This year we saw the first legalization of recreational marijuana in the states of Colorado and Oregon. For stoners everywhere, it meant that they could get their hands on that sticky green legally. For entrepreneurs, the emergence of the new industry meant the opportunity for a different kind of green- the kind that goes into bank accounts. As the Huffington Post reported, the cannabis industry in Colorado alone is set to reach $1 billion by the next fiscal year after seeing stellar revenues in the first few months; Oregon isn’t far behind. With numbers like that, every business minded person should be jumping for a piece of the cash-crop pie, much like how Joshua Gordon, founder of Rodawg, is doing.
Courtesy of Mashable, Rodawg is a company based in New York where cannabis is still illegal, but this startup proves that it doesn’t have to deal with marijuana directly to get a foot in the industry. Gordon’s startup has one simple mission- to become the first luxury accessory brand associated with the cannabis industry. It all started when Gordon, a graduate of Fordham Business School, founded Rodawg with his own savings and a cash investment from his father who holds a stake in the company; an angel investor later invested a further $500,000 for Rodawg’s development and Gordon plans to seek another round of funding later this year.
Gordon’s mission statement?
“You walk into a dispensary, and you’ll get $200 worth of cannabis in a plastic bag. Then you’ll buy a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label at your local liquor store, and it’ll come in a felt box, an impressive bottle. That’s how we envision cannabis in the future.”
They currently only have one product available for consumers- a sleek, vintage looking rectangular tin that holds empty cones of all-natural, unbleached paper from the Netherlands rolled around a filter. It’s basically an empty pre-rolled joint that you can fill with whatever herbs the consumer chooses. Tins of three and five are available for $5.99 and $7.99, respectively. For dispensaries however, Rodawg supplies attractively designed glass jars to store cannabis, child-proof plastic containers, test-tube shaped containers for protecting individual joints, and biodegradable pouches for storing edibles. The designs look something out of the future for the cannabis industry, but they only cost a little more than the standard containers that can be found in dispensaries now.
Getting into the cannabis industry isn’t without it’s challenges, but it’s also not as sketchy as most may believe. As Gordon explains, “Are there certain things we need to be careful about? Sure… but in the end, we’re selling packaging.” According to the profile, it’s not that working in the industry is radioactive or anything, it’s actually the lack of transparent legalities that still surround the industry that makes things tricky. As Rodawg sells containers, they must follow the the requirements set by states where cannabis is legal. This means that Rodawg has to provide the specific and appropriate labels and packaging for their products, whether they need to be child-proof or tamper-proof containers, opaque, translucent, or packaged in doses rather than units in the case of edible packages. Because the industry is so new and controversial, these types of stipulations can change in an instant which means in order to stay in the game, a business owner must be aware and make the appropriate changes in production when they are needed. Other than legalities, the other main challenge is marketing a new and clean image of the marijuana industry to an increasingly accepting society.
“There’s been a paradigm shift in the way people are thinking about cannabis. That led us to create a product that would fit the lifestyle of the regular person, not the stereotypical stoner sitting on his couch, smoking a bong, playing Nintendo.”
Overseeing the growth of his startup in such an exciting industry, Gordon plans to roll out a redesigned website that offers more products for consumers on the most appropriate of dates in cannabis culture- 4/20. Interested in getting into the cannabis industry? Tell us about it!
Check out more from Rodawg here.