Editor’s note: In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, Eaze is focusing on women working in the cannabis industry. This is the third in a series.
An entrepreneur’s eye.
Nidhi Lucky Handa has always been business-savvy. So when cannabis was legalized in California and she couldn’t find a brand she really connected to, she decided to start her own.
“I could see there was a ton of opportunity,” she tells Eaze. “And I felt like the stars and the moon were aligned for me to take a stab at creating something.”
Handa is the force behind LEUNE, a line of sophisticated, terpene-infused prerolls and vapes, launched exclusively on Eaze just before the new year. It may be a “baby brand,” as Handa says, but LEUNE is already finding fans and inspiring new products and flavor profiles.
The pace of growth and change in the cannabis industry is thrilling for entrepreneurs, Handa says, and it’s only the beginning. Sales metrics are just coming in from the first year of recreational use in California, and that information is shaping how companies move forward.
“Data suggests that women make spending decisions,” she says. “So there’s value all of the sudden in this idea of a woman running a business in cannabis and employing marketing prowess and the perspective of somebody who would represent the cannabis consumer of the future.”
LEUNE is dedicated to the “middle-lane” cannabis customer, Handa says — someone like herself, who “likes to get high and wants to feel good about it.”
“It’s not about sleep or anxiety. It’s just my Friday-night journey,” a smiling Handa told an audience of cannabis entrepreneurs last week at the inaugural SheCann Summit at UC Berkeley.
And even though LEUNE is a woman-owned company, Handa notes (with her signature smile) that the joints and vapes “are going to get you high if you’re a man or a woman.”
Stay nimble, friends.
She says the most critical skill for entrepreneurs in cannabis is the ability to stay nimble — successful companies have to be responsive to changing regulations and cater to an evolving customer base. One new legal decision could require sudden, unexpected packaging overhauls, for instance, and consumer appetites are shifting just as quickly.
“You have to be malleable,” Handa says. “I don’t think, for example, that we know what the most popular form of consumption is yet. I think we’re still getting there. We’re still evolving as an industry. Consumer tastes and preferences are still being developed right now.”
The necessary adaptability of the industry is what makes it so attractive to forward-thinking entrepreneurs of any gender and professional background, Handa says.
New perspectives, smart people.
“There’s a thirst for new perspectives and smart people coming from different worlds,” she says. “We have a shot right now to build something and create all of these new standards for this industry.
“Cannabis is like a blank canvas,” she continues. “So I think it’s a really awesome opportunity for women to get in and be part of building what those paradigms and structures look like so we can all be part of something more modern and new and that looks more equitable for everybody.”
Take 3 minutes to watch @LeuneBrand’s Nihdi Handa explain female-friendly cannabis marketing that doesn’t discriminate. Regardless of gender, her product is aimed at all those who “like getting high.” #shecann https://t.co/qGKRYVPklp
— Jonathan Bloom (@BloomTV) March 1, 2019
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