The rapid boom of the cannabis market sets it apart from almost any other industry. There are few examples of such popular consumer products going from illegal to legal virtually overnight. The global market for legal marijuana was valued at $17.5 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow at an enormous CAGR of 17.8% through 2027. Now that weed is legal in the majority of U.S. states, demand is huge, and a number of companies are rushing to deliver.
Jane West is a stylish marijuana brand selling cannabis or CBD products and accessories to consumers in the U.S. and Canada (with a focus on women). The company is named after co-founder Jane West, an early participant in the legal cannabis market of Colorado. We recently spoke to Jane about the future she foresees for cannabis and how her company fits into it.
Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.
Can you give us a brief elevator pitch for your company?
We are building the most iconic cannabis brand in the world. We design products for a world where cannabis consumption is not just accepted but embraced as part of everyday life.
In three years the experts on our team have designed and curated more than 60 products. Along the way, we built a dedicated following of like-minded cannabis lovers who share our dream of the future.
Our beautiful homegoods and accessories fit seamlessly into daily life. Our products are accessible and inviting. We want to simplify and beautify the cannabis ritual.
We now sell branded cannabis in 13 states and across Canada. Our THC consumables are produced by master growers across North America and provide a reliable positive experience. Our partners are diverse, local companies that reflect our values.
Cannabis consumption is becoming more mainstream every day. As states continue to legalize medicinal and recreational use, our combined product line makes it easy to connect with cannabis.
What inspired you to take the leap and build this company?
I love cannabis. I always have, I always will. I believe that we are on the right side of history. Cannabis is a safer alternative to prescription drugs and alcohol, especially for women. The war on drugs is primarily a war on black and brown people. Police-enforced criminalization of cannabis decimated these historically marginalized communities is this country, not drugs themselves.
Every step of the way all I see is green lights urging me to move forward with confidence and make a space for our audience.
For those who don’t know, what is the origin story of jane west?
Oh boy, how much time do we have? I have been in the spotlight since the day I stepped into the cannabis industry in 2013. I started Denver’s first cannabis event series in partnership with the Colorado Symphony — until the city sent a SWAT team to crash the party. Then in 2014, I founded the largest professional network in the cannabis industry, Women Grow. These firsts garnered hundreds of media mentions. I leveraged my name and my growing notoriety to build a brand that epitomizes the future legal cannabis lifestyle.
Do you have any competition, if so, how do you differentiate?
Being the first to market in a nascent industry is challenging. Because my business operates across four very different verticals, we are truly unique in what we offer customers. There are companies who just manufacture glassware and pipes, and companies who just create CBD products, and companies who just sell cannabis. My company does it all. It’s what makes us different. As challenging as building an all-encompassing cannabis brand has been, this approach ensures we have representation on shelves in both legalized and prohibition states and can create touchpoints with customers worldwide as the dominos fall in favor of legalization.
What does your business model look like?
We make the cannabis products that I use every day, both hard goods and consumables.
There are four main product verticals: the Glassware Collection, the Travel Collection, the CBD Collection, and Cannabis Packaging Partnerships that bring our mini joints and flower packs to thirteen states.
Our Glassware Collection is the result of a collaboration with an established, reputable global glassware manufacturer. Our Travel Collection consists of four products we designed and manufacture: the Wand, the Classic, the Compact, and the Solo. The CBD Collection is comprised of my eight favorite CBD products that I use every day, produced by industry leaders and white-labeled for Jane West.
Our Cannabis Packaging Partners across North America purchase Jane West branded child-resistant packaging in Day & Night and create mini joints and flower packs with their curated, premium, lab-tested cannabis. We make every effort to identify diversely-held, locally-owned cannabis companies with whom to partner and we LOVE the network we have built.
This looks to be your third crowdfunding campaign. what brought you back?
We have raised $550K from 2500 investors from 42 countries and every US state. Crowdfunding allows me to expand the reach of the brand while also raising capital. Viewers spend on average eight minutes on our deal page, where they truly learn in detail the products we make and the company we are building. There isn’t a paid advertising option that can deliver this. Additionally, there are ever-changing marketing restrictions crippling cannabis brands, with many of my colleagues having their social media accounts shut down on the regular. Crowdfunding allows me to transcend some of the strictest advertising rules that limit my competitors’ capabilities to reach new customers.
As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? have you set any future goals for the company?
The industry is unpredictable. We will continue to leverage everything we have built to maximize opportunities and increase our brand equity. We will continue to raise funds via crowdfunding and will begin to evaluate exit options starting in 2023, which will be dependent on the climate of the industry 21 months from now. Likely an acquisition or IPO.
What are the biggest risks associated with your business?
Uncertainty is the biggest risk of the cannabis industry, and also it’s the greatest potential reward. While exponential growth is certain, no one can reasonably predict HOW it is going to happen. The sector is evolving at such a rapid pace that forecasting is almost impossible.
As an example, federal legalization could grant interstate transport of product, and it would completely disrupt state legal pricing and established markets. International commerce could further upend existing, stable businesses.
You say your team “represents the 36% of consumers who use cannabis daily?” what do you mean by this and how is your team specially equipped to address this market gap?
Recent reports state that 36% of cannabis users report consuming daily, and my co-founder Kate and I are among this group. We are hyper-focused on improving the consumption experience to normalize use. With partners nationwide, we are always collecting best practices and applying them to our product lines.
We at KingsCrowd are excited to see where Jane and her team take the company. Jane West is currently raising on Republic.