The prospect of nationwide legalization of cannabis is an exciting one — especially from a business standpoint. Entrepreneurs are calling legal weed “the next Gold Rush.” One only has to look at how the industry performed in its first year in Colorado to see why.
With legal marijuana sales beating out Dasani, Oreos, and Girl Scout cookies in 2015, it’s no wonder enterprising individuals are looking for a way in. But with the lower end of the market quickly becoming saturated, getting a product or service (even an amazing one) into the public eye is a real challenge.
Marketing correctly is everything for a startup in this budding industry. With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at some cannabis startups who did it right and, as a result, are making it big.
1. Bhang Chocolate Company
In 2010, decorated chocolatier Scott Van Rixel shifted his attention from pure milk chocolate to something a bit more fringe. With his wealth of chocolate-making experience, he founded the Bhang Chocolate company and began paving the way for professional edible distribution.
Before companies like Bhang Chocolate began distributing their high-end products, edibles came in home-sealed baggies with ill-fitting labels. Under the label “‘Bhang Bars,”’ Rixel’s expertly crafted chocolate brought professional packaging to the table. Four years after its founding, the Bhang Chocolate Company was valued at $65 million.
Today, it is regarded as one of, if not the, world’s leading cannabis brands. Despite being founded upon its edibles, Bhang is constantly slipping into new markets. The reason? Founder Scott Van Rixel has some predictions about the future of the cannabis industry.
2. Aura Water Pipes
Weed is serious business. As the red tape and stigma subside, the cannabis industry is migrating from garages and clandestine warehouses into more professional settings. More and more adults are admitting to smoking marijuana recreationally, and so more and more companies are putting resources into creating a “premium smoking experience.”
Along with Bhang Bars, the soundly engineered Aura Water Pipe is an example of this movement. The Aura Water Pipe is a robust union of industrial design, ergonomics, and engineering. Its sleek aesthetics and functionality led High Snobiety to dub it “the ultimate designer bong.”
Founded in 2016, this young company shows that there is still territory available to be staked out in the cannabis industry — especially in the slice of the market that’s focusing on respectable adults with disposable income.
Massroots — the Facebook of marijuana. While Business Insider doesn’t think creating “the X of marijuana” will pan out once legality hits, several companies have created pot-friendly carbon copies of successful business models. MassRoots is one such cannabis brand, and they are enjoying widespread success in the market.
Since being founded in April 2013, the network has climbed towards one million users. As of writing, it sits at about 900,000 people signed up. MassRoots didn’t report profits until August 2015. Despite this (and being banned from the Apple Store), the service is now in superb standing with the cannabis community.
If MassRoots is the Facebook of cannabis, Eaze is its Uber. Launched in July 2014, the app offered a service that was at the time unavailable. Like with Uber, drivers for Eaze sign up to use their own car for the service of the greater public. Instead of transporting people to their destination, Eaze drivers transport medical marijuana to the homes of patients.
Much of Eaze’s success stemmed from its high-profile investors. Eaze as a marijuana brand highlights the incredible capital that’s becoming available to the industry as the “stoner stigma” melts away. Armed with only a good idea and the determination to see it through, Keith McCarty has blazed a trail to the forefront of the cannabis startup scene.
The success of the DeBowler (not to be confused with a disemboweler) perfectly demonstrates how lucrative the swelling cannabis market can be. A simple problem (the occasional inconvenience of emptying the ash from a pipe/bong) was met with a simple solution: putting a big spike in the middle of an ashtray! With this,
The creator of the DeBowler was ahead of the recreational-marijuana curve. As such, much of the product’s spread happened through word of mouth. In the current market, this product would need a solid cannabis brand marketing plan to break through the deluge of innovations and inventions fighting for a hold.
What Sets Your Cannabis Brand Apart?
For every successful cannabis startup, there are a dozen failures. As investors and entrepreneurs flock to this burgeoning industry, cannabis brand promotion is becoming at once more important and harder to get.
Looking to give your cannabis startup a boost?
Let 4Blooms put our marketing acumen to work for you. We’ll help guide your fledgling idea from seedling to success story with competitive marketing strategies.