Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jarell Wall, Co-founder of Gentleman Quinns LLC, located in Denver, Colorado, United States.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I own a marijuana manufacturing company called Gentleman Quinns. We hand-rolled cigar-style marijuana products with our flagship product affectionately named the “High-Class Big Ass Blunt.”
Starting out marijuana pre-rolls (joints, blunts) were pretty overlooked. The products that were available were pretty homogeneous and of low quality. My team and I worked from the ground up to source the top flower, develop proprietary rolling techniques, design unique packaging, and lab test all our products. We took on the well-crafted, handmade aesthetic of the cigar culture resulting in the fine wine of marijuana products.
We have a huge customer base of men and women 20-35 and older men 55+. But the truth is everyone likes pre-rolls, especially when they’re done right and we roll the best blunts in Colorado.
Tell us about yourself
I have a professional background in film/television production. I moved to Colorado after losing my first career gig. I told myself I wouldn’t be caught in the same situation and only wanted to pursue things true to me. I’ve been a marijuana consumer since after college. The plant has opened more doors for me than anything.
After relocating, I worked a part-time job at a dispensary using my production skills. I worked as a marketing guy, creating magazine ads, social media content, and product labels. The dispensary owners gave me more responsibility than a corporate company and empowered me to learn.
During this time, the owners allowed the general manager of the shop, a budtender, and myself to try out a product we developed over the summer - a cigar-style packaged blunt. It sold well during a couple of limited launches and got the attention of a licensed manufacturer. The talks didn’t pan out, but they gave us the roadmap of how to get our product on the shelves with our own license. From there, the team became partners. We started a crowdsourcing campaign for licensing costs that gained us our angel investor and small business mentor. He coached us through getting a leased location, compliance, construction, and licensing.
What motivates me is the fact that I’m a true believer in the benefits of marijuana, and I’m able to use my experiences to influence the growth of the industry. There aren’t many black owners in the industry, and I’m motivated to hold the door open the best I can.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Keeping my team together and still being able to grow are my biggest accomplishments. Starting any business is tough when holding the weight of a team of adults who trust you to see a collective vision through. Being early in marijuana only increases the difficulty level for various reasons, so I’m fortunate to still be around.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Oh boy, there's a lot, but it changes all the time. You have to wear many hats, which can stretch you thin sometimes. It gets emotionally draining, and as someone not native to Colorado, being away from family feels like being on an island sometimes.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Work in the field of the business you plan to do. This is how you get the best insight into everything—risks and benefits, the best inventory sourcing, financing, management styles, and how to treat people.
- Networking goes a long way. Put yourself out there and learn from others as much as you can. You don’t know who can open doors for you, so being humble and present goes a long way.
- DON’T QUIT! You’ll sacrifice a lot, but it’s worth it.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If you’re in the marijuana industry, don’t expect anything to come easy. Businesses are hard; you have to build and destroy at a moment’s notice. Know everything about your business. Listen to folks who have experience in what you’re doing and take risks when needed.
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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