Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kika Keith, Owner and CEO of Gorilla Rx Wellness, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Gorilla Rx is the first black-woman-owned dispensary in the heart of South Central Los Angeles, California. We are committed to having the largest black-owned selection of cannabis goods and are dedicated to serving the Crenshaw community. Gorilla Rx empowers the Black community by reinvesting our knowledge, talent, and skill back into South Central LA.
Tell us about yourself
I am a momtrepreneur and activist. My early work began with my inner city youth orchestra Sweet Strings, which has spanned over 20 years of hard work and innovation. From launching the first-to-market chlorophyll water Gorilla Life which began as a homemade remedy for my daughter’s asthma and scaled to a nationally distributed beverage company on the shelves of Whole Foods, to my most recent success founding Gorilla Rx Wellness Co., becoming Los Angeles’ first Black Woman Owned Dispensary.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment has to be winning the lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. It took a lot of work to learn the political process and organize and educate the community to fight for justice, but it was definitely time well spent. With the outcome of this lawsuit, we won an additional 100 social equity licenses for the people of LA, and that’s why we’re open today. That’s why we truly view Gorilla Rx as the house the people built with collective and cooperative effort.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
You simply never stop working. This can cause challenges and take a lot of time and energy - especially for a single mother of three. The upside is that I’ve been able to set a great example for them on what it takes to own and operate a business and work hard for what they’re passionate about.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Build your team early. Identify their strengths and expertise and amplify that through their role in your company. This has been a crucial component of our business. Because we built our team early and really listened to them, we have their buy-in and loyalty. That’s the most important thing in an employee/employer relationship.
- Immerse yourself in your industry and never stop learning. When I jumped into the cannabis industry, I made it my mission to learn all about it. I went to all of the city council and budget meetings - really, any time a cannabis subject was up for discussion. This helped me create a strong foundation of knowledge and contacts that I could refer back to.
- Build your business from a selfless perspective. When you work toward a greater good, you’ll find better success. It’s not all about you and your needs, and learning this sooner rather than later will serve you well. Learn and give back in real-time to be a real service to your community.
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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