Paul Gambill: Showing Us How to Enjoy Cannabis

Paul Gambill

Paul Gambill: The Happy Crate

He’s talking about safe consumption, user awareness, and about enjoying your experience with cannabis. Whether you’re a recreational or a medical user, everyone deserves to have a little fun and Paul Gambill is bringing that straight to your door with The Happy Crate. It’s far too often that we get caught up in chaos of the daily stressors surrounding the laws on cannabis, so why not treat yourself to an interview with a man who’s simply seeking to put a smile on your face and provide you with a consciously curated box of goodies?

What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?

When I first tried cannabis in college, I had a few friends who were already experienced smokers. They taught me how to pack a bowl and light it, what to look for when buying marijuana, and just how to be safe with it overall. I realized a lot of people were going to be trying cannabis for the first time now that it was legalized and knew that they probably needed the same sort of advice and guidance that I had gotten years ago.

I had been saying for some time to people around me that I wanted to start something in this fledgling industry. I kept using the phrase “picks and shovels” to describe my desire to be part of the ancillary portion of the industry, rather than diving into the legal complications of strict licensing and regulation. This way, I could start serving customers immediately.

I had been saying for some time to people around me that I wanted to start something in this fledgling industry. I kept using the phrase “picks and shovels” to describe my desire to be part of the ancillary portion of the industry, rather than diving into the legal complications of strict licensing and regulation. This way, I could start serving customers immediately.

What skills from your previous experiences helped you in what you are doing now?

Two key things:

  1. I learned the value of incredible customer service and experience while working at an Apple store during college. Everything from the unboxing experience to the customer service responsiveness is crucial to creating the sort of experience I want for my customers.
  2. I was a mobile app product manager at my previous job. And to elaborate a little more on what that role means exactly, a product manager is basically a CEO of a small group within a company. Managing people, strategizing on product development, and using limited resources as efficiently as possible are all things I learned that I am now bringing to my own business.

Right now, where are you guiding your passion and energy towards?

Currently, I’m incredibly focused on customer growth and development. Last Fall, I spent some time surveying and gathering feedback to dial in what exactly goes into The Happy Crate each month. Right now, I’m targeting a couple subscriber number milestones so that I can work the operations of the business around them. For example, 0nce The Happy Crate reaches the next milestone, I’ll have access to a larger number of wholesale vendors because the minimum order size requirements are too high for our current subscription base. It will also be a larger audience that is of value to potential advertisers.

To accomplish this growth, I’m mainly pursuing a content marketing strategy. We’re putting together an email course on Marijuana 101, video content, and new blog content. I really want to get back to that educational inspiration that inspired the beginnings of Happy Crate!

Describe your work ethic to us in one word.

Diligent.

What do you consider your weakness as an entrepreneur? Your strength?

My challenges are in the marketing space, while my strengths are in the operational and organizational realms. I love strategizing and figuring out the best way to use time and resources and I cannot wait to begin hiring employees because I absolutely thrive in a managing leader/coach role.

Join the ranks: Are you a CEO, entrepreneur or someone in the cannabis industry who's making an impact? We'd like to hear your story!

How are you differentiating yourself from the competition?

The Happy Crate has been designed from the very beginning to serve a much broader audience than just typical marijuana smokers. We charge a premium price and only put premium products in the subscription box. Opening The Happy Crate every month should be a fun experience for customers that transcends the sum of the individual products in the box. We deliver to customers entertainment and the opportunity to improve themselves, not just refills on their smoking gear.

How do you find inspiration in this industry? What have you found that has inspired you?

I’ve loved participating in all the cannabis entrepreneur meetups in Seattle. There are so many people making the leap to start their own business and pursue new innovations in ways I never could have imagined 6-8 years ago. The future for our industry is really bright. Most inspiring has been the explosion of new technology, products, and services. I love the proliferation of different vaporizing devices; the healthy use of cannabis is really important to me, as well as the quality of testing and labeling – which has been happening since before regulation required it; which gives significant decision-making power to the consumer.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?

I had a brilliant management professor in grad school who taught about the importance of listening and receiving feedback as authentically as possible. Being open to criticism opens up so many possibilities for improvement. It takes a lot of practice, but being able to put aside personal feelings and really listen to what customers are saying about your product or service helps to focus on a more successful business strategy. This is equally applicable in getting the best possible performance out of co-workers and employees.

Being open to criticism opens up so many possibilities for improvement. It takes a lot of practice, but being able to put aside personal feelings and really listen to what customers are saying about your product or service helps to focus on a more successful business strategy.

Where do your great ideas come from?

I think the best ideas come from synthesizing elements of completely different industries or ideas. I love recognizing patterns in disparate spaces and then thinking of a way to bring the best of each together in a new, more awesome idea. I read and listen to podcasts constantly, and I try to expose myself to lots of different cultures and media so that there are more possible crossovers.

What is important to you – mission, vision, or core values? Why?

All three are crucial to being the best business you can be, but I believe that core values is the most fundamentally important. Every action I take to pursue mission and vision is built off living my and my business’ core values. For me, those are authenticity, respect, and responsibility. They’re common sense traits that my parents taught me growing up and they’ve served me well in my career.

What will we be seeing from you and The Happy Crate in the coming future?

I have dreams of expanding beyond just monthly subscription boxes. I want to create a brand in the future that makes a significant positive impact on cannabis culture. I believe that for-profit business is the most effective tool to achieve social good and I want The Happy Crate to be a leader in that respect.

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