Cannabis consumption is becoming more and more mainstream. As states continue to legalize use for medicinal and recreational purposes, Jane West wants to make consumption less daunting.
Jane and her team have created a comprehensive, one-stop-shop for cannabis consumption, from glassware to consumables. We sat down with Jane to learn more about how Jane West (the company) came to be, all of her impressive verticals, what brought her back to crowdfunding, and more-
For those who don’t know, what is the origin story of jane west?
Oh boy, how much time do we have? From the day I stepped into the cannabis industry in 2013, I have been in the spotlight. I started the first cannabis event series in Denver in partnership with the Colorado Symphony, until the city sent a SWAT team to crash the party. Then I founded the largest professional network in the cannabis industry, Women Grow. These newsworthy accomplishments earned me a Wikipedia page and over 100 media mentions annually. I leveraged my global notoriety to build a brand that epitomizes my vision of the future legal cannabis lifestyle.
How do you plan on allocating funds raised in this round to scale the business?
We are a trusted, product-centric brand on a mission to bring quality cannabis to millions of mainstream consumers. To accomplish this, we enter into long-term contracts with established legal licensed businesses, currently, we have operations in ten states. We will use funds to double our global footprint in 2020 and plan to close our first deal outside of US borders. Additionally, we plan to build upon our partners’ current strengths and bring new verticals to market including topicals, edibles, and vape pens.
Additionally, in our widely available CBD vertical, we will be producing a ground version of our whole bean coffee in variants that match the price points of national consumer product goods brokers and create in-store marketing materials suitable for retail chains.
This looks to be your second crowdfunding campaign. what brought you back?
In 2018, we raised $189K from 550 investors from 17 countries. Crowdfunding allows me to expand the reach of the brand while also raising capital. Viewers spend on average eight minutes on our deal page, they truly learn in detail the products we make and the company we are building. There isn’t a paid advertising option that can accomplish 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.
You call your business a lifestyle brand. what does this mean and how is it different from traditional consumer goods companies?
We certainly fit into the category of a “lifestyle brand”. I am creating products to fit my LIFE as a daily cannabis consumer that also reflect my STYLE. But we are also a consumer goods company because I’m not just slapping my logo on rolling papers or a tray or trying to sell weed jars with my brand. I am designing innovative product lines and offering a new approach to daily flower consumption. We are communicating to the world what the normalization of cannabis consumption looks like via the products we are bringing to life.
Can you speak to the regulatory hurdles associated with your product? what could change in legislation mean for your brand?
The most constricting, uncertain issue facing the industry right now is access to banking and merchant services. You cannot earn direct-to-consumer margins on your product line unless you can sell them DIRECTLY to the customers on-line, and this requires secure merchant services. Standard business services like PayPal and important Quickbook functions aren’t readily available to many cannabis companies and seriously affect their ability to run smoothly, especially as a startup. These hurdles limit a company’s ability to remain agile in a rapidly changing business environment.
Do you have any competition, if so, how do you differentiate?
I wish I had more comps, being the first to market in a nascent industry is challenging. Because my business operates over 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, one-stop shopping. 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.
Who would you define as your target customers?
Current and future cannabis consumers, with a focus on flower lovers.
We believe our lives are better with cannabis and strive to design products to make the user experience simple and replicable. We create quality everyday home goods for those who prefer to smoke and introduce cannabis to newbies seeking a curated experience.
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 forecasting is almost impossible.
As an example, federal legalization could grant current MSOs interstate transport of their product and it would completely disrupt state legal pricing and established markets. International commerce could further upend existing, stable businesses.
What does your business model look like?
We make the cannabis products that I use every day, both hardgoods and consumables.
There are four main product verticals: The Glassware Collection, The Travel Collection, The CBD Collection, and Cannabis Packaging Partnerships-which bring our mini joints and flower packs to 10 states.
Our Glassware Collection is the result of a collaboration with an established, reputable global glassware manufacturer. Our Travel Collection is comprised 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 and is produced by industry leaders and white-labeled for Jane West.
Our ten Cannabis Packaging Partners nationwide 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 LOVE the network we have built.
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.
As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like?
As I stated earlier, the industry is unpredictable. We will continue to leverage everything we have built to maximize opportunities and increase the value of our brand equity. We will evaluate exit options starting in 2023, which will be dependent on the climate of the industry 36 months from now. Likely an acquisition or IPO.
A full rating on Jane West will be published in the coming week. We at KingsCrowd are excited to see where Jane and her team take the company. Jane West is currently raising funds on the Republic portal. Get in while you still can!
About: Olivia Strobl
Olivia comes to KingsCrowd with a background in venture capital and technology. She spent time at Glasswing Ventures, an AI-focused venture fund in Boston, before joining the KingsCrowd team. There she helped develop machine learning algorithms for the opportunity qualification of preseed and seed-stage startup companies. Prior to her time at Glasswing, Olivia worked in a lab studying the neural correlates of attention. She holds a degree in Neuroscience from Wellesley College.