Interview with Lauren Miele
Founder & CEO @ Kushkards

In our technology driven world, people have an even greater appreciation for thoughtful handwritten tokens of love and appreciation, making Kushkards the perfect present. Kushkards are different from your everyday store bought variety, especially since they always have what you need—a unique spot on each card to insert a pre-rolled item of your choosing and a complimentary match striker located on the bottom (that can be repeatedly used, btw). The recipient of your Kushkard will never have to search for a lighter to enjoy their treat! KushKards was named "The Hallmark of Marijuana" by Herb.co and Merry Jane magazine—all because stoners love greeting cards, too! Typical greeting cards don’t offer “High Wishes” on birthdays, or an everyday card to “Just Say High,” or a sympathy card so together you can “Smoke About It.” KushKards merge the cannabis and gift giving communities in a truly unique and creative way. With more than 20 different types of occasions to celebrate, Kushkards makes it easy to choose the perfect greeting—we conveniently offer multi-card packs and curated packs of Kushkard bestsellers.
Hello Lauren! Could you please introduce Kushkards and what led to your founding the company back in 2015? What did the first year of the company look like?
Hello my name is Laura Miele and my company is called Kushcards the cannabis greeting card where you can strike a match and light the joint that you attach. I founded this company back in 2013 because I was tired of going to convenience stores and looking through the card section and seeing all the outdated cards and realizing that there was nothing that really fit the person that I wanted to gift cannabis to. So I decided to roll blunts and sew them and people's initials to cards and gift what became a cannabis greeting card. And it has been a great journey ever since. 2015 our first year looks like a lot of promotions traveling and trade shows and really spreading the word of mouth through social media on what a Kush Card is and how it could help your store dispensary smoke shops head shops and really kicking off with success.
We saw that you've built up an awesome social media following! What was your process for getting to 20K followers on Instagram?
Instagram is our main source of social media with over 20,000 followers it's really exciting. The process has been hard very discouraging, encouraging. All of the above. But I have to say what has gotten us to that level is the creativity- how original our posts are. I like to post just the process of what Kush Kards has been. The process of every day whether that's taking boxes to the post office are walking them with my little Kush kart or simply how many orders we received that day. It really was showing the story. We also host lots of giveaways. We partnered with really fun companies in the cannabis industry that helped us and we also work with influencers to help spread the word and get Kush card seen in front of millions of people. So it's a great great success for us.
As Cannabis is legalized in more and more states, we've seen the rise of female-owned cannabis companies. What's it like being a female run company in what is so often a male dominated industry?
To be a woman owned company in a male dominated cannabis industry I have to say it feels so empowering to have my company thrive from year to year to year with all the new innovations that we have coming out. The new women employees that we are bringing on. That's to say I feel strong. I feel confident and I feel proud to be a woman in this industry and share my story of how I just started with a small idea in New York City and have expanded and into almost 300 retail locations all over the US. I see a lot of males coming into this industry thinking that they have the right of way, they have the power to kind of move all over the people who have been here since day one and try to get by, copying my idea, copying other people's idea and I have to say that just shows you what type of entrepreneur that really is. So being a woman, being strong, being confident and just feeling powerful. I'm here to show that all other women in the cannabis industry should have the same feeling behind them because we are working hard every day to put in the effort that it is needed to get Kush Kards to what it is today. So I'm really happy and proud and I can't wait to keep going.
What have been some of the most elaborate and involved Kushkards you've designed? For example, has anybody used them for weddings, retirements, etc?
Here's a Kush Kard I wanted to show you what one looks like. So we have our High love you here. It says Insert Pre-Roll here and every card with two strings to adhere your joint. Nice and tight on the card. Two places to strike a match and light the joint that you attach. And they also come with matchbooks as a promotional item and for you to use to strike the card. We've also done a card for weddings and we partnered with a company called Kush Kandles who we've made sets that has the full wedding stationery set as well as matching candles which is really fun for new cannabis weddings that are popping up. We have a card pretty much for every type of occasion. "I screwed up. Let's smoke about it." "Just have to say sorry sometimes" or even "Hey when you're feeling under the weather let's smoke weed together." So definitely a card for every occasion. And we cannot wait to come out with more theme specific cards. Coming soon.
What's next for Kushkards? We saw that you're always expanding your client base - what markets will be your main focus for 2019?
2019 for Kush Kards is looking amazing. Already we have a bunch of new products coming out that include Kush wrap which is themed tissue paper, Stoner Stationery a bunch of new notebooks and some new target market that we're focusing on. For instance we are looking to get into the hallmarks. We're looking to get into the gas station chains because who doesn't buy a card at a gas station. We're looking to get into convenience stores, 7-Eleven, Spencer's Gifts anywhere where you can see a cannabis novelty card because really anywhere a greeting card can be sold a Kush Kard can be sold as well which is what's so fun about our product and what's engaging with customers and consumers and we just really love to see people's reactions when they see these cards. So if anything all these stores who are looking to have a cannabis section in their store, Kush Kards makes a great way to be that gateway product with maybe a minimal pot leaves and less stoner stigma. We are helping ease that transition rather than going the roll paper or Bong route. So Kush Kards is heading in a mass market direction for 2019.