During my time in stores, I always thought craft cannabis Licensed Producers could do more to garner attention for themselves. They did all this hard work growing their flower, but if budtenders were not recommending them, customers were rarely enticed to buy them.
Then Animal face by Carmel came out! It was the first craft cannabis strain I witnessed people regularly come in and ask for. Customers were excited, my staff was hyped, and even the CFO of my company came in and described his experience smoking it. I was happily surprised; an LP was finally doing things right.
I started to follow Carmel closer and luckily for me, the law of attraction took its course, and I was invited to their facility to do an Instagram Takeover. I was taken on a tour of their facility and got to witness first-hand how they achieved the marketing feat of created a buzz for their craft cannabis brand. Carmel is the top-selling craft LP in Ontario. They have the number one craft pre-roll in Ontario and Animal Face is a Top 5 SKU out of 1400 at the OCS in terms of velocity – in other words, how fast a product gets out the door. By doing things their own unique way as a brand and on the product level, Carmel has cemented its place atop the craft Cannabis market in Ontario.
By translating their passion for Cannabis to all aspects of the business, being transparent and staying authentic and true to themselves, Carmel has become the most wanted Craft Cannabis Brand in Ontario.
From the moment I stepped into Carmel’s true hybrid Greenhouse facility in Oro Medonte, Ontario, I could tell right away everyone was appreciative and happy to be doing what they were doing every day. It’s this shared passion for Cannabis that allows Carmel to connect with their customers. Members of their grow team were willing to risk their freedom because they loved growing – so to now be able to follow their passion and make a legal Career gets them extremely excited to come into work.
Retailers, budtenders, myself, and many others in the Legal Cannabis Industry share this same kind of story. It is on this basis that Carmel truly values connecting with their customers. From the way they answer customer emails, phone calls or when engaging with retailers; this passion is evident. Upon leaving their facility this passion could not have been displayed any better, than when a member of their grow team flashed me a tattoo of the Carmel logo on his right arm!
Broken Coast, the #1 national craft brand in 2020 only JUST started actually naming their strains by their ‘street names’. 7Acres launched a craft product line they don’t grow nor confirm who grows it. Boaz calls all their strains “Handcrafted”. All these decisions stink of being made in a boardroom and lack connectivity to cannabis culture. They’re inauthentic. It was the street authenticity of my brand, Blunt Talk that interested Carmel in collaborating. Even though I have opened and managed some of the highest-grossing stores in Ontario, achieved sales and operational feats, and have written articles that have been published – I am still not afraid to hide my love for Backwoods or trap music.
Many Licensed Producers do not disclose who grows their flower, nor how it’s grown. At Carmel, every one of their strains is on their website and has a video of it being grown in their grow room. They host more tours than any other LP, showcase their grow team, and help people understand how they approach growing. Some LPs will not even tell you where they grow or what strains they are actually using.
While touring Carmel’s Facility I was taken on a journey from seed to packaging. They walked me through the whole growing process as well as the packing process. They were totally transparent and all of my questions were answered. I was encouraged to ask more!
I remember being hesitant to ask if they used shake in their Pre-Rolls. “Of course not!” was the response!
On a product level, Carmel focuses intensely on customer experience, growing top-shelf flower, and being the first to launch rare genetics.
Obsessing about how customer’s experience their product resulted in Carmel doing a lot of firsts in the market! Carmel was the first premium brand in a bag. The first LP to display breeder information, lineage, aromas, flavors, and terpene profile. Carmel was one of the first LPs to use nitrogen flushing and the first to use a glass tube and a cork, which is brilliant by the way, as they become a Carmel branded doob tube for customers after smoking the pre-rolls inside. Obsessing about their customers has resulted in cannabis consumers obsessing over them! I recently did a poll on my Instagram and asked which cannabis brand my followers wanted swag from. A whopping 50% said Carmel – a seemingly higher percentage compared to polls taken on other cannabis brands.
Small batch, hang dried, hand trimmed, slow cured, and hand packaged, Carmel takes growing seriously. Long before the OCS set up the craft Cannabis category Carmel was taking the steps to grow Craft Cannabis. Many brands are adopting techniques to enter this category, but this is in Carmel’s DNA.
75% of the genetics Carmel launch are new to the market! They were the first LP to walk consumers through an in-house breeding program with their Dim-MAC (Drew’s Dark Helmet x MAC). I was personally mind-blown to see them mix strains and make their own hybrid. They were the first brand I saw do this and it is this type of innovation and creativity that has made Carmel successful. While many LPs are shopping at the same weed bank, Carmel is digging through their own library of genetics to ensure they differentiate themselves from the pack.
Carmel’s overwhelming passion for cannabis, transparency, and authenticity has elevated them to the top of cannabis brands in Ontario. By putting a large emphasis on customer experience, top-shelf flower, and being the first to launch rare genetics Carmel’s products fly off the shelves and leave customers craving more! I hope many brands take Carmel’s lead and continue to grow the Canadian cannabis industry!
Setting the Standard for Craft Cannabis
As Carmel continues to put out consumer favourite products and the brand continues to grab market share amongst the sophisticated and experienced cannabis consumers, other brands will likely take notice of their strategy and attempt to recreate it. We’re witnessing the rise of the craft cannabis category and Carmel is at the forefront of it.