Kelly Flores

Innovating and Exploring the Future of Technology with Kelly Flores of Wana Brands

In this insightful series, we navigate the complexities of supply chain adaptations, regulatory hurdles, and the pursuit of global expansion within the cannabis market. Our discussions are not just about the growth of businesses but also about the contributions to community and the industry’s collective efforts towards social equity and wellness. Join us as we explore the strategic moves, the scrappy innovations, and the impactful stories of leaders like Kelly Flores, COO at Wana Brands, who shares her journey from CPG giants to becoming a trailblazer in cannabis, emphasizing the importance of trust, efficacy, and the relentless pursuit of helping people through the power of the plant.

Key Takeaways from the Podcast:

The Transition from Traditional CPG to Cannabis: Insights into the challenges and opportunities presented by the cannabis industry compared to traditional CPG, highlighting the importance of adaptability and innovation in product development and supply chain management.

Strategic Expansion and Market Penetration: An exploration of strategies for entering new markets, both domestic and international, and the considerations unique to the cannabis industry, including regulatory compliance, partner selection, and maintaining product integrity across diverse legal landscapes.

Commitment to Community and Industry Growth: A look into how companies like Wana Brands are not only advancing in the market but also contributing to societal well-being and the cannabis community, showcasing the industry’s potential for positive social impact.

Roots to Risk” is more than just a podcast; it’s a platform for candid discussions, educational insights, and inspiring stories that highlight the resilience and innovation within the cannabis industry.

Tune in to stay ahead of the curve in this rapidly evolving sector.


00:01 Eric
This is the Roots to Risk Podcast hosted by Eric Schneider, alongside Isaac Bock. Roots To Risk brings you insights, the latest stories, and long form discussions about the cannabis industry. You’ll hear interviews with industry leaders and their perspective on current and future trends, how they’ve built success and what challenges they have faced. Our goal is to facilitate candid conversations and provide informative content for the cannabis community at large. Let’s go. What’s going on, Isaac? How we doing today? How we feeling?

00:31 Eric
Big Dog?

00:33 Isaac:
Um, I’m good. How are you doing? How’s, uh, how’s the week been going? It’s

00:37 Eric
Great. Great. Excited for this roots to risk that we have on deck. Um, I’ve been looking forward to this guest for, for quite some time. Uh, you know, Kelly Flores, the Chief Operating Officer at Wana Brands. Um, for those of you that don’t know, Juan’s, you know, probably the most recognized, uh, brand in, in the cannabis space, um, especially on the edible side. And so we’re super excited to hear more about her experience coming from traditional CPG working at companies such as Nestle and Monster and, and how that transition has been to, for her, uh, moving over to cannabis space first at Doist and now at Wana.

01:21 Eric
Um, so very excited to, to get her perspective, um, and what she’s looking most forward to in 2024.

01:30 Isaac:
Yeah, I think she’s gonna provide great insight, obviously, um, you know, having her background in traditional CPG, she’s gonna have some great insights on how the transition to the canvas industry has been. And then given where Juana sits in the overall ecosystem of the cannabis space, I think she’ll have, uh, you know, some great stories and insights just on where the industry’s going and, um, what they’re doing and how they’re approaching heal the upcoming year.

01:55 Eric
Absolutely, man. Let’s bring her in. Hey, Kelly, thank you for joining us today on the Roots to Risk podcast. Really appreciate you, uh, taking the time out of your day.

02:04 Kelly:
Yeah, my pleasure. Looking forward to it.

02:07 Eric
Yeah. So just to quickly dive in, we’d love to learn more about, you know, you your journey into the cannabis space, um, and, and your current role at, at Wana.

02:18 Kelly:
So, my journey into the cannabis space started about five, about almost six years ago. I, my background is primarily in the CPG world, mostly in beverage. So my background, I spent a lot of time in supply chain and finance between Nestle, Nestle Waters and Monster Energy. And at Monster Energy, I was responsible for direct procurement, so anything that went into the direct manufacturing of our, of our goods, so that some of, a lot of that was actually co-manufacturer around the world.

02:50 Kelly:
So I was responsible for looking for helping to set up our supply chain internationally. Um, so I loved taking regulated products International, um, you know, and I had been doing that for about 16, 17 years or so, and I started to just take a step back and think, okay, what is it that I wanna do with my career? And where do I, where do I find passion?

03:16 Kelly:
And I, what I really enjoy is sort of the health and wellness space personally. And I was kind of at that point where I’m like, ah, do I go into business for myself? Do I, um, do I look for something that resonates with me on the, is it, what is it health and wellness? Is it exercise? Is it, you know, is there something else that I can I, that I can bring, um, my skillset to? And it just sort of timing. And I, you know, sometimes the moons just align. And I got a call from a recruiter that was looking for somebody to, um, head up the supply chain for a group called Doist, which is a vape company based in California.

03:53 Kelly:
And, you know, cannabis obviously being a, to me, it’s a health and wellness product. It, I think it helps people in their daily lives.

04:00 Kelly:
And the idea of being able to take a regulated product in such a beautiful brand like Doist to new markets and figuring out, you know, obviously, um, Doss cannabis in general is just a scrappy industry. So it’s, it’s a lot of fun and, and, you know, allows for a lot of problem solving and, um, creative thought. But the brand is beautiful. The people were wonderful. And, um, it was sort of my first step into, and it was definitely a health and wellness brand. So it was my first step into the space. And about three years into that, I, um, got a call from, it was right after the transaction.

04:35 Kelly:
So Canopy had acquired the option to purchase Wup. And so Nancy was looking for a new COO and she was also looking for a new CFO at the time. And so she called me and Nancy, if, if you have ever had an opportunity or had the pleasure of meeting her, she’s just an incredible, an incredible lady, and she’s done such wonderful work with Juana and I, the idea of being able to get into the edible space was new and exciting, um, but also the work that they’re doing on the innovation and that Juana’s doing with innovation as well as all the market expansions, um, was something that was just, I was really passionate about.

05:13 Kelly:
So just sort of fit culturally with, you know, who I am and what I wanna do both personally and professionally. And so, you know, two years ago, almost two years ago to, uh, or I’m coming up here on my anniversary date, moved to B Boulder, Colorado and haven’t looked back, and I just, um, it’s been fa it’s been a wild ride. I feel like we’re going into new markets and, uh, the regulatory space is ever changing, which, you know, that’s just cannabis in general. But, um, there’s so much happening that it’s just been, it’s been a wild ride and I can’t believe that the two years have have just flown by as quick as they have.

05:51 Kelly:
So yeah, sort of how I ended up, where sometimes you don’t know that’s where you’re gonna end up. I don’t know if, if it was necessarily intentional, I just was like, wait, cannabis in CPG and I, you know, yeah, a hundred percent. Yeah, that’s exactly who I am. And so I didn’t, it wasn’t intentional. It was more like health and wellness, cannabis regulated space, supply chain, and sort of found me, which I just, it was just a kind of a blessing in disguise.

06:22 Isaac:
No, that’s awesome. I mean, you’ve kind of seen a lot in the CPG space, so given the fact that you’ve worked on both the vape side and now, um, you know, heavily focused on the Ible side, Luke, what have you noticed it’s kind of the major differences from a market approach for, for you all on the vape side now versus the, um, you know, the Ible side, you know, what have you seen from market expansion issues? Obviously the vape crisis, I’m sure you were in the midst of that while you were at doses, but how have you seen the differences in the two sides within the cannabis industry?

06:51 Kelly:
Well, I think that’s, that’s an interesting distinction, but I would even break it up a little bit further. When I think of wana, wana doesn’t market to any particular individual. So we don’t have, we, there’s no conversation where we’re talking about innovation, where we say, this product is going to meet a specific demographic. There’s no age. We’re not saying this is skewing male or skewing female female. We look at whether it be a health need for, you know, helping people sleep or helping people with social anxiety.

07:27 Kelly:
Um, and we really try to introduce products that meet anybody or all sorts of people at any area of their life. And so, I I, when, when I look at edibles, I do think that there’s vape products or concentrate products that kind of can fit in that category. But generally when I think of vapes, I think with the exception of a few brands like doses and a few others that are out there, they’re much more recreationally focused.

07:50 Kelly:
I wouldn’t say that they’re necessarily looking towards helping somebody with this with sleep or, um, you know, pain management or of anything of that nature. It’s a little bit more rec focused, where I would say Wana is skewing more, we’ve leaned more into science than a traditional vape product. Um, we’re looking more at, um, terpene profiles, but terpene profiles to help with a specific need where I, I also wouldn’t say that all edible companies are focused on that.

08:22 Kelly:
So I would kind of dissect that a little bit further and say that there’s a lot of edible companies that are more rec focused or strain specific, or looking at, um, a different type of, I don’t wanna say different type of consumer. ’cause I do think that all consumers, I think that can, can use different products for different needs, but, um, they’re not necessarily looking to help somebody with social anxiety or sleep.

08:45 Isaac:
No, for sure. And I think your answer just perfectly summed up what you’re talking about, about the health and wellness side of things and your view on it. So, um, no, that all makes sense. And that’s kind of how I view all this stuff as well, <laugh>.

08:57 Kelly:
Yeah, and I think concentrates and vapes in general, um, it’s, it’s an exciting industry. And it’s, you know, I think when I, especially gummies, you know, we’re looking for kitchen setups, we’re looking for, um, different type of processing where, and concentrate. It’s, we’re buying distilled, we’re buying, we’re buying rosin, or, and then we’re adding it as an ingredient to a product where in vapes or in flour or, you know, you’re looking much more, you’re looking at a, at a COA very differently than we are, right?

09:39 Kelly:
And so, um, yeah, it’s, I I enjoy both actually, just for very different reasons. It’s, uh, I think that the, the vape world is, the gummy battles are, um, much more about price and defending, defending shelf space. And I think the vape, the vape is so much more about almost street cred, right? I mean, there’s a lot more brand, not brand building, but I think, um, I, I don’t know if that’s, if people are looking at vapes as a trusted, a trusted brand product rather than where they are with a product like Wana.

10:23 Eric
And No, and, and appreciate that commentary. I think it’s like fascinating how, you know, obviously in this industry you even take the products and each one has its own unique elements to it, right? Um, and I have had the pleasure of, of, actually, I was at a, a conference, uh, called Trailblazers. It brings together the, um, a lot of leaders in the space. And I actually sat down next to Nancy at a di at a dinner, um, that we all had. And I didn’t realize who, like, who it was or that she was the CEO of Wana, and we just had a great organic conversation.

10:57 Eric
She’s super down to earth, and then started to get into her journey about starting wana in her kitchen, uh, which was just incredible. And, and seeing how it’s been built to the brand that it is today, how do you guys think about, you know, continuing to develop the brand itself to, to continue to be a market leader, right? Obviously you’ve built a brand equity, but you want to defend that as well, you know, from new entrants, uh, coming into the space, you know, how do you guys think about continuing to develop the product but also staying true to the brand that, you know, has, has allowed you guys to have so much success over the past years?

11:38 Kelly:
Well, it is, I wish we knew the magic bullet <laugh>. I think everybody’s trying to figure out the balance between margin, brand presence, market penetration, and market share. And I mean, I think for us, we stick to true to who we are as far as making sure that we’re bringing products to the market that we think are efficacious. Um, we also try to introduce, we’re trying to get our products into as many markets as possible. Um, you know, really our mission is to try to figure out how to help as many people as we can with the plant.

12:14 Kelly:
And so, you know, we’re constantly looking at, um, whether it be domestic markets where at this point we’ve gone into, for the most part, most of the markets that we can in, in the us. And so now starting to look at, and this is, I know some of the stuff of what’s so exciting about 2024 and 2025 is how do we start bringing our product and become more of a global brand rather than just a, a North American, um, having a North American presence.

12:40 Kelly:
But it’s, I think, one of the things that wanna, when somebody sees our, our product and when they see our brand name, really what seems what we hear from a lot of our consumers is it’s a trusted product. And so people are buying wana and they’re looking for a gummy product that they trust, and it’s just continuing down that mission of working with partners in all of our markets that we trust. So it’s, that’s a big piece of, I think our magic is we find people, we just happen to find people that are like MI don’t wanna say like-minded, but have the same integrity, um, as we do when we come to, to when it comes to our brand.

13:17 Kelly:
And, um, continuing to try to innovate. We lean into science and continue, we do lots of different types of trials to make sure that we’re bringing products to, that are effic, again, efficacious, but also, you know, it’s not always a potency play. So it’s really trying to make sure that we’re listening to all of our consumers. Some of them are looking for high potency products, and some of them are looking for a one milligram product that’s helping with, with, um, yeah, anxiety. So it’s continuing to lean into our market presence, but also just continuing to make sure that we’re a brand that people can trust.

13:57 Isaac:
Yeah, no, I think that’s one of the biggest things that the industry as a whole has tried to be better at over the last few years, is continuing to maintain that market level trust and that, you know, brand equity and identity. So how do you guys go about vetting, you know, your partners and who you’re actually, you know, working with to make sure that they’re meeting all of the standards that you guys have created at wanna, which is one of the most reputable brands in the industry?

14:22 Kelly:
Industry? Yeah. We have an entire department that is responsible for all of our market expansions. And so all of our partners have somebody here at wana, not just one person, but they have one designated person, but a whole team that supports it. So we’ve got quality systems, strong SOPs, we spend time a lot of time in the market. We meet with our partners, we visit their sites. It’s a lot of what you would, would, you would expect, but it’s, um, it is, you know, a lot of it comes down to do we feel like these people have integrity.

14:57 Kelly:
Now, a lot of times you’re signing deals where they don’t necessarily have a building up an operational yet, so you have to trust that who you’re signing a deal with is actually going to take your brand, you know, or where, or they have a building, but they’re right waiting for the regs to, to open up or, or, you know, depending on what’s going on in each market.

15:16 Kelly:
So it really comes down to, to the people and making sure that it’s with groups that we trust and, um, it’s, and it’s all of us, our entire leadership team will meet with, and, and not just our leadership team, but we have a whole, a whole slew of people that will meet with the partners all the way up to Nancy to make sure that, um, that we are ensuring that we’re getting strong partners. And I would say for the most part, we’ve done, we’ve done a pretty good job. All of our partners are, are groups that we, um, have a really strong relationship with. And, um, you know, we, we work together on whatever it may be for product quality as well as, um, again, market penetration

15:56 Isaac:
Now. Yeah, that all makes sense. And, you know, talking about SOPs too, giving your background on more traditional CPG, we’ll say, what have you noticed has been kind of the biggest transition from an SOP perspective, you know, when you first got into cannabis, and then how has the industry done and kind of getting better and more in line with, I guess, um, you know, longer lasting CPG industries over the, you know, the past few years?

16:20 Kelly:
Sure. I, you know, one of the things that I love about cannabis is it’s so scrappy, right? You’re going some of the, some, especially some of the newer markets, you’re seeing people that come in with massive cap tables and are able to build these multimillion dollar facilities and they have infrastructures that are just incredible. And then there’s other, we have other partners that, you know, are working with what they have. And so we don’t just, we don’t, we have an SOP that we hand off, but we have to tailor each one to each partner.

16:54 Kelly:
And just because we’ve got, just because there might be a facility that’s, um, a smaller, smaller entity that maybe doesn’t have the same type of capital behind ’em, doesn’t mean that they can’t produce a quality product. We might just have to figure out and look at in our process where, and what do we need to adjust to ensure that we have all the proper steps for ensuring quality?

17:17 Kelly:
And so we don’t take a, and in, and in traditional CPG, you have an SOP and you’re almost, you’re basically saying, you’re following this and this is what it is, right? Your building should be, you don’t go to a building that you don’t modify your SOP, they, they modify their process to you. And, and in cannabis, it’s sort of the other way around. We, we have to set up quality steps to ensure that we’re kind of, regardless of where we’re producing, we’re able to ensure a quality product. And so it’s, um, it takes some creative thought and making sure, and again, that’s why a lot of, um, having all, having a quality team and having these systems in place where the team is able to look at an SOP and say, okay, well, we need to do it.

17:59 Kelly:
We have, we have a test step here that maybe we wouldn’t have at this at this point. Maybe it’s at a different point in a different facility based on different regs and different markets. So depending on regs, and depending on, depending on setups, we, we modify as we need to to make sure that we’re, that when somebody’s getting a want gummy, that they’re getting the quality that they expected.

18:21 Eric
Isaac, you took the, you took the question right outta my mouth with that one. He’s always, always two steps ahead of me, unfortunately. Um, but no, and just to, to piggyback off of that, from your transition to traditional CPG and into the cannabis space, we obviously know that it, it’s a very highly regulated industry. Like, can you maybe give like an anecdote or just maybe an example or just an instance where you kind of had that, like, not shock, but inkling, you’re like, wow, this is, this is different from, you know, where I, where I came from in CPG, or is it, you know, fairly similar and, and CPG more traditional CPG is just as regulated.

19:01 Eric
But, um, so just wanted to get your thoughts kind of on the, the transition

19:06 Kelly:
On, on the regulated piece. Well, I think what, in traditional CPG, you look at your supply chain and you look to optimize it, and then you get into cannabis and you’re like, this is incredibly inefficient, and what do you mean I can’t do this, this, and this? That doesn’t make, you know, when you’re looking from a, from a dollars and cents and just touches and movements, um, you know, and it, there’s a lot of, it just sometimes it just doesn’t logically make sense coming from CPG.

19:38 Kelly:
So thinking about product movement and, um, looking at costing and all the different markets because of the different regulations, some, you’re able to move product in a certain way. Some you have to manifest it in a, goes to a third party, some you’re allowed to, some you’re allowed to touch a movement, something you’re not allowed to. So thinking through a supply chain, every time you go into a new market, you’re setting up an entirely new supply chain.

20:06 Kelly:
And it’s a little bit like that when you go to new, to new countries in, in, um, in traditional CPG, but it’s not, you know, the idea of moving a truck from point A to point B is the same where in cannabis it’s not. It’s different, different distribution networks and things of that nature. And so every time I get an email, I get so many spam emails about, Hey, we wanna set up your freight. I’m like, another one <laugh>, another one of these.

20:37 Kelly:
Like, oh, what, okay, you know, how that let me just, cannabis isn’t the same as as moving, um, moving traditional goods around. So I would say that to me was, that was kind of a, well, wait a second, that’s just incredibly inefficient that that reg can’t be right, that can’t be what they meant. It’s like, no, that’s exactly what they meant.

20:57 Kelly:
So that was a big eye-opening experience for me. Also, in the beginning when cannabis, the, the labeling regs changed all the time with CPG, you’re, you know, what your labeling reg is going to be. You design a, you design your graphics and you design your formulas around that. And in, and in cannabis, you’re labeling regs, you know, you can change, they change by state. Um, and then they could change, not so much anymore, but they’s changed within the state. They could change three or four times in a year.

21:28 Kelly:
And so constantly trying to move your product, um, making sure that you’re moving your product to make sure that you’re adhering to all the different labeling regs. Um, the other piece that I think for me was kind of an aha, uh, you know, it was coming from traditional CPG, you are building you cash isn’t a tradition isn’t really a problem.

21:50 Kelly:
So you’re building, you’re trying to get as much out of your production as possible. So I would try to buy the biggest, almost the biggest piece of equipment to meet and, and to assume that there’s gonna be some demand and, and cannabis or some growth in demand. And I think in cannabis, you and the companies that I’ve seen have that have been really successful, didn’t buy the big pieces of shiny equipment they bought on the used market, and they bought only what they absolutely needed at that time.

22:22 Kelly:
And then with the volume was there, then they sort of scaled up. Where in CPG generally don’t see people buying sort of the bare minimum. They kind of buy, you know, five years ahead of themselves. And so the, the folks that I’ve seen be a little bit more successful we’re a little bit more scrappy with understanding their opex and understanding how they were spending their money, um, and what type of equipment.

22:45 Kelly:
And being comfortable with doesn’t have to be the best, it needs to accomplish a specific goal where that was kind of an interesting, you know, and I was specking equipment originally it was, um, it was like, well, we don’t necessarily need the $300,000 piece of blah. I need something that I can, I need something that I can scale and take to every single market. So looking at things a little bit differently that way. Um, the other thing that I’ve noticed, and this has just been more, is I’ve spent, you know, it’s more of from a leadership perspective.

23:16 Kelly:
One of the things that I’ve noticed with folks that are, have been in cannabis, they’re generally very open to learning and have incredibly flexible thought when it comes to, um, creative, creative problem solving. I mean, it’s, in CPG, you’re sort of taught the best way to do something.

23:39 Kelly:
So this is, we’ve been doing this for 150 years, this is the way you do it. And if you deviate, you’re deviating a a little this way or a little, you’re looking for half penny here, half penny there. And when I’ve gotten and working with cannabis folks, they don’t need to be taught how to think or how to problem solve for themselves because they, that’s what they’ve had to do, right? They have to be creative and how that they’re, so now it’s just taking that flexibility and thought and that eagerness to learn and then kind of finding that how to now getting them leadership experience and getting them a little bit more traditional CPG, um, education when it comes to like an Apex certification for a sales supply chain or something of that nature.

24:20 Kelly:
But they’re, they already know how to think and for themselves, and it’s incredibly, um, it, it’s incredible to watch just the, the way that we’re able to solve problems where I think in traditional CPG, you think you have to stay in this box and you kind of maneuver in the same box that, you know, people have been maneuvering in the last 150 years where in cannabis, some of the, some of it’s like, well, what if we did this?

24:50 Kelly:
And you’re all, and there’s nothing that’s off the table. <laugh>. Yeah. And it’s just, it’s, it’s a lot of fun and it’s, um, incredible to just watch folks that have been in cannabis for, like, I learn from them every day on making sure I’m continuing to challenge my own thought process and that I don’t get myself limited and, and how I’m problem solving. So I don’t know if that maybe answered your question. No,

25:15 Eric
That, that, that was tremendous. I I think there was a lot to, to definitely unpack there. And I think that’s very cool that what what you mentioned was like how CPG is very fixed in its ways and how like innovative you can be in scratch that problem solving itch. And also something that I think that, you know, I wanted to touch on, uh, is the, the importance of, you know, being scrappy, uh, in this industry. And, and I think just continuing to, to continue to claw, um, and that ground game is very important.

25:49 Eric
And I think like being very present at events, being very present, um, and, and really giving back to the industry, not just providing a product. Um, you know, I know Wana does a lot of work on the, you know, not necessarily creating products, but with like, uh, you know, last prisoners project and, and different initiatives that you guys have. How, how important is that to, to you all as an organization outside of just building product for the industry, but helping other operators and, and helping the industry as a whole grow?

26:24 Kelly:
It’s an, it’s incredibly important to our mission and it’s incredibly important to Nancy. And so, I don’t know, Nancy created, so with some of the funds that came through on the Canopy transaction, she created a foundation that she donates to a lot, a lot of cannabis science. Um, again, trying to figure out how, how do we help people in their daily life? But a lot of, a lot of what people don’t see is we, whether it be wana or through the foundation unhoused or, um, food insecurities.

27:00 Kelly:
And so there’s a lot of work that we do within the communities, and we do a lot of this with our partners. We do a lot of it here in Colorado. Um, and it’s, it goes again to just trying to help how do we help people better their lives in general, whether it be through the plant or whether it be through other means. And so it’s, it’s actually, we have a, we have a, um, somebody that’s employed by Wana who this is what they do. They work on how do we continue to give back to the community. And, um, I think last year the foundation donated something like $2.5 million something.

27:35 Kelly:
Wow, that’s

27:36 Eric
So incredible.

27:37 Kelly:
It’s incredible. And yeah. Um, and that’s, it’s a lot of it, again, a lot of it is kind of happens in the background, but it’s, there’s a lot of people and there’s a lot of lives that we’re able to impact in a lot of different ways, and it’s one of the really rewarding things about working for Wana.

27:55 Eric
That’s amazing. And, and just to, to switch gears here and, and kind of wrap things up, I guess, you know, with 2023, you know, just, just previously ending a lot to be excited about, I think in, in 2024, what, what are you guys most looking forward to, um, that you can share with us and, you know, where do you see the industry progressing over the next 12 months?

28:21 Kelly:
Yeah, I mean, I think everybody, a a lot of the, a lot of the brands in the US I think are iron eyeing the international markets now, and trying to keep a pulse on trying to learn what’s going on in the regulatory space there. I don’t know. We’re still trying to, I think, figure out exactly how, how that, that’s gonna work and where do we enter and what can we learn from the groups that are already there. And, and there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of, there’s a little bit of an infrastructure obviously already set up in Europe, so learning as much as we can from those folks.

28:55 Kelly:
Um, and I’m saying Europe, but all over, right? Yeah. Thailand, Australia. Um, so learning as much as we can on the international space. I think, obviously, I’m sure everybody in cannabis and the US is keeping an eye on what’s happening in New York. I see your, I see your New Yorker sign behind you. So <laugh>

29:16 Eric
Born and raised. Yep,

29:17 Kelly:
Born and raised. And so everybody’s eager and excited about that market. Um, and a little I, and obviously a little apprehensive is to try to understand what’s going on in the regulatory space there. So, um, I, yeah, I think we’re con we’re continuing to lean into science and learn as much as we can about the plant and figuring out how do we bring that, whatever we’re able to learn in that education, into our formulations and continuing to innovate, but a big, we’re really leaning in and trying to learn as much as we can about what’s going on out outside of the US as well.

29:51 Eric
That’s incredible. Well, um, we, we really appreciate everything that you’ve shared, kind of your journey coming from traditional CPG into the cannabis space. What you guys are building at Wana, um, is is obviously incredible from a product standpoint, but it’s really unbelievable to hear about the work that you’re doing with communities and giving back. You know, it’s, it’s tremendous. And I think one thing that’s very cool about the cannabis industry is that, obviously, you know, operators are competing for market share, but there is this overall overarching theme that, you know, rising tides lift all boats, um, and it seems like you guys are, are really adding to that.

30:29 Eric
And, um, it’s tremendous to see. And before we wrap things up here, uh, Isaac will just, uh, we’re just gonna ask a, a few fun questions to, to kind of wrap things up and, um, again, really appreciate your time and, and everything you guys are doing in this space.

30:44 Kelly:
Yeah, my

30:44 Isaac:
Pleasure. Yeah. So, um, you know, early in the morning if you try to get a workout in or if you have a big work call, you need to get hyped up for, what’s, uh, what’s the Go-to song on the playlist to, uh, kind of get the juices flowing? So, or,

30:58 Eric
Or if you’re gonna hit a home run, what’s your walkout song?

31:01 Kelly:
<laugh>? My Walkout

31:02 Eric

31:03 Kelly:
Uh, well, I dunno if I would say a, I can’t know if I could say a song. Okay. I, I like a lot of, I’m kind of embarrassed to say this, but a lot of nineties Rap <laugh>

31:11 Eric
I love.

31:12 Isaac:
That’s awesome. <laugh>.

31:16 Kelly:
It’s sort of like if somebody was to take out my, my AirPod, they’d probably be like, what is she listening for? What,

31:20 Isaac:
That’s incredible.

31:21 Kelly:
But I listen to, um, yeah, if I’m going for a run or that’s going that a Saturday afternoon, that’s what’s playing in my house, so I

31:29 Isaac:
Love it. And anyone in particular just kind of all nineties are up,

31:34 Kelly:
Uh, a lot of nineties wrap. Yeah, I mean, you’re traditional, which you would, what you would expect, but yeah.

31:39 Isaac:
Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s nice <laugh>.

31:42 Eric
So listen Ju Juicy by, uh, biggie Smalls heading into the office. I love it. <laugh>. Well, that’s great.

31:50 Isaac:
Uh, you know, the next one is, is there a book that you’ve read, um, that you’ve turned back to maybe a few times or would strongly recommend, um, to those who are listening or watching that has provided you with some great insights over the course of your career?

32:05 Kelly:
Um, well, I, I don’t know if, I mean, I guess one of the, the things that more recently I’ve been trying to get myself back into is, and I’m sure every, I’m sure a lot of the folks that are listening to the pod this podcast have already read or listened to this, but Atomic Cabots, and obviously we’re doing, we’re having this podcast in January, so it’s sort of resonates with the first of the year. But I’ve read that a couple of times, partly looking at it from just personal growth as far as how do I start implementing better habits?

32:37 Kelly:
And I think the cannabis space, it’s your head’s down running all the time, and so trying to take a step back and making sure that you’re still one, doing things efficiently and correctly and making sure that you’re not getting your, your, you know, you mentioned workouts, but making sure that you’re doing your workouts and taking care of yourself. And, um, I, so I’ve looked at that from both a professional and personal, um, lens more recently, so I’ve read it twice and I’ve, he, he, the, the author also did a masterclass and I listened to that as well.

33:13 Kelly:
So just trying to just make sure in the first of the year that we’re just setting ourselves up to be, be able to kind of keep going and keep that energy level through 2024.

33:23 Isaac:
No, a hundred percent. I, I love that booking. Yeah, it’s definitely one that, uh, is worth turning back to at the start of each year to kind of keep yourself on the, on the straight narrow to start the year. Um, and then last one, I’m actually based in Colorado as well. I’m down in Cherry Creek though, but what’s a, what’s a go-to restaurant for you in either Boulder or Denver or, you know, kind of wherever

33:43 Kelly:
<laugh>? Well, I, I don’t know if I can say a restaurant, but I would say, um, I’m a SoCal girl, so I am always looking for the best taco and spicy margarita that I can find.

33:57 Eric
<laugh>. Love that.

33:57 Kelly:
It’s a $2 taco and a margarita night. I’m down.

34:01 Isaac:
I love it. Yeah, it’s hard to beat Mexican food in Colorado. It’s the best <laugh>.

34:07 Eric
Awesome. Well, really appreciate your time again, Kelly. And, uh, this has been an unbelievable episode, super insightful. I know I’ve learned a lot and I’m sure our viewers will as well. And, uh, good luck in 2024. Super excited to see what you guys are accomplish.

34:23 Kelly:
Yeah, thank you. Appreciate that. Appreciate the time. Thank

34:25 Isaac:
You, Kelly. Thank

34:26 Kelly:

34:29 Eric
Another great one in the books, Isaac. And, um, I, I really loved her perspective on her transition from traditional CPG into the cannabis space. You know, what are the, the nuances? Um, and I’m excited to see what they’re doing in, in 2024. I think, you know, looking at expanding into international markets is, you know, something that if someone brought that up a few years ago, um, they would look at you with pretty wide eyes, but, but definitely something on the horizon, which is a testament to show that the industry is continuing to grow.

35:09 Eric
Right. Um, and so very excited to see what they have on deck for 2024 and, and really enjoyed her perspective, especially the nineties rap thing was phenomenal by the way that, that I was not that. And, um, was, was definitely pleasantly surprised. Love that.

35:28 Isaac:
No, that was great. Yeah, and I mean, I think her insights on just, you know, the intricacies of how, um, SOPs and partnering with, you know, different manufacturing partners and local, um, you know, areas is vastly different in the cannabis space right now versus traditional CPG and how, uh, you know, traditionally CPG and given where she worked in the past, you could bring the big hammer and be like, you’re doing it exactly this way. And in cannabis you have to be a little bit more nimble and kind of work with what your partners have, uh, available and what the local regulations allow for.

36:02 Isaac:
So I thought that was very insightful, and, you know, truthfully, I don’t know if we’ve had that exact conversation before.

36:09 Eric
Yeah. And it’s interesting to hear that, you know, a brand like Wana is still very scrappy, you know what I mean? Like, to your point, saying more traditional CPG, they’re like, this is what you, this is what we need and this is what you’re gonna do. Um, and, and being able to be nimble and adapt in each market and just continuing to, to be scrappy and, you know, finally, I think it’s tremendous what they’re doing with the foundation that Nancy had set up and giving back to the industry and local communities. It’s, it’s super important.

36:41 Eric
Um, and, and love to see that from Wana. And it’s no surprise, uh, just just given the company and the organization that they’ve built, both from a product and culture standpoint.

36:52 Isaac:
Absolutely. Yeah, it was a, a great, great route to risk and, uh, excited for the next one.

36:58 Eric
Absolutely. Thanks for being my copilot man.

37:01 Isaac:
<laugh>, of course. Hey, thank you for, for leading the, the conversations.

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