With the legal cannabis industry exceeding $10 billion in the U.S. in 2018 and projected to hit $16 billion this year, it’s safe to say that Kiva Confections is running on a high. We talked with Abel Charrow, Director of Experiential Marketing, about this dynamic industry and creating a unique appreciation gift for Kiva’s partner “budtenders” aka curators of cannabis.
What are Kiva Confections?
“Kiva Confections is a cannabis edibles company based in California established in 2010. We’re known and trusted for consistent, high-quality, and delicious (infused) treats.”
Why do you like working at Kiva Confections?
“On a personal level, it’s very exciting to be in the cannabis space. I’m still fairly new; I’ve been with the company for about six months. I love how refreshing the environment is— there’s a lot of enthusiasm and everyone is always eager to change the conversation about cannabis and show newcomers how it can be experienced and enjoyed.
Things move very quickly in cannabis and you have to be prepared to constantly shift gears and change plans based on different challenges, such as regulation. It can’t be said enough that our mentality is ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’ Since our brand has been around much longer than most and has experienced all the stages of the industry, we try to lead by example and create a better environment for others. We want to help the whole industry to get to the next level.”
How did you use your custom socks?
“Our industry holiday, 4/20, was coming up. One of the things we wanted to focus on this year was celebrating our budtenders at our partner dispensaries. Budtenders are the people that help you shop at a dispensary, similar to a bartender. Expressing our appreciation was the ultimate goal. We delivered ‘budtender boxes’ with custom cannabis socks, various samples of our products, a booklet of information, and more to a bunch of our accounts.
When we were pitching this idea internally, I happened to be visiting a dispensary that day with our COO and one of the budtenders was already wearing socks with a cannabis leaf print on them. So we pointed it out to him and said, ‘Yeah, see! This is a thing.’”
Can you tell me more about swag in the cannabis industry?
“Swag is really important in the cannabis industry. There are so many regulations around what we’re allowed to do from a marketing and promotional angle. Swag is the one thing we can absolutely do without concern. Every brand, including us, does hats and enamel pins, but we wanted something high-quality and useful that would get worn.
It’s been really fun as we go out to dispensary visits and then we come across someone wearing our custom socks. It’s exciting and gets shared in our Slack channel.”
What do you like about customs socks?
“We were certain that if we made comfortable socks, it’s a good reason enough. What we particularly like about custom socks is that they’re something that everyone needs and enjoys. You can dress them up, show them off, or you can just cover them up with pants. We could put together a fun pattern and break some of our own branding conventions with something a bit more playful. Then there’s the swag element. In my mind, the most compelling features of custom socks are their practicality and not having to size them out as wearables.”
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the design?
“It’s pretty straightforward. It’s the Kiva logo with a cannabis leaf step and repeat pattern. We did explore some pretty funky ideas like a stylization of our imprinted chocolate and a melting chocolate look, but we preferred the classic cannabis leaf.”