Inside Miss Grass: Building a Powerhouse Cannabis Brand

Vangst/Aug 16, 2023

hero-graphic-Inside Miss Grass: Building a Powerhouse Cannabis Brand

Host Karson Humiston, CEO & Founder of Vangst, sits down with Kate Miller, CEO & Founder of Miss Grass, to learn more about what it took to build one of the cannabis industry’s leading brands.

Please note: At the time of the recording the partnership between Miss Grass and Vangst had yet to launch – Since then, our School of Grass partnership has gone live! Find it here.

From Entertainment to Cannabis: A Journey of Discovery

Before blazing her trail in the cannabis industry, Kate Miller spent a decade in the entertainment world, working with renowned names like Broadway Video in New York. As a brand partnership specialist, she learned the power of a recognized brand and the numerous opportunities it offers. Inspired by her personal history as a "passionate consumer," Kate made the leap into the cannabis realm. Her journey was significantly influenced by her brother's arrest for cannabis-related charges, which ignited her interest in understanding the real history of cannabis.

The Evolution from Idea to Business: A Humble Beginning

Kate's transition from her entertainment career to full-time cannabis entrepreneur is a tale of strategic planning and seizing opportunities. Miss Grass started as a Wix-built website while California prepared for adult-use legalization. Kate capitalized on her networking skills to partner with Coachella and Weedmaps, eventually leaving her previous role to fully commit to Miss Grass. She emphasizes the importance of building demand before supply, turning your passion into a full-time endeavor, and learning from existing resources.

Empowering Community Through Brand Building

Miss Grass's journey began as an online community platform, focused on building a network of cannabis enthusiasts. Their online magazine covers an array of topics, from cannabis education and history to products and science. This approach helped Miss Grass create a strong, widespread community across the United States, beyond the limitations of state-specific markets. This community-driven approach laid the foundation for Miss Grass to launch its first product after 2.5 years.

Launching Miss Grass Products: Insights from the CEO

Miss Grass products have always reflected the brand's values and mission. The launch of their first product, Miss Grass minis (mini packs of pre-roll joints), was a strategic move informed by direct consumer feedback. An overnight survey garnered over 7,600 responses, shaping the direction of their product launch. This collaborative approach remains a testament to their commitment to serving their community.

Fundraising in the cannabis industry is no small feat, and Kate discusses the challenges and evolution of Miss Grass's approach. The company has raised three financing rounds over its six-year journey, with key investors like Casa Verde. Kate highlights the shift from chasing milestones for funding to focusing on running a profitable organization, a change inspired by the necessity to survive and thrive.

The Asset-Light Advantage: Scaling Responsibly

Miss Grass's expansion across multiple markets is attributed to its "asset-light" model. By partnering with established businesses in new markets, they can scale without significant upfront investment. Kate discusses the benefits of this model in a capital-constrained market, allowing for responsible and sustainable growth while focusing on core strengths.

Surrounding Yourself with the Right People

Kate and Karson emphasize the significance of surrounding oneself with the right people in business. It's an evolving process that requires careful balancing of priorities. Hiring qualified talent and understanding the roles and responsibilities within the organization are crucial steps in effective team building.

Growing the Miss Grass Team: Qualities and Vision

When expanding the Miss Grass team, Kate emphasizes qualities like innate curiosity and hustle. She suggests creating a clear outline of what you're looking for in a candidate, including past experience, values, and work style. Hiring the right fit is crucial for achieving the organization's goals and maintaining a successful business.

The Promise of the New York Cannabis Market

Kate's insight into the burgeoning New York cannabis market highlights its unique challenges and opportunities. With only about 20 legal dispensaries open, the demand-supply dynamics differ from other states. Kate remains optimistic about the potential for impactful brands to emerge and thrive in this market, emphasizing the value of brand-building in such an environment.

Proud to Work in Cannabis

As the conversation concludes, it's clear that the journey of Kate Miller and Miss Grass encapsulates the spirit of the cannabis industry. From navigating challenges to building a vibrant community, Kate's insights offer valuable lessons for aspiring entrepreneurs and cannabis enthusiasts alike. Tune in to Proud to Work in Cannabis and immerse yourself in the exciting world of cannabis with Karson Humiston and her remarkable guests.

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