If you met Olivia Mannix, you'd never guess that her business is marijuana.
Mannix, 29, is the founder and CEO of Cannabrand, a company often referred to as the world’s first cannabis marketing agency. It launched in 2014 and is responsible for the marketing of several leading marijuana-related brands in the U.S., including Women Grow.
“We created the company to ‘rebrand’ cannabis, and were the first people to ever come out and demand a change in the industry and how it is perceived,” Mannix told Benzinga in a recent interview.
Cannabrand's latest challenge was an internal one: it had to rebrand itself. The Denver-based company merged with Voyage Business Resources.
“After working together for more than a year, we’ve merged with Voyage to create a full-service cannabis marketing, business consulting and brokerage firm to service the $9-billion-per-year cannabis industry and help businesses continue to scale with the overall market,” the CEO said.
“We essentially found that a substantial number of companies would contact Cannabrand not only for marketing or industry connections, but also for operational and consultative help. Because Voyage Business Resources was so vital in helping me with valuation work for Cannabrand, it’s an organic transition for them to work with our partners.”
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Building A Professional Weed Business
Despite the size of the marijuana market, Mannix said its "novelty and volatility" present continue to challenge new business owners and investors alike.
"It is essential that serious cannabis business people engage the market with sophistication and foresight," Mannix said.
The industry has taken a more professional turn since 2014, the CEO said.
“We were the ones who actually had the tenacity to come out and announce that this is what we need … to legalize and legitimize the industry.”
Julian Kahn, COO and a partner at Cannabrand, said the merger with Voyage is "a perfect fit."
"We help companies maximize the value of their businesses for the purposes of valuation, investment, mergers and acquisitions," he said. "With this program, we can marry our expertise in building infrastructure and strategy in the cannabis space."
Investors in the marijuana sector are becoming savvier and evaluating a company's scalability, margins and supply and distribution agreements, according to Cannabrand.
Mannix said she wanted an inclusive environment at her company, and as Cannabrand grew larger, she pushed for employees who are diverse in their background, age, race and more.
"So that’s what we’ve done, and it's been phenomenal because we have so many different experiences and viewpoints we can draw on to help strengthen us internally as well as strengthen the bond with our clients [and] partners."
Cannabrand has more than $75 million in brokerage and business inventory and is seeing astronomical growth on both the marketing and consulting sides, Mannix said.
Pictures courtesy of CannaBrand. Credit: Cannabis Camera.
Lead photo: CannaBrand's executive team. Left to right: Brandy Schultz, Philippa Burgess, Artemis Bodor, Aaron Perlman, Olivia Mannix, Kelsy Woodson, Ketan Petal, Julian Kahn and Jay Spencer.