Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tiffany Walsh, founder and President of Bluenose Labs Ltd., located in Sydney Mines, Canada. Tiffany has a wealth of industry knowledge as one of Canada’s first corporate lawyers to focus on the cannabis business.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Bluenose Labs is a 50,000 square foot licensed cannabis facility. We are licensed medically and licensed to process, manufacturer, and distribute cannabis products throughout Canada. Our customers are other licensed producers, medical clients, and provincial governments that distribute to cannabis retail storefronts in their respective provinces.
Tell us about yourself
I started working in the cannabis industry in 2013. In 2015 I started Tiffany & Company Law in Vancouver, B.C., which strictly focused on corporate cannabis law. I was passionate about helping my clients build their cannabis businesses and wanted to see them succeed. After several years running a law firm, I leveraged my education and experience to transition from law into cannabis operations. I moved across the country, and I now run the first licensed cannabis facility on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Aside from the licenses we received with very little start-up capital, we have distributed products in Newfoundland and have our own products, Vape Breton (grape and mint) and Bluenose (Caper's Wreck and Caper's Craft), distributed throughout all of Nova Scotia via NSLC Cannabis Stores. With a team of only approximately five people, we also generated enough cash flows by keeping expenses low, so Bluenose Labs will produce more products hitting the NSLC Cannabis Stores in early 2022.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Running a law firm is very different than running a licensed cannabis facility. It's a race to the bottom in cannabis, whereby licensed producers that generate a higher volume of sales try to undercut prices in the industry, making it virtually impossible for smaller-scale companies to compete at the same price point. It is important to stay current in the cannabis industry to anticipate new trends and evolve with the market.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make sure you're incorporated, and you've raised enough capital to get you through the first two years of your business plan.
- Hire people that you can trust and make sure they sign non-disclosure agreements. Start their pay light and provide increases based on milestones.
- Make sure your accounting is in order at all times. Remember, in cannabis; you also have to remit excise tax on the products you sell, so be prepared.
- Enter strong contracts with other businesses for supply and/or distribution etc. Conduct due diligence on the owners of the companies and all people that have a say within the company to make sure they have a great reputation in the industry (ex. paying their bills, fulfilling commitments). One wrong business partner could destroy your business. Make sure all of your contracts are bulletproof because many things can go wrong.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
As a business owner, it is important to be cognizant of the difference between being nice vs. being a pushover and being assertive vs. being overpowering. There will often be difficult conversations to be had, but with time and experience, your communication will get better, and it will become easier to navigate challenging conversations.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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