January 12, 2014 | By Claire Kaufmann
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, by now you’ve probably heard of Washington cannabis company, Solstice Grown. With an emphasis on product quality and sustainable production practices, Solstice Grown is more reminiscent of a natural foods brand than a traditional, THC-heavy recreational cannabis company.
Solstice Grown produces flower, capsules and pre-rolled joints. What makes Solstice stand out, isn’t just their clear brand promise and their impeccable packaging, but that they understand how to edit themselves. Solstice Grown only produces a limited number of SKUs (i.e. products). So, instead of being driven by the unpredictable churn of grower inventory, Solstice has managed to become curators of refined flavor.
I love that they honor and protect the healing nature of the cannabis plant. Instead of pumping THC into anything they can think of, Solstice does what every good cannabis brand should – use high quality ingredients and creating packaging that lets the products speak for themselves.
As a brand they seem like the cannabis version of a marriage between Neutrogena and Kashi Foods. I say Neutrogena because despite their colorful packaging, there is something sterile and clean in their appeal. I say Kashi because they are all about the ingredients and the flavor.
That said, perhaps my one critique of Solstice Grown is that, in a way, they come across as well, a little bit icy. (Hence, the logo.) Typical of the earnest northwestern persona, Solstice could afford to be a bit more fun and playful. (The logo on internal pages is much more colorful and compelling.) While the pictures of cannabis certainly help make the brand appear more organic, for some reason I want them to be a little more approachable, maybe even a little quirky.
What I mean is look at the difference between how Absolut and Kettle Foods does flavor. See how they both get the variety of flavor but that Kettle just seems a little bit more at ease with its inner nerd? (As a former Kettle Foods employee, I adore their brand.)
You can tell from their tone that they are kind of cannabis nerds and lovers of nature – they should own that a bit more.
Also, I feel that their brand needs more of a “sense of place.” I am sure that the thought of using yet another picture of Mt. Rainier made their eyes roll, but still, we need something. I know that their cannabis is grown indoors, but Kashi’s food is made in a factory.
See how Kashi delivers the same brand promise in a friendlier way? Its through font choice, and the upfront emphasis not just on the ingredients but on the people it affects and the place that it comes from (or could come from,) that it makes it just that much more delicious. For example, Tenet number 5, “Relationships” needs to have a person in it – someone I could potentially have a “relationship” with. (There is another picture where you can actually see an extension cord running through the photo.)
I also look forward to hearing more about their plans for Solstice Farms, an eastern Washington grow operation that plans to utilize solar power to offset its carbon footprint. (Woo hoo!)
In the end Solstice Grown is way out in front of most other cannabis brands (with the exception of maybe Dama.) Their understanding of product development, their ability to edit and actually settle on a set number of SKUs, and their clear understanding of cannabis as a wellness (not recreational) product, make them a beacon of wisdom in the modern cannabis industry.
More than that, by editing their SKU portfolio and setting themselves up with ERP partner, Viridian, Solstice will be able to study which products sell the most AND to whom. With a set number of SKUs and an abundance of data, Solstice could be one of the first companies to understand and explore cannabis market verticals. (Wait, I’m getting dizzy with excitement ;))
Cheers to Solstice and their many successes!