Robbie Wroblewski 0:02
My journey took me years to figure out years to figure out, my regimen is so tight that it is almost like I’m taking a pill that does the same thing every single day. And it’s taken me years to develop that. And nobody’s helped me on that. No, there’s not been one person who’s been like, oh, Robbie need to smoke this because this is gonna be the greatest. This is something that we have to do ourselves. And so, you know, going back to these tours, that’s why they’re important. That’s why it’s good marketing is because I’m not trying to market a product to you. What I’m trying to market to you is your own empowerment is your own knowledge base that you can take within your own hands. And you can take that journey and find out for yourself and all it’s going to cost you is the ability to be uncomfortable for a short amount of time.
You’re listening to two B one B podcast for cannabis marketers, where your host Shayda Torabi and her guests are trailblazing the path to marketing, educating and professionalizing cannabis light one up and listen up. Here’s your host Shayda Torabi,
Shayda Torabi 1:20
Hello, everybody. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, at least for cannabis consumers. Because if you are unaware, you should become aware that tomorrow is 420. There’s a total you know, folklore story behind why for 20 is 420. I’m not going to spend time getting into the nitty gritty of that today. All I’m here to do is say it’s a major, major event for cannabis marketers, everybody is taking advantage of it, whether they’re doing a discount or a deal or some sort of conference or promotional event. It’s the day to celebrate being a cannabis consumer. And so I want to kick off today’s episode by highlighting a few things I’m going to be participating in. First and foremost, tomorrow, I’m going to be moderating a panel with General Assembly, how cool is that they’re having a women in cannabis panel, and on the panel are going to be women representing cannabis from a few key markets. We’re going to have someone from cresco Labs in California, which is a huge cannabis brand kind of umbrella. They represent a lot of different brands in the California market. And so I’m really keen on getting connected and hearing more about their story. And then there is going to be a woman from verano holdings, which is a cannabis holding company headquartered in Chicago, which Illinois went legal last year, and I haven’t really explored Illinois yet, but I’m really excited to go later this year for another hemp conference I’ll be speaking at, but really excited to learn more about Chicago’s cannabis scene. And so I think it’s just gonna be a really good discussion to kind of lean into and the event is free. It’s free tomorrow. So make sure you grab the link from one of my social channels. I’ve been promoting it if you don’t see it, feel free to DM me. You don’t want to miss that one. And then later this week to continue the celebration. Here in Texas. We are you know, home to Mr. Willie Nelson and Willie Nelson’s birthday. How fortunate for him, right? This man loves cannabis. And his birthday is like the precursor to the stoner holiday of 420. So he’s actually kicking off the first of his own cannabis conference. And it’s going to be called Lux summit. And I have the pleasure of moderating three incredible panels that are going to take place over the course of the next couple days. And those can all be found at Lux summit calm, I’m going to be moderating a panel on you know, hemps 50,000 uses from fee to rope to you know, clothing and fiber and things like that, in addition to obviously what we love to do with the plant, which is personal consumption. And that I’m going to be moderating a panel on cannabinoids kind of you know debunking does CBD get you high and answering questions around other minor cannabinoids like Delta eight and delta 10 and CBG and CBN. So that’ll be really fun. And then the last panel that I’m moderating is one on turps terpenes, such an important conversation to be having, and I’ve got a great lineup of speakers who are going to be on these panels with me. And I encourage you to check that event out as well. And again, all those links are gonna be on my social media channels. And so yeah, I just wanted to highlight some of the great opportunities that I’m personally involved in to kind of kick off for 20 this year, but I really want to know what you guys are going to be up to so please reach out let me know how you’re celebrating I know we’re doing some deals and fun stuff in my retail dispensary at restart CBD. So yeah, whether you’re speaking in something or doing something in your shop, obviously for 20 is a big deal. So to kind of highlight it, make some space for it and look forward to what’s going to unfold this week in the cannabis community. But with that out of the way, we’re going to talk and dive right into today’s episode. I’m really excited because I have a really fun guest. His name is Robbie Wroblewski and he is from Seton Smith which is a cannabis dispensary in the Denver, Colorado area. And what makes this dispensary unique is they prior to the pandemic, I should highlight, they were introducing grow tours, essentially they were introducing this tour from a consumer perspective that allowed you to see the grow, it allowed you to see, you know, that kind of processing and let the consumer hold cannabis I remember, you know, prior to getting in the industry, what, what an opportunity, it was to be up close and personal with the plant. And so getting to hear their story and how they leverage that as part of how they were building their brand, is something that I’m really excited to just, you know, share with you guys, because it’s a really interesting story. And there’s a lot that we can learn. On top of it. They’re vertically integrated. So we dive into strains and genetics and kind of get into some of the plant side discussion of what it’s like to take a plant to market. And so without further ado, we’re going to let Robbie introduce himself and get on with this episode. Thanks, y’all.
Robbie Wroblewski 6:02
My name is Robbie Wroblewski. I am the Director of Community Outreach for Seton Smith. My job pretty much pertains to really driving education and reducing stigma for cannabis along with you know, the typical branding and marketing that goes with any kind of cannabis brand. And I do a lot of a lot of specialization with products, understanding the products that we are serving to the community and understand understanding the effects and everything in the background of that. I originally came into cannabis in 2011. I started, I started on the trim table just like everybody who comes to the cannabis industry does. And I worked in every sector of the cannabis industry. So I’ve worked in trim, I’ve worked in grow, worked in grows, I worked in extraction, and I’ve even done some bud tending for a while. So I tend to understand the really all around like how how the business operates, especially here in Colorado, with our own regulations. So that’s a bit of my background on what I do in cannabis. I came into cannabis from journalism actually. I was a journalist for a few years, I graduated in 2008. And I was a sadly, I graduated into a recession in one of the most saturated fields and that was dying, I kind of transitioned my hobby into my profession, in my profession into my hobby. And they’ve just kind of they kind of melded together over that time. And here I am now doing marketing and branding for, for the seeds myth brand, and really trying to make a name for myself in the sense that like, this is something that I’ve that I’ve looked at for Oh my god, 20 years now. I’ve been smoking weed for 20 years, oh my god. And I’ve been doing this professionally for about 10. So you know, it’s been it’s been a really good time trying to figure out you know, the the intricacies and the differences of this industry versus any other one that’s been
Shayda Torabi 8:03
so one of the things I want to kind of highlight which we were talking offline before we started recording, which is I think a really relevant conversation to start this discussion from is the observation of the brand that Steven Smith has built. I want to get into you do dispensary tours, you show everybody kind of you know from growing to extracting, they get to hold weed when they’re going through the tour all these fun aspects of kind of, you know, the vertical integration, essentially aspect of a brand. But what I observed specifically about your brand is that you treat it like a brand and I think that most Colorado companies are not necessarily treating their brands like a brand I think what I observe is that, you know, weed is legal in Colorado. And so most people are just selling weed and buying weed and and it’s fun and awesome. But I think that there is a obvious need to differentiate a brand and create a brand. And so I’m just curious, like, Where did that decision come from for Seaton Smith to want to be a brand in the space and to create this experience for consumers to touch and feel and smell the plant and be educated when so much of your peers are just for lack of in, you know, intensive purposes or for all intensive purposes just selling weed?
Robbie Wroblewski 9:17
Yeah, no, um, you know, one of the interesting things about that is that we’re kind of a young team, a lot of our team members, a lot of our directorial staff has has come from the industry or come from other industries such as hospitality, or even even the hospital industry, medical industry. And because we’re young, we didn’t really have a lot of that brand awareness that was there at the beginning, like people didn’t know who we were. And so that’s where it started, like, Okay, well, we need to kind of make a name for ourselves and we need to be vocal with how we do this. I guess it can just be that we’re growing weed and we’re selling it like everybody’s growing weed at this. Point, they’re all selling it. So what differentiates us, that’s where that whole idea of, well, we’re going to be different because we want people, we want the populace to be educated about this, we’re not just going to, we’re not going to leave you to your own devices and and leave you to, you know, anecdotal evidence of sativa versus IndyCar or anything like that. Like, we want you to understand what we as an industry and what we are growing, and how we grow it, and what we put into it. And the science that we can attest to behind all that, you know, when we were when we were just talking briefly before this, we both mentioned that there’s so much there’s so many variables within cannabis that the consumer doesn’t know about that well, okay, let’s give them some light into that. Let’s show them how hard it is to Let’s show them how hard it is to create a production, production scale grow. Because frankly, anybody can grow six plants in their tent, and get pretty good results. Try growing 1500 plants in 12 different rooms and you know, continually, continually rotating those and continually harvesting those and creating great plants and creating great bud. That’s that’s a really hard process. And I think that people people have gravitated to us because we are transparent about that. We’re transparent about our operations and our best practices. So it’s something that we that we will continue to drive, and it’s something that we will continue to talk about with our consumers. Because everybody knows that if somebody holds the knowledge that they need to in order to make an informed decision, and they’re still coming to our shop to buy cannabis, that is the best customer that we can have.
Shayda Torabi 11:45
I think what you’ve highlighted is and what I always love to do is kind of listen to our guests, and then kind of reverb it back for the listener just to kind of hear how and I mean this in the utmost like respect, of course, marketing, if done well is really rudimentary. And it sounds like you’ve done what I try to stress to people on this podcast all the time, which is low hanging fruit as a marketer, we can get caught up in wanting to be big and flashy, and obviously having new campaigns and trying to recreate the wheel. But you’ve highlighted a plan that is really, really simple not to, again, dumb it down. But it is it’s really simple. It’s like, hey, people want to buy products, they might not be fully educated on what the hell they’re buying. Let me help empower them to know what it is they’re buying, so that they have the best experience. And when they have a good experience, they’re going to be advocates of not only your brand, because you helped educate and empower them, but ultimately of the plant. And so that’s something very much that resonates with me, because that’s an approach that we take with our dispensary here in Austin is just, I’ll be the first to say I don’t care. I always care. But I don’t care if someone wants to shop with me or not. But if they come to us, because someone told them, hey, those CBD sisters are going to educate me, then I want to help educate people, because I realized that those consumers are the influencers. They’re spending their money, places, they’re impacting the industry, they’re also the voters. And so if these people can walk away with a nugget of information that helps make them more fanatic about cannabis that in return empowers them to be more of a fan of my brand than I did a job well done. I believe so. So it sounds like y’all have kind of taken a very similar approach in sense of, again, it’s like we’re growing the plants. We’re learning from an industry perspective, what the hell we’re doing, why don’t we just like show consumers that aspect of the industry.
Robbie Wroblewski 13:51
When I was just a consumer before I got into this industry, you know, I grew up with a debilitating disease. I had Guillain Barre syndrome. And so I’ve been in leg braces since I was 10 years old and I’ve had chronic pain. My journey and cannabis didn’t start until I was really about 1617 years old when I started experimenting with cannabis because I was sick of painkillers and I was sick of opioids and and antidepressants and yada yada yada, like a shopping list of meds. And I started this journey by myself. zero knowledge zero ability to like find knowledge on cannabis. And literally just talking to every drug dealer I could find to be like, hey, what kind of we do have and and everybody would just say the same thing like oh, it’s fire man. It’s just fire. It’s straight fire. Okay, that doesn’t really help me right? I was out there on my own in a sea of in a sea of nothingness when it comes to knowledge about cannabis and I had to do that entire journey by myself. I don’t want people to go through that I don’t want somebody in their 40s or 50s. It’s just now realizing that they can use this as a medicine to be out there on their own, they don’t need to be. There’s so many of us and there’s so many good marketers are so many good educators within the cannabis community, that just pointing them in the right direction is a huge help that giving them the idea that you don’t need to look at percentages, man, you don’t need to look at the THC percentage for the for the flower, you need to follow your nose or you need to, or you need to think about what it is that you’re trying what what ailment you’re trying to help out. And, you know, just starting that process with somebody really humanizing the process helps people dramatically. And it reduces the stigma of everything that we’re doing. You alluded that, you know, we all started out medicinal, and then we bring on recreational and that and that kind of is counterintuitive to each other. But I mean, it’s it’s not really because if if I’m using this as medicine, it allows me to be outside and it allows me to be active, and it allows me to climb mountains, which doctors told me I never would be able to, I am recreationally using it to you know what I mean? Like I’m using it to like, have fun and enjoy myself. And so giving people just that starter, just that ignition of thought process that Yeah, man, like you can do a lot with this plant. And there’s a lot that it can do to you, you know, start living it, start realizing it and start realizing what you can do with it. And we’re that first stop for people. And it changed a lot last year when we had to stop in person tours and move to a virtual realm. That was the beginning of really reaching out to a national audience, a Colorado brand that we that we we’ve only ever been in Colorado. And all of our all of our employees are from the Colorado market. I’ve been reaching out to people in Utah, Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, like people in states that are that are deeply rooted in not legalizing. And they’re just curious, they’re they’re just they’re just curious about the plant. It’s not the day, it’s not that they smoke every day, it’s that it’s that they just had this appreciation to access knowledge. And that’s one thing that I’ve always told people is that knowledge is not illegal, the plant may be illegal in your state, but the knowledge of it is not.
Shayda Torabi 17:28
You highlighted your personal experience, which really resonated with me of just buying weed from you know, X, Y or Z drug dealer and wanting to have some sort of understanding of what it is you’re purchasing. I think a lot of people especially in Texas can relate. In fact, I get asked a lot, you know, what is my favorite strain. And for the longest time while I was and remain a cannabis consumer and all of its capacities, I was pretty uneducated in that regard. Just because there there wasn’t really any education happening during those transactions. It was a transaction it was I want to buy weed. I would like to be high. Here is some like you said it’s fire, but it was all fire and there was you know, or maybe I’ll be like is this indycars the TiVo, they’re like, yeah, yeah, indika that’s what you wanted, right? And you’re like, wait, but actually, this isn’t doing that, for me, it’s not knocking me out. And so I just want to kind of re emphasize that point, because as someone personally who has been a fan of this plant has used the plant. It wasn’t until pretty much maybe recently. I mean, I’ve been in the industry professionally and going on three and a half years, been a cannabis consumer for 15 years, but I really didn’t touch or even see a cannabis plant up close until three and a half, four years ago. And that moment for me was so incredible because again, it’s like I’ve only ever seen like a know you know, you buy it, maybe you get a gram, maybe maybe you’re lucky you get an ounce. This is what another looks like it’s trimmed, I had never seen a flower or koalas or understood the makeup of the plant or gotten to see try comes up close and personal. And I was really fortunate I had a friend in Denver actually who invited me into one of their private tours of their grow house, it was like an inside grow. And I just remember her being like, you can touch the plants, you can smell them and I was like, Oh my god, this is the coolest experience I’ve ever had and, and just I again, I’m more of a consumer. So for me it was a little bit more close to home because of how important the plant is to me personally. But I can imagine a regular consumer who’s only ever experienced with cannabis as what media has said or what they’ve heard on the news. Now there may be entering an opportunity where they can purchase the plant from a legal stay or even get exposed to CBD and hemp flour and things like that. But that educational piece is just so foreign to most people, they they don’t actually have a chance to see the plant or to smell to learn about these different pieces of education that I understand the the imposition of what COVID has done to so many businesses. And it’s cool to hear how you’ve kind of taken as a poor situation and leveraged it to bring your brand from an education perspective to a national audience. But I still think there is relevancy, of course. And absolutely in the sense of just being able to be a piece to someone journey being a little plug that helps empower them. I mean, if you go to YouTube, you can see all the many videos of all the plants so for me, I can totally go get educated elsewhere. But being able to find a brand that resonates with you, maybe they got to shop at your dispensary. Maybe they talk to one of your bud tenders, maybe they heard an article that you did, maybe they’re listening to this podcast, and they’re getting to hear about Seton Smith for the first time. To me, as a marketer, these are all really key integral parts in someone’s journey, not just as a consumer of making a purchase of a plant, but really a consumer of cannabis, of knowing about it and being able to connect the dots of like you highlighted. Yes, cannabis can be empowering for you from a medicinal perspective to be able to go hike a mountain that maybe you thought you weren’t ever going to be able to do. But connecting the dots and working backwards from weed is legal, you can buy it, there might be some that will help you feel better. But now it’s like, Well, which one? How do I start navigating that? And who do you turn to and so I think y’all being in a position of kind of taking that head on is, is just so important for this industry to continue having that conversation.
Robbie Wroblewski 21:27
And from a marketing perspective, too. And you’re gonna have to keep reminding me that this is for marketers, and not the consumers. But for the marketers out there. Like Yes, this is not only a tool to empower the consumer, it’s a tool to empower you. We have so little information about who has all the buying power, what what consumer base has the buying power in cannabis, people think that it’s going to be these young guns that are 20 to 23 years old, just out on the market and all that kind of stuff. No, those those 20 to 23 year olds have all been smoking legal weed for a long time now, like they started smoking weed, and it was all legal. here in Colorado, at
Shayda Torabi 22:07
least that’s crazy. To me,
Robbie Wroblewski 22:09
it’s mind boggling to me that like you could start your journey with legal with
Unknown Speaker 22:14
a legal weed.
Robbie Wroblewski 22:17
But you know, they don’t necessarily have all the buying power. A lot of the buying power is in the 45 plus market. And these are the people that come to me, these are the people that come to our brand. They’re there to learn 20 to 23 year olds, when they come on the tour, you know, they’re there for the experience, because it’s like, oh man, we’re here with the weed like we’re here like bla bla bla, you know, like, all the all the family, they just want to hold the pounder
Shayda Torabi 22:41
photos for Instagram.
Robbie Wroblewski 22:42
bakley. Exactly. Um, but I mean, I get I get full tours of 50 plus 60 year old plus. And they’re they’re just curious. They’re just so curious about every aspect, like, half of them could give a shit less about how we grow the product. They just want to know like, Okay, so what’s this going to do to him? Like, what’s this going to do to me? Can you move? Can you make this an edible? Is this an oil? Can you how do you consume this. And there and that’s the people that are out there. They’re they’re buying incredible amounts, because they want to experiment with everything. Every single one of them wants to start out on edibles. Because none of them smoke, you know, like they’re not used to smoking cigarettes are not used to smoking weed. Like they’re not used to that. And it’s and it’s hard to tell somebody like, Ah, you should actually probably start by smoking, or dabbing or, or, or going down some path because and this is where this is where they don’t know anything that you have to tell them like, Yeah, when THC breaks down in your liver, it actually changes and it becomes like five times more psychoactive than if you’re just in then if you’re just smoking it or inhaling it. So when you if you want us to have an edibles, that’s fine, but start very, very, very, very low, like 2.5 milligrams. And then inevitably, they always ask like, well, how much do you take? It’s like, what I take would put you down
Unknown Speaker 24:07
do is I do?
Robbie Wroblewski 24:09
Yeah, exactly. But I mean, like, it’s part of that, you know, that’s, that’s why it’s important. And that’s and that’s some of the tools that I get by doing these tours, is understanding the populations and and understanding our consumer bases and who’s going to be coming into our store who’s going to be spending the most money in our store, and how am I going to get a return customer out of that person. The tours make it so easy for that. Yeah, I
Shayda Torabi 24:36
saw when I was reading about the tours on the website, that again, it’s like good marketing is so subtle, and it’s just the nice flow for the consumer journey. Again, I think most people won’t really acknowledge that they’re being marketed to 24 seven, like everything is essentially marketing. But sometimes it’s like, oh, it’s by your favorite celebrity so it doesn’t look like marketing. It just sounds like a friendly PSA. And so I think what Y’all have done is very nice, you’re exposing them to the educational track. And then I saw there was like a piece that right after they get to hold the pound, they get to, like be connected, essentially to a bud tender to answer their questions. And I think that that’s so smart, because obviously people are gonna love that you highlighted, you know, just the different demographics from an age perspective, because I do think and like, Wow, so frickin wild to think about there are children who are of legal age who are growing up in markets where all they have access to is legal cannabis is definitely not something obviously here in Texas, we get to claim just yet. So we’re still playing in a in a twist in gray area. But to think there are a lot of states that are legalizing a lot of consumers are now being exposed to legal cannabis. And so they’re coming into the store and they’re wanting to know what is going to do it. For me, if you have an ache or a pain or you want help with sleep, obviously, there’s a lot of anecdotal information out there. And before we were recording, you kind of highlighted the amount of information that is probably inaccurate that marketers share and regurgitate and highlight and so not that it’s necessarily I mean, I was gonna say not that it’s all bad information, but some of it is bad information. So really, if people are, you know, not qualifying their sources, please do better. Try to do as much research as you can. But it’s hard, it’s hard to know how to have that conversation then with a consumer who’s like, hey, I want to take you for X, Y, or Z ailment. Now you’re trying to plug in products that are terpenes, or cannabinoids that could potentially help them.
Robbie Wroblewski 26:40
And here in Colorado, we actually can’t elude, like when we’re if I was a budtender, I can’t tell you that this string will do XYZ, or this product will help you sleep or this product will help your anxiety. I can’t say that stuff to you, I can actually only give you anecdotal evidence. So I can say like, if I handed you you know, like, what’s a racy strain tangerine haze, if I handed you a tangerine haze, I could say, this makes me really lively, this makes me really active, makes my heart pound really. But I can’t say that that will do the same effect for you. That’s kind of a blessing in disguise the blessing in disguise from the colorado state regulatory system, because like it does mean that we are not going to sit here and not give you guys facts. Like we’re not going to tell you that this is that this is that this is the end all be all tivos or anything like that. We can’t do that kind of stuff. So when I’m educating people, and when we’re talking about using that information for marketing, it’s easy. It is really easy for marketers in this space. And in my market in Colorado market, to just rely on sativa, indica and hybrid as ways to describe strains, because, you know, the consumer populace already understands that for the most part. And we can, you know, again, for the most part really kind of put our strains into those three categories. But then you get into it, but then you get into it like and that’s and that’s what’s getting more and more interesting in these days is learning. How are we going to market this beyond sativa indica and hybrid, how are we going to, like, let people understand those terpenes. And those cannabinoids and the knowledge that we’re gaining from this, the research is just starting. So this is all just going to keep changing and changing and changing. And it’s going to affect people’s journeys, right. But it doesn’t necessarily have to. That’s why these tours. And that’s why this educational process, which is a cornerstone of our business model. That’s why it’s so vastly important that we do these things. And we continue to do these things. Because as far as an industry goes, like on a national level, we have zero consensus on anything other than by guest this is we that’s that’s pretty much all that we can all agree on. You go to the beer, the beer industry or the whiskey. I mean, oh my god, look at the whiskey industry. If you buy your grain from out of state in Kentucky, it’s no longer Kentucky whiskey, Tennessee whiskey, same thing. There’s so many qualifications to make a Tennessee whiskey or make a Kentucky whiskey or iron, like whatever it may be or a bourbon. There’s so many qualifications for that. And people meet those. We don’t have any qualifications for anything currently in the industry. And I think that that’s I think that that will change drastically when we have a national market that we have to contend with. And when we have when we have these bigger corporations that are that are literally coming in and spending millions upon millions of dollars to create those qualifications or create those radio That they want to see that helps them in the market.
Shayda Torabi 30:03
I don’t know how to fact check this. So someone if you’re listening go Google all this, this word vomit that I’m about to share. But I heard that there’s a group and entity at a federal level that’s trying to meet to issue, you know, regulations, qualifications, if you will, on the industry at a national level. And it’s like all the big players from you know, big pharma, tobacco, alcohol. And it’s just again, we’ve been talking so much about, you know, from being a consumer to being in the industry. The consumer doesn’t realize all these different pieces are playing affected and I mean, you just highlighted it to bringing up Steven indika for the end consumer, they just want to have access to the plants they have heard it can help them they’ve maybe read a blog or two here or there that this is you know, good for their ailments they maybe come qualify that with you the dispensary, the bud tender, they get steered in a direction but you and I know, yes, weed is weed, but there’s so much variation to the quality to these different strains to the research and the science behind it. And so I do think as a marketer, it’s very exciting but also challenging taking a bite out of that and trying to distill it down. For the consumer when you realize there’s there’s a lot a lot of stuff happening at a higher level, higher level, I love my cannabis puns, but uh, you know, happening that maybe the consumer isn’t privy to that is why there are so many parameters or restrictions for how they ultimately get access to the plant. So question I kind of have for you knowing that, you know, before we were recording, we were talking about different strains and the variability of different strains and what grows in Colorado is probably not going to survive and do well in California and vice versa. So how do you view strains at Seton Smith knowing that you are growing for the experience of production for consumers to witness but you’re also growing to have your own products? I observed that you are distributing those products and other dispensary so you’re not only servicing your own dispensary, you are also servicing other dispensaries. How do you start having the conversation around? We should grow this strain and this strain is really good for this that and the other or like what is that conversation like on the cultivator side? I guess we’re gonna grow this strain or this seed because we heard that it’s really Is it is it because of how it looks? Is it because of how it smells? Is it because of the terpene profile. And another quick note, you know, prior to I think the CBD market really blowing up I remember coming to Colorado in particular and shopping at some dispensaries. You never saw CBD ratioed products. It was all just THC. And it was all just percentages. And so you go into a dispensary. You’re like yeah, I want us to tiva and oh, this is a really good sativa because it smells good, looks good, whatever has these tert profiles. But it’s just still a disconnect from what the strain is actually doing. It’s all marketing. So I’m trying to understand from your perspective operating a business that has kind of capitalized on the experience of cannabis. There’s also the benefit of that plants in one plant could be more beneficial than another plant for someone.
quick break to say thank you to restart CBD for sponsoring this podcast. Restart CBD is a brand my sisters and I founded in her hometown in Austin, Texas. We operate a retail location as well as an e commerce store and you can browse our wide range of CBD products at restart CBD calm. Again, thank you to restart for allowing me the time and resources to put on to be blunt. I hope you’ll check them out for your CBD needs. Let’s go back to the episode.
Robbie Wroblewski 34:18
What I can tell you is that as the legend goes, when I find a strain that I love, I go to my grower I kick in the door first off, you got a kick in the door every time you do it. You got a kick in the door. And I tell him this is what we’re growing because this is going to be the game changer man. But in reality, it’s what’s available. We hunt for phenotypes with every strain that we grow from seed. Okay, usually we’ll find cultivars that we’re like man that is that is a great great cut right there. Let’s go see if we can find this in metric somewhere. metric is our is our inventory regulatory body. So anything that we take into our shop as far as genetics go has to be in that system. Or we have to we have to grow it within our own r&d. And we go back and forth on this, we really do. It’s It’s a hard discussion in when you’re talking about genetics, because there are some strains that just are not friendly to growers, friendly to consumers, not friendly to growers. There are some strains that are really friendly to growers, but don’t have terps worth worth anything, don’t have trichomes worth anything, you know what I mean, but they grow big, beautiful buds. So it’s, it’s, it’s always trying to find a happy medium between what is going to work for marketing, and what is going to work for the grower. We always want healthy plants. So if anything, if anything that I ever suggest, or the bosses suggest or anything like that, if it doesn’t work well in our grow, it’s not going to make the list period. But saying that, like me personally, I would love to start marketing some of these classical strains. I would love to bring back Northern Lights really happy skunk off just some nasty skunk from back in the day scum number 11 from Amsterdam was just probably the funkiest smelling strain ever. Flow is another one. That that’s that’s known here in Colorado, he was big in like 2012. And it was, it was a really, really great strain, but it just kind of dies down. It’s such a vast question to say like, how do we do this because it really and I guarantee you that it’s got to be the same as every other business. Like we have battles over this stuff. Like we have knockdown drag outs, we have parties, where we all smoked different strains and trying to figure out what exactly it is that we’re trying to grow or what effects we want from it. And you know, at the end of the day, at the end of the day, I want, I want our consumer to feel confident that we’ve done everything that we could beforehand to bring them a class, a class, a genetics, and a class a session, like just above and beyond what they could have hoped for in terms of cannabis. And so sometimes sometimes I win that battle of Yeah, I don’t like I want this strain, because it’s it grows really well. It’s got really good hues to it. It’s got really good trichome coverage, yada yada, yada. And sometimes I lose that battle where it’s like, Yeah, but it’s not growing well. And it doesn’t and it doesn’t produce a lot per plant, and it doesn’t like so forth and so on. So there’s got to be that happy medium of a little bit of marketing, a little bit of production.
Shayda Torabi 37:42
One, thank you for sharing that transparently. I understand the question necessarily didn’t net like one particular answer is more just appreciative of the thought process behind and highlighting the real struggle of trying to connect from a marketing perspective, the actual, like you said, production perspective, but what I was gonna say is bringing it back to a medicinal conversation, which, again, I do think whether you’re using it recreationally or not, there’s medicinal benefits to cannabis. That’s why you’re consuming it, it makes you feel good, it helps you sleep better, whatever the case may be. But when you’re looking at it from a medicinal perspective, medicine is repeatable medicine is consistent medicine is something that I can say, okay, when I take my pill a, I know that when I take the next pill in the sequence, it’s going to be the same dose, it’s going to be the same production. And I find cannabis obviously is inconsistent in that regard. Maybe you know, you had a bad season, you’re growing outdoors. And you know, the genetics altered, maybe grower a to grower B, who’s growing the same seed can yield a different genetics a different crop. And so it’s just again, to kind of highlight more for the industry as marketers, a lot of it is marketing. And there might Yeah, there might be some science behind it. But I think that’s where it’s trying to connect the dots between this is all the information we know. This is what the consumer is asking for and how do I help guide the consumer So for us, I find that there’s obviously not one strain that fits all. Just like there’s not one product there still isn’t one pill that does everything how you listen to some of these pill commercials and it says take this pill for depression and anxiety but then it will also give you you know, suicidal thoughts and it’s like, Whoa, okay, I didn’t know, you know, leakage, leakage or like I now take a pill for those things also. So it can compound certainly, but when you’re trying to empower someone to take something that has to interact with their own biochemistry, it is a little bit nebulous, because it’s like again, anecdotally I know this works for me when I take this when I do this combination and so the consumer I always try to They have to be kind of curious. You can educate, you can market you can empower, you can provide products, you can provide resources. But the goal for me is always getting that end consumer to be curious enough to play around. When I meet a customer, and they call me and they say, Hey, Shayda I took your product every day for 30 days, and I didn’t notice a difference. I’m like, Well, how much are you taking? And they start telling me Oh, was this product bottle was this milligram? I’m like, You’re telling me you have chronic pain? And you’ve been taking five milligrams of CBD? Did you ever think to take the full dropper at 20 milligrams Did you ever think to exceed the dropper. And so it’s kind of again, getting consumers to be curious themselves to play around. The amount of edibles I’ve eaten. I mean, you highlighted edibles take some time to take effect. Some take longer. Sometimes a five milligram hits like a 10 milligram, sometimes a 10. milligram doesn’t hit me at all, I bought some, I’m not going to name the brand. But I bought some gum from a dispensary in Colorado, not that long ago. And I chewed at least five or six pieces, and each piece was supposed to be 10 milligrams. And I don’t know if I felt it. So
Robbie Wroblewski 41:09
you bought, I bet I could tell you, I bet I can tell you who you are,
Shayda Torabi 41:13
there’s so much variation to these products, that even fitting a consumer to a strain or to a brand, they still have to put it in their bodies and see how their bodies are responding to it.
Robbie Wroblewski 41:27
And that’s what I try to tell everybody. You know, we’ve talked about this too, it’s a journey, it’s your journey, it’s not my journey for you, it’s not me marketing a journey for you. It’s you literally taking the time. And and the it’s you taking the time to understand what your body is able to handle what your body wants to handle, and what this whatever product it may be is doing for you. Now, my journey took me years to figure out years to figure out and it’s now it’s so it’s my regimen is so tight, that it is almost like I’m taking a pill that does the same thing every single day. And it’s taken me years to develop that. And nobody’s helped me on that. No, there’s not been one person who’s been like, oh, Rob, you need to smoke this, because this is gonna be the greatest, this is something that we have to do ourselves. And so, you know, going back to these tours, that’s why they are that’s why they’re important. That’s why it’s good marketing, is because I’m not trying to market a product to you, I’m trying to what I’m trying to market to you is your own empowerment is your own knowledge base that you can take within your own hands. And you can take that journey and find out for yourself. And all it’s going to cost you is the ability to be uncomfortable for a short amount of time. Again, I’m not trying to push information onto you that this is Bible, this is how it goes. All I’m trying to do is give you the tools to understand, you know, what’s the process like for growing pot, you know, when you go to a brewery or something like that they they tell you about oh, we take this corn and we take this grain and we put it all with the sugar and they go through that whole process of how they brew that beer and how they and how they distill that alcohol. And that’s all that I’m trying to do for people here is this is how it’s grown. This is this is what it’s done. That in itself really seems to de escalate people from the horrible information that they’ve been given about cannabis since the dare program, which was a horrible, horrible failure. And like, you know, the first thing I tell everybody is cannabis is not a gateway drug. If anybody who has smoked cannabis comes to you and says that Oh, it was it was the gateway. It’s like, was it or was there was there other was there other things that were in there that that kind of led you to other drugs? Because it’s just not it’s not it’s not inviting for other drugs. Cannabis does fine by itself. But you like alcohol, you bring that into the situation. And alcohol is a gateway. Alcohol is a stimulant, and it can use other stimulants to make it more effective in cannabis is just not that way. And so it’s so it’s so de escalating for people when they hear stuff like that. And they hear like, Oh, this isn’t the boogeyman that I was taught that it was for 34 years. No, no, it’s just a plant
Shayda Torabi 44:28
come into my garden. Like you said, see we’re all respectful, upstanding citizens. We have jobs we show up to work just like you guys do. We like to consume some cannabis. This is how it’s done. You can take it you can leave it you can consume a lot. You can consume a little you can smoke it, you can eat it, but this is what it is. It’s not some scary Boogeyman. Kind of with that. I want to hear from your perspective. You know, what is the tour like? Obviously with COVID you’re not doing the tours are the tourists coming back? Is that something that you’re hoping to reach? Introduced soon, and what can people expect on the tours,
Robbie Wroblewski 45:03
we moved them to virtual, which was a lesson in itself. And you know, I’ve had a really mixed bag of experiences with that, since we started doing them regularly in September of last year. We did a few before then, like during the code during COVID, and everything, but I really wanted to like do it regularly. And we’ve been doing it regularly since then. And, you know, some days, I have like, 20 people on there, and they’re just all very quiet, just all, you know, listening in, and I guess, maybe taking notes or something. And then there’s other days when I have two or three people, and I end up spending an hour of my time afterwards, like just talking to him. And then just, you know, we’re you know, they’re going over their growing methods or like, Is this right? Is this right, and I’m like, you know, I’m not here to teach you how to grow, I’m here to give you like, there’s plenty of outlets for that. Reddit is a is a great place to learn how to grow. There’s certainly a scene forums and everything like that, where people can go learn how to grow, if you’re really, really curious, my level is more of a one on one, it’s more, it’s more of just showing you the overview. With the virtual tours, it was really good because I could walk around the whole facility and kind of give people this really big overview of what our facility is the tour when it’s in person, because of individuals like bringing in, you know, pass or having powdery mildew, dust on them or anything like that. We don’t let them into any of the actual rooms and touch the flowers and get their hands all over because this is actually a production facility. So you see everything through window, obviously, you can smell it, because you can smell it halfway down the street. What we’re doing now is like we’re we’re setting back and we’re we’re we do want to bring these back to in person tours. And I think from the work that I’ve done virtually and the work that we’ve done with the tours before this, like we’ve learned a little bit like there, there are still some questions that people have outside of just the growing process or the extraction process, which is basically what we show, we show you from basically the point of beginning of life until the very end when it is either packaged or extracted, and then that material, you know, goes off to the consumer. So you get to see every aspect of growth, and extraction and packaging, and just how this plant moves through our entire pipeline. Now, like, you know, we’ve had a lot of questions about consumption, we’ve had a lot of questions about history. And I think that’s where we’re going to evolve this tour a little bit more is to give people an insight into, you know, you and I as individuals and our advocacy and what it what it has taken from us as a community to get this done to get it legalized in Colorado, first in California and then first recreational and Colorado and so forth. So people are really interested in that aspect. And again, I think all that does D stigmatize us It gives it lends it lends a tan to showing that we are just professionals trying to do a professional job. And then on top of that to a lot of my a lot of the older you know a lot of the older demographics that we talked about earlier, they have so many questions about consumption. Like what is the blunt? Like I’ve literally been asked that like what is a blunt and it’s hard to explain to like a 55 year old lady what a blood is, but it’s like well, okay, so you take a cigar you empty the guts out, we’re gonna put a little bit of weed in there, we could put some more tobacco in there. And that’s like you roll back up and then it’s just like a joint but it’s with with cigar wraps. And so like you know we’re going to we’re going to expand that idea to
Shayda Torabi 48:57
I mean, you’re talking about experimentation I was all in man I mean I consume a lot but I don’t do a ton of dabs just because one the accessibility of the product for me to like get at a consistent basis. It’s obviously not like dealers are like I got some dabs for you and even then no black market stuff ever. I don’t want to dabble with that. But considering how involved I am in the industry I personally I’ve become more educated through guests like yourself sharing this thought with me. I don’t know a ton about dabs it’s overwhelming for me and I’m still super experimental in cannabis. I can’t imagine 55 plus person who’s like oh, what’s a dab? You know what’s a rig or liking my vision is like I just remember you need like a torch lighter and obviously now there’s new technology. You don’t need to go that explicit with it but
Robbie Wroblewski 49:45
well and like that. Like how messy was that? Right? You like that portion of this class and then we got to put this little stone in there. Well, it could be cracked and could be bought. Who knows? But know. Like how much we’ve come from, you know, just do shatter. shatter is what everybody in the country kind of knows. And it’s like, wow, in Colorado, that’s like the base level. That’s like the entry level, but live resins rosins, like all these new age kind of really, you know, not even focused on. They are focused on on the THC content of it, but also focused on the flavor aspect, the terpenes that are present in there. Like I can almost not go back to wax because of live resin. Because it’s just such a better quality of flavor. You know, like, talking, talking about these things. And then going outside of Colorado and seeing like, what Illinois is producing as far as dabs and concentrates go, I’m like, Oh, God, I go, I want to touch this with a 10 foot pole like, this is gross. Like, what are you Why are you guys smoking? This? Does it does it sparkle every time you put it in in a dab rig.
Shayda Torabi 50:57
But that’s I think the observation of the immaturity of the market. And it’s so crazy, just because yes, it’s becoming legalized in different capacities across the United States. But because there’s no interstate commerce, because it’s not federally legal, you have markets that are having to literally start from scratch. God bless them if they’ve come from another market that already existed, and they can kind of, you know, take some of that influence back. But then you’re also met with the restrictions and regulations of your particular state, like you highlighted in the beginning, like Colorado is now trying to limit the THC count. Well, that puts a cap on the type of products, you being the consumer has to be very aware that we does not always we depending on where you’re going. And also you need to take some of the ownership to be curious to ask questions to obviously shop and be educated by people who you trust, knowing that not everything that any of us are saying I mean, I hope to God, people are questioning half the things that I say on this podcast, because it’s all anecdotal, right? It’s all things I’ve heard from someone else. There’s no school for cannabis, although people are certainly trying to establish, you know, legitimacy to that. But it’s all just like, we’re all learning from each other. We’re all infants. We’re all toddlers teaching further toddlers, you know about this planned? To be honest, I’m going to I’m going to share I had not heard of y’all prior to getting connected for this podcast. Oh, no. And so I yeah, which is so shocking to me, because I feel like everything that you’re doing with the grow tour is like, right up my alley. Like, I would be like the first consumer who’s like, I want to take pictures for Instagram, I want to be educated, like I want to go check out a new dispensary. And over the years, I’ve just resorted to going to like the convenience of the dispensary that I shop with at a regular basis when I’m in town. And so I’m a little bit like, you know, one hopefully giving you some highlights of, there’s always new people to be marketed to even if you think you’re marketing to them. Like again, I say this list because I think I’m super educated I spent a lot of time in Denver, the fact that I didn’t really know about this brand is like so shocking to me almost like hitting myself because I’m like, this is totally a brand that I would want to shop with and, and be a part of. But I just think it’s a it’s all part of it, right? It’s just communicating your values, like you’ve highlighted that this component is a core value for the brand. And
Robbie Wroblewski 53:23
well and like and like I said earlier to like we’re a younger company like we formed together in 2014. And then we didn’t open our doors until 2017. Our first our first week was was in May 2017 for medical only, and then we didn’t open recreational for another four or five months. We’re still young, we’re still really young. But we have because we’ve made education and D stigmatizing a huge part of our business model. Marketing came along with that. You don’t see a lot of marketing you you you said this early, you don’t see a lot of marketing in the Colorado in the Colorado sector. But we we noticed how doing just even the bare minimum, just even doing the bare minimum of marketing. We’re able to get our voice out there and we’re able to be we’re able to be impactful. So me coming from journalism to this kind of position. I was actually in logistics before I started doing this community outreach
Unknown Speaker 54:33
Robbie Wroblewski 54:35
being able to get people forthright information, that that we’ve that we’ve taken the time to look into that we’ve taken the time to study even though there’s a huge lack of it. It’s been really, really good and it’s resonated very well with the populace. We are a brand that that exemplifies that education. That’s the De stigmatizing. But also, we’re not here to say that we’re doing everything so groundbreaking. We’ve made some groundbreaking products, our Dart, our Dart system, our Dart pod system is is one of the vape best vape systems I’ve ever encountered. And I’ve actually was part of the release of the Pax era here in Colorado. So I do I like I have plenty of experience with vape products, and I love the Dart, our joint packs, we have a we have an eighth roll into joint packs that are in a nice, durable plastic case, that’s, you know, not waterproof, but water resistant, and it keeps everything in there. It has no metal or anything, so you can take it with you anywhere you want to go. You know, like things like that, like we’re trying to be groundbreaking in those experiences. But as far as cannabis and business goes, we’re not we’re not groundbreaking, we’re doing the same thing that everybody else is doing. And everybody’s doing the same thing as we’re doing. We’re just doing we’re doing these tours, which is the different aspect. And we’re doing this D stigmatizing, which is again, we’re just we’re just bringing people in man, we just want to show people what we do. And I think that that has that has resonated with the populace. I think that’s resonated with every demographic group that we’ve talked about. And I think that’s that’s why you’re seeing our star rise as quickly as it is, is because I mean frankly, we get we give a shit. We give a shit what your journey is like and we and we and we want we want it to be better and we want it to be as as Class A as possible.
Shayda Torabi 56:39
you’ve made it till the end. If you’re still with me, consider yourself blessed with an opportunity. Maybe we’ll see. So for those of you who are tuning in, I want to offer you the chance to have 30 minutes free unobstructed time with me one on one. And the way that you can be entered to win that time is to find your favorite episode. If it’s this episode, wonderful if it’s a previous one. Great. I want you to share that episode on social media preferably Instagram and tag the show at To be blunt pod. For everyone who enters I want to pick a lucky winner and connect with you. I want to be of service I want to help answer questions I want to have my brain picked. I really just want to create a dialogue so I’m trying some things out so if you are listening and you are like me, and you know what, I would really love to get paid as thought on this that or the other is really easy. All you got to do is go to the gram. pick a favorite episode, share it tag me and then you know cross your fingers episode of
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai