Jane West is focused on execution when it comes to her personal brand of lifestyle cannabis products for young women. In 2018, she’s going global.
Inspired by the young women of Instagram, Jane West designed cannabis products to look familiar, like makeup compacts. Keeping a close eye on social media has shown West how young women incorporate cannabis into their daily lives — as a wellness product and conversational element of their social circles.
With that in mind, West’s personal brand of cannabis accessories and home goods resemble things women already use. Take The Compact from The Jane West Collection: a case for flower, lighter and tools that mimics a high-end makeup compact for discreet portability. “Our products fit women’s pocket sizes and purse sizes,” West said. “All of that was an element in production. I want everything women need to consume in one small container that they can put in their purse.”
“Women are getting more and more curious about cannabis and how to incorporate it into our lives,” West said. Women control over $20 trillion in annual consumer spending globally, according to Harvard Business Review. Next year, West is planning for international distribution.
After she launched cannabis events company Edible Events in 2014, West was a co-founder of Women Grow, where she became known as one of the most passionate voices in the cannabis industry. For the last year, she’s been focused on growing the Jane West brand and getting to know her market.
West took a break from jet-setting to talk to Cashinbis about her plans for 2018, and how young women are a viable market shaping the cannabis industry.
How do your cannabis products enhance women’s lifestyles?
The objects we use on a daily basis, in part, define who we are. I couldn’t find anything that represented me. I’m a daily cannabis smoker and we want to have a more sophisticated experience on a daily basis.
I think cannabis is for everyone, and it’s whatever we all make it out to be. Just like a coffee consumer, there’s not one lifestyle for a cannabis consumer.
Women following me and in my demographic are using cannabis for wellness. Part of the lifestyle is that part of your social group is using it, and it becomes a topic of conversation. As it becomes more of a trend and more of a factor in people’s lives, women are asking more important consumer questions, like “Is this being tested?”
Have you taken inspiration from the lifestyle blogger scene for your website and video series?
I can’t say I’ve taken inspiration specifically from the blogger realm, but we’re definitely inspired by Instagram style – our shop style is reflective of our group as a whole and the trends we see and discuss in our meetings. Most of my commentary involves brand new features that products have. I like following certain celebrities and lifestyle brands and seeing how they’re putting information out, and how I can apply that to what we’re doing.
A dispensary owner sent me a new way of using one of our products that we hadn’t thought of, and it inspired #BetterWithJane, which we’ve now put on all our packaging. We love to see how people are using our products.
The point is to be informative in showing people how to use the products like The Bubbler and The Steamroller. I noticed that friends who don’t use cannabis all the time were interacting with the glass in a foreign way. I wanted to create more footage – people enjoy watching others consume because it’s social, and social use isn’t legal. So let’s watch people smoke and see, “That’s the way people are doing it.” Video is a better way to learn than reading.
What has been the response to features on your brand in magazines for young women, like Elle and Marie Clare?
I’m looking forward to major publications having in depth information on the real trends in our industry. More and more young women are consuming on Instagram and building followers.
In the digital age, I love that these young women are being themselves and it’s fun to see them developing their own style. Other women should be looking at this. The number one thing young women want to know on social media is how to get a job in the cannabis space. For them, it’s good to start building a following. Always build your professional brand and promote your own work.
What type of investor profile do you seek?
I’m still seeking investors. I’m closing out my first round of investors who share our vision and make conservative investments, while building numerous, varied revenue streams so if there are delays to any component of the revenue streams, we can keep moving forward. Every conversation with an investor makes our story more complete and compelling.
The foundation of a business is your investors, so diversity in important. Our company is 80 percent held by women and people of color.
What can we expect in 2018?
2018 is all about execution. Despite the fact that I just finished Year 4 in the cannabis industry, I’m just starting to bring the products of my dreams to life. The most exciting thing is seeing what consumers want. The Classic, my redesigned version of The Dugout – I think it’s going to be a bestseller. It’s slick, the same size as your iPhone. It’s one part cigarette case, one part flask.
In 2018 we’re anticipating international distribution because entire countries are legalizing, and I want to be part of this on a global scale. I recently went to CannaFest in Prague and met distributors from throughout Europe. If enough people place orders from Prague, I’ll probably be at Spannabis Barcelona next spring.
What do you want peers in the cannabis industry to know?
We’re creating a lexicon as the market grows, and if we make some changes we’ll attract people who might be scared off by some of our old ways of describing things.
For example I’ve never liked the word “dank.” I think of a wet basement. I don’t think all the listeners are applying the same understanding. I decided to use the word “dewy.” It’s the same thing, but it’s a more inclusive description – “dewy with a citrus scent and an enlivening effect.” That’s the experience of the product presented in a way [consumers] can relate to.
What can move our industry forward?
I feel that in the U.S., states that are ending prohibition need to give more access to small businesses to enter the industry. In Colorado, it’s criteria-based licensing and that provides open access to a fair market. But other states that are highly regulated are controlling in who gets licenses. It’s not fair how it’s starting to evolve. We need more access to enter the industry so that more people will care about the industry.