“Being in the cannabis world, marketing efforts are greatly hindered by the schedule I status of Cannabis, forcing companies to either advertise only in cannabis-friendly publications, or be very cryptic and try to advertise in mainstream publications / platforms. We try to focus on the experience, and how you might feel during and after an event, rather than focus on the cannabis aspect.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Tomer Grassiany, founder of To Whom It May, a confectionery that is known for making cannabis-infused bon bons and truffles. Grassiany’s experience and expertise in the cannabis arena led him to partner with Grassfed, an organization that marries cannabis, food, and entertainment. Grassfed is at the forefront of cultivating high-minded cannabis events from their signature cannabis vape-bars to CBD infused chocolate, CBD / THC infused mocktails and infused dining prepared by world-renowned chefs. Grassfed events provide an unparalleled experience for guests. Grassiany is determined to break the social stigma of cannabis that’s traditionally associated with stoner culture.
Thank you so much for joining us! What brought you to the cannabis space?
First of all, the love of the plant!
Seeing a void in the cannabis event space, events that involve cannabis, but do not revolve around cannabis. The type of events that we would like to attend as individuals.
That spurred the idea of creating events that promote mindful social consumption (using our vape bar), combined with music and a friendly and inviting atmosphere, for seasoned cannabis consumers as well as first-timers.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
We started working with several companies that create isolated terpenes (the essential oils that give cannabis its distinct smell, and steer the effects), and have found innovative ways of using them, including our terpene bar, and using with a fog machine to create a terpene fog in our events.
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?
We were hired by a high-end event producer to provide our cannabis bar services, and we were asked to sign an NDA. Since it was the first time we worked with her, we wanted to respect the privacy, and did not ask additional questions about the event.
They mailed us the attire for the night, which was silk Japanese-style robes, which made us wonder if the event was some sort of orgy.
We then decided it was best to ask for more information about the event, so we know what we’re getting into, and we found out it was a pajama party.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
We are working on our next Innerspace event, which combines immersive tech, interactive art and live music in a 5 dome park.
None of us can 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?
Seibo Chen, founder of VapeXhale, he inspired us to stop smoking, and vape our favorite plant, which set us on the path to create smoke-free events, and become advocates for the benefits of vaporizing.
This industry is young dynamic and creative. Do you use any smart and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
Being in the cannabis world, marketing efforts are greatly hindered by the schedule I status of Cannabis, forcing companies to either advertise only in cannabis-friendly publications, or be very cryptic and try to advertise in mainstream publications / platforms. We try to focus on the experience, and how you might feel during and after an event, rather than focus on the cannabis aspect.
Can you share three things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share three things that most concern you?
1) New innovations in both cannabis products (isolating terpenes, and other components on the cannabis plant that are now being offered as standalone products), as well as new ancillary products (such as portable vaporizers)
2) Legalization in new states, and the growing voice calling for legalization on the federal level.
3) The growing desire to make cannabis consumption more sophisticated, friendly and inviting, stepping away from the typical cannabis stigma
1) Legalization process in CA, which has been fairly disastrous for the small / quality manufacturers / growers (especially for edibles, and craft growers).
2) Having banking issues. So far we have not had any, but we know that many companies in the industry, some that do not even touch the plant, can run into banking issues.
3) Lack of unbiased research in the cannabis world.
Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”?
1) You will be treated as a criminal by most mainstream institutions.
2) You will need more funding than you think you will.
3) Rules and regulations change very often, and you must adapt quickly.
4) There are a lot of flaky / shady people in the industry.
5) Event though legalization has already happened here in CA, we are still a long way from cannabis being socially acceptable.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Be transparent, and treat them the way you would like to be treated.
You are a person of significant 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.
We would like to see a “Smoke-Free Friday” movement, that will inspire all cannabis consumers to put down their lighters for a day, and instead use edibles, vaporizers, oils, topicals, or other smoke-free options.