Jared Mirsky: Online Marijuana Design
He’s been featured in countless publications for being the best at what he does and there’s no end in sight. His book of clientele are reaping the benefits of his team’s dedication to excellence and execution while his team has been producing some amazing work. Years ago, he was the troublemaker posted up in the boy’s bathroom at school, smoking a joint. Today, he’s the CEO of Online Marijuana Design. Mirsky is rebranding the cannabis industry, elevating it to a new level of respect, and in that regard, he’s a leader at large for this space.
What is the story behind your involvement with the cannabis industry?
So, 6 years ago I was interviewed by the Huffington Post for my outstanding work in the cannabis industry in graphic and web design. That is what really propelled me to give my 100% to the cannabis space and that’s when I started Online Marijuana Design. It was only me at the very beginning, but as we grew, so did our reputation and I continued to bring on more people to fulfill the demand. From there, it just continued to expand – Now, there’s 16 of us, working full-time. It’s been great seeing the growth!
What were you doing before?
Prior to Online Marijuana Design, I had started a company called Mirsky Media when I was 19 years old. Through that, I had the opportunity to develop about 5 or 6 websites for various dispensaries and they were good in their time, but there weren’t a lot of nice brands in the cannabis industry at that given moment. The clients I worked with for those projects were obviously cannabis-friendly and thought that my creative touch would help set them apart from the competition. I ended up being highly desirable in the cannabis industry and decided that I wanted to, again, start my own agency and produce high-quality work strictly for this space. Whether it be branding, marketing, advertising relationships, consulting, 3D printing, graphic design, or identity. You name it, we do it! Through the relationships I’ve accumulated between now and the last six years, we have grown to be a respected resource in our niche.
What other industry might you compare the ‘green rush’ to and why?
A great question. It’s really hard to compare the ‘green rush’ to anything in particular because there’s so many monumental factors that come into play. I mean, you could say it’s a mix between the Alcohol Prohibition era and the Gold Rush, I guess, but it’s just tough because it’s a combination of so many different things. I see a lot of innovators, so perhaps it can be considered the new age for technology as well. Honestly, it can’t be compared to just one, it’s far too complex.
Right now, where are you guiding your passion and energy towards?
Towards my clients. What excites me more than anything in the world is walking into a recreational store and seeing a variety of packages that we’ve designed. It’s so exciting to see the final result. In addition to that, a majority of our business, as we spoke about earlier, comes from referrals. Our work speaks for itself, but more importantly, it’s the level of customer service we give our clients that really sets us apart. There are agencies that do what we do, but don’t understand, necessarily, the cannabis industry. That’s what also gives us our edge. Understanding the rules and regulations placed by the LCB (Liquor Control Board) make it very difficult for our competitors, the everyday branding agency, to come in and try and run the show, if you will.
Our work speaks for itself, but more importantly it’s the level of customer service we give our clients that really sets us apart. There are agencies that do what we do, but don’t understand, necessarily, the cannabis industry. That’s what also gives us our edge.
I would also say that what drives me is just how new this is. My company is at the forefront and it’s so exciting to be able to create new things that no one’s ever seen before. It’s exciting to be able to develop new technology. Right now, we’re working on a platform, an app platform for iPads and other display devices, where we can create mobile bud tenders.
Who is a person that you consider as a role model? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
I have two people. I would say the first person is my father. He’s been an entrepreneur his whole career. He went to college, graduated from Cornell, and has been a successful businessman his entire life. Growing up, I wasn’t an easy child by any means; I got into a lot of trouble. I had a great family, so I can’t say that I grew up in a broken home because it was far from that, but nevertheless, I was what you would consider a troublemaker. I stressed the shit out of my parents time after time after time, but they never gave up on me, and they always told me that I have something more than what others had. They always told me that the teacher will appear when the student is ready and for a long time, I didn’t quite understood what that meant until about seven or eight years ago when I realized that I could learn anything, from anybody, at any time, as long as I was willing to learn.
Once I knew myself better and realized that I learn better from those those who mentor me instead of telling me what to do, I became much more perceptive to the things that people said and the advice that people gave me. Once I learned how to accept criticism, become humble, and understand these rudimentary things that all adults should live by, it became very easy for me to grasp the concepts of some of the most complex aspects of design and business. Because of my father, I learned how to be a better man, and how to live by this one rule. He always said, “Jared, your word is your bond. You ruin that and you’re nothing.” I strive every day to be just like him – Positive, happy, excited, a leader, and an overall motivating person.
Because of my father, I learned how to be a better man, and how to live by this one rule. He always said “Jared, your word is your bond. You ruin that and you’re nothing.” I strive every day to be just like him – Positive, happy, excited, a leader, and an overall motivating person.
The second person is my buddy, Frankie Rangel. He’s a great guy. Him and I grew up together and went to high school together. We were the class clowns; we smoked weed and didn’t really give a shit. Then, about four years later, I ran into him and he was making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. At the time, that was a lot of money to me. So I asked him, “Dude, how did you do this? You and I were so much alike in high school. What did you do differently?” He said, “Jared, I will show you what I did, but you have to trust me.”
At that point I had already begun taking mentorship from other people, so I was willing to allow him to mentor me as well. I figured, “Hell, if this guy can do it, I can do it too,” because I knew who he was then and I saw how he is now. It was a night-and-day difference. I quickly realized that if he had the ability to change, I also had the ability to change and from that point on, he has been my great friend and mentor.
What inspires you the most about this space?
Two things, really. How new it is and being a leader in something new. Owning the largest cannabis design agency in the country is the coolest thing in the world. We do more graphic design, web design, and branding services for the cannabis community than anyone else in the whole world. That is awesome! That is what drives me – Being the first to do something, being the first to try something, and then other people following in my footsteps. The success that my team and I have had with our clients is so rewarding. Being able to experiment with various advertising models and branding concepts is extremely, extremely exciting.
Owning the largest cannabis design agency in the country is the coolest thing in the world. We do more graphic design, web design, and branding services for the cannabis community than anyone else in the whole world. That is awesome! That is what drives me – Being the first to do something, being the first to try something, and then other people following in my footsteps.
Being able to create something from nothing and see its success propel and perpetuate through the life of the relationship that we have with our client is unlike anything else. It’s beyond words sometimes. I know that seems crazy, but it’s true. I get so excited when my clients are extremely, extremely happy. I have to say that’s one of my inspirations. The second one being when I come into my office every day, I get to surround myself with the coolest freaking people and that’s very inspiring!
I love everyone that works with me, and I say works with me because, yes, while I’m the owner, it’s a team effort. We all come together and make decisions together. I don’t know what I would do without them. They’ve helped me so much and they’ve collectively helped us grow as a company. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. I love what I do more than anything.
Tell me about an esteemed achievement of yours.
I was featured in Northwest Leaf magazine with the title of my article being “Mirsky Knows Marketing.” We were also featured recently on CNN Money, The Huffington Post, and featured in an article called High Above Seattle which named us as being in the top ten for package design. We’ve gotten a lot of good press. We work pretty tightly with Leafly and have a great partnership with them. We’re good friends with Cheryl Shuman and are going to be building her new website. Oh yeah, we’re also working on building a new website for Online Marijuana Design and our goal is to win some awards for it.
Where do your great ideas come from?
Oh, man, that’s easy! It comes from a joint or a blunt. I’ve always been less of a businessman and more of a visionary, but of course, that doesn’t always work. When you own a business, you have to mold yourself into a business man. And when I mean business, I mean understanding how business works, not just being the person to shout out an idea, but also understanding the metrics of how a business operates, how to manage your employees, and how to execute on this ideas. Those things aren’t very fun, but once you learn them, they are incredibly valuable. All of my great ideas have come from brainstorming with my team and smoking a lot of pot.
All of my great ideas have come from brainstorming with my team and smoking a lot of pot.
The difference between me and somebody else who has great ideas when they smoke weed is the fact that I actually follow through with them. I can’t tell you how many great ideas I’ve come up with with friends that never end up happening, because no one follows through with them. Every time I come up with something that I feel fits within the arena of my company; whether it’s a new product, a new service, a photo shoot, or something we can do for a client – I always execute! I don’t mind taking a risk. I’ve been a risk taker my entire life. It’s been good, it’s been bad, and lately, the risks that I’ve been taking have been well calculated and have generated us some awesome responses.
We wrote an article on our blog a while back called, “Cannabis Cuties for Advertising, Yay or Nay.” It wasn’t a cheap project, we did a whole photo shoot for it. When you think about writing an article, most people don’t put together an entire photo shoot encompassing nine women, two photographers, and three pounds of weed. We did it because I really wanted to see what people thought. Long story short, the article went viral. It was featured in various online resources for cannabis, and was even featured in adult magazines. It was a really cool experiment that actually ended up panning out and helping us generate quite a bit of revenue because of the traffic it generated. I’m all about taking risks and I think that some of the most successful people in the world are those that do.
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader in this space?
Being a man of my word. There are so many takers and not enough givers in this industry, it’s very sad. The reason why we’ve been so successful is because I don’t bullshit people. If I don’t know something, I’ll let you know that I don’t know it, but I’ll certainly tell you right away that I’ll figure it out. I’m a firm believer in karma, you get what you give. I do the best that I can to give as much of my time as possible. I’m not a nickel-and-dimer. My goal, at the end of every day, is to make sure that my clients are happy and flourishing.
I’m a firm believer in karma, you get what you give. I do the best that I can to give as much of my time as possible. I’m not a nickel-and-dimer. My goal, at the end of every day, is to make sure that my clients are happy and flourishing.
What is important to you – mission, vision, or core values? Why?
My core values really make up my mission and my vision. Like I said earlier, providing great customer service and making sure people are happy is one of our main goals. We also aim to deliver great fucking work. Our mission is to be a top-class design and development team that does the best job possible in servicing clients. We also work diligently to build relationships, and I don’t just mean relationships with our clients, but strategic partnerships and just being an all-around good company to work with.
There are so many things in my mind right now that make up our core values, it’s hard to pin-point just one. I keep going back to customer service because, at the end of the day, they’re the backbone of my business; my customers are the most important part of my vision. If they’re not happy, I’m not happy! There is an old adage that goes, “The second you bring on a new client, the second you’re losing them.” If you’re not doing the best you can, every second you can, then you’re losing that client and somebody else is going to take them from you. Customer service, customer service, customer service!
If we are sitting across from each other a year from now, how will our conversation about the ‘green rush’ be going?
It’ll be good. You’ll probably be flying up here on a private jet so we can meet in person. Just kidding. It’s hard to say. I look much further into the future than a year. I’ve got a five-year plan in mind that encapsulates a much larger team, a bigger office, and multiple locations. Like I said earlier, every single day I’m trying to create new ideas and be innovative. We’re doing 3D printing and now have our own photo studio. Do you remember the Three Grandmas Smoking Weed video that went viral? We worked with the same videographers that did that. We plan on creating a ton more viral content like that. We actually just filmed our first commercial for our company last week with a clear indication of the creativity and fun we have here at the office.
I look much further into the future than a year. I’ve got a five-year plan in mind that encapsulates a much larger team, a bigger office, and multiple locations. Like I said earlier, every single day I’m trying to create new ideas and be innovative.
I treat my people really, really well! I’ll take them out to lunch, I’ll bring food in for them, I’ll bring a six-pack or a twelve-pack of beer sometimes on a Friday night out. When clients come in, they’ll sometimes want to go outside and smoke a blunt with us, so we’ll go outside and smoke a blunt. Like I said, it’s a collective group of awesome story-tellers and creative minds that make up Online Marijuana Design. We have a blast developing, designing, writing, and strategizing among a team of smoking, introverted extroverts. Above all, we’re a multi-talented collective of cannabis industry experts with unparalleled creativity who bring a passion and purpose to creating end-to-end brand engagement. Branding is the life of a company, demonstrated in the details. So, this year we plan on delivering more great work for our clients.