Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Vanessa Oliver, CEO of Cloud 9 Studios, located in Rocklin, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Cloud 9 Studios is a horizontally integrated alternative wellness events studio showcasing luxury cannabis-friendly brands, services, and experiences in 8 inter-recreational markets. Our events are a comprehensive way for those, whether curious, new, or experienced with cannabis, to learn and build conscious wellness behaviors through proper consumption and sustainable self-development practices.
Tell us about yourself
Cloud 9 Studios is a horizontally integrated alternative wellness events studio showcasing luxury cannabis-friendly brands, services, and experiences in 8 inter-recreational markets. Our events are a comprehensive way for those, whether curious, new, or experienced with cannabis, to learn and build conscious wellness behaviors through proper consumption and sustainable self-development practices. I was born to high school parents from East 69th, Oakland, CA, an urban community greatly impacted by the war on drugs. Despite what statistics say about who I was destined to become, my parents worked hard to give me the life I deserved. I spent 10 years as a Digital Content Producer in Silicon Valley. As a mother and woman of color in the tech scene, there were many obstacles to overcome. I understand the frustration of a community that works tirelessly to invest in a society that depletes our energy whilst impeding on our right to be knowledgeable in healthier lifestyle options. Cannabis is a misunderstood tool; when used accordingly, she has the power to heal the mind, body, and soul.
I used to ignorantly follow the stigma and misinformation created around the plant until it changed my life for the better at a time I was unequivocally at my lowest mentally, emotionally, financially, physically, and spiritually. Thankfully I embodied a growth mindset and became open to exploring the plant through research, observation, and personal experimentation. That was in 2015, and despite all that I've learned about how to use her for my personal goals, I am just scratching the surface. Cloud 9 Studio began as a passion project to teach conscious consumption habits to the new consumer market. Now, she is a horizontally integrated event studio serving the multicultural consumer market with a series of cannabis-friendly lifestyle events such as the Cannabis Wedding Expo, Infin8ly Elevated Events, and the Cannaluxxe Wellness Experience. We inspire opportunities to discover, learn, explore, interact, and strengthen your fluency of conscious cannabis consumption.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Every story we hear about how we've impacted or changed someone's life because of our events, whether it be a personal or business journey, is its own unique accomplishment. As a business owner, there are considerable challenges that nearly made me give up. I am a woman of color, a single mother, and a domestic violence victim, all of which were fundamental in equipping me with persistence. I empathize with vulnerability; it's so fulfilling to know my business, built through my story, serves the purpose of helping others connect with the highest potential of their own journey.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Funding and operational growth. With the stigma of cannabis comes outdated policies that make it difficult for businesses in the industry to access capital. With so many BBIPOC and women business owners entering the industry, this has been crippling to advancing underrepresented leaders. Bootstrapping can be a slow-growing process that adds crippling hurdles to moving forward.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- It's completely ok if you don't have your entire business concept 100% down. You will define and redefine as you go. The goal is just to start somewhere, such as a sketch or drawing that is not colored in until later.
- Being ok with being uncomfortable and uncertain. It's a guarantee that there will be moments you doubt yourself and your progress. Think of discomfort as an opportunity to grow outside the box we place around ourselves. Even if you think you "failed" at something, you are still succeeding because you are learning how to grow.
- Get into the habit of scheduling everything on your calendar. Especially if you're one to wear multiple hats. I struggled with this; however, it's true what they say, mindful repetition forms habits and healthy habits bring peace.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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