Garett Fortune: FunkSac
Garett Fortune is one of those intelligent entrepreneurial types who saw a gap in a market he knew well and sought to develop a product that fulfilled the demand. With our industry growing so incredibly fast, we are, as a whole, still learning the ropes. When Colorado legalized they didn’t have any compliance measures in place, so they had a huge problem with accidental consumption in children. That is the moment when FunkSac was founded and became the go-to resource for manufactures and consumers alike who were searching for compliant child-resistant packaging for cannabis products.
What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?
My brother came down with cancer, Stage IV Esophageal cancer and we immediately started looking into different cures and pain treatments and found cannabis to have numerous medicinal properties. Unfortunately he passed soon after his diagnosis, but I was able to see how cannabis relieved a lot of the pain and nausea he had and for that, I was very thankful.
I continued to do my research on the industry itself and saw some major gaps for packaging cannabis and noticed that there weren’t currently any packaging that utilized child-lock features to prevent accidental consumption. That’s when I launched FunkSac, so I could pursue this market and offer a line of products that the industry so obviously needed.
What were you doing before the green rush?
I was actually a software executive for about 15 years and after that I started a recycling company. From there, I started working with plastics and came upon a personal need for an odorless bag and so I started a consumer products company called OdorNo, which provides odor-barrier bags for newborn parents and pet owners alike. So, the concept of odor-proof bags was something I was very familiar with before starting FunkSac. It lead me right into this opportunity and although I still run all three companies, FunkSac is occupying most of time because of the high demand.
What are you doing to impact the industry?
So, first and foremost, we are known for two different technologies: Our child-resistant technology and our odor-proofing technology. Colorado and many other states are now requiring child-resistant features on packaging that houses cannabis to keep children safe. Our odorless technology is also in high demand for discretion and security purposes.
These two technologies then led us into package branding because there were so many companies out there searching for packaging that was marketable, but also compliant to child safety regulations.
Colorado and many other states are now requiring child-resistant features on packaging that houses cannabis to keep children safe.
Describe your work ethic to me in one word.
Tell me about a time in your career that didn’t go as planned and what you did about that? How did you handle it?
Well, being a serial entrepreneur, we have those moments every day. You just have to be nimble and adjust quickly. One time I can remember in particular was this: We had a distribution model in place for a couple of our brands, but were disappointed by the performance of our distributors. One thing you have to realize is that distributors are often carrying multiple brands and aren’t just focused on yours. No one sells your products better than yourself! So, we went back and adopted a direct sales model instead and found this to be much more successful. We are gaining brand awareness as well as getting direct customer feedback, so we can respond directly to our customer’s needs instead of funneling them through someone else.
What book have you read that you’ve been inspired by? Any particular read we should put on our list?
I would have to say, Rhinoceros Success by Scott Alexander. It’s basically every entrepreneur’s handbook. A business mentor of mine, who is also an entrepreneur himself, led me to this book and it is really great for motivating you, helping you set goals, and learning how to scale whether it be for business or your own personal life. It’s a great, easy read, even for people with ADD like me, who have trouble actually sitting down and reading a book.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
I learned in the U.S. Army and I re-learn it every day in business and that is: “Be ready for anything; Be nimble; Be able to change on a dime; and ALWAYS have backup plans that you understand inside and out because everyone knows nothing ever works out exactly how you planned it.” Know that when your plans don’t work out, you’re going to have to make adjustments and understand that those adjustments are also going to affect other things surrounding it, so keep those changes in mind, too.
Another word of advice is to always surround yourself with a good team. You can’t do everything yourself, so by surrounding yourself with successful people and listening and collaborating with them, you can accomplish so much more than as a lone individual.
How would you advise someone who wants to join the industry?
I would say to them that they need to be committed and to take this industry very seriously. This is not just a space for stoners and lackadaisical people; this is an arena for entrepreneurs and business professionals. We are starting to develop as an industry and beginning to implement those formal processes and adhere to compliancy measures. Be ready to work, this is not an easy job! The industry is growing so quickly, faster than any industry I’ve ever been in before. You need to be smart and understand what’s out there. Understand that we are in an industry that’s still federally illegal. FunkSac is considered an ancillary product that doesn’t actually touch the plant itself, so we are protected.
So, if you’re ready to sit down and buckle up, this industry is for you! There is a lot of potential, countless new jobs, and it is a great opportunity to make your own. Just don’t expect to just walk into this and party your butt off. This is a respectable industry that everyone is working really hard on developing. So, keep that in mind.
This is a respectable industry that everyone is working really hard on developing.
What is a skill or trait that you think is necessary to make an impact in this industry?
I think you need to know business and sales as well as being very disciplined. Things are changing very quickly and there is lot going on all at the same time, not only in Colorado, but in all of the states and in all of the markets! I think you have to be very disciplined, you have to stick to your guns, and you have to work hard! This isn’t something where you can just dip your toes into the water, you have to dive in and get involved!
What is the most important thing for us to know now about the legal marijuana industry?
This is a real industry and there are a lot of benefits to it. There’s the medical side that needs to researched and developed and there’s the recreational side that should be regulated like the alcohol industry. There’s a lot of opportunity! It needs to be researched and it needs to be regulated.
An important fact to note is that there are a lot of communities coming to realize that there are in fact benefits to this plant and there are benefits to its sales taxes which are directly funding the surrounding infrastructure and education systems. This industry is already making a great impact and it’s still growing!
This is a real industry and there are a lot of benefits to it.
If we are sitting across from each other a year from now, how will our conversation about the ‘green rush’ be going?
I think we’ll be saying, ‘Wow! We’ve grown considerably. The industry has really grown and developed. A few more states have been legalized. And the Federal government is starting to do their own research on cannabis!’ I think that, as an industry, we will have a lot of support on a national level. We had a great time last year and we’re looking forward to an even greater time this coming year!