Interview with Whitney Beatty
Whitney was inspired by a lack of stylish, safe cannabis storage systems and a disdain for storing medicine in a shoebox. After meeting so many like-minded cannabis users, who lamented about a lack of good storage system, worried about securing buds away from kids and pets, and who were tired of searching around for their stash to discover it dried out from plastic baggies and non-airtight dispensary jars, Apothecarry
The brand seeks to redefine the image of cannabis users who take pride and pleasure in their stash, while filling a hole in the marijuana paraphernalia market for everyone from the attorneys who tokes after their high powered workday, to the “stiletto stoners” who are hosting ladies night, to the seniors using medication for health benefits and everyone in between who demands the best in all things.
Their initial offering, the Apothecarry Case, is a sleek and sexy storage and humidity system designed to safely keep cannabis at its freshest, most optimum quality, while providing luxury tools and humidity control for the discriminating connoisseur. Her company Apothecarry was selected for the first cohort of Canopy San Diego cannabis business accelerator, won the ArcView Groups 2017 Los Angeles pitch prize and was selected at the Fall 2017 Pipeline LA portfolio company. Apothecarry closed her seed round in 2017 and is currently seeing 100% YoY growth.
Whitney, can you give us more insight into Apothecarry Brands, Inc?
So you keep your wine in a wine fridge, you keep liquor in bars, you keep cigars in humidors. But the vast majority of people keep their high-end cannabis in a shoebox under their beds. And that doesn't make sense to me. That's why I started Apothecary Brands. Apothecary is a purveyor of high-quality cannabis. Our job is to make consuming cannabis safer and easier than ever before. And our premier product is the Apothecary Case. It's a sleek and sexy storage and humidity solution for cannabis connoisseurs. So it offers safety via our dual key combination locks, humidity control via our humidity-controlled jars and humidity is important in cannabis because cannabis is a plant and as such needs to be kept in a humidity controlled environment. If not it has the ability to mold or worse yet it can dry out and have those trichomes fall off. Now trichomes, that's where you're getting that euphoric high from when they fall off you're gonna diminish the medical benefits and the quality of your smoking experience. And so storing and humidity really helps that. We also offer a style that matches your decor without raising odour or eyebrows, our cases fit in with your lifestyle and make sure that no one walks into your house and smells cannabis is the first thing when they walk in. And finally, convenience because we allow you to store not only your plant in our cases but also your pipes, your vaporizers, your oil canisters anything that you need to envibe. So you always know that the material is safe, kept securely and it's there for when you need it.
How did you initially build the partnerships and networks that make Apothecarry Brands, Inc successful?
I think one of the first things that I did to build partnerships and networks within the cannabis space to make my company successful was I joined a business accelerator. I did the Canopy San Diego Business Accelerator. I joined it in the fall of 2016, on a 16-week accelerator specifically pointed at ancillary companies in the cannabis space and it was very powerful for me for a couple of reasons. It allowed me to really build some partnerships within the space and build relationships with people who've been working in this space for longer than I had. In the cannabis space, even though it is growing by leaps and bounds it's still in some ways an insular community and you really need someone to let you know who the players are in the game and to be able to facilitate those introductions which are very powerful for me. It also allowed me to build up my list of advisors and of mentors who were really able to give me the skills that I did not have in this space that was critical. I realised that I had lots of brand experience. I was coming from a 15-year career in the entertainment industry. What I did not have was supply chain management experience, I needed someone on my team who did have that. And by being able to go through that accelerator, build out my network, I was able to find those pieces that were very necessary for Apothecary to succeed and thrive.
You're dealing with quite a niche market. How do you effectively go about getting the word out about your product, Apothecarry?
Brand awareness is something that's really difficult within the cannabis base and even more so within my market. And I'll tell you why. Because my cases are high end, so I'm looking for a consumer who is 30 to 65 years old. Women, medical users, urban professionals who are making seventy-five thousand dollars a year or more which means that they might not necessarily be reading High Times or Dope Magazine and yet I'm not allowed to advertise in Forbes or Inc where they might be. So we have really had to think outside the box in the way that we reach them you know. So if that's going into Facebook groups and letting people know that we exist if that's going to you know trade shows or events that might not be cannabis centric but we think consumers will be there. That's been great for us. We've been able to do partnerships with different distribution companies that have eyes on our same market that might not be cannabis-focused and we'll go into there and we've seen success that way. Our job is to find these people, where they are and allow them to know that we're out here. And as a startup, it's our job to be as scrappy as physically possible and so that's kind of what we do in order to find people and let them know that we're out there. Obviously, we do that the obvious things as well influencer marketing, video play, website all of those things in order for people you know once they know about us and they're looking for us they can find us. But we're always looking for new ways to reach that market.
Do you come across people from various walks of life criticizing your product? Given the controversy surrounding cannabis, and how do you deal with this?
I don't really get many people coming up to complain to me about my product per say because my product is generally a safety product that has a locking case to keep cannabis in and I think people understand that it's important to keep cannabis in locking situations when in the home. I have had people come up to me and disagree with me being in the cannabis industry as a whole and I think 99% of the time that comes from ignorance. I understand that ignorance because I used to have that ignorance. I actually did not use cannabis growing up. I didn't use it in high school, I didn't use it in college. I didn't use it until after I got diagnosed with anxiety and I had a doctor who put me on several drugs, none of which I enjoyed. Finally, she said an offhand remark why don't you try cannabis. And I'm like what are you saying, you want me to go on the drugs. Nancy Reagan told me to say no to drugs. But it was her comment that actually made me go do my research. I started reading everything I could find. I learned about Harry Anslinger,
everything from Reefer Madness up to now and it really changed my view of cannabis. It really encouraged me to try it and found things within that space that worked for me. And so when people come up in they're you know instantly on a negative tilt I suggest that they go and do that research as well because if they can see the way that this plant has the ability to really help people like children who have epilepsy, people with cancer, the things that have been done for people with PTSD. It is amazing to know that there is a drug out there that is growing from the ground that has that ability. And I think that that education is literally what's going to take to change the stigma from cannabis being something that is perceived as negative to something that's perceived as positive.