*Recorded at the second edition of our speaker series focused on the emerging economy of Cannabis in Canada.
[expand title=”Podcast Transcript”]
Qasim Virjee 0:07
Welcome back to this the 23rd episode of the start well podcast recorded live on November 21 2019. In our events based in downtown Toronto, this live conversation focused on retailing cannabis in Ontario. This is the the second installment of start well speaker series that is focused on the emerging cannabis economy here in Canada, and one of many such sessions, where we try to raise stage to diverse and authentic entrepreneurial experiences. For those of you who are unfamiliar with start well, this campus is spread between three buildings. Here in downtown Toronto is King West neighborhood, combining Office meeting and event space. Our members who we call our community come together for happier work days filled with opportunity and serendipity. If you’re here as a guest tonight and not a regular member start well. Or if you’re listening to a recording of this talk, I encourage you to look through start with CO that’s our website and come back shedule a tour and you can enjoy a cappuccino in our complimentary espresso bar, which you may have seen in the adjacent building at the main front entrance and tour this lovely place where we think you could do your life’s work with a team that you love. Okay, so let’s learn a little bit about these two wonderful people that are on our little stage here tonight. For retailing cannabis in Ontario, of course, we’ve got names on the screen that are rotating. And most of you are familiar after our lengthy networking session before this. So the fine gentlemen in black, wearing confusing logos, don’t be confused. He’s not an employee of super Ed. He’s a fan. Now yet, this is all a ruse. So Jay Rosenthal is at a 20 year career at the intersection of media business, politics and policy, especially as it relates to heavily regulated industries. He’s the co founder and president of the business of cannabis, Canada’s authoritative source for news and analysis on the cannabis industry. And I must mention that, you know, business of cannabis is headquartered here at start wells downtown location and King West and record this audio visual content in our professional studio, which is here on site, audio visual, he’s live and direct and multiple ways. So find out more information about Jay, you know, from business of cannabis.ca. And our guest tonight is Tricia lackey. And Trisha is the Director of Brand experience at Superette. So for those who don’t know about it Superette is a Toronto Ontario based We’re based here in the city of Toronto, early stage venture that’s making cannabis retail friendly. I think that’s kind of an interesting, I don’t know, you’ll talk more about this. But Superette as I understand it aims to make you know, cannabis simple and safe. So trying to simplify the experience of the product, while keeping it fun, because they believe it should be simple, safe and fun. And what’s interesting to me also we’ll hear more about this, I’m sure is Superette has looked into stategic retail environments for inspiration that has brought to life an eclectic playful approach to selling cannabis. So they’re really great guests for this topic, because of, we think the approach that they’ve used in crafting their stores and the retail experience and, you know, utilizing the aesthetics of a mid century kind of corner store experience, which should be familiar for the people coming in. And I’m sure that Trisha will talk more about that. So this is another element, which is very in line with sparkles brand, about Superette dimension, which is from what I understand is their experience with customers is very high touch. And you know, the people that they hire are people that kind of are people you want to meet from what I understand. And of course, by the end of her talking, I’m sure you’ll believe that. So they’re creating organic connections that have brought the company some early success, which Trisha will talk about, but have also seemed to enable successful relationships. And I think that that’s something that really is important and you know, start with supports this for all of our member companies. creating lasting relationships early on with your customers is really important for establishing a brand and a brand of course being your relationship large, your relatability at large, so you can stay in touch with them at Superette shop calm. And with that, I’m going to let you guys get started talking about whatever it is you’d like to talk about to do with retail of cannabis in Ontario. And then at the end, I’ll jump back on.
Jay Rosenthal 5:02
Thanks. Great can take awesome pleasure. I’m Jay, I like to talk about weed.
Qasim Virjee 5:09
On please talk into the mic, Jay.
Jay Rosenthal 5:11
Sure. There’s true story. I do like to talk about it. And as we start, first of all, thank you, this is awesome. And we could have this conversation in front of people with microphones or not, because we’ve, we become fast friends over the past 25 minutes. But we this is a cannabis and the industry overall in Canada has talked a lot about retail in Ontario specifically, and much of what we talk about is how the provinces fucked it up, how there aren’t enough stores, a thriving illicit market, all the negative part. And I think, within that you guys are the sort of the shining star that you’re crushing it for sure. But I feel like you guys would be crushing it if there were 1000 stores, not 25 or 24. And well, you’re welcome. I believe, I wouldn’t say it. If it wasn’t true. I also wouldn’t wear the gear if I didn’t like it, like the gear and like the shop. I didn’t like the people in charge. But talk a little bit about. And I don’t know if this was actually a boardroom where this happened. But when you set out to say what is what we’re going to do go on to be like, and it’s a lot of it’s mostly about the brand experience when you get in the store. Talk about that. Cool?
Tricia Lackey 6:21
Well, I think I came on the project with Superette, early this year, so I, I was with Tokyo smoke last year. And then I left Tokyo, they’re still around, they’re still around, they’re still doing okay. They’re doing okay without me. But when when Mimi and drum approached me with soubrette, they really wanted it to be a friendly, fun place where people could feel like it was a corner store for them. Like those are the people that you know, we all started out having a guy or a gal and for me it was Joe in the green Corolla he gave me no options, but I took them anyways. And we wanted to be those people that you went to every day that were a going to tell you what the good stuff is. And be could give you a lunch recommendation for the area or talk about your newest favorite record, like we had CD warehouse in Ottawa, which was a big inspiration for me, because those were the people that you could go in the music was different every time but the vibe was always authentically them. And those were the people that you wanted to talk to. So we started at the drawing board, me and Lauren, who’s our Director of retail, and another person that we had both worked with a DavidsTea and sage. And we started with mission vision values, because we had all been parts of companies that didn’t start there. And so out of the values and guiding statements that we crafted together, that’s where we started to go. Okay, so this is exactly the kind of team that we want to start to build. In Ottawa. We know people there, Mimi and I are both from Ottawa, we think we have a really great network of people where we can find those neighborhood people that people will want to chat with.
Jay Rosenthal 7:58
Yeah. And just to, because you guys are here, that’s awesome. There’s always gonna be people listening and watching some other time. Mimi and Drummond are the founders both met each other at Tokyo, my understanding is right at each other Tokyo smoke. And the store is an Ottawa because the introduction you are based here, but the store the one shop now is an Ottawa. There are other shots that are too but from what I see, most people want to be at the yours. So mission, vision values sort of approach to that. But many companies think they’ve started with that. And that’s here in a room. Yeah. And then there’s execution somewhere else. And to me your title and how you’ve approached it, it’s bridging those two things that is really challenging. Anytime. It’s challenging further, when there’s these, in some cases, ridiculous regulatory challenges about what you can and can’t do in the store, how you can and can’t promote all those things. Like how do you bridge aspirationally, the unbelievable story you’d like to build, which you have, but actually then overlay all those things on sort of what you’re allowed to do?
Tricia Lackey 9:02
Yeah, I’m used to being a part of an industry where you very push envelopes, right? So our first value that we came up with was fun. And so we said, overarching, that’s that’s the number one for us. So make sure that there are people that are knowledgeable and well versed enough to be able to still have an ease about them so that it doesn’t feel so scary, or fear driven when you’re when you have people talking to your customers, because that’s not what they want to feel. And that’s not what they want to have you lead them into a cannabis experience these people, especially if they’re coming back to the flower, or they’re brand new to it. They’re curious, but they also don’t want to be terrified by you. They want to be in safe hands, but they also want to still know that. What everybody’s been talking about for five decades about how fun it is that they’re actually going to have an enjoyable time with it. So that was like fun was number one. Yeah,
Jay Rosenthal 9:55
it’s lead with fun. It’s a good thing to lead with. And it strikes me as you say, that, that there’s been I mean, anytime people talk about retail, everyone’s like, we’re gonna build the, you know, the Apple store of x. And there’s been tons of talk about Apple store of cannabis, and what that looks like and is like, and then you think about exactly what you just said. And the Apple Store is not fun. People don’t generally want to go there. The people are snoots. And generally assholes, like Genius Bar, really, like who’s calling you a genius. I love Apple like me, I get that. But it’s generally not about the brand of the actual retail store. It’s about the brand of the actual, but it’s not about fun. It’s certainly not fun. And, and in the wanting to be the Apple store of x in almost any industry, the fun part is certainly not core to it. And cannabis is fun. Yeah,
Tricia Lackey 10:45
it’s social. Yeah, it brings people together. Yeah, right. Yeah. Yeah. So when you’re not focusing on that, I think you’re missing the point of it. Being able to introduce this to the masses in a legal way, like what an opportunity, we had to be able to be the first to open our doors in Ottawa, like Mimi’s in my hometown national capitol, we really thought Justin Trudeau was going to come through our doors on day one
Jay Rosenthal 11:09
without the elections.
Tricia Lackey 11:12
But it was really awesome to be able to open our doors and my parents sit outside on a bench and say to me when I came out, like so many people are saying how different it was, and they expected it to be. And that was really a testament to people getting excited by not only the education of the product and opening the product and being able to experience it, but having people enjoy the vibe and just want to hang out on a stool and do a crossword puzzle. And no spoiler alert for your visit tomorrow.
Jay Rosenthal 11:46
We have going there tomorrow, unrelated to this. I’m actually gonna be in Ottawa tomorrow this story.
Tricia Lackey 11:50
Yeah, we did like diner placemat style where you can like there’s puzzles and draw your last trip. And we have an original Pong game that people play all day and books and Jenga games. And it’s it’s just a place where you can hang and talk about cannabis. Or you can open up your things and see what you got. Yeah.
Jay Rosenthal 12:10
I’m going to make a very weird connection and Toronto, and Gabriel is going to be involved in it. Gabriel works here at Stowell, he’s the the first person you see when you come in and the last person you Leave when you leave. Gabrielle before he was working here, he worked at Toms suits in Kensington Market. And Tom’s Tom’s cannabis conversation generally doesn’t come up. But I’m gonna, I’m gonna make the cup. Right, but I’m going to make the connection. And Tom’s has been a successful institution here in Toronto, people buy their suits there. And they’re competing with all with the bay with indo Chino, like they are competing with the rest of the world across the board. And I think they’re thriving. And the reason why they’re thriving is because it is unique environment, people like going there. I think there is an element of fun. There’s also an element of throwback to it. And you feel like you are being taken care of, and taken care of buying a suit which most people don’t know anything about. Yeah, they don’t do it very often. They know it’s something they have, like all these things, there is a Venn diagram of a retail experience that lasts and endures. And it is interesting, if you want to go back to it, even though they have many more options.
Tricia Lackey 13:25
Yeah, no. And I think where where my experience has been really helpful in retail is I worked for David’s Tea, and nobody knew how to make a cup of loose leaf tea. So that was like it’s a hurdle, it’s point of friction, right, you’re gonna have a point of friction in cannabis. And same with sage, natural wellness, it was essential oil. So you have to talk about regulatory and what Health Canada allows you to say. So knowing how to push the envelope with that kind of speak really allows us as a team to be able to kind of go, Okay, we know the regulations, let’s try and, and push the envelope on what we can say and what our people can say because otherwise they’re stuck saying, I’m not allowed to tell you what I recommend.
Jay Rosenthal 14:06
So silly, it’s silly, and I understand the I understand the parameters which are operating, but actually David’s Tea and that’s your background is is a really good example obviously you know that because you just said it, but the idea that nobody knows it, and everybody’s a little bit intimidated, but the people at David’s actually can help explain it to you. And also like Not, not retail shops here but dispensaries in the States. There’s actually a very similar physical environment to it.
Tricia Lackey 14:33
I opened all the David’s teas in San Francisco and do you know how many times I people came in and was like, Are you selling weed? No, we have a tea called Northern Lights though.
Jay Rosenthal 14:42
Well we’re gonna skip around because the David’s Tea part we were talking before David’s Tea Tea sommelier is also working with a company here in Canada called Ali brands, which will be creating tea soon or already has and will be selling your store Thinking about an experience of a shopper in in your store. Now, they don’t have that many options. So though it’s, you know, there’s dry flour, or dry flour rolled up and enjoy, or maybe some oils, which people don’t, you know, they’re not really but like, all those things. So you really, you know, there’s there’s really one vertical, right. But there’s gonna be a lot and how does that enter into certainly the education of the people that work there, but also a brand experience and and a physical space, as you walk in, you know, they’re going to go from like, 50 skews to like 200. Yeah, more
Tricia Lackey 15:33
than Yeah, definitely. Well, we are looking at actually doing a little bit of a reconfiguration to do a bit of a shop within a shop, to focus a couple of people on the sales floor to do it. For anybody who doesn’t know the style of our store. It’s very diner meets bodega. So we’re going to kind of create the little mini Bodega so that we have a space to educate people at onset times about what safety in vape pens looks like, why you can trust the companies that are coming out yada, yada. But also to be able to have a menu that is just showing you what the options are. Our menu right now, we actually opted to not go digital, we are paper based menus. So you get a diner style menu, when you walk in our door, you see a list of everything. We know that that’s not a scalable thing for us. But we really wanted to start out with a really high touch place where people are forced to actually talk to our humans, and then talk to them about about product. So that’s going to be the same, we’re going to create a secondary menu for the second generation of products and, and really focus on education of dosage and education of safety with hardware and safety with materials going into vapes. Yeah,
Jay Rosenthal 16:46
it’s going to be needed. And actually, this is the exact point. We were at the Ontario cannabis store canned aversary thing. Sure you guys were there. On the 17th of October, whatever it was. And they said that so the online sales in Ontario started October 2018, they felt they were the only place to buy legally in Ontario on anywhere till April 1, and April 1 24. So stores then opened up and they were saying within that year, even though was a six month only online, and then six months in stores, that 75% of all the cannabis was sold in stores for the entire year. So nobody’s buying it online. Yeah. Which is a great thing, guys. But I think why they’re not buying online is because they don’t know anything yet. And they need to know before they buy. Yeah. And that’s only going to increase over time. And I think what you guys have done is like you could just have an information booth and they could learn but you’ve actually created that thing that people actually want to go, even if they know exactly what they want and can buy it online. Yeah,
Tricia Lackey 17:44
yeah, no, I think I think having a place to engage with product and engage with people. I mean, we have sent pods they do well, for as we rotate things out, we don’t have every flower in them. But it’s a great way to get people to start to talk about quality of flower, rather than just get information on what’s indica what’s sativa. Like that’s, we know that going forward. That’s not how we’re going to talk about it. So getting people to interact with things, have sensual experiences with them. That’s like, talk about it, talk about it, talk about it and let people in our store be or be your buddy and guide you through it.
Jay Rosenthal 18:21
It’s so smart. Do you think do you think so the sort of death notice of retail has been written a million times over and the ones that are surviving? are not dying? They’re actually thriving? Are there others from other sectors that you’re looking at saying they’re doing something interesting, we can incorporate that or they have something that we could never replicate? But imagine if we could like, Are there sort of aspirational things you’d like to incorporate into the store,
Tricia Lackey 18:48
there are a couple of aspirational things I’d like to incorporate as far as our menu in particular, I think. But I think nobody’s doing a digital menu excellently right now, and I think we with a paper menu, have something that I think is a good start, that could be turned into a digital option that maintains the integrity and aesthetic of the branding. I also think there is a lot of opportunity for us to actually really focus more on smell of flour. And within other industries, what I’m actually seeing a lot of is an X industry that I was in which is essential oil and being able to push Health Canada to be able to say like make your claims around natural product numbers, I think I think if we can start to push research towards that, that is like an insane jumping off point for our bud tenders to be able to speak powerfully to to just the therapeutic benefits of the smell alone like refree talk terpenes you’re talking aromatherapy. So like that let’s learn from that industry and start to push Health Canada that way
Jay Rosenthal 19:54
smart. Thank you. They seem not they’re willing to be pushed but no rock on. No, but
Tricia Lackey 19:59
I mean, I mean see it took it took about six years of fighting at Sage before they got 28 licensed natural product numbers. And then they were able to go and say to every single consumer, this is peppermint Halo. It is a headache remedy. So when you’re actually able to push people and really be active in and vocal that like yes, it might take six years, but at least it’s not 12 years. Let’s start.
Jay Rosenthal 20:23
Yeah. non sequitur. I’ve been pronouncing sage wrong. So hey, Sanjay. Yeah, that’s wrong.
Tricia Lackey 20:31
I call it that when I’m feeling fancy about it. So why not?
Jay Rosenthal 20:35
Pretty good. Yeah, I’m also pronouncing wh T wrong. But it is I have been pronouncing it wrong. I’m sorry.
Tricia Lackey 20:44
Okay, I got it all the time. Do you know they changed it to a j instead of a G for numerology?
Jay Rosenthal 20:50
Oh, yeah. What was the what what?
Tricia Lackey 20:54
What did it like it used to add up to the letters added up to like two and now it’s seven or something like that. So yeah, it was
Jay Rosenthal 21:00
Yeah. What does super add add add up to that
Tricia Lackey 21:03
by? No, I haven’t done it. Okay.
Jay Rosenthal 21:06
We’ll do that someone? Yeah, yeah,
Tricia Lackey 21:07
we’ll do numerology.
Jay Rosenthal 21:11
I’m gonna ask a business question. Today, the problem all week, they’ve been hinting at this the province of Ontario saying a couple of things. One, there’ll be clicking collect, like you go online. It’s unclear how it’ll be operationalized. But like, be able to click go pick it up in your store, awesome. There’ll be maybe a new way to like, you could have like a page or you could set like, who knows what they’re gonna do around digital stuff. But the idea that there’s going to be many new stores, right, they’ve said, you know, first for people who don’t know, there’s a lottery 25 People were pulled, they were the ones that opened the first you guys worked with one of the lottery winners. That’s the first thing, then there was a shittier lottery, if there was possible to do the next 42 or whatever was, that was like, none other than 00 of them have open something actually quite close. I mean, I just saw the numbers, but like, you know, we’re like a really, it’s been a long time. But the story today was that the province is likely to open up, not unlimited, but like 700 to eight to 1000 new store licenses, and they haven’t talked about this sort of qualification for that, but a much more free market approach. You don’t have to answer
Tricia Lackey 22:18
at all there was a celebratory dance. Yes.
Jay Rosenthal 22:20
Okay, good. That’s part of the question. But like, obviously, it’s not going to be 700 stores that are that are your brand, but like, what is a number that you don’t even know like? aspirationally, like 100. But like, how many Could you roll out in a span of six months? Do you think?
Tricia Lackey 22:36
Well, there’s a there’s a lot of factors that go into it for us. We’re a small team. We’re a small team of 10
Jay Rosenthal 22:42
I already have the
Tricia Lackey 22:42
gear, I know you. You’re ready to wrap us. Do you want to be a general manager? I pass the security. I would love to be able to commit to a number for us like we have one property that we are ready to go we can’t wait to flip it into a dispensary. We think that the neighborhood is grossly under underserved. In Toronto. Young, Young Street that’s the summer Hill. Yeah, summer Hill location. So
Jay Rosenthal 23:06
if for those that don’t know, are worn out this fucking awesome party. Go to the next one. But there’s a space just like south of where like terroni is on Yonge Street, the flagship. Yeah, it’s white. It’s got this flower on the outside.
Tricia Lackey 23:22
Right, the better hoarding.
Jay Rosenthal 23:25
But it’s it’s that’s the space that she taught. Yeah,
Tricia Lackey 23:28
it’s the old roots. Yeah. So yeah, we’re right below the roots yoga studio. And yeah, I mean, we’re we are dying to open up there. But that’s the only one that we are like, pumping, pumping, like holding our foot on the brake to ready to go to the gas. Other than that, we’re kind of keeping our options open because we want Listen, I’ve been a part of two companies that did it too fast. And, and it wasn’t good for the culture. And it wasn’t good for the experience. It got diluted really, really quickly. You you end up getting really top heavy and and it’s not sustainable. You’re not sustaining, you’re hiring on your frontline, which are your people that you need to feel appreciated. If those people don’t feel good, you’re toast. And I’ve seen it happen so many times. It’s broken my heart, because there’s companies that have really, really well intentioned beginnings that just for lack of a better word sell out.
Jay Rosenthal 24:27
Interesting segue. There has been we don’t have to talk about this, but
Jay Rosenthal 24:37
the industry is going through some challenges right now, especially as it relates to publicly traded companies. It’s been a very bad month. I’m being really generous that it’s been bad and that it’s only been a month, but like and, and this was very early days. We were talking about it like the closer you are to the actual purchase, the better you’re going to be. And I think this Actually, this is a good question that will make it worthwhile. There are many of the big licensed producers that are like, you know, grew to 2 million square feet of cultivation, like they’re trying to do their thing. They’re trying to be cultivators and brand people and everything in between. And then there are people that are just creating the brands of the product, right? There’s, I think there’s one that’s located in our building here, but are close by. But like the idea that there is these brand people, and that there’s these licensed producers, and then these these people who are great cultivators that are, you know, creating great flower on a very small scale, like, what do you think the future holds for the industry as it relates to the products people actually want to buy? Which then we can back up to like, how the industry is going to provide that who’s going to be successful? Okay, wait a lot there.
Tricia Lackey 25:42
Yeah. So what do I think about the product? Or what do I think about
Jay Rosenthal 25:47
I guess the question is, if the industry could create products that people want, yeah, what would those products be? And then And then because they’re not?
Tricia Lackey 25:57
Well, we have we have a an email address that everybody can ask ask Auntie Trisha at Superette shop.com. So it’s questions about cannabis and questions about how to use etc. The most that we that we hear about are edibles concentrates. And that’s it. I don’t. Well, I get a lot of questions about how to use CBD. But as far as demand for product, it’s all edibles and concentrates right now. So if that’s what second generation looks like, and we’re waiting for it, and, and it’s not going to be like it’s not going to be rolled out before holiday. Like, we are retailers, that is our magic week, and you give me December 17 as a date I wanted on December 17, at 1201. Because that is my peak week, that’s where I do almost 30% of my business as a traditional retailer. Now like we’re not traditional retail, so it may look totally different. But that’s your opportunity to get into people’s stockings. That’s your introduce your opportunity to introduce it to grandma who wants to try like a little nip of it in a beverage you never know. So by missing that, that is a huge wasted opportunity for us. So that’s what I’m looking forward to with next holiday. I guess. So holiday 2020 is where is where I see the future of introducing people on a mass scale to different different products and products that they feel excited and comfortable with
Jay Rosenthal 27:28
a thought about the question that I rambled on about before. Yeah, you guys out of necessity and desire and mission vision values focused on the consumer and how to actually serve that. And you know that because you come from a you know, cuz we’re back right? The industry was developing products that were based on no data. Are there are there brands that come to you and talk to you and want to put stuff in your store? That you’re like, God, this is missing this mark so badly. Oh, yeah. Or the other way around
Tricia Lackey 28:00
that? Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. There are people that come to us and and we love to make the connection and hear from them. And then we go away, like that’s not that’s not for us. Yeah, yeah. And then there are people that we can’t wait to get their stuff into the second gen. Yeah, there’s lots of people that we’re really excited about if you do something a little bit differently for us that really excites us. We don’t want the same old same old Yeah, we want you to stand out do like if you’re going to do a gummy make it the best goddamned gummy that we’re going to taste.
Jay Rosenthal 28:35
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Don’t buy it. Yeah.
Tricia Lackey 28:38
Yeah. So like short answer is yes. There’s tons of people that come to us that were like hell no. And they keep coming back to us and trying to give us hats and free things. And we’re just like, this is just not aligned with who we are. Who
Jay Rosenthal 28:52
would respond to free hats and sweatshirts.
Tricia Lackey 28:59
No, but there’s just like, there’s no amount of swag that’s gonna make me put that in my store because it’s overpriced. It’s not on brand for us. It’s not it’s not worth it for us to get customers to buy that just because they don’t have other options. Like if we’re low on on a certain amount of pre rolls like we’re, it’s, it’s not worth it to us.
Jay Rosenthal 29:18
Yeah. Can we talk about the regulatory environment which with your operating in which you’re operating right, there’s part about what this you can’t see this inside from the outside? That’s a shitty one. Signage is probably a local issue, or what you can say about it. You can’t you can’t outfit people in gear. Well, you actually can’t sell the gear to like, is that a not a blessing? That’s not the right word. But like is it easier to work within those confines because you know them or would you rather have it be Colorado where there’s like neon lights?
Tricia Lackey 29:48
Well, I mean, there’s confines but they’re very vague. Like I’ll give you a like our first weekend we had mugs that we were we put into our system as ashtrays we We tried real hard. And the AGC was like, that’s not that’s not it. That’s not correct. I said, Well, what you can’t tell us. I just asked. Yeah, I can ask a joint in here. So we’re, we find it fun to try and figure out where we can find the cracks in those very loose guidelines. It does come back to haunt us sometimes when they’re like, oh, no, this covers everything, though. So that’s, I think I would I wish that we could sell apparel in the store, because we get tons of people that ask for it. Is it going to make our bottom dollar? Hell no. But like giving it away at our 1017 Party did way more for us with exposure than selling it for 50 bucks on our website? So there’s a there’s a balance for us that like, yes, we’d love to have it out there. But it’s not what is making us right now. We love having things that feel fun and cool to wear. But no, our bread and butter? is those people on the frontlines that make going to the store a good time.
Jay Rosenthal 31:04
Yeah. We, Garrett and I, from the business of cannabis team, we were at an event with us aspiring retailers. And many of them, like it looked at the lotteries, like Oh, that’d be fun to do, and maybe it’s gonna open up and and I think even some of the people that won the lottery that have best intentions. It’s not even about brands that they’re creating. It’s the retail experience of like, in by and out that they don’t, are not getting right. And I want you to criticize the province. I’m just kidding. I don’t want to do that. But like what like, for people who are looking to get in the space like is it you need a background in retail, or you need a background in cannabis, or you need just a really thoughtful team or like, what would be the one thing that you would say you have to focus on this because without this
Tricia Lackey 31:52
your screen, I think you should have at least someone that has a background in retail that can focus on the actual retail operations of your store, because it’s not as easy as just hiring a bunch of people and going Godspeed. Yeah, like you have to foster them, you have to help them be an entrepreneur, to be able to boost up your business. Like if you’re, if you are fostering an environment where those people feel ownership over your business, that’s what’s gonna make you successful. And people who have at least a little bit of current retail background, like that’s what it’s been since the Apple Store came around is finding people that can run your business, not just be a manager, they need to feel ownership, they need to have autonomy, like, Look, our big announcement that’s coming tomorrow that you’re going to be there for came from a team member came from a part time team member. So when you if you don’t hear that tomorrow, like know that in the back of your mind that this whatever we’re doing, we have a very democratic process at Superette. We really believe in the feedback of our part time team members, our inventory manager or general manager at the store, what they’re seeing and what they’re experiencing is directly guiding our businesses, decisions that we make, whether it’s corporate social, social responsibility, or our cannabis by every week, they inform us. Listen to your people.
Jay Rosenthal 33:16
This is I’m gonna get touchy feely for a second. Maybe that’s what it’s called, like. And people are very critical of millennials. These are related I swear. It is a very young team. Running the ship. I’m the oldest one I was wasn’t gonna say that
Tricia Lackey 33:35
I am. I’m proud of it. Yeah, and you’re very young.
Jay Rosenthal 33:39
But like, is this symptom matte or symptom symptom of or symbol of the industry that like people just taking these massive chances and like, it’s okay, you could be old young, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re taking this chance? Or is there something that the team that’s at superhet is like another new way of thinking but like super focused on the consumer versus the dollar? Like, what do you think that magic sauce is? It doesn’t have anything to do with age or the approach? Or is it just a good team?
Tricia Lackey 34:11
Well, I think we have a healthy balance of risk taker and people that want to do things properly. So if you just look at our two co founders, Mimi and drum, they’re very opposite drum is very risk taker. Mimi is tell me all the facts, and then we’ll make our decision, which is a really healthy balance for the two of them to have because he pushes her and she pushes him. So you there’s a lot of perspective and a lot of openness. I don’t know if it’s a youth thing, but they are both very open leaders to hearing from Lauren and I to say like, Okay, we have experience with companies that have done XYZ and it did not work for them. And they kind of go okay, okay, great. Let’s try something different. So they’re open to trying different things. As long as as long as We have the arguments to back it up, which I think is a really healthy way to build a creative team. Especially when you’re in an industry that is throwing as many creative curveballs at you as it is, and an industry that could be running out of money really quickly. And you have to make decisions that are financially creative to not financially creative and like to cook the books. But like, you have to, you have to make a lot happen with with a few dollars. And that is something that I had to say David’s Tea taught me up and down, like you had to hustle your ass with two grand for your quarter to make a brand difference in San Francisco. And you’re like, Okay, so I just, I have to a be a really great person to deal with. Be I have to have creative ideas to bounce off these people that want me to sponsor the San Francisco Giants for 50 grand and I’ve got to grant so you have to have people that are that are open creative, thoughtful and and want to debate like there’s a there’s so much power in creative debate in Super rights organization. And it’s something that really drew me to to the company because I moved out of the space for a hot second. And it was it was the team and how what we accomplished in opening that store that drew me back in.
Jay Rosenthal 36:17
It’s interesting. That’s amazing. It you learn a little bit about people’s background and then you imaginary or not, you actually see it in that sort of end product, right? You store like You’re like David’s Tea, I get that that experience is super valuable, and how that would be valuable as you create this. I think Drummond came from Herschel Yeah. Backpacks, right. So like kidneys hers like you think about those brands. And if you’re really today, like that is, I don’t know what that thing is. But that is a thing. Yeah. Right. Like Herschel is a brand. You know, kinase is a brand, you know, it has its own thing. And that the essence of that, you know, it’s like, it’s the secret sauce. You don’t know, you don’t know why you love it. But yeah, even if you don’t love it, you know that people do love it. It’s a very, all those things are sort of, and that’s not Mimi’s background, she comes she’s like a numbers person number. Yeah. But like putting that all together in a package that that works in this case is amazing. Because it I think it just does it. And I think there’s examples about this industry and others, like that misses the mark. Yeah,
Tricia Lackey 37:20
but that’s where when you have somebody like me, me that can kind of go okay, ease up, like take your pedal off the metal here for a second and let’s let’s talk this through. It’s it’s about diversity of background, like that’s, it’s the most amazing thing to come into this industry and see a totally different group of people than what I’m used to in retail, because sage and David C were very, very different. I had a lot of female leadership at those, both of those companies and I’m coming back into an industry that is very balanced right now I actually find in the retail sector of it anyways, that there’s tons of women doing really awesome things. There’s tons of women at Tokyo smoke and with us that are that are really making huge leadership leaps. So having lots of perspectives and different backgrounds we’ve got we’ve got a lot of people from different places that have that have come together for this so
Jay Rosenthal 38:11
it actually will get to this because it’s been an award that’s like the cannabis award season. And you guys are obviously winning them all like the lift cannabis Canadian cannabis words you one if not all of them. I don’t know who else one they would categorize you weren’t in I assume. And other people one them and then the Clio awards like high time that was today and there’s other stuff in Ottawa that’s happening. And I can’t help but think because it goes back to the age question. This is like the millennial fuck you people trying to run this industry. It’s like, you guys don’t know you’re doing and we do where to have the customers and we’re killing it and if you want information come to us.
Tricia Lackey 38:46
Yeah, I mean, I I thank you for saying that. I like I don’t personally identify as millennials so it’s it’s hard for me to say like I’m I’m 40 Almost so it’s I’m not a millennial.
Jay Rosenthal 39:00
I’m almost 40 I’m like the old end
Tricia Lackey 39:02
of hipster like aged hipster so it’s yet feels a bit like like the fuck you because we are we like to call ourselves agnostic like we had this we talked about this a little bit before but we’re able to say yes no to product because we’re not tied to anybody. So that has a lot of freedom and sense of power for us as well to be able to make choices and like our cannabis buy every week we talk about there’s four of us on that call. We talk about exactly what we’re going to buy, what’s doing well why it’s doing well what’s consistently been a beautiful product. So in in that kind of sense yet it is a bit of a fucky because a lot of other people are just having one person make all of those decisions and it’s just buy buy, buy buy buy buy buy this is this has great margin this sells well. This is high THC, that’s not how we’re going. So yeah, kind of
Jay Rosenthal 40:00
Don’t think that’s, I mean, certainly not coming on a press release, like fuck you. But it but it is. I mean, it’s it’s showing success in the bucking the trend of what? Yeah, I want to think about this because it’s come up in conversations previously and it’s wrapped up in how the Ontario cannabis store and Ontario overall but also Health Canada’s regulations. Like if there was an opportunity for you guys to white label your own cannabis thing brand like you work with an LP you get your thing, it’s part of your offering, like is that super and then be able to sell it and where else to but like, is that something that is core to the future? Or would it be a nice to have? Or it’s like it would work or not?
Tricia Lackey 40:38
I think it would be great to have for us, I think we have an appetite for wanting great products to be great and affordable product to be on the market. So yes, we have the appetite for white label products. It’s just about finding the exact right partner for us because we don’t want to be in the premium. Because that’s not what our clientele base and what our aesthetic and what our whole vibe is. But we do want people who are growing great flower for a great price.
Jay Rosenthal 41:04
Yeah. Um, can I just sort of flip with that question? Because there’s also and I’ll think of Tokyo smoke, right? They mean, they sell out everybody’s products, but but is there the idea? Do you think there’s room in the market and it would be successful based on everything? You know, that if they were branded stores like the Nike store of cannabis, is that something that would be successful people would seek out? Or do you think people actually want variety? want different offerings want to know more or explore like a sport check?
Tricia Lackey 41:32
i Oh, I think sport check is what they want. I think they want to see a bunch of different options. What is somebody’s secret sauce that makes this flower better than others? For the for the cannabis connoisseur? I would say that for the kind of general mass public right now. I don’t think there’s as much care about that right now. Somebody like me, yes, for sure. I care way too much. But it’s whether their product is going to be dry within a day. That’s a big big thing for people and whether it tastes good and is a decent high. That’s what they’re I don’t think it’s I mean, there’s no brand loyalty yet. There’s no brand loyalty