Director, Content Marketing
When Jennifer Chapin, an entrepreneur, and Amanda Jones, a travel writer, watched a mutual friend face the traumatic struggles of a cancer diagnosis, they felt helpless, heartbroken, and longed to find a solution. Their loved one grappled to find effective, alternative ways to ease her pain and minimize side effects from treatments and symptoms; sleeplessness, loss of appetite — the list goes on. She had turned to cannabis, as many do, and quickly realized how volatile the experience could be. If you’ve ever ingested more THC than you intended to, you know that feeling; she felt as if she had taken a ride on the “crazy train.”
So Jen and Amanda created Kikoko, a cannabis brand to offer a consistent, dependable product — sans the “crazy.” They set their mission in motion to provide people with regulated, low-dose THC and CBD products, not only for their beloved friend, but for anyone battling insomnia, anxiety, pain, lack of focus, mood, loss of libido — and even for those who just want to have a little fun. While originally inspired by their friend, they eventually channeled their efforts into a broader calling to reduce widespread alcohol and pharmaceutical consumption.
Some of the call-to-action options on their website include:
“I just want to go to sleep”
“I want to replace my glass of wine with something healthier”
“I need to take the edge off without getting high”
And even, “I have a higher tolerance and want to get buzzed”
You get the picture.
Fast forward 7 years and the duo has become somewhat of a rarity — a women-run cannabis company in a male-dominated industry. Kikoko has blown up, amidst the mansplaining, workplace bias, cultural stigmas, tricky regulations and other hurdles. Let’s face it, the cannabis industry resembles something like the Wild West, still in its infancy. But Kikoko — based in California, where recreational cannabis use is legal and regulated for adults — has managed to grow a team of talent, a brand identity with beautiful packaging for herbal teas, mints, tinctures and more, a slew of loyal customers and a full roster of dispensaries that stock their products. Bringing things full circle, Jen and Amanda developed a line of herbal teas in honor of their friend, crafting Sympa-Tea specifically with her in mind.
Pushing back against the cannabis status quo
In an effort to support other women-owned cannabis businesses, Kikoko has recently partnered with some women-owned, small craft, sun-grown organic cannabis farmers to introduce their Wild Womxn line of personal-sized pre-rolls for “the connoisseur on-the-go.” Through this Wild Womxn initiative, Kikoko strives to “stand up to corporate cannabis, which is driving the original, artisanal, small-craft cannabis farmers out of business.” Most are unaware of just how many small growers are women who use regenerative farming methods and employ responsible water use and sustainable soil amendments.
Impressive, right? The sheer fortitude, vision and resilience required to take the spark of an idea and turn it into a successful brand in relatively uncharted territory...
Image source: Kikoko instagram @kikoko_hq
Time for a CRM
But here’s the thing about building a small business from scratch: You can lose control — and fast. Staying organized can become one of your biggest challenges, to say the least. With a 50/50 split between ecommerce and dispensaries, a sales team of 4 that’s usually in the field using upwards of 30 different Google Calendars, Slack and Google Sheets in an effort to stay connected, their jumbled process simply wasn’t cutting it. “We needed to figure out a CRM that was going to actually work for us,” says Vanessa Miles, Kikoko’s Director of Sales.
Within 3 months of choosing Copper, “everything works like clockwork,” says Vanessa. “It’s our customer compass.” The team currently uses Copper for dispensary management, with their sales reps on the web app in the office and the mobile app while on the go. They’ve recently begun to create Pipelines to get organized around specific product lines. Vanessa loves the full view into all of her team’s activities. They’ve also mastered the art of sending bulk emails and have considerably cut down on time required for recurring admin tasks. In the near future, Vanessa and her colleagues are looking forward to using Copper for delivery services as well as more of their direct-to-consumer outreach as they continue to identify more areas for growth. And despite the blocker of differing regulations among states, the Kikoko team is eager to expand beyond California. We’re rooting for them as they continue their wild ride.
Visit them at Kikoko.com.