5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started: “Being involved for five years, I know first-hand how difficult it is and how many obstacles you have to cross to become a successful brand and to make your mark in this industry.” with Alex Todd and Fotis Georgiadis
My biggest concern is that there’s a lot of hype and excitement surrounding the industry, and people might assume that it’s a gold rush and an easy way to make money. There’s so much deception because people don’t know what they’re actually getting involved in. To anyone that seeks my recommendation, I’d suggest that you do your due diligence and ensure that the company is sufficiently funded because it’s not as easy as people think. Being involved for five years, I know first-hand how difficult it is and how many obstacles you have to cross to become a successful brand and to make your mark in this industry.
As part of my series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business” I had the pleasure of interviewing Alex Todd, the founder of Saucey Farms and Extracts, a luxury cannabis brand that offers products that are organically-grown, slow-cured and premium-grade. Prior to staring his own cannabis business, Todd was a celebrity jeweler for A-list stars such as Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter, Rihanna, and Kevin Hart. He also handled all the prestigious Roc-a-Fella and Paper Planes chains that are the staple of Roc Nation athletes/entertainers like Big Sean, Fabolous, Meek Mill, and more. These days, Todd is transitioning from the jewelry business to the cannabis industry by introducing a set of upscale products lines under Saucey Extracts, one of which features a collaboration with legendary Harlem rapper Jim Jones. The brand’s selection of products ranges from vape cartridges to cannabis flowers that appeal to all adult consumers, from novice users to veteran connoisseurs. To ensure high potency and purity, the brand has established a dedicated team of master cultivators and experts in cannabinoid research to help increase the quality of our cultivars through selective breeding processes.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Saucey Farms & Extracts actually started off as my passion project. My experience lies in the jewelry space — I was a celebrity jeweler — but the cannabis industry allows me to make a more meaningful impact and bridge the gap among business and financial minded people plus grassroots industry leaders. I find this to be the most interesting thing, because the cannabis industry is truly an eclectic mix and a melting pot of individuals.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The truth is that I’ve made a lot of mistakes since starting. The whole experience in the beginning was definitely challenging because I was not familiar with farming and growing cannabis. I approached this venture from a marketing and sales perspective, and I underestimated the agricultural aspect.
This ended up being quite a costly learning experience, but every single experience has been a major lesson. If you’re smart, every mistake turns into a lesson and if you learn from them, then you’ll get to a point where you don’t duplicate them.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Our brand is new to market, as we officially launched at the Hall of Flowers expo at the end of April/beginning of May. So far, we’ve launched eight strains of cannabis flowers and a pre-roll option. We’ve also partnered with Jim Jones on an exclusive line of cannabis products called CAPO. We’ve debuted all-natural cannabis oil cartridges in 11 strains as well. Looking ahead, we’ll be developing and producing a CBD line within the next couple of months.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Definitely my family — my wife and kids. Behind the scenes they’re the true winners and without having their support this would be incredibly difficult. My family is by far my biggest support system and that is the most important thing…if I didn’t have support then it wouldn’t be possible to do what I’m doing.
This industry is young dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
I’d say the biggest thing is to be highly involved in the social media world. We’re in such a fast-paced environment that is heavily content-driven and it’s important to adapt to new technology. Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat, I’d suggest that you stay innovative with your products and stay connected with your audience. This lets consumers feel like they’re involved in something larger than just buying a product on a shelf.
It’s about being part of a team and part of movement. At Saucey, we are creating the movement and developing a top luxury cannabis brand.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
I am excited for the future of the cannabis industry. I’m also excited for the opportunities that this industry brings to so many diverse people and walks of life. When I was at Hall of Flowers, I noticed that this industry doesn’t attract a certain demographic, it connects all of us…all different types of people.
My biggest concern is that there’s a lot of hype and excitement surrounding the industry, and people might assume that it’s a gold rush and an easy way to make money. There’s so much deception because people don’t know what they’re actually getting involved in.
To anyone that seeks my recommendation, I’d suggest that you do your due diligence and ensure that the company is sufficiently funded because it’s not as easy as people think. Being involved for five years, I know first-hand how difficult it is and how many obstacles you have to cross to become a successful brand and to make your mark in this industry.
Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”? Please share a story or example for each.
· The cultivation aspect isn’t as glamorous as you’d think.
· You will receive all of these fancy decks in the beginning, but they don’t accurately depict what’s going on.
· From a marketing perspective, it’s difficult to fight against tremendously capitalized companies.
· You need to be able to have proper infrastructure to provide supply chain.
· In general, how hard it is to make it in the industry.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Our job as a CEO and leader is to find greatness in every employee and make sure they know it. Do not micro-manage, just let them be authentic. Once you have a better understanding of their abilities, target your approach accordingly.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I am super passionate about health and cancer awareness. So with that said, I would love to inspire a movement that raises awareness about the positive impact of the cannabis industry and all of the potential healing and medical benefits one would get from the plant.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Find me on Instagram at @alextodd and follow Saucey Farms & Extracts at @sauceyextracts
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started: “Being involved for five years, I know first-hand was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.