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“Most of All, You Should Take Care of Your Customers” with Cody Alt and Len Giancola

Most of all, you should take care of your customers. They’re the bloodline of your business.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Cody Alt, a serial entrepreneur originally from Maxville, Montana. Cody is well known for his success in the cannabis industry. Before entering the cannabis world, he started a meal delivery business, which taught him the ropes of business management. He went on to establish his cbd-focused business, Kushly.com, which offers a variety of CBD products including topicals, oils, gummies and capsules. Now based in Arizona, Cody is running several brands including Never Sell Dope (a streetwear brand) and PureKana.

Growing a cannabis business CBD  Kushly

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with the ‘backstory” about what brought you to the cannabis space?

Yeah, absolutely! One of my best friends has been in the space for a long time and was doing very well so I just started researching and becoming more and more interested with it as time went on, especially because I was self-medicating every night due to my terrible insomnia.
After the political landscape for cannabis shifted in 2016, I started to think of opportunities to venture into. My CBD oil business was thriving, and I got a few hundred thousand dollars to invest, so I began researching more about CBD and Cannabis. Back then, the market was just about to flourish, and competition was just starting, so it was a good time to jump in. From there, I started cannabis and media-related companies and then launched Kushly.com and PureKana.com

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

I have many, but just last year we were new in the marketplace, but we immediately bought shelf space. Luckily, people started loving our gummies and we were suddenly in 30 dispensaries in just a few short months. Then this “kid” was making distillate and blew up our entire facility, so we had to start completely over from ground zero. We have had to do that a few times, but right now things are better than they’ve ever been.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I wanted to get into the space so bad that I built a delivery platform for cannabis products identical to Uber Eats or Postmates then I made a pivot to cannabis products, and finally, to CBD.
The lesson I guess, would be that sometimes things don’t work out the way that they’re planned. But I saw that there weren’t enough people ordering in the market in PHX where I wanted to launch and instead of trying to die by the delivery platform, I started manufacturing cannabis products. That was a big turning point for the company as it was finally starting to generate revenue.

Growing a cannabis business CBD  Kushly

Are you working on any exciting projects now?

A few business partners and I are working on something that will change the industry forever but I can’t disclose it quite yet.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Yeah, I mean, I wouldn’t be able to point to just one individual person in particular as there have been so many helping hands and I’m grateful for that. Being able to gobble up knowledge from some of the greatest minds in business and cannabis / CBD is an amazing thing to have. If I need help with something, I have someone older who will tell me exactly how to handle it.

This industry is young, dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?

Yeah, for me the obvious one is social media, especially proper social media marketing with the right plan, links and data trackable back to the influencer. So many people get caught up in the numbers when someone with 10k followers might generate more results and be a better fit than someone who has 2 million followers. Companies get lost in the numbers thinking that “the higher the better” when in reality, most of these so-called influencers have a lot of fake followers.

Growing a cannabis business CBD  Kushly

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?

I think the most exciting thing is the innovation of new products, including the process of testing and making sure products are as pure as possible. It’s amazing to see how much it is helping more and more people. The things that concern me is one, people flooding in and making inferior products, miseducating the market when they themselves don’t know for certain. Number two would be that of crime going up with employees, and lastly, if we don’t get the banking situation figured out, then we’re going to have some very large problems.

Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”? Please share a story or example for each.

First one, make sure that you know who you’re going into business with before you sign on the dotted line because after that, your ass is married. Let’s just say, you want to have business partners who are actually invested into the day to day processes of the busiess versus someone who is merely sitting on the sidelines waiting for your hard work and their big payday.
Second, make sure you have a backup plan if your business doesn’t go as planned. When I was first building Kushly, I wasted a lot of time waiting for developers to get to a certain deadline. I should have stepped back and started developing my own products right away, but I didn’t. that was a huge mistake that I just oversaw, and it drives me nuts every time I think about it honestly.
The third is I would make sure to quadruple check state compliance when it comes to labeling/packaging requirements. When we first made some bags, I had printed them a little prematurely, because we had to get a sticker to put on it. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it would have been nice to do it right from the start. It is so frustrating because one month it will require X then the next you need to have something else. It’s a full-time job just dealing and worrying about that.
Fourth, I would say you’re not gonna be as rich as you think. When I got in, I thought of every way possible way I could make some money in the industry, but you just start running numbers in your head and counting all the money you’re gonna make if you sell this much product, or you cut a CBD isolate deal and you’re trying to middle man it. It’s gonna take time, a lot of time, and of course, hard ass work.
Fifth, be careful about who you’re spending your time within the industry.
Last year, I wasted a lot of my time with “experts” in the industry and people who came off like they were big players but weren’t. I vet everyone now and make sure there’s an agenda for the meeting specifically what is about otherwise, I won’t go.
Create a fun brand, get a good culture and take care of your employees. Running a company definitely takes so much time from the CEO and I think it’s all about being hands-on and staying committed. Employees need to be valued just like customers and it’s important to recognize their talents and listen to what they have in mind. Sharing the same passion and goals also count.
Most of all, you should take care of your customers. They’re the bloodline of your business.

Growing a cannabis business CBD  Kushly

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Man, I would love to find out the rest of the cannabinoids in the plant beyond THC/CBD and seclude them out to see what else we can cure using this amazing plant.
Additionally, I would definitely like to break the stigma that marijuana plant is bad for you. You see, I worked for years trying to come up with the best CBD products from hemp, that are beneficial for pain management, insomnia, inflammation and more. I want to drive a movement where people can be educated about this ‘miracle’ plant and not think of it as ‘dangerous’ or ‘bad.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

My Instagram is all I use @codyalt. I regularly post on my IG about new products and also on my Facebook Page. You can also follow @KushlyLifestyle, @KushlyCBD and @PureKana IG accounts for updates and new releases.
Never could get into Twitter. I have one, just not active. That’s @codyalt as well.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!