Pioneering the Future of Cannabis with Diane Downey the Co-Founder & CEO, Rebel Spirit Cannabis Company

In this episode of roots to Risk hosts Eric Schneider and Isaac Bock sit down with Diane Downey, Co-Founder & CEO of Rebel Spirit Cannabis Company, to uncover the story of one of Oregon’s most innovative cannabis brands.

From Rebel Spirit’s organic practices to its expansion across the nation and commitment to social causes, Diane shares her insights on navigating the complex cannabis industry. Discover the strategic moves and values that drive Rebel Spirit’s success, and learn what it takes to build a brand that resonates deeply with consumers and stands for more than just profit.

Key Takeaways:

  • Organic and Sustainable Practices: Learn about the importance of organic cultivation and sustainable business practices in setting Rebel Spirit apart in the crowded cannabis market.
  • Brand Expansion and Licensing Deals: Gain insights into Rebel Spirit’s approach to national expansion through strategic licensing deals, ensuring brand consistency and quality across different states.
  • Social Responsibility and Industry Impact: Understand Rebel Spirit’s commitment to social causes, like the Last Prisoner Project, and how the cannabis industry can play a role in social justice and environmental sustainability.

This engaging conversation with Diane Downey not only highlights the entrepreneurial spirit and resilience required to thrive in the cannabis industry but also sheds light on the potential of cannabis businesses to effect positive change in society and the environment.

As Rebel Spirit Cannabis Company continues to grow and set new benchmarks, their journey offers valuable lessons and inspiration for current and aspiring industry professionals. Tune in for an in-depth look at the challenges, triumphs, and future aspirations of one of the cannabis industry’s leading voices.

Whether you’re a seasoned expert or new to the world of cannabis, this episode is packed with actionable insights and forward-thinking strategies.

Transcript:

00:01 Eric:
This is the Roots to Risk Podcast hosted by Eric Schneider, alongside Isaac Bach, 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 Mr. Bach. How are you doing today?

00:31 Eric:
I’m good.

00:31 Isaac:
Great.

00:32 Eric:
Denver, Colorado. Uh,

00:34 Isaac:
I’m good. It’s actually not that cold here today. It’s like in the four days, so can’t complain too much. How’s, how’s the city treating you

00:43 Eric:
As good as ever?

00:45 Isaac:
<laugh>? It doesn’t, that’s not ringing endorsement, <laugh>.

00:49 Eric:
Uh, well, excited to, to kick off another episode of The Roots to Risk. We have a great guest on deck today, um, with Rebel Spirit, one of the co-founders, Diane Downey. Um, really great story, and, and obviously we’ll hear directly from Diane Downey in a little bit, but just to give you guys some background, Diane Downey grew up on a 3000 acre cattle in Hay Ranch in Northern California. She’s skilled in management, team building and financial wizardry. Downey founded Rebel Spirit with partner Chris Beckler.

01:23 Eric:
In 2015. Rebel Spirit employs sustainable organic practices to breed and grow award-winning proprietary strains. Their iconic branding inspires customer loyalty and results in consistently strong revenue expansion plans, including bringing Rebel Spirit’s, top selling pre-roll packs to dispensaries across the nation through brand and licensing deals. Rebel Spirit honors their namesake Uncle Mark, which we’ll learn more about by profit sharing with and supporting the mission of Last Prisoner project.

01:57 Eric:
Um, I think this’ll be a, a great one, Isaac. We have all aspects of the supply chain, you know, an operator in Oregon, which I don’t know if we’ve had on the show as of yet. And then also learning more about their strategy of leveraging their brand in other states and, and doing licensing deals, um, to get their brand from just Oregon to across the country. So, super excited for this one.

02:23 Isaac:
No, for sure. And I think it’s gonna be a really interesting conversation and, uh, you know, you and I have both had the opportunity to go smoke some of their pre-rolls and they make a great product. So excited to hear, you know, more about that.

02:35 Eric:
Brought out my rebel spirit, you know, <laugh>, and I think, I think that’s the, uh, the intent. So I don’t

02:41 Isaac:
Think you need much help being

02:43 Eric:
<laugh>, but, uh, enough, enough about me. Let’s bring in Diane and, uh, and hear directly from her and learn more about her story. Thank you for joining us today, Diane. It’s a, it’s a pleasure to have you on here and, and we’re really excited to learn more about Rebel Spirit.

03:00 Diane Downey
Thank you for having me.

03:02 Isaac:
Of course. Yeah. I mean, Diane, we’d love to get a little bit of background on, you know, yourself and how you, how you found your way into the cannabis industry as well as rebel spirit overall.

03:14 Diane Downey
Okay. Wow, that’s a, that’s kind of a long story. I’m sure everybody has a long story for how they got into this industry. Um, so, uh, let’s see, uh, 2015, my husband had his own, uh, construction business, and he wasn’t really happy doing that. And that was about the time that Oregon voters, uh, said, Hey, let’s have, um, recreational cannabis. And so I, having an unhappy partner in his job is, I don’t know if you guys have ever done that, but it’s not, it’s not fun.

03:46 Diane Downey
And so I said, Hey, you know, let’s do this cannabis thing. So we mortgaged our house and bought 19 acres and, um, really fertile, uh, property. I have a farming and ranching background, so I knew a little bit about that. I knew about water rights. Um, we applied right away. It took us about three years to get the water rights, but we did, and we had other water that we could use in the meantime.

04:12 Diane Downey
And so Chris built out the whole facility. We’ve got 15 greenhouses hoop houses, a couple buildings put in a new, well, we’ve got two wells on the property now. So in the last eight years we’ve, we’ve built that out. Um, he was an enthusiastic organic gardener and had grown his own marijuana just for his own recreational use. Um, but we have a family friend whom we call Uncle Mark, who, uh, went to prison in the 1990s for growing, um, pot in northeast Washington.

04:47 Diane Downey
And unfortunately he died in prison and it was really upsetting for all of us. And so we decided to bring Mark’s spirit back. Um, so our farm is called Uncle Mark’s farm, and, uh, mark is our rebel spirit. And so, um, very cool. That’s kind of the, those are the, the roots and the, the spirit of our company, you know, really comes from Mark and from wanting to give him a happier ending and to rehabilitate his memory a little bit because dying in prison was not the end he deserved.

05:21 Isaac:
No, for sure. That’s a, go ahead. Sorry.

05:24 Eric:
Yeah, no, I was just gonna say that’s a really impactful story and, and you know, it seems like that, uh, that energy and that spirit has really incited a culture in what is now rebel spirit and how you pass it on to your employees, your organization, what you’re about, and and how that’s led to your success. You know, I think, and that’s why we asked that question, right? Just kind of like the foundation of the organization. ’cause everybody has a little bit of a different story, and I think it’s, it’s really important into the, you know, the birth of, of their operations and, and what they’re building now, um, stems from a, a foundation.

06:02 Eric:
So I appreciate you sharing that.

06:04 Diane Downey
Yeah, I think that, you know, as you mentioned, our employees, we have a really cohesive team and everybody is in the spirit of things, so to speak. Uh, but they’re also really proud. We do profit sharing. With last prisoner project, we wanted to have a cause that aligned with our values and, uh, considering the way Mark died, we’re pretty sensitive to people being incarcerated for cannabis crimes. And so our employees are really proud to be supporting that cause as well. So, uh, and we’re all organic all the time.

06:35 Diane Downey
We use live soil. Uh, we’re good breeders. We have amazing proprietary strains that we keep to ourselves. So there’s, uh, a lot to be proud of on the part of our employees.

06:47 Isaac:
No, for sure. And I think, you know, given how long you, you all have been at this, you know, what have you kind of noticed both locally and kind of nationally has changed over the course of the year? Have you guys started doing things, you know, differently over the eight years? Is there anything, you know, specific you’ve noticed, um, you know, at a local level that’s changed dramatically in the industry?

07:07 Diane Downey
Yeah, it’s changing all the time. And that was something that we didn’t really, <laugh> we weren’t quite prepared for. I way back in 2016, we won the Oregon Growers Cup for some strains, and we were pretty much the number one strain in Oregon. And I thought, yeah, we’ve arrived. You know, I just didn’t expect everybody to be nipping at our heels <laugh> the way they have been. And, um, so that was one unexpected thing is like, oh man, we gotta, you know, keep getting better and better and better and better and better.

07:39 Diane Downey
And, uh, the other thing was in 2019, we launched our pre-rolls in our new packs, and, um, they became a hit right away. And we’ve been among the top selling pre-rolls in the state. There are 250 brands pre-roll brands in the state now, and we’re still among the top one or two selling brands, which is an amazing accomplishment. And so you ask about the unexpected, when we got into this in 20 15, 20 16, we did not expect, um, that we would be able to hang our hats on pre-rolls, but that’s the way it’s turned out.

08:15 Diane Downey
And so it’s just kind of like, well, we’ll take it. And so we’ve gone with the pre-rolls and, um, we’re super happy about that, and that’s where we’ve, uh, made a name for ourselves. Wow. Sorry, the sun’s coming in,

08:29 Isaac:
<laugh>. No, you’re, you’re, you’re good. Um, no, and that makes a ton of sense. I mean, I guess, you know, in, in that light, well, um, you know, have you noticed that the, um, you know, customer kind of taste profile, for lack of a better, better word, has changed over the eight years? Like, seems like pre-rolls have been pretty consistently successful for, for you guys, but have you noticed anything else that’s kind of taking off more recently?

08:56 Diane Downey
You mean in the market or? Yeah,

08:59 Isaac:
In the market free.

09:00 Diane Downey
Well, the market’s just rough. Um, you know, so people who know about the Oregon market know that there’s a glut of product on the market, and we truly, truly struggle to sell it for more than it costs us to produce it. Um, so that’s the thing that’s a little bit, uh, wearing and disheartening is that we are among the top brands in Oregon, but we still struggle to make payroll. Um, so, uh, I guess for what’s changed is that the, the quality of product in Oregon just gets better and better and better and better, and the prices stay low.

09:39 Diane
And so the Oregon customers are really the winners on that. And we do have loyal customers that said, there’s a lot of good product out there, and I honestly think anybody in in the world who says, oh, I grow the best pot, it’s ridiculous.

09:56 Diane
There’s so much good stuff out there in Oregon anyway, <laugh> <laugh>, yeah, it’s when we travel to other parts of the country and I sample some of what other people are smoking, I’m just, oh, oh, <laugh>. That’s so sad. Oh, you know, so, um, one, one thing that we’re doing is we’re licensing our brand, uh, in other states. And with those brand licensing, uh, agreements, those intellectual property licensing agreements come our genetics.

10:31 Diane Downey
And so we’re gonna be able to get our genetics out to other places. We just recently signed a deal in Vermont, so rebel spirit people will be able to buy Rebel spirit strains in Vermont. We signed a deal in Peru, so that just happened, uh, when we were in Las Vegas at MJ Biz Con last week, we, we signed a deal in Peru, and then we got deals in the hopper for, uh, Illinois, Minnesota, and, uh, Mississippi.

10:57 Diane Downey
So, um, our strategy for survival, which is really what we have to have here in this Oregon market, is to keep the mothership alive here in Oregon. You know, we, we’ve gotta, we’ve gotta stay in business here. As difficult as it is, um, to keep our heads above water, just because of the glu on the market, um, it’s super important for us to maintain that au authenticity, to maintain Uncle Mark’s farm, to keep producing great, uh, proprietary strains because, um, people want something new every year.

11:29 Diane Downey
And so we keep breeding new strains every year. So that’s one, um, prong of our survival strategy. Prong number two is, um, nationwide expansion and brand name recognition. And so to that end, uh, we’re really working on, uh, getting rebel spirit out there. Uh, so, and we have <laugh>. And to that end, we have three, three prongs of, um, attractiveness to other companies.

12:01 Diane Downey
One is those proprietary strains, the other is our standard operating procedures that come with manufacturing pre-rolls. Um, it is not easy to make a good pre-roll at scale, and we’ve mastered that. Um, we sell as many as 350,000 pre-rolls a month, um, just here in Oregon.

12:22 Eric:
It’s impressive.

12:23 Diane Downey
Uh, yeah. And, and so, uh, and we’re able to produce them for about, labor wise, about 20 cents a pre-roll. Um, and, uh, so having that secret sauce on manufacturing, uh, that we share with our brand licensing partners is something that they’re, uh, really interested in. The third part of that is the, um, attractiveness of the brand itself. People are attracted to the deep, authentic roots of the brand.

12:54 Diane Downey
They’re attracted to the, uh, iconography. Um, it’s a, a little bit of Americana. It kind of appeals to old and to young, to, it’s not a man’s brand. It’s not a woman’s brand, it’s not necessarily a stoner’s brand. It’s, um, it has a really broad appeal.

13:16 Eric:
It’s that little rebel spirit in all of us, you

13:19 Diane
Know? Exactly. Well, that’s the idea. And I think that’s part of, you know, as we thought of the name and thought of creating the brand, it really, uh, speaks to Americans. We’ve got this rugged individual idea, and as much as we all are forced to conform on a daily basis just to get along in society, there’s something in each of us that says, well, well, yeah, I, but I’m a rebel too, you know? And, uh, I mean, I feel that way. I, uh, was a high school English teacher for 30 years, and now I’m a drug queen, <laugh>

13:54 Speaker: 4:
<laugh>.

13:58 Diane Downey
So that’s the little bit of rebel coming out in me.

14:01 Eric:
She breaking Bad two, featuring Diane Downey, is that

14:06 Diane
Pardon

14:07 Eric:
Me? I said breaking Bad two, featuring Diane Downey. Okay. Yeah. Except in a, in a much, in a much, uh, more legal compliance sense, but yes, absolutely

14:17 Diane Downey
Say that’s where I, I still a high school English teacher

14:21 Eric:
Understood the

14:22 Diane Downey
Law, <laugh>

14:23 Eric:
And, and Diane with those licensing partners in, in other states, because obviously you’ve done, you know, you started from the ground up doing cultivation, manufacturing in Oregon for your own products. How, what does that process look like when you’re looking for strategic partners? You know, what are maybe some key, key indicators that you’re looking for, you know, um, when you are embarking in a, a licensing deal, obviously in every state, there’s a, a lot of cultivators and, and different products available.

14:55 Eric:
So like, how are you guys keying in on, you know, going with a certain strategic partner rather than another direction? Are there certain things that you look for specifically?

15:06 Diane Downey
Yeah, there are. Um, well, we’re looking for nascent brands. We’re, we’re looking for startups, uh, and, uh, we’re looking for people who appreciate what we’re offering. Um, there’s a lot of ego involved, uh, especially with newer, uh, operators. I think for older people in Oregon or, or more established operators in Oregon, our egos have been beaten to a pole <laugh>, right? <laugh>, we’re not silly enough to say, oh, we grow the bus lot, you know, or anything like that.

15:39 Diane Downey
And so a lot of times we find with new brands and startup states, we say, well, we’ve got this really attractive brand, like we’ve got a whole pitch deck going for partnership opportunities. Um, and they say, oh, we’re gonna have our own brand. Um, and thank you, but no, thank you. And, and I don’t say it, but I wanna say, well, good luck with that because it’s easier said than done to build a great brand, and we’ve been doing it for going on nine years, and you could leverage our popularity, our know-how everything to hit the ground running in your nascent market, right?

16:14 Diane Downey
Um, some people catch onto that right away and they’re like, sign me up. Um, and, uh, others, you, you know, they just want it, they wanna do it their own way, which I totally respect. So we’re looking for someone who appreciates what we’re offering. One, uh, we’re also looking for, frankly, for people who have their finances figured out, um, because a lot of times people will have genuine interest in us and, and we really wanna go with them, but they don’t have, uh, the money to make it happen.

16:52 Diane
And that’s just kind of heartbreak for everyone. And, and so one of the questions I ask early on is, oh, so are you looking for money? And the good answer to that, for, for a brand, for somebody talking to me is, no, no, no, no. We’re not looking for money <laugh>. And there are very few people who aren’t. Yeah,

17:10 Isaac:
I was gonna say, not tough time to be asking that question, I’m sure. Yeah.

17:15 Diane Downey
It’s,

17:19 Eric:
And, and I guess for, for Rebel spirit, you know, over the next 12 months, you know, what, what are you excited about, you know, both industry-wide as well as just like specific to your operations? I know you mentioned, you know, looking at launching in a few other states like Illinois. Um, you just signed that deal in, in Peru, uh, who says deals don’t get done at MJ biz. Exactly. And so, like, I guess, what are are you most excited about over the next 12 months and, and what you’re working on and, you know, what’s the trajectory of the organization look like?

17:57 Diane Downey
So I think that, uh, we’re, we’re working on providing for the success of Peru and Vermont. Uh, they just signed on. So for us, that means, uh, working on their packaging with them, making sure that it’s, it’s compliant with their locality, that it meets with all of our specifications for maintaining the brand. Um, and, you know, packaging is a pain from state to state because there are little wrinkles, you know, from state to state.

18:27 Diane Downey
And so, uh, one thing, we hadn’t gone to MJ Bicon for quite a few years. Um, we’d been going to MJ unpacked instead, but we went to MJ Bicon this year because we finally need to look at packaging again. And, and, uh, so we, we toured the floor with our new brand partners to kind of seeing what was out there, what would work for them, what would work for us.

18:49 Diane
So really providing a good foundation for those new partners, getting our genetics to Vermont, uh, and, and things like that, um, are, are really important to us. Then also bringing the, um, those ones that are in the hopper, Illinois, Mississippi, and Minnesota, getting those deals done. We have some hopes for, also for New Mexico and Missouri. So really, um, keeping working on those for sure here at home.

19:23 Diane
Uh, our genetics j just keep getting better and better. I think that it can be easy to, for, for people like us who are first cultivators and breeders second to kind of rest on our laurels with our proprietary strains. But, um, what we found is that our, our fans want more. They want different. And, um, I think that that’s something that’s been a, a surprise to a lot of people in the industry. When we first started, we were told, oh, you get your five strains and you grow those five strains, and so that people know what they’re getting every time from you.

20:02 Diane
And you know, we said, okay, but it didn’t, we didn’t do that <laugh> and, uh, we grow about 40 strains at a time. We’ve got 80,000 square feet of growth space. And what we found is that for people who appreciate flour and pre-rolls, they want variety. Uh, they don’t want the same thing all the time. And, uh, in addition, and because we are flower people, that’s important. I think that people who want the same thing every time are going to be eating a gummy made with distillate or something.

20:34 Diane
And, um, you know, it, and I compare it terpene wise or flavor wise. Uh, you could take a handful of cherries from the tree and each one’s gonna be a tiny bit different, but they’re all gonna be delicious. If you want something that tastes the same every time, buy a pack of cherry, lifesavers, <laugh>, you know, so if it’s, if it’s all natural, um, part of the beauty of it is the variety. Uh, so yeah, so again, we’re, we’re always developing new strains that are always really exciting, getting ready to go to the Grower’s Cup next weekend.

21:10 Diane
We’ve got some entries there and, uh, nice. We usually win something. And so knock on wood will be winners again this year.

21:19 Isaac:
That’s awesome.

21:19 Eric:
What would you say your, your, like top three strains are and, and, uh, I guess, what are the ones that are submitted for the Grower’s Cup?

21:29 Diane
Um, I, I don’t know which ones are submitted for the Grower’s Cup. <laugh> I, shoot, I wish that, um,

21:35 Isaac:
Well, when they’re all good, it could have been any of them. That’s

21:38 Eric:
True. Right. Well,

21:39 Diane
I do know that I, I can tell you what’s been the winners for us are the long-term winners for us and our process for choosing for the Growers Cup. So we, uh, made up sample baggies with all the strains that were contenders and, uh, we’ve got 30 employees, but some are more connoisseurs than others. And so the six connoisseurs on staff each got a sample bag, and then they got to vote for the ones that we submitted to the Grower’s cup. And, um, I, I wasn’t part of that process ’cause I’m not a ur per se, so I don’t know which ones we chose for this year.

22:15 Diane
Uh, but our, our really most popular proprietary strains, one’s called Google Gobble, uh, we’ve won the Grower’s Cup with that. Um, frosty Jesus is another super popular strain, great name

22:29 Diane
<laugh>, uh, rebel, rebel Berry OG is a good one. Thunderbird Rose is kind of a good old classic. And so we do have, um, but again, even with Thunderbird Rose that we, we just couldn’t grow enough of it in the beginning, you know, it’s, the interest in it has waned as people have gotten used to it, and we’ve still got it. We’re still growing it out, but, um, it’s one too that it’s a great strain and we could bring it back. It could become popular again saying next year or whatever, because people want that variety.

23:01 Diane
Um, but it doesn’t mean that a good strain’s not still a good strain just because it’s fallen out of fashion.

23:09 Isaac:
No, that’s, um, that all makes sense and that’s awesome that you guys are gonna have continued success at the Grower’s Cup. Um, so we’ll, we’ll definitely keep an eye out to see which one of your strains wins and all the various categories.

23:21 Diane
Yeah. Well, I hope, I hope we get something. I hope we

23:25 Isaac:
Something. Um,

23:27 Eric:
Diane, one, one other question that I had and, and something that you know, I’m always interested in is like, how as a established brand in Oregon and you’re looking to expand into multiple different states, how do you maintain, you know, the quality of, of those relationships? Like, do you have, do you have an employee that is, you know, in those specific states going to dispensaries, speaking with bud tenders, um, like what is the, the sales force, you know, look like for Rebel Spirit when you are entering into these, these other markets?

24:04 Diane
You know, that, that’s super challenging. Um, one of the first things we need to worry about is quality control, um, and, and making sure that rebel spirit is as good in Vermont as it is in Oregon, uh, which is a, a super challenge. Um, and, and it’s interesting because, um, Chris, my partner is really jealous of his strains, he’s jealous of his SOPs, and he’s like, I don’t wanna give him my SOPs, you know, then, then what? And I just said, well, we, they can’t make our pre-rolls if they don’t have our SOPs.

24:38 Diane
And so part of it, uh, the, our contract, our, our IP contract is 30 pages long. And so it’s, a lot of it is about maintaining that quality, uh, really, you know, clear specifications on moisture content, THC content, um, smoke ability, you know, all of these, all of these really important things are spelled out and we’re ready to give them the support to make sure that that can happen.

25:08 Diane
When it comes to sales, we don’t, um, because we’re in Oregon, we don’t have one challenge for us in expanding is we don’t have the capital to go and do it ourselves, which is why we decided to go with brand licensing deals. You know, ideally if we had a ton of money, we’d go set up in other states and bring a whole sale, you know, we do our own sales and distribution here in Oregon, we would set up that kind of a model. In other states, we don’t have the deep pockets to do that. And so we’re counting on our, our brand licensing partners to do that for us.

25:42 Diane
And so that goes back to a previous question you asked or what are you looking for? And we’re looking for someone who’s willing to do that sales and distribution, and we can help them with, um, help them with that.

25:55 Diane
But, uh, we’ve gotta count on their motivation to get the sales done. And, you know, we’ve got all kinds of swag and we’ve got protocols for table days and things like that that of course we’ll share with them, but we don’t have the deep pockets that it ca takes to really have boots on the ground in other states. That said, I know that there are other brands, uh, uh, say Old Pal or Miss Grass or whatever, who take and Kiva who, um, their royalties are considerably higher, uh, than we are getting.

26:34 Diane
Um, but they also provide sales support that we don’t, uh, don’t provide. So we’re not taking as large a royalty as some of those companies that, that afford to have boots on the ground in the localities.

26:51 Isaac:
That

26:51 Eric:
Makes sense. Yeah.

26:53 Isaac:
No, and uh, Diane, we, we really appreciate the time today. This has been an awesome conversation. Is there any, uh, final thoughts you wanna leave the viewers with?

27:03 Diane
Um, yeah, I think that what I’d like, uh, for, for consumers to know is that I would really like them to support, uh, farms like ours that are live soil organic growers, um, and also to be willing to pay a little bit more if necessary for biodegradable packaging. Um, so we’re really committed to staying away from plastic. I know that Vermont has an excellent law, which says no plastic allowed.

27:37 Diane
Um, and it, it does make packaging more expensive there, but I think it’s really incumbent upon us to, um, help make it so that this industry doesn’t, isn’t part of destroying the planet. I think that most people don’t understand that if you use collated nutrients on soil and inorganic methods, um, or on plants, you don’t even have to put it on the soil. But if you put it on plants, it kills the soil, it, it leaches the soil and, and you’ll have dead soil and then you have to use more and more and more of those products and pretty soon you have a dead planet.

28:14 Diane
Um, and so I think that consumers don’t really understand that their choices, that they have the power to save their planet with their choices of, of what they buy,

28:24 Isaac:
Right? Consumer kind of has the, uh, the ending power for basically everything these days.

28:30 Diane
They do. And we have to give customers, you know, what they want at, at the price point. You know, it’s difficult, it’s difficult. We’ve foregone a lot of profit by being all organic and, and using live soil because in Oregon a lot of people do that. Yeah. Um, and, and so we’re not unique. We can’t charge more because we’re organic because a lot of people are, um, which is great. Uh, but in other parts of the country, I think, um, yeah, it, I don’t know, it could work out.

29:04 Diane
I just wish other people would be organic, live soil, minimal biodegradable packaging.

29:09 Isaac:
Well, that’s a, a great message and Diane, thank you again for the time. Glad to hear about, you know, your background as well as Rebel Spirits. And you, do you have anything you wanted to wrap up on?

29:20 Eric:
No, just, um,

29:22 Diane
Happy holidays. Great. End to 23, hit the ground running 2024 and, um, live free fly high

29:32 Isaac:
<laugh>. Love it again.

29:34 Diane
Alright.

29:35 Eric:
I’m, I’m, I’m fired up and excited for 2024. Diane’s got me fired up. My rebel is in full force for the end of the year and into 2024. And, um, I, I just really appreciated what they like learning more about what they built, you know, starting from 2015, how they’ve continued to expand their brand and their footprint across the country. And I think, you know, organizations that are able to do that in the industry are gonna have a much,

30:10 Eric:
I wouldn’t say a much bigger leg up, but, you know, a sizable advantage when one day, hopefully, fingers crossed interstate commerce is, is allowed in the industry and they’ve already established markets all over the us. Um, and just continuing to build that brand loyalty amongst consumers. You know, I like to think that if we look back three years from now, I think, you know, more and more we’re starting to see that brands, you know, could be the ultimate winners, um, as the industry continues to proliferate and, and, and be recreational in other states or medical, whatever it may be.

30:46 Isaac:
Yeah, no, a hundred percent I think the way they’re going about it, um, you know, doing the asset light expansion with the, just growing the brand is gonna set them up for great success, like you mentioned. I think the fact that they’re already gonna have a national footprint and then if they want to eventually start going across state lines when that becomes legal, um, it’s a little bit easier when you already have a built in consumer base in different areas. So, um, I think the way they’re going about it is very smart and, you know, love everything that they stand for and I’m very excited to see them continue to grow over the next few years.

31:20 Eric:
Yeah, and I think, I think one thing that I, I really love about the industry is like authenticity is very well received. Yeah. You know what I mean? Like, we’ve seen a lot of like the big celebrity brands and people coming in and out and, and I feel like that’s very, that’s sussed out pretty quickly by consumers and, you know, those that have a great backstory, a great foundation, you know, tend to thrive. Um, another, you know, a great example of a woman led, you know, operator that’s expanding and I, I think they’re a, a great story overall, honestly, and I’m excited to see, you know, them continue to expand in 2024 and have rebel spirit products in, in additional markets.

32:01 Isaac:
A hundred percent, no, can, can’t agree with you more on all those points and Yeah. Um, you know, definitely excited for 2024 for, for them and for the industry as a.

 

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