Showcase at cannabis shows. Cannabis tradeshows are a great way to get your products out there to a built-in audience. They have been consistently worth the time and cost when it comes to visibility and sales.
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 Josh Foxx.
Josh Foxx is a ganjapreneur (a marijuana entrepreneur). He is the creator of the cannabis smoking card game BLUNTO. His game, which was created to gamify marijuana smoking, has been booming in popularity since quarantine and he is here to tell us all about it today.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
While attending a party in my freshman year at college I noticed that we were only playing drinking games, which is great for people who like alcohol, but there really wasn’t anything for those who smoked. Having only an Uno deck and a few rolled-up blunts lying around, I creatively combined the two. After some carefully made-up house rules — BLUNTO was born!
What started as a small game soon become a big hit and everyone from all over campus wanted to get a game in. I realized that not only was this fun, but it was social, and a great way to gamify marijuana smoking which was now becoming legalized recreationally in a variety of states. I knew I had to patent the game so everyone could play and have a deck.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One interesting thing that happened was when I was in an entrepreneurial slump. Just because you have a great idea or product, it doesn’t mean you will automatically be a success, and I was ready to sell millions of BLUNTO decks. So here I was feeling a bit down (entrepreneurship is not without its highs and lows) and I was out, and I ended up overhearing a couple talk about an experience they had at one of their friend’s houses for game night. They were describing the way played the game and that when a certain card was put down, they would earn the ownership of the blunt. It wasn’t hard to tell that they were referring to BLUNTO! I thought that was so cool! And yes, I had to introduce myself, lol.
Through that, I learned that you just have to keep going. It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get the game in front of the right person or people.
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?
Well…the funniest mistake I ever made was getting so high while playing that I walked into a glass sliding door — not once, twice. It has very little to do with the business side of things, more a tribute to how high you can get in the game, but it did teach me not to play when making a sales pitch for the game!
Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’m working on developing a BLUNTO app so that way if some people don’t want to leave their homes, yet still want to play with friends they can. Maybe even strangers. I can see this being good in case social distancing sticks around.
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?
There’s no one person but rather a bunch of people who have contributed in one way or another over the years. Friends/ test subjects who played and gave their feedback, attorney friends who have helped me with advice, my parents for being open-minded when I unveiled my plans for the business, and my girlfriend who lives with me and has heard a lot of people yelling “BLUNTO!” over the years.
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?
The cannabis industry has so many restrictions on marketing so everything has been very grassroots and media savvy. I engage a lot on the community marijuana board and chat groups and customers and friends are always spreading the word because they love the game (which I am so grateful for).
To larger legacy companies I simply say — connect with your people! Find your brand loyalists and dive into what makes them tick and what about your brand connects with them. We have a built in community of cannabis enthusiasts and every industry has their fan base too — you just have to find them.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
- There doesn’t seem to be a ceiling in this industry, the growth potential is unlimited.
- It’s nice to make people happy with a cannabis product you invented and use yourself.
- Legality in many states
1. Irresponsible black market, making legality more difficult.
2. Legal and financial red tape for cannabis companies
3. Federally, it is still illegal and that is a great concern for many in the 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.
1. Get a good patent lawyer who won’t screw you over. Long story short on this one, I learned the hard way so you don’t have to.
2. Just because you have a good idea does not mean you will be successful. It takes a lot more work than just coming up with an idea, especially in the cannabis industry. There are more regulations than you know until you really start to research.
3. Facebook has some strange rules against marijuana card games for advertising. We all know Facebook has some secret mysterious algorithm that can’t seem to make up its mind on what ads are approved or not, but they have extremely strict rules when it comes to cannabis ads, even in states where it is legal recreationally.
4. Don’t underestimate the power of drop shipping. When I started I would house the inventory for BLUNTO and while it is not a large product, in quantity it adds up. It also takes up valuable time in packing, shipping and so forth. Working with a drop shipper has made the business run so much more smoothly!
5. Showcase at cannabis shows. Cannabis tradeshows are a great way to get your products out there to a built-in audience. They have been consistently worth the time and cost when it comes to visibility and sales.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
1. Give your employees the ability to provide feedback without fear.
2. Be open-minded to change. Sometimes the thing you love most about your business or product is the thing you have to change about it to make it work. Love it enough to allow it to grow — even in ways you didn’t expect.
3. Explain to your employees the ins and outs of the cannabis industry before you throw them to the wolves. It is a world all its own and the more prepared they are, the better success your business will have.
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 hate to be so obvious here but truly it would just be the movement to legalize marijuana for all states.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Instagram.com/Bluntocards (IG @Bluntocards)
Facebook.com/Blunto (FB @Blunto)
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!