This week’s Trailblazer is Oscar Bonilla Jr, Co-Founder, and CEO of Herbal Goods, a Vancouver-based accessory company creating 100% wild-harvested hand-tied pre-rolled ebony leaf cones.

Oscar Bonilla Herbal Goods

Questions with a Cannabis Industry Trailblazer

When did you first become involved in the cannabis industry and why?

Jess (Co-founder) and I started getting involved in the industry in 2013 and knew there was a gap in the industry (especially in the rolling paper industry). A product that did not rely on heavy machinery, one that would be fully natural and untouched by additives or toxins and that would re-write how we think of pre-rolled cones both in its form and its function.

After a ton of trial and error – Herbal Goods was a born – A pre-roll: a cone made of ebony leaf and assembled with a cotton string tie and a corn husk crutch. No glue to hold the paper together. No processed materials. Just sun-dried leaves grown and wild-harvested.

Herbal Goods pre-rolls are made by our amazing team of workers in India. We are proud to have a talented workforce made up of 85% women who would otherwise be without work given their rural location.

By decentralizing the process of rolling our cones we are able to offer workers the freedom to earn a living while staying in their local communities. What this means is that rather than traveling to a local center for work, they are able to sustain normal rhythms and tasks by working from home. This is particularly important for female workers in rural India who are expected to care for the home and children.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced when working with cannabis companies/brands?

Really the majority of our challenges came from the inefficiencies in our production line. From the harvesting, planning, curing, and logistics there were a lot of steps to check off our list before we could have a completed box we felt was complete.

After a ton of trial and error,  Herbal Goods Co. was born; A pre-roll: a cone made of wild harvested ebony leaves and held together with a cotton string tie and a corn husk crutch. No glue to hold the paper together. No processed materials.

We anticipated as soon as this got into people’s hands, that the demand would have us overwhelmed and feeling as though it wasn’t going to be possible….and for the most part, it was true! But fast forward to today and having learned from all of our mistakes and the mistakes of others in the industry, we’ve sold over 100,000 cones to date to customers all over the world and have a smooth production process.

A struggle we have faced is connecting with the right brand/companies that truly understand what we’re offering and the lengths we endure in making a product that will leave a customer saying – “wow, this is good”.

Herbal Goods Accessories

If you could change one of the current Canadian or American marketing restrictions on cannabis, which would it be?

Ohlala – We’d hands down say Facebook/social media Marketing. We’d be able to create look-a-like audiences on those who are interested in what we do and retarget. Would be a really great way to get the word out in regards to what we do.

In your observation, what marketing techniques or channels have been most effective for cannabis companies looking to connect with consumers?

Connecting closely with influencers in the space that share our values has been monumental in our growth as a little company. Wrapping our heads around that micro-influencers are just as powerful, if not even more powerful, than influencers with larger numbers has been a good learning lesson and not one to overlook.

Herbal Goods Pre-Rolls

Are there any other Trailblazers in the cannabis industry that you follow?

I more so follow designers and architects to draw inspiration from. It’s always nice to see how one can implement external influence into the industry to add a fresh take/verity on both aesthetics and experience. People such as Oscar Niemeyer, Dieter Rams and Aleksandra Gaca.

What is one tip or piece of advice you would give to people looking to enter the cannabis industry?

Create what you would like to see and try to stay as true as you can to it. Yes, it’ll change and reform with the suggestions and feedback of others, but I’d say to stay as true as you can to the very idea and essence of what had you intrigued and curious in the first place.

Cannabis Marketing Trailblazers

A big thank you to Oscar for participating as this week’s Trailblazer! Stay tuned for another interview with a cannabis marketing Trailblazer next Thursday in the ADCANN blog.

Interested in working with one of these talented cannabis marketers? Check out our Agency Directory for a list of all the agencies that specialize in working with cannabis companies.



ADCANN is a digital publication and content creation team that showcases the most creative concepts in the cannabis space.