This week’s Trailblazer, Zaira Gaudio, is the founder of The Curious Cannabis Co. and a director at the Retail Cannabis Collective of Ontario (RCCO). With a background in marketing and retail, Zaira has crafted a welcoming cannabis retail experience in Toronto’s west end.  As a driving force at RCCO, Zaira advocates for small businesses, leaving an indelible mark on cannabis retail’s future.

Questions with a Cannabis Industry Trailblazer

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

In late 2020 I decided I was going to open my shop. I had been acting as a guide to cannabis for friends and family for years and I, personally, felt disappointed by the retail landscape in my area at the time.

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

The greatest challenge I think retail brands face are in advertising. The options are limited in terms of ways to get the word out – we depend so much on word of mouth and on-street visibility.

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

The federal restrictions in the states, bizarrely, pose the biggest challenge for me as a Canadian retail owner. The most effective tools for reaching a local 19+ audience are Google and Meta, but they won’t take my money.

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

The single greatest push we’ve had came from a super fun and creative pop-up we did with Sheesh Hash Cola. We had Matt in to turn your Sheesh into a float – hyped the event up in store for a week in advice. It was our busiest night of the month – we sold through a few SKUs and it helped cement the brand as a house fav.

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

I mean, so many! Matt Cherkas, Angelina Blessed, Joe Goldberg, Ebby Noor, Bella Mitchell, Greg Pantelic, literally all of my fellow directors on board of the Retail Cannabis Council of Ontario – I could go on AT LENGTH about the people I respect in this industry, there really are so many gems.

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

Whatever you think you know about marketing – no, you don’t.

This industry comes with so many challenges, your greatest strength is creativity and the ability to think outside the box (find the loop holes!)

Cannabis Marketing Trailblazers

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

Last Updated on February 8, 2024 by ADCANN

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