Get used to hearing the word, “no” but don’t let it discourage or slow you down. I have received and continue to hear a lot of “no’s.” Not everyone will understand your vision. With some determination, flexibility and perseverance you’ll start to see some of those no’s turn into yeses.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Corey “CK” Dunson, the collegiate athlete from the University of Georgia turned successful business owner of Bouqé rolling papers, The Garden District, & GRDN athletic wear. This superhuman fitness professional is based in the Nation’s capital, with a mission set to empower and encourage people to stay fresh and live their best lives.
No problem, thank you for the opportunity!
Growing up in a household that valued holistic approaches to wellness, it was almost instinctive for me to source a natural remedy for the physical trauma and concussions I’ve endured as an athlete. Fast forward to life after college, I immersed myself in the cannabis culture, I fell in love with the experience that rolling papers provided. Inspired by the many entrepreneurs in my family, I brought these two worlds together to build a cannabis business that endorsed sparking responsibly while emphasizing proper rolling etiquette, but most importantly, one that upheld my plant based and holistic values.
In this business every day brings something different really. But I will never forget the conversations I had with my family when I shared my plans of entering the cannabis industry. As you can imagine, that was an interesting conversation. It was just funny to see the either the family members who a little too excited (you know that one uncle who assumed you would be the new “connect”) or the shocked look on the faces of more conservative family members. I bust out in laughter to this day with the image of my parent’s faces.
Similar to high end fashion brands, Bouqé delivers a premium product to the rolling paper market. We believe that the brand of paper chosen to roll with says a lot about the smoker. Bouqé is for the refined smoker with a preference for flowers of a certain caliber.
A friend once told us that our packaging wasn’t bold enough and referenced an established competitor that has a much more bold approach to packaging. I explained that Bouqé’s is targeted towards a customer that is more attracted to the quality of our product rather than bold and trendy branding. For this we decided to go with a modern and clean line design that appreciates over time. Think, Louis Vuitton. With this simple description, we went from having a critical doubter to a faithful believer and frequent buyer.
Outside of the product, we have created an awesome culture. I am so grateful to work with such amazing people on the Bouqé team. Our energy is refreshing and brings something different to the cannabis and rolling paper space, that people are instantly drawn in.
Having family, friends and fraternity brothers that champion my success means a great deal, especially when the day to day responsibilities of entrepreneurship can be challenging. We are also grateful for the D.C. /DMV cannabis scene. The community has been very welcoming and supportive of our efforts and we are proud to be a part. Most importantly, We have assembled a team of creatives, professionals, and local influencers who collaborate and push the brand outside of the box. Business is definitely a team sport
I specifically remember a conversation I had with my brother, Jamaal. We were casually kicking it one day and he just simply said, “Why not? Why not Bouqé? A brand that can appeal to and represent our culture, Why not roll with Bouqé?” That conversation basically sparked another level of hustle and faith that has allowed us to grow and ever since, I’ve kept that same mentality when approaching new opportunities or ideas. Why not Bouqé? A brand that can be in cool interviews like this. Why not?
As a relatively new brand , we are excited about the organic momentum we’ve been able to maintain since inception. Weeks after launching Bouqé, we have hosted multiple sold-out events and established relationships with multiple retailers in the DMV area. The upcoming rollout of our GROW THE REVOLUTION campaign, aimed to promote good-will in the community and celebrate cannabis user duality, has us buzzing with anticipation.
3 things that most excite me about the Cannabis industry.
3 things that most concern me about the Cannabis industry.
1. Big Business and the introduction of “fast food cannabis”, producing flowers only for the sake of profits, greatly reducing the quality.
2. Over indulging. The new legal market can be exciting, so I’m concerned about people over indulging. I truly believe in enjoying everything in moderation.
3. The politics surrounding the cannabis industry. I would hate for politics to hinder an industry that seems to be very promising. There is a lot of grey area and lack of congruency in the laws surrounding the industry which can lead to some confusion for customers. Which at times leaves your business in a vulnerable space.
I consider myself a grower. I grow different fruits and vegetables in my home garden, so naturally the art and craft behind growing top shelf flowers is fascinating to me. Also, as a former collegiate football athlete I have suffered from a series of concussions and physical trauma in general. Cannabis has been very beneficial in my healing process and I know it could help other athletes as well.
If I could inspire a movement, I would want to empower and assist more individuals in urban areas and underprivileged communities to start growing. Not just cannabis but vegetables, fruits, and other herbs in attempt to provide these individuals more access to healthy, holistic and affordable food options.
No problem 😉 Thank you for taking the time to roll with us!