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“The best thing any CEO or founder can do to support their employees is to establish a mission and communicate a vision that engages everyone” With Tim Moxey & Fotis Georgiadis

The best thing any CEO or founder can do to support their employees is to establish a mission and communicate a vision that engages everyone. This industry is being driven by the people on the ground, the people making our products, getting it packaged, and driving it out to shops. They need to recognize that […]

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The best thing any CEO or founder can do to support their employees is to establish a mission and communicate a vision that engages everyone. This industry is being driven by the people on the ground, the people making our products, getting it packaged, and driving it out to shops. They need to recognize that they are out on the cutting edge of a brand new industry and I do everything I can to make sure we remind every employee we have of this as often as possible.


I had the pleasure to interview Tim Moxey. In 2014, he and a fellow classmate from Tuck founded botanicaGLOBAL, a brand driven cannabis products company that would challenge perceptions of how cannabis and hemp could help consumers live a healthier, happier, and better life. Today the botanica brands are the most distributed in the United States and the company is continuing to grow as the market expands. Prior to botanica Tim founded nuun, a pioneering hydration company which spawned a new category in sports nutrition, and he built the specialist triathlon wetsuit company blueseventy. He began his career at the investment bank, Barclays Capital, before moving to strategic management consulting firm, Bain & Co. He holds an MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.


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?

The moment the light bulb really went off for me was while reading an article in The Economist on marijuana legalisation and the current state of prohibition. In this moment of legalisation, we have the opportunity to bring cannabis out of the shadows and allow people to include it in their life in a helpful and well informed way. I realized that the only way the wide scale legalisation of cannabis would succeed would be if a well regulated market was successful in getting people what they wanted. With the experience of starting my first two companies, nuun and blueseventy, I could learn from those experiences and help lead the way in cannabis.

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?

It was during our first year up and running in Seattle, I plugging away at writing our mission statement when I heard that there were some issues that our packaging team was dealing with. I really try to approach every problem by learning everything I can and then jumping in to solve it. So I grabbed a hairnet, ran out to the production floor and start packaging brownies with the crew. After packaging more brownies than I could count and a fair amount of frustration, I realized that in a fraction of the time I spent wrestling those brownies, I could have raised the issue with our production leadership and finished the mission statement, which would be much more impactful to the team than having me wrap brownies. But I am sure it gave the team a good laugh to see me wrestling with those brownies and it was a good learning moment to delegate the little things.

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?

I am truly grateful to my co-founder and co-CEO, Chris Abbott. He took a chance when we first came up with this idea to start a cannabis company and ever since we have worked very hard to balance each other out. Honestly, in this industry, with our goals and aspirations, I don’t think any single person could do what we have set out to do. We really want to re-imagine how people interact with cannabis in their daily lives and that is a vision that both Chris and I keep close everyday. I cannot count the number of times he has helped remind me of what we set out to do when the challenges seem a little harder than they do in a normal day.

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?

For our brands with THC products, we are really limited in how we can market them given the regulations state by state. Honestly, we recognize that our best bet to win over customers is to draw them in with a compelling story and brand, then win them over with the best product and experience they have ever had with an edible. We are very sensitive to the needs and feedback of our customers and I think that sort of approach would go a long way with larger legacy companies that might focus more on marketing and brand than the quality of their products.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about your industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?

Excited

  • One thing that is really exciting is the demand for quality products and brands in this brand new industry. It seems like a new brand or product launches just about every hour, but you quickly see which are going to stand the test of time and which will be forgotten in about a month or so. Our consumers are always looking for new products so we need to win them over and then keep them coming back.
  • We are really excited to continue to see research into the health and wellness benefits of cannabis in all its forms. Even anecdotally, we hear from people on a daily basis that have found a way to use our products to provide some comfort or aid in their lives.
  • I might be a little biased on this because we are primarily involved in edibles, but edibles and drinkables really are the most exciting segment of this industry. The opportunities are limitless and the demand to innovate is endless. We get to provide access to cannabis for people that would love something to eat or drink but might not be into smoking or vaping it.

Concerns

  • There are a lot of barrier to cannabis research and, subsequently, barriers to educating both people inside the industry and consumers. We really hope that research opportunities continue to develop both at the state and federal level. No one wants research on cannabis more than people growing it and making products from it, it is in everyone’s interest to learn more about this amazing plant.
  • One thing we have run into in a few of the states where our brands are available, is that even though cannabis has been legalized, the people in the industry are still viewed with prohibition biases. We understand it will take time to shift opinions, but if cannabis is legalized, then we should treat it and the people that work around it in a legal framework and not treated as an offshoot of the illicit market.
  • Seeing opinions on cannabis change around the country and around the world is really promising and we have no reason to believe that it will slow down. But we hope that with legalization and acceptance comes concrete efforts to repair the damage done by the war on drugs. That work should be as important as the medical and recreational legalisation of cannabis.

Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started”? Please share a story or example for each.

  • Get good people on your team! As we have grown, having a core group of people in place who are dedicated to our mission and can provide a wide range of experiences to draw on has been key to moving us forward. We try very hard to bring in people to balance out our team and knowledge to create a really dynamic working environment.
  • Always continue iterating. Some of our best products or brands are the result of constant iteration. Mr. Moxey’s Mints were the first cannabis mints to market and the first mint looked and tasted almost nothing like the current mint because we have iterated, iterated, iterated to get to a product that we are incredibly proud of and that has resonated with people around the country.
  • Embrace the unknown. This industry changes on an almost hourly basis. You have to be prepared to venture into the unknown and be comfortable with not always knowing how things will turn out. That uncertainty can be stressful to some, myself included, but there is also some value in it. There are so many unknowns still as we find our way and, although that is a source of stress for many of us, we also understand it can help push us to open up doors we otherwise considered closed.
  • Make sure you have a good time. It is really important to keep the fun and exciting things close. Some days really can be a beat down but I always center myself by remembering what we are working towards and the chance that I have been given to pursue this work with an amazing team of people. Even on the hard days, creating these brands, making these edibles, it is a lot of fun and I continue to enjoy the ride.
  • Never lose sight of your mission. We started this business to try to change minds on cannabis and create brands and products that would connect people to cannabis in a way that had not been done before. That mission has a very real set of consequences in this country and around the world, so we always make decisions on how we can best continue to thrive in a regulated marketplace and push ourselves and those around us to succeed.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

The best thing any CEO or founder can do to support their employees is to establish a mission and communicate a vision that engages everyone. This industry is being driven by the people on the ground, the people making our products, getting it packaged, and driving it out to shops. They need to recognize that they are out on the cutting edge of a brand new industry and I do everything I can to make sure we remind every employee we have of this as often as possible.

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 hope that I could inspire more people to reconsider how we all view cannabis. We essentially have a plant that has the capacity to help people in a meaningful way or provide an experience to people, and its use has been stigmatized over the last century in a way that has caused irreparable harm to real people. I really hope we can continue to learn and educate anyone who will listen on why it is time for a new approach and what cannabis can do for them.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

They can follow me on instagram (mr_moxeys_mints) where I try to capture a small slice of what it is like to run a cannabis business. It’s a bit bizarre to have my name out there on the brand like that, but my instagram page is much more focused on the journey and my opinions on cannabis than anything else. And I have found that it really resonates with people to put a name and a face to a brand, they see what we are doing and want to experience it right alongside us.

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