PuffCo's Success: Chelsea Kossower's Journey from Employee #1

Vangst/Nov 01, 2023

hero-graphic-PuffCo's Success: Chelsea Kossower's Journey from Employee #1

Welcome to another exciting episode of Proud to Work in Cannabis podcast, hosted by Karson Humiston, CEO & Founder of Vangst. In this week's episode, we have the pleasure of diving into the world of cannabis with special guest Chelsea Kossower, the VP of Global Expansion at PuffCo. Chelsea's journey is nothing short of remarkable, and her insights are invaluable for job seekers and professionals in the cannabis industry. Let's embark on an inspiring ride through her life and experiences.

Insight into Chelsea’s Life as the VP of Global Expansion at PuffCo

Chelsea's journey at PuffCo began back in 2013 when she was Employee #1. She started as an intern, wearing many hats throughout the years, ultimately becoming the VP of Global Expansion. Currently, she's gearing up for the "PuffCo World Tour," with her team splitting between Prague and Argentina. The exciting trip will culminate in Santiago, Chile, for one of South America's biggest cannabis shows. Chelsea emphasizes the importance of recognizing that cannabis and hash are global, not limited to the domestic market.

How Chelsea Became Employee #1 at PuffCo

Chelsea's entry into PuffCo's world started when she was 19, studying business administration in New Jersey. Selling cannabis at the time taught her invaluable skills in marketing, distribution, and account management. An introduction to Roger Volodarsky, PuffCo's Founder and CEO, changed the course of her life. She insisted on interning for Roger, later joining full-time despite personal sacrifices.

The Turning Point to Success

The success of PuffCo largely hinged on their innovative products, redefining the smoking experience. Winning High Times' 2015 Vape Pen of the Year marked a pivotal moment, leading to their first distribution partner, One Source Products. With a focus on vaporizers, they found themselves consistently winning awards in various industry events.

Getting Candid with Stigma Around Working in Cannabis

Chelsea delves into the stigma she faced when joining the cannabis industry, particularly her parents' concerns about her dropping out of college. She highlights the early uncertainties and unpredictability in the regulated cannabis industry, which magnified their fears.

Further Propelling Success

PuffCo took a risk by dispelling myths about vaporizers, challenging the notion that big clouds equated to a better high. Chelsea stresses the importance of people experiencing PuffCo's products firsthand to understand their superiority. This original concept led to national and international success.

Becoming a Category Creator

Their success led to the creation of the Peak, a groundbreaking product that carved a new category in the vaporizer sector. Chelsea shares how they collaborated internally to bring this innovative product to life, with a focus on destigmatizing and normalizing cannabis consumption.

Hitting the Grass Ceiling in New York

PuffCo's struggles in hiring in New York due to stigma led to a corporate move to Los Angeles. Despite financial challenges, the team's unwavering dedication and belief in the product have brought them to where they are today.

The State of the PuffCo Team Today

PuffCo now boasts a team of around 200 employees, covering various aspects of the business. Chelsea emphasizes the incredible people at PuffCo as one of the company's greatest assets. Her role as Employee #1 allowed her to build and expand teams, helping her discover her true career interests.

Chelsea’s Platinum Status Unlocked

As VP of Global Expansion, Chelsea has connected with top cultivators and distributors worldwide. She underscores the importance of building relationships and understanding local communities to support and personalize products.

The Power of Being in the Room

Chelsea's success comes from being present at key moments in the industry. She and Roger have consistently shown up to represent PuffCo and the cannabis community, which has earned them respect and trust.

Building a Powerful and Recognizable Brand in the Cannabis Industry

PuffCo's authenticity and community engagement have set them apart. Chelsea explains that the trust they've built within the industry is due to their genuine commitment and connection to the cannabis culture.

The Finances Behind PuffCo

PuffCo has remained entirely bootstrapped, and Chelsea credits the knowledgeable and dedicated executive team for this financial independence.

Vision for PuffCo in 2033

Chelsea envisions a future where hash consumption overtakes flowers and where AI and technology simplify purchasing and consumption.

Proud to Work in Cannabis Chelsea Kossower's journey at PuffCo is a testament to the immense potential and growth within the cannabis industry. Her story is a source of inspiration for job seekers and professionals in the field, emphasizing the importance of authenticity, dedication, and building meaningful connections. Tune in to this episode of Proud to Work in Cannabis for an inside look at Chelsea's incredible journey in the cannabis world. Connect with Chelsea on Instagram at @chelsea_puffco and explore PuffCo's products at PuffCo.com.

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