place of, you know, when you have cohesion and visuals and the way you’re communicating to your consumer base, that elicits trust and mm-hmm um, that was something that was really important to me to establish that in the process and for our clients, you know, educating them on like why they should care about their brand, what the visuals look like.
Um, so yeah, over time, starting at, at brand bar, I just built in more processes. We had more discussions on like why it was important, how we could alter, you know, um, our so services in order to stay agile and provide the best, best, uh, work for our clients. So sweet. And one thing that I’m super interested in is that like initially you’re a hire and I notice that you now refer to each other as partners.
So I kind of wanna unpack that a little bit. How, how did that kind of form into just you being an intern in company? What advice would you have for kind of like people who are looking to be, you know, kind of the number two or even kind of be partners? Cause I, I think a lot of times I see like, Hey, you know, I’m gonna go get a job and let’s see how much money a I can make and then kind of, you know, skip.
Right. But I do see the value for both parties, right. For the employer to kind of train someone up to become that person that you can trust on the line. And then obviously for, or the employee to like have, uh, something meaningful than just, Hey, I’m gonna skip jobs and stuff like that. So yeah. Was your first, uh, intent to try and become partners and stuff like that? Or was it just something that just came about organically? It came about organically, honestly.
Um, you know, to Alex’s point earlier that work life balance was really important to me. I knew that I didn’t wanna go to a large organization. Um, I like working, you know, in a smaller setting, more independently. Um, and I think it just, you know, over time naturally unfolded that way, Alex and I have great, you know, built a great relationship and we really trust each other and um, we see eye to eye and a lot of stuff.
So it just felt like a natural progression over time and we compliment each other in terms of services. So, you know, our, our, um, what we provide as services rather that’s nice. Nice. So Alex, no, I was just exactly gonna ask what, you know, but your thoughts were on that end, just like to kind of tap it off.
I think too, your, a question about if some, if people are listening and it’s like, okay, well, how can I, you know, make partner, or again, this was not the intention I got to a place in the business where it’s like 50, 50 strategy and design. Like you can like to provide a good service from our point of view.
You had to have both. Yeah. So, um, we started to shape and refine like our team who we were hiring at the time, like Jen took on really claimed for her stake and took a lot of ownership in terms of what then we were just working as, you know, employer, employee relationship mm-hmm , but then having weathered lots of storms, um, especially through COVID the pandemic, you know? And, and I think like a lot of us have taking that hard look at like, okay, you know, who, who are we, what do we really wanna do? Who belongs? You know, we have this issue with, um, well, not really an issue, but just like the challenge with, you know, any company, like, do you have the right people in the right seats? And we scrambled for a long time, you know, hiring consultants and you know, how do we structure ourselves? And we really have, I, I approached it from a super formal standpoint at one point, but I think like back to our true nature, we really just both have the attitude of like let the chips fall where they may, and we know what’s important to us, which is doing great work.
Jen built up the portfolio. I mean, I brought in clients and she created the process. So it was like, in that way, it was just a natural marriage, so to speak. But yeah, it no plans to, um, to be here as we are today, but, you know, cool that we are. So I think just like caring about what you do. I mean, if you know, and liking who you’re working for, if you’re yeah.
Being true, what’s important to you. Yeah. And if you like the leaders that you’re working with, you know, in that case, then I think having the courage to talk about partnership or talk about equity or sweat equity, if you’re joining, if it’s something that’s possible, because as an employer, you need to know, like, you know, I would constantly take temperatures on like, Hey, well, like, do you really wanna be here? Do you wanna be here for the next five years? Where are you at? Where are you at personally? Like, are you, what do you really want out of life? Think if you can get to know your team in that way, you can also kind of gauge if it, you know, what makes sense down the line.
Yeah. I, I, I really boil it down for me personally. I boil it down into, you know, kind of two main things is like one that ownership mindset, right. Are, are the people who are working for you taking ownership, accountability, or responsibility for what they’re doing or is it, Hey, I’m just here to rack up, you know, hours.
Right. So I get paid and then two it’s it’s it’s that value exchange, right? Like Jen, you became indispensable to, you know, I don’t know if we’ll refer to it as, uh, you know, build or brand bar, whatever it is you became indispensable. And I think as such, that resulted in, you know, kind of this partnership, you know, kind of flourishing into what it is right now.
Um, so, you know, one thing you mentioned, you know, you’re talking about, you know, figuring out who you are, the true nature and all that stuff, and that ties in perfectly with this transition into like branding itself. So what is branding, if you were to kind of give me a, a two sentence to three sentence kind of overview into what you think branding is, you know, what, what is it, do you wanna answer Alex? go first.
Huh? You can go first. I go first. Okay. So branding, I mean, tits core is like, you wanna figure out who you are. So establishing, like what you’re now to do, we call those pillars really. Um, so, you know, what’s your mission, what’s your vision? What’s your promise? Like, what is your, um, your value that you’re bringing to, you know, your consumers, clients, customers, whatever, establishing that foundation is such a key part of the process in branding, and it should filter into, you know, every part, every interaction of your brand.
So your brand is not only just the visual, that’s just like one tiny part of it. Um, and maybe not tiny. I mean, it’s your outward facing appearance, but, um, you know, it’s your strategy. It’s those foundations that knowing who you are, how you communicate, you know, who your per your consumers are, you know, establishing those personas, knowing who you’re targeting.
Um, and then, you know, translating that into visual form as well. And that’s your outward facing visual identity, uh, you know, through colors, fonts, shape, compositions, all of that. Um, so it’s the whole system of, of communication and visuals. Mm-hmm, nice. Anything to that and yeah, it’s, it’s so, you know, in a, in a really short way, maybe for people to take away, but that’s answer is important because obviously design carries a lot of this forward drives a lot of it forward.
It’s a set of perceptions. Mm-hmm whether they’re unconscious or conscious. So anyone out there that’s looking to start a brand, I think from the end, think like a consumer, how do you want them to feel? Branding is how consumers feel about your company service, product, whatever it is.
And back into everything that goes into that, having a sound strategy and driving it forward with clear and consistent design, um, we trust what’s consistent. We trust, you know, that we see something, if it shows up here shows up the same way over here. So inconsist inconsistency is the antithesis of a sound brand.
Yeah. But again, that set of perceptions, um, that you want your customers to have. That’s what your brand is. Mm-hmm, , that’s, that’s a lot that that’s quite a bit. So whoever is listening, take notes, I’m, I’m taking notes right now. I’m making sure that, you know, like it’s hard to put this in three sentences.
I mean, talk about it forever, but you know, we’re, we’re still trying to distill and depending on, you know, what pops up on Google, that there’s just, there’s so much, there’s so many like good articles, um, you know, like academic papers and things on. So brand as a word has come to me in different things.
Like if you look at it historically, what it meant, you know, let’s say like in the sixties, um, versus now, I mean, it, it can really take you down the rabbit hole, but keeping it short and simple, we know what it means today. And it’s integrity, you know, doing what you say on the inside matching your, your public facing message on the outside.
Obviously we know today, you know, the integrity of a company is really important to consumers. We don’t wanna like read one thing on the package and then find out tomorrow, you know, in headlines that they’re doing something else. So, um, the culture is really important to your company. Culture is very important to your brand.
Also, your employees are a mouthpiece for your brand. Um, not just consumers going out and talking about it. Yeah. All really, really good points. um, so I guess my next question on that would be just looking at all this stuff that you said, if you were to go to whatever company a, what, what’s the first step that you guys normally take then in terms of the, a branding, like there’s so many things that you need to take into consideration, is it, you always start with 1, 2, 3, or is it like you do a deep dive into what they have, look at the opportunities available and kind of hit those things? Like what does that little, the whole branding process look like, I guess from start to finish? Yeah.
Well, our process now has been a very, just build down to, you know, a, a simple tried and true. We know that it works and where we start is the brand pillars that Jan, uh, Jan mentioned , um, the brand pillars are really like just your business plan in a box type thing. What’s your mission, what’s your vision, uh, you know, those kinds of things that go into it.
Um, who’s your audience, who’s your target market? So it’s a little more extensive than that, but it’s really not like too complicated. It’s really starting with those things of positioning and your pillars and who you wanna be and who you’re tr who you’re competing with. That’s super important. So we start with a competi audit.
If it’s a brand or a company that’s already, you know, we call like a midlevel already, um, established or, or semi established company. Mm-hmm , we will audit what they have some in that case, probably if you’ve been, you know, working, which we we’ve worked with companies like this for 10, 15 years, even five years, they know who they are.
They’re just looking maybe for a visual refresh to, to represent who they are better. If they’re an emerging brand or a startup, we would, we would start with those strategic questions. So there’s just different levels. Excuse me, you know, depending on where the company is, they know their brand mission, vision, and you just kind of like revamp it a little bit.
Or if they’re literally starting from scratch, you guys would go and be like, Hey, let’s do a full, deep dive on exactly what you guys have going on and do the customer assessment and stuff like that. That’s, that’s pretty much what it is, right. In a nutshell, of course. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I know you have a similar process too, when we, um, cross paths, you know, on a, a mutual client or prospect, it was like, Hey, you know, from, from your standpoint, it’s the same thing digitally.
And where do you wanna go? This is where you are. This is where you wanna be. So like, let’s create that roadmap to get you there, but go ahead, Jen. I think I interrupted something you were gonna say, oh no, I was gonna say, even for the brands that are already established, you know, and have a envision, you have those pillars, it’s still, you know, um, you know, finding any points of opportunity is still super important at the beginning of the, of the process as well.
And still going through, you know, like an extensive intake of questionnaire to make sure that we are indeed like setting expectations for what they’re needing, you know, who, what they plant or hope to be and, you know, getting them to that goal. So have you guys ever veered an, a, a client idea? You’re just like, Hey, like this, this isn’t gonna work.
Like, have you ever been like, Hey, I’m not, I’m not doing that. Or like, no, not not, but like, Hey, I really don’t recommend you do this. You tried this with someone else before it’s not really working out. Has that ever come across? Yes. oh, yes, sure. Yes. Yeah. I mean the, the constructive feedback or critic, I mean, this is something we still grapple with.
Like, how do you, like, we can’t be attached. It happens with us. We pitch things, you know, design strategies that don’t really resonate. Sure. But we try to maintain this like healthy detachment, because these are ideas. These are things you’re not, it doesn’t mean that, you know, you’re not a good business person or you’re not a good designer.
Um, so I like that criticism and that feedback, like, we have to maintain a healthy perspective on, on that. We also try to give it as like, you know, we talk about it all the time. Like if we’re respectful and if we’re kind about it, but there’s things that just like we won’t do as service providers, because we’re putting our name on it too.
So we can’t do something wrong just because the client wants, wants that. Yeah. And is that mostly like strategic stuff or does that fall under a lot of the you’ve created a, a brand or, you know, whatever that means, the fonts, the colors, the pictures, images, the logos, all that stuff, or is it more so you’re having that issue when you talk about this strategy, you’re saying, Hey, you know, I think the strategy falls under this, or is it kind of both, I’d say it falls more on the visual end of it.
The visual, you know? Um, yeah. And I’d say it falls on, it depends on who’s answering , we’ll go through both. We’ll go through both. I, yeah. I take a lot of punches too, strategy wise, but go ahead, Jen. Oh, I just gonna say, you know, um, you know, actually I think a lot of people are very eager to participate and the, the back and forth is definitely something we encourage in, in a process.
You know, I want critical feedback and, you know, making sure that we’re creating something that’s not only stellar, but that the client’s gonna be pleased with. And that also hits the mark in what they’re trying to achieve, you know? Sure. For their consumers. Um, but you know, I think a lot of times they’ll either be looking to competitors and be like, I wanted to be just like that person or you, you know, I think we should make it this color or this font, or can you make it look like that? And, um, taking that more active role, even if it’s not, um, you know, agreed upon with us.
I think that’s where it gets a little slippery in the process, but again, it just comes down to us being respectful and having that dialogue with them. Um, but I would say that’s where it gets a little, uh, yeah. Harry, for me in the process. Alex, what about you on the strategic end? So, okay. So if you have a budget, this is like, this is like, goes into you have, we have another question I know down the line of like, what challenges do you have, but getting ahead.
So we provide a brand brand identity, but then you get into rollouts. We’ve been, um, retained to facilitate rollouts. And when you’re getting into that situation or you’re going to market, especially a cannabis brand going to, to market it, they have a lot of competition, you know, they, they need to have that curb appeal when there’s a dispensary, if you’re vertically in integrated, you’re competing into places.
So having a budget and backing into that budget is the most important thing. So from a, a tactic and strategy standpoint, Brandon, actually, this is a story for both of us. , um, we pitch people have pitched, um, you know, a company on an SEO strategy and they wanted to spend money elsewhere. Now I didn’t agree.
Um, I don’t think that let’s say we’ll just, this is not what happened. So this is hypothetical, but like yes, company X wanted to maybe throw a grand opening party and they wanna take that $20,000 and they wanna op you know, do a grand opening. Well, I’m gonna say, I think that that’s a misuse of funds, you know, and this isn’t, it’s hard working with rollout budgets.
So, but, and I would put it online, cuz I believe that driving people to a intuitive appealing website. And I think the story that you tell with Google analytics and insights and clicks and impressions and all that is much more, has much more value in the long run and ROI than maybe throwing a party. So that’s just an example of where from a strategy standpoint, you know, you can disagree with the call.
Um, my advice is as long as you do your best to make your case, mm-hmm for what you think strategically is the best route. That’s all you can really do. It’s just like a compromise, just like a relationship, right? You, you, you give recommendations, maybe you have a bit more conviction in what you think should or shouldn’t be done in some situations.
And then, you know, they decide that they they’ll veto your veto, essentially they’ll veto or veto, right? I mean what you do, what we, I mean, simply put, I can skate with conviction and, and Jen would agree. Um, we like the second place. So tangible, super important, but that your digital presence is equally as important.
So the first thing we’re gonna tell clients, especially in the cannabis space with things like, um, Leafly and you know, all the other like third party ranking websites that they, that are, are kind of, and then all the other SEO that other competitors are doing, this is something in the strategy that should be considered.
We take into account how the brand will, will appeal to people and how it comes out visually online. The first place I’m gonna say to put your budget is in a good SEO strategy and in a, in a great website with a backend that is works very friendly with your front end. So, and that’s sustain sustainable from a management standpoint.
This is like a big thing for us. We can only drive clients cuz we’re not, we do not do digital marketing. Yeah. We don’t do what you do. So coming together with like a Canna bud vendor or partner, that’s something that we would, you know, propose or work into, like our initial conversations. Like, Hey, do you have an SEO and website partner, if you don’t, this is who we recommend because this is what you’re gonna get outta it.
So. Well, thank you. Look, I, I really, really appreciate that. And I think this all comes a for his chat. Right. You know, we had a chat and I was like, look, whether we work together or not, you know, I, I think this, this again, we’ll use the word organic, but I think we had a good chat and kind of led to this podcast and whatever, whatever else in the future.
So look, I really appreciate kind of the, the, the big ups that you would, you would give us. what’s that I was gonna say like in, in for cannabis, but like we work across several industries. I mean, it’s, it’s really like, I think the days of like, is it this or that? I mean really the first place you need to put it is in your online presence.
Yeah. I mean, look, I, I agree. I, I had a chat with, again, you know, a dispensary and they had a multimillion dollar budget. Right. And there, and apparently they didn’t have any have any ROI. So they came to me like, Hey, we did all this stuff, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Like it didn’t work. I was like, so I asked them, what was your strategy? It was, it was like all offline stuff.
It was all like, let’s do the equivalent of the super bowl ads and things like that. And I was like, look like what? You don’t have any of the foundational Princip of was in place at the end of the day, you’re brick and mortar. How do people find you? They find you online first, they look at your reviews and then they go into your store afterwards, right? Yeah.
Then they look at the branding from whatever, from a website perspective or from looking at the in-store, you know, I’d love to touch on, you know, how you guys do the in-store designs too, cuz that’s something that I’m not familiar with at all. And then they keep coming back over and over again. Right. The, I, I tell my clients all the time that again, you know, to kind of, uh, mutually kind of, uh, work with you guys in terms of what you guys are doing, you know, SEO’s one part.
Sure. We can get you through the, but what kind of keeps people coming back over and over and over again? Right? There is no, at this point in time, you know, I’d say the cannabis space is sell in its infancy. So there’s no necessarily like quote unquote like Nikes or Gucci or Pumas or Adidas or anything like that because people haven’t spent the time right.
Working on the brand of, of what they have going on. Right. Or haven’t spent enough time over a long enough time span to reap the benefits of, of Srin. Right. Which I think is, is, is super, super important. At least what I, I think anyway, so, you know, what, what do we know? Right. oh yeah. Um, I can, Jen can go into, into, um, more depth on, so we don’t provide interior design we’ve we’ve worked alongside interior designers and architects doing buildouts, but Jen gets into the, we get into the details on the narrative, the voice and tone we like for all the language in the space to go back to the brand reasoning.
Um, but in terms of applying that there’s challenges and there’s successes, I mean, so Jen has, we, we have had clients where we are helping the retail team do some of their merchandising, et cetera, et cetera. So I’ll let her talk about what happens on the inside. Sure. Yes. Give us, give us the inside scoop.
Yeah, so really, I mean, again, it it’s, it’s been different in every process, as Alex said, we’ll work with architects, interior designers, or even just, you know, the company itself, someone who’s internal and overseeing that. Um, so it really comes down to like what is needed in the space in terms of graphic design.
And, and then from there they communicate with me back and forth like, okay, we have this area, what you, what can you come up with in terms of artwork that would go here on this wall or signage here, these may be window graphics. And then, you know, choosing vendors also, you know, if it’s, if we’re not working directly with an interior designer, an architect that doesn’t have, you know, those connections, then it’s sourcing vendors, making sure we get the right people in to, to, um, execute on those projects.
Um, I mean, we’ve, I’ve been there with, you know, oh, we’re gonna put this artwork on this wall, whether it’s, you know, posters or marketing material or, or different types of shelving, like where should it go? Um, so it just depends on how much they want to, um, rope me into that process, but I’m happy to, you know, jump in and provide any, you know, any services in that way and, and, and feedback and sure that staying on brand those spaces.
Oh, I was gonna say to one thing that should happen inside the space, Brandon, once you get them there with your amazing SEO, et cetera, and Jen applies as much as she can is keeping it all in check, having somebody who makes design decisions, one point person. So that, again, going back to the, this consistent branding, cause like we’ll, we’ll start out strong and then the brand can get diluted.
Yes. So, and over here is making this sign for, they wanted to, you know, extrapolate you, name it, whatever it is, if you want your brand to live a happy life yeah. Make sure that you have a good set of guidelines and that interior design that everybody has those brand guidelines and that everybody’s respecting those brand guidelines and that you have graphic design support to make sure that that consistency is adhered to yeah.
So how would you recommend a doesn’t have to be a dispensary, but just any company continue to do essentially to, uh, to not mess up the foundation of what you guys have done. Like what would you say are some of the things that, that they can do to make sure things are good? Like, is it, you guys just create brand guidelines and they never do anything else? Is it, they bring in someone that kind of spoke with you and they kind of continue that, like what does that process look like for extending the longevity of a brand? Yeah.
So I think there’s different levels of it too. And it depends on who they have internal, you know, if they have the bill to bring someone on internally onto their team or if it’s, you know, uh, some sort of retained contract in a way to keep that work, you know, staying consistent with a graphic designer. Mm.
Um, but uh, I mean I would always recommend having a solid graphic designer or contact, you know, that can maintain stuff. Or if it’s, you know, us understanding what their needs are, setting up proper templates so that they can, you know, go into a program, switch out the text, it’s still branded, you know, they can, they can export that, however they need it and then, you know, put it out into the world.
Um, so I, I think it just fully depends on what they’re capable of, uh, budget wise and then, and you know, what they’re capable of managing as well in terms of assets mm-hmm um, because just giving the brand guidelines, isn’t always, you know, if you don’t have someone that’s executing on it, who’s adhering to those guidelines.
It’s not really gonna take you anywhere. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, yeah, that, that’s a big thing. And even, even for us, it’s like, I can tell my clients to do whatever it is that I think that they should do again, if they start doing random stuff, they, you know, don’t hire the proper people. They don’t have a good loyalty strategy put in place.
Mm-hmm, , it kind of messes up everything that’s been done. And, you know, sometimes it comes back to us saying, Hey, the stuff that you’re doing is not working. And then you go and ask, Hey, you know, have you been doing the things that we told you that you need to do and that, you know, that whole kind of client relationship sort of falls off and I’m sure we can go on and, and rent about all of those things that happened.
I, I think both of us as, um, out third party vendors, the struggle is always like, we’re the consultants. Like we’re not, you know, inside of we’re, we’re not insiders at a certain point. We’re not insiders anymore. So, um, it’s, it’s really for a, a smaller or midsize company. I mean, big your companies, you know, they have a, a title and a role for every little function and a startup or a smaller business.
Everybody’s wearing a lot of hats, you know, so it’s gonna happen, but we have onboarded. And when we transition out trying to bring the right people in, and, um, I’d say like in a simple way, Brandon, you know, someone who can wear a marketing hat and really focus on those tactics and someone who can support consistent design, those are two seats, two roles.
But it’s kind of like, from our perspective, I mean, I know it’s not always, like I said, in the budget. Yeah. But it should be considered because if you’re are gonna not, you know, be relying on third parties for the life of the business, or maybe you just go to bigger ad agencies at a certain point as your brand evolves.
But in the beginning, like those are two really critical functions to an in-house marketing team. So looking at what your in house roles are gonna be for to manage vendors or like us, or like you, they don’t have to be doing it, but if you know enough and you’re just, you know, a marketing generalist or a coordinator, or if you’re a graphic designer, you know, um, working in a, in a company that has the foundations that you set up or that we set up two roles that really just helps sustain, like you said, the consistency and longevity.
Yeah. I mean, look, that makes a sound of sense. And there are tons of parallels. Like we’re not directly doing the same thing, but I mean, everything you’re saying, I’m like, yep, yep, yeah. Preaching to the corner. Like I completely agree, you know, all this stuff. Yeah. Um, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s super, super important.
And, you know, we, we did, we’ve chat about like all the things that people need to do and all that stuff, but as to like the why, right. Cause that’s a big thing for me. It’s like, you know, company comes to me, it’s like, why do I need to do SEO? Why do I need to do web design? Right. When people come to you, whether it’s cannabis, dispensaries, or other businesses.
And I’m sure both of you have two different answers to this, as well as like, you know, why is branding itself important for, for, I guess companies in general. Yeah. I think that takes us back to the initial, um, like it’s your perception is it’s the experience that you have over and over again, um, with a company.
And I think that that’s super important. I mean, you wouldn’t, you know, go to one McDonald’s and, and another one and it be a completely different experience, a different look, different marketing, you know, different service. Um, so yeah. Yeah. And, and I’ll answer it in this, in, we can, we’ll, we’ll just for the fun of it, stay in the can this space.
Sure. Um, that’s like, you know, a sandbox that we’re, we’ve been playing in and we’d like to do more cannabis work. I mean, we, we love it as, um, you know, as a client sector, it’s, it’s really fun and it’s new and you have a lot of like bright people going into it and there’s so much to learn, but it’s getting saturated we’re in Southeast Michigan.
So, you know, from a retail perspective and what’s going on with the laws, et cetera. I mean, if anyone is breaking into the dispensary or cultivation space, you don’t really have monopoly on your customers anymore because you’re like the only game in town. So now you have to differentiate yourself with sound strategies that companies like us can put in place.
So that the client again has, you know, and maybe not everybody’s going after the same person either. Like we see lots of different brands and brand personalities. So, you know, one thing we always talk about or that we like to remind of, like, not, everybody’s supposed to like you, you know, if, if you’re for everyone, then you’re not really nicheing in any particular space.
So we do a lot of work on consumer personas, like who really do you want to be like people on fire for you? You know, I’d rather have 20% that are coming back and continuing to come back. So I think now with, with why branding for cannabis companies is so important is just because of the saturation. I think probably just across the board, are you finding that saturation in any other industries? We work in the food space a lot.
Um, that’s always like, you know, there’s always a lot of noise there. I mean, I think in every, unless it’s something really, really novel and new, there’s gonna be noise in your marketplace. And that’s what gives us our job really. I mean, that’s like a brand branding has to exist because like, you know, there is competition, but you’re, I don’t know.
What do you think? Yeah, I would agree. I’d say the consumer packaged goods sector, you know, you’re always gonna run into areas being really saturated. I mean, like, I think of all the like, well, it might be kind of related to cannabis, but like CBD drinks or, you know, non-alcoholic beverages are becoming really popular.
Um, you know, even in like the, the food bars, like, you know, snack bars, bars, there’s a million different types of snack bars. Yeah. Yes. Yep. So, I mean, I feel like in, in those areas, there’s definitely a lot of competition and, um, oversaturation crazy, crazy world out. Like, I, I there’s a, like here in Toronto, um, there was, there’s like a, a new dispensary opening up.
It seems like every single day. And there was like two, two dispensaries right. Beside each other. And like, I was like, what is going on? Like, how are they open up beside they’re literally beside each other they’re neighbors. Um, and then I was looking and I was like, how, you know, I think one of them ended up outta business, like obviously, um, but one of my friends who was like living like living right across from there was like, yeah, there’s always a line outside, one of them.
And one of thems, always empty. Hmm. I’m just, you know, just racking my brain. I’m like, okay, what, how do they do this? Da, da, da. And here, I don’t know if you know here, like in Ontario, that for the most part, all of the can, this products are the same. The, the key differentiator is very difficult to be the products themselves.
So what is it? It’s, it’s like the brand it’s like, how do they resonate with their customer, whatever that means. Right. Um, and again, you know, to everything that you guys are saying, the branding of that business was the sole thing that let them same business longer than their, than their competitor.
Right. I don’t know how they ended up being beside each other, but on that street, I’m telling you there’s like 10 dispensaries. Right. And the only thing that can really differentiate them is that branding. Cause like I can go in an SEO will everything, but if I’m walking down the street and I see a dispensary right beside you, right.
What can I do? Right? Like, is your brand cooler? Right? Does it resonate with me better? Um, I, I did a long kind of webinar talking about like, what is your resonating message? And then I identified, is it millennials? Is it gen Z? Is it gen X? Is it baby boomer? And it was all different things that resonated with these different people.
Right. And I think this is the next step that I think, well, it’s gonna be the foundational step, but I do think it’s the next step that I think dispensaries need to take is that it’s one thing being the first legal dispensary out of all the illegal ones after everything, you know, legalized. But now it’s another thing trying to separate yourself from everywhere else.
Right. It’s just like, you know, you can’t just have a convenience store or, you know, you have hair salons or barbers. Like there’s a lot of them, but it like, what is that differentiating factor with them? So to, to ramble on, to kind of go to your guys’ point, I, I, I’m a big fan of like what branding is and all that stuff versus just advertising, just advertis.
If that makes sense. Mm-hmm, , here’s a deal. We sell cannabis products here, but like, you know what I mean? Like that anyone can kind of do that. How do you get your people coming back over and over again? You know, that’s that’s to my thoughts on, on the branding. Yeah. No, you’re, you’re spot on.
I mean, it’s a choice and the choice is driven by, you know, a number of factors with changing consumers. And I mean, you made me think of too from a culture standpoint, like operationally, so there’s the operational piece of the brand, but that is really important alongside the visual. Like what is the customer service? I mean, when you read on, um, yeah, the experience maps and Leafly and stuff, you know, like how are the bud, like the bud tenderer is kind of like really carrying the whole exchange.
It’s an extension of your brand, you know, they’re an extension of your brand. So it’s, how are they talking to consumers? You know what I mean? Like that is part of the brand experience. It is part of it. So like super important. Yeah. And I don’t know if you want to add kind of that level of training to what you guys offer, but I’m telling you, if you get the majority of dispensers and you look at the reviews that they have, like 80% of them are going to be, Hey, I loved talking with Amy.
She was fantastic. She helped me find the right product, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, or John remembered. It was my birthday and gave me a free whatever it is. Right. Mm-hmm . And I tell all the time when people write reviews, they’re emotionally triggered either positively or negatively Absolut, right? Doesn’t matter.
People are only gonna write reviews if they’re super, super happy or they’re really, really pissed off. Right. Very rarely are you gonna have mediocre reviews, which is why the spread of reviews are five star and one star. You don’t really get a lot of three stars. Right? So as an idea, if you have that sort of, uh, mindset on the branding and how you can teach people how to do things, right, and it’s an easy sell, Hey, look, Hey dispensary, a look at your reviews and tell me how many reviews are from your bud tens, right? Or look at your competitor, right.
Cuz if you’re gonna go help them, they might not be doing so well, look at your for competitor and look at all the reviews you’re having. I can come into your business, show you from a branding perspective, why your employees are an extension of your brand. I know you as a business owner, uh, you know, might not have a lot of time and we can help you with that.
Right. And that’s something, you know, I don’t know if that kind of fits within what you guys are doing, but it’s all branding at the end of the day. But that’s what I’m thing in the cannabis space. It’s the bud tenderers. You’re right. They do all that. It’s it’s the customer service like you’re saying. I mean, I love part of like how I got into this, you know, being like I love management and organizations, I love organizational behavior.
Um, but it’s just such a big chunk. Like it’s such a, such a big thing to bite. We touch on it. And at core, in, in our brand pillar exercise, we touch on like, do you have any, it’s a question general, like, do you have anything from a culture standpoint that differentiates you in your space? Yes. So it’s kind of like, we do the light version of it, like to get them warmed up to thinking about a client about company culture, but like going like heavy into it, you know? Um, it’s kind of a different game, but it’s like really falls in the same bucket.
It’s so interesting. We, we talk about it all the time. I mean, I don’t know. It’s um, that’s a big one, like culture. Yeah. Maybe for the future. We definitely like, I mean, we spend a lot of time talking about it, especially in clients that we’ve been working with for a while. Cause we’re just like sitting like you, we’re sitting in that seat that is like watching everything mm-hmm and we’re not in it, we’re working on the business and we’re not bogged down being in the business so we can kinda see a little bit more objectively than, you know, the, the people that are operating it from the inside.
But we were just talking today about, oh, we, you know, process process. And we were like, but is it process or is it culture? Because some, when things are broken, it’s usually a culture problem. Yeah. Mm-hmm, like processes kinda ride if your culture’s figured out for the most part for the Mo for the most part, for the most part.
Jen, are you seeing anything like that? Again, it doesn’t have to be in the dispense for you space. I know it’s kind of cannabis centric, but you know, the one thing that I did notice is is that the, the on the business thing is very much like the bud tenderers and stuff like that. Are you seeing anything in like different industries or, or anything like that where you think the people that are in the trenches might be missing some higher level piece that might be taking them to the next level were preventing them from taking them to the next level? I mean kind of putting you on the spot right now, by the way.
No, it’s okay. I feel like it’s honestly, it it’s a systemic thing, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s leading by example. So whoever is above and, and setting that tone is, has a big effect on, you know, how everyone else is going to communicate and work within the organization. Sure. Um, you, and you know, I think it’s having passion for your brand, um, staying true to who you are, uh, making sure that you’re consistently communicating that and, and really hyping up your team, you know, um, empowering them to, to, um, you know, drive the brand forward.
Uh, but I don’t know that there’s been any like one particular thing I’ve noticed. I mean, I guess that is a particular thing. I think it’s just, it’s, it’s truly, um, an, an internal thing that that can be remedied. No, I mean, look, we’re talking a lot about, you know, what we’re seeing in different industries and stuff like that, but the end would love to touch on some of the, the challenging stuff that you guys are facing right now.
Like what are some of the big things that you, you guys are, are kind of like, uh, you know, I got, this is something I gotta do. I gotta fix this right now. Mm-hmm um, there’s, I mean, any number of things I think along I’m sure way, uh, you know, we go through different growing pains and, and learning and, you know, messing up and figuring it out type of thing.
You know, we kind of forward, um, throughout time. Um, I’d say, you know, like we’re always, we’re always trying to make those right connections with other vendors, you know, partnering with the right people in order to achieve goals for, for our clients. Um, you know, understanding the, our clients, like if we have a good, um, you know, communication back and forth, a good communication style and trust between the two, like making sure that, that we’re setting our expectations properly.
Um, you know, so that everyone is happy along the way and that there’s no ambiguity. Um, yeah. I dunno, Alex, do you have anything to add? Not really. I mean, yeah, for us, it’s like, you know, we’re, we’re confident in our process, but it’s just kind of continuing to what Jen set, like fine tune communicate and setting expectations and understanding, um, you know, what what’s happening inside of our, our clients’ businesses.
And do you guys to, to that point about trying to figure out what’s happening within the, the businesses? One of the main reasons why I went from, you know, kind of like a legacy agency that just work with all types to local businesses, doctors, dentists, restaurants, lawyers, and stuff like that was because of how nuanced some industries might be.
I mean, sometimes you might be able to jump in and be like, Hey, I know exactly what’s going on. Boom, boom, boom. But have you guys ever thought of like, kind of dialing down on one industry or space or anything like that? Yeah, we actually, um, as part of a rebrand, just revisited who, you know, what, what industries we think we can best serve.
So backing into it, going up, what you said and learning over time, you know, in the beginning we would kind of help anybody but what we eliminated. Um, so we eliminated any medical, not cannabis, but medical, like traditional, um, medicine, doctors, offices, dentists, cosmetic surgeons, and legal industries who do not service.
So, I mean, we use the word lifestyle loosely, but we’re focused on food, retail, hospitality, um, the luxury goods, you know, Jen can elaborate on it, but just things that, again, like you said, you know where there isn’t as much, um, it’s, it’s intuitive for us. It’s just, it’s just the space we have historically been to provide the best results.
Yeah. I’d say we stray away from anything that’s like service based. Sure. Um, I mean, retail is kind of like a hybrid, right? Because you have that extension of, you know, the brand and how people are interacting with it in that way. But I think we tend to stay more in like the goods, um, or yeah, restaurant, yeah.
Products and places. We, we stick to products. Yeah. Is there something that drove you guys to do that specifically, or you just kind of fell into it? Um, I think that there’s so many other companies out there that niche in like, it’s like automotive, we don’t do automotive, you know, being here in Detroit, like why? Like it’s just not, yeah.
You know, you need, I, I’m a fan of like specialization, if I’m something’s wrong, I’m gonna go to a specialist. Like, all they do is focus on this one area. And so all we do is brand identity and all we do is brand identity for these certain industries. Um, it happened naturally. We just sort of weeded out where we felt like we didn’t, you know, the client didn’t see the results or maybe there was a learning curve for us.
So, you know, when it comes to like marketing companies, that niche attorneys like totally different ballgame doctors kind of different, you know, it’s, there’s just so many other companies that can like do just provide a better service. And we’re honest and upfront about that. We get, you know, leads all the time that it’s like, Hey, I’m doing this, this and this.
And we’re like, you know what? We think you, you better serve going somewhere else. Hey, look here, look the, the big boy pants, the adult pants in the business, when you can start turning away business that that’s when you know, doesn’t always feels so great, but you know, what would sometimes you gotta, yeah, I think we just stay true to, you know, what really excites us too and what we can get behind.
Cause if, if we’re not feeling excited and inspired by a project, um, or, you know, we’re feeling like the relationship may not be like a, a healthy one, then it it’s, it’s a, it’s not the right direction for us. Um, so yeah, that’s a big one. I mean, look on my end. Like I said, there’s tons of parallels between what we’re doing, but it’s always that, like, it could always be just, you know, you can have 99% of your clients are happy and that one person that’s like, you know, it, it, it provides a big, a lot more stress then I would say is necessary or even needed at that point.
It’s like, unless they’re paying you a ridiculous amount of money, right. It’s like, it’s, it’s typically not worth it. I mean, for the most part, I think everyone has, has that. Yeah. What’s it worth right at that, that price, that price tag, but it’s, it has to be a lot. Right. And it cascades into the rest of the business because this first in gives you, puts you in a bad mental state, you know, you, you know, you then talk to clients who are then stress you out.
And it’s just like a compounding effect. It’s not just that one, that one incidence of like, you know, kind of this bad client experience. Right. And we all have that. Right. So sometimes you just, you just gotta fire the person or the company and be like, Hey, no, let’s, let’s step back. I don’t think this is gonna work out.
And, you know, we’ll kind of go kind of go where the, where the wind takes is after that. Do you normally recommend like a, another vendor? Uh, so when let’s say, uh, someone in the automotive space comes in, do you have like a recommendation where you’re like, Hey, I recommend you go to these people or do you just say, Hey, I don’t think we’re a good fit.
Like what, what does that process look? I’m just curious myself. Yeah. Yeah. We do that. Um, you know, if it’s, if it’s something that we don’t specialize in or we’re feeling like there would be better, you know, opportunity for them elsewhere, we’re open about it saying like, you know, Hey, this, this isn’t, you know, gonna work for whatever, whatever reason.
And then, you know, yeah. We offer them like, Hey, we have this contact here or over there, or here, there’s a couple options that you could pursue or look into, you know, and good luck yeah. Well it’s time. Yeah. I mean, it makes sense. I, I do the same thing too. I do. Well, it’s hard to, like you say, it’s hard to turn away people who are like actively looking to work with you, but I think it’s, it’s better for the growth of, of the business itself.
Um, but that leads me to something that I completely forgot. So talking about branding, all the things I go into branding, but what do you guys actually do for clients? Like what, what, what is the, the deliverables of what you guys offer? Cause I know, you know, I mentioned the retail, but that’s not something that you really focus on, you know, what are the actual, tangible things that you do for clients to help them with their branding and stuff like that? Yeah.
So it all depends on the client and what their need is, but I mean, we obviously start with the branding process of establishing all the pillars mm. Making sure that they have the foundation. Um, if they already have that great, we then go into the visuals. So you know, the logo, so you want a responsive logo that’s gonna fit, you know, if it’s gonna be on a large space or all the way down to a tiny profile picture on social media, um, also having a company in brand marks, you know, like something that’s not the logo, but is a lockup that, you know, is part of the visual, um, system.
So exporting those as well, color palette, fonts, any patterns, um, you know, and then into tangible items, if they’re restaurants, they’re gonna need menus, they’re gonna need signage, maybe window graphics. Um, is it plates that have, you know, some words or some sort of, you know, graphics or something on it? Yeah, I think about that is it take out bags, you know, so it just completely on what the needs are, um, for each client, you know, if it’s, if it’s a consumer package, good, sure.
What’s your product that’s packaged. How do we package it? How is that designed? Um, yeah. And then in the digital space, you know, partnering with whoever to create any sort of digital assets or communications on that. So whatever strategy that you guys creative and then whatever direction the company wants to go to and whatever it can have something visually put onto it, essentially, right.
Plate napkins, business cards, brochures, like sure. The world is your guys’ oyster. That’s that’s really, really awesome. Um, so yeah, I mean, look, we’re, I guess we’re taping off to the end to the, the, uh, the quote unquote generic questions and all that stuff. but you know, to kind of ask you guys the ending questions, uh, as entrepreneurs, as business owners, as partners, what are some of the biggest kind of lessons slash failures, uh, you know, that happened to along this journey and you know, it doesn’t have to be the biggest one, but maybe the one that you learn and the best lesson from .
Um, so the biggest lesson in the last three years that, that I learned, um, is so going back to culture, like we think about our own culture, even though we’re smaller, it still matters, but like we learn, you know, get it, we get really caught up in like this perfection mindset of like, things need to be perfect and buttoned up before you roll it out.
And, you know, as an entrepreneur, I’m sure like if you’re listening to just fun listening to other, what other business minds have done, mm-hmm um, so we really focus on progress over perfection, like just staying agile and flexible. That was, uh, you know, a, a philosophy that Jen and I really shared.
And even through like, even without realizing it, like, we kind of always came back to like, Hey, even if we can just work on our process, if we can hire this, you know, like we’re, we’re fans of the baby steps yes. Leading to big change. Yes. Um, and that’s what I learned, you know, that like, things don’t need to be so big and lossy and like, you know, huge goals.
Like if you can just kind of bite off a little bit, do a little bit more set, realistic goals, don’t let your mental health take a toll. That’s the biggest thing I learned, I think just like in general and in post pandemic also mm-hmm yeah, yeah. Going off that, I feel like the biggest lesson for me is just staying true to, you know, what you wanna achieve in your business.
Um, setting those attainable goals little by little and, um, just going for it, you know, like taking those risks and, and working hard towards it, but don’t, don’t work yourself into burnout, like make sure you’re taking the time for yourself and, um, you know, really balance in your life and making sure it goes back into what’s what’s gonna fulfill you, you know, and I’m gonna stray off the beat in path with this.
Like there’s nothing to do with all the marketing. So I’m just, again, I’m very curious about this, cuz I face a problem of like, okay, like work’s done, but like I’m not doing anything and I feel unproductive. And then cuz I’m unproductive. I feel guilty that I’m not doing any work. It’s like that whole kind of like workaholic type thing.
And you know, how do you guys kind of solve that? Knock on wood? I wouldn’t say I’ve experienced any burnout, but nearing the end of the year when kind of Christmas time rolls around, you’re like, okay, I’ve had enough. Let me take my two weeks off and kind of do my thing. Um, but how do you guys kind of, I don’t know if you need to separate your, your, your work and per personal life, but what is that kind of rest and how does that look for you? I think honestly we’ve done a really good job of re like keeping flexible schedule.
So we don’t adhere to, you know, normal business. I mean, we’re available nine to five type of thing if our clients wanna reach out, of course, of course meetings, whatever. But, um, I think, you know, allowing us to have that flexibility and not feel like we’re constrained to this like 40 hour work week constantly has always been something super important to us.
Um, in maintaining, you know, that, that balance and making sure we’re not overworking. And you know, there’s a point where we were both super burnt out and we’re like, wow, how do we function like this? Yes. Um, and it just, you know, it went back into to realizing like, yeah, that was unhealthy and we prefer to work this way.
And um, just, you know, stepping away from the computer, take a 15 minute walk outside or, you know, take half a day off and work, you know, two extra hours a couple days later or, you know, so I think the flexibility was alwa was, um, like the biggest thing for me, at least nice. It, it, it goes sometime. I mean, we, we, you know, we, we continue to talk about it.
Like kind, like you said, totally like holiday time reflecting on the year. That’s really important. Something we always do, but it took holding each other accountable. And like having, like, if you are a solopreneur or like you’re kind of working alone, you know, um, it’s or on a smaller team, like sometimes it, you, you do need to find a support system or just like somebody to talk to when, if you don’t know if you’re doing the right thing, like we, you know, um, in imposter syndrome, like, oh my gosh, I got this new client, like, are we even worthy of this project? Like how much do we charge? There’s just so many, I think, you know, talking to other entrepreneurs like you Brandon, or like some videos seen on social media from like other, just business, creative business resources and saying like, Hey, we, we kinda all really do share the same stresses that’s been helpful.
And, um, one thing, you know, Jen really kind of made sure that we did was if a client backed what you said, like you’re reducing a lot of stress. If you don’t take on, if you don’t let like the, the fee part drive your decisions only it’s both. It has to be a good professional chemistry and then the fees have to be there too.
And that’s, what’s far to both parties. So that, yeah, that helped us out a lot mentally. Like, you know, we’re willing, we go, we work really hard for our clients. We’ll go the extra mile, you know, if we’re being treated right and all that. And, and then it can be fun. So it’s like the burnout is when there’s no joy left in what you’re doing.
And like, we try to revisit reclaiming. Cause it takes like, you know, you don’t just like do something once and work out one time and think you’re gonna be like, you know, so it’s, it’s constantly revisiting that. Um, that’s been better for us in terms of, like you said, that well rounded. And then sometimes there’s really busy times like end of the year can get psycho crazy.
But then summer is a little, maybe a little, I’m just using that as an example, but like leaning into the busy time. And then also, you know, we both like, wait, we’re slow. And it’s like, it’s not slow. It’s just normal. So like maybe what we always talk felt like this is the day where you go the 20 minute walk.
You Don, we don’t need to load up right now or whatever. No, look, I, yeah, definitely on agreement with all that stuff. I mean, finding partners or whatever it is, finding clients that are aligned with kind of, I don’t wanna say work schedule, but like with how you want to work or right. Obviously you’re gonna put in the word, you’re gonna go above and beyond.
But again, if you have those couple clients that are just like, you know, doing that whole scope creep or always saying, Hey, I’m paying this money. Why aren’t you doing? You know what I mean? Like that sort of stuff. I, you know, I just it’s, it’s not, it’s, it’s a lot of stress. You’ve got some boundaries, it’s the boundaries.
Like you didn’t start to use that word until I was like, wait, you’re right. Like this isn’t any different than a bad friendship or a bad relationship. Like, because the transaction can totally eclipse like sound judgment. It’s like, Hey, it doesn’t matter. You know what I mean? Like exactly. You know, at one point we were like, Hey, we’re gonna put on a vacation responder, even though, like you said, you have that workaholic mentality and you’re under the gun with payroll and rent and stuff like that.
It’s like, I can’t, I can’t take a minute to myself, but it’s like, we’re gonna put the vacation responder on. Yes. Like, no matter what we’re doing it. Yeah. Yeah. And then adhering to those things, you put the vacation to responder on and then you start replying to emails. Can’t do that. no. Yeah.
Well, you know what? We, we too, in the beginning we would like go along with whatever piece the client was setting, but it’s important. Like we have a, um, client welcome guide that we worked on and that was like a big kind of, you know, process piece for us where it’s like, here’s the times you can get a hold of us.
Here’s normal. Like, you know, the times that we will respond to email. Cause if you just start with like, Hey, I’m available all the time. Whenever you wanna talk, text me, call me email. Yeah. Then like you’re setting as the provider, you’re setting the wrong expectation. So can we really get like upset with the client if that’s kind of the pace set from the beginning? You know? So it’s, we would, you know, maybe fall into like some negativity around that, but we would reign it.
Like we realized we gotta reign it back in and it’s up to us to set the boundaries and limitations in the beginning, you know, they’re not coming up with our work schedule the first day they meet us. Right. Setting those expectations, super, super important. And that’s something that I didn’t do before.
I was like that client’s gonna love this. They can get contacting me at all the time. Like, no, like they’re texting me, they’re calling me basic messenger. I’m like, look email, please just please email me. Right. And I let them know why I don’t. I, you know, I don’t come across as like a, you know, a as a mean person, I’m just like, look like I’m managing a lot of clients.
Right, right. For me to go message you on text, on Skype, on, on all these different things, it’s gonna overwhelm me. I’m gonna give you a worse product. Right. So hit me up over email. I will respond in a timely manner between these hours and these hours. And that’s it. And for the most part, a lot of people are very understanding, right.
If you tell them, Hey, look, this is kind of how we are doing business. And then if they have any pushback, it’s like, look, okay. Like let me buy products from your store. Anytime that I want, whenever I feel like buying it, open up your door and let me come in in by. And they’re like, ah, they’re like, ah, OK.
I understand. Right. Cause it’s the exact same thing and giving them an analogy. Yeah. It helps exactly. It’s like, you know, hit them with that. So I guess on that note as my second, my second last question is what’s kind of, uh, golden nuggets or anything would you give to dispensary owners or other businesses, um, know to kind of take their marketing or their just business as a whole, to the next level.
Obviously you’re gonna put your branding twist on it, but again, we’d love to kind of hear if you were to give any of these, any of the audience members that I hopefully are listening. Uh, what would you kind of tell, tell them to, to do I’ll defer to you Alex OK. Uh, dispensary and cannabis brands.
What would they do? Um, probably I’d say don’t fall prey to like the trend mm-hmm because, um, try to let your own personal philosophies, like drive your brand and, and be the foundation for your brand and, and, you know, let that authentic organic approach, like really carrying through because that’s, what’s gonna last mm-hmm versus riding on a trend because once that trend is passed, then you gotta figure out who you are all over again.
We’re in the identity business. So identity is, you know, we all change, but, and business, certain things evolve and change, but that like core foundation is so important. So maybe just starting out, take note of like things that come naturally. We had one client where, you know, a lot of like the, the partner, what just the way that they approach life, you know, mm-hmm, like a sense of adventure and thrill and mindfulness and all these things that came out in the brand.
And it was so cool because these are things that they, you know, if you meet them, like our favorite entrepreneurs, they’re like who they are in and out of the business. So like maybe, you know, not com compartmentalizing, like this is who we are in our per life, but this is who we are as a business. Like letting it all kind of blend into one organic space, I think could be really fun for, um, for cannabis brands.
You know, we see a lot of like, they’re trying to be like, um, you know, maybe like someone else, or like you said, maybe like their neighbor or, you know, doing it, how it’s always been done. We’re leaning into trends. And mm-hmm I think the people who are really, really pioneering branding in the cannabis space are not paying attention to any of that.
Right. Right. So, and we hit it. You hit it. You said everything. You said all the thoughts, Jen. You sure you don’t wanna add any, any little? No, I think S covered it all. I couldn’t say about honestly. Well fun. Thanks brand. This is so great. Yeah. Look like I said, these are, these are really, really fun.
Uh, like I love doing these. It’s just like just organic. Organic is the word of the day. Apparently it’s just a good conversation. Right. Um, and it doesn’t come across as, Hey, we’re trying to like sell pitch anything. It’s it’s really, really good. Um, but yeah, it’s pretty much it. I mean, I guess the last thing is like, where can find you say if they wanna get in contact.
Yeah. So build creative.com B Y L D. creative.com is where you can find us, um, formerly known as brand bar. So, you know, that might creep up here and there, but you can find us now at: buildcreative.com. Sweet.