The cannabis industry is showing no signs of slowing down, and in this ever-evolving business, one needs to be nimble. We recently Zoomed (is that a word now?) with Jamie Hoffman, Owner of Craft Elixirs in Seattle to talk about what she looks for in a packaging partner to keep pace with industry changes.
How long have you been using Roastar for your packaging needs?
We’ve been using them for nearly five years now and have built a great relationship in the process.
How did you find Roastar?
I was doing an in-depth search for a bag company and when I found Roastar’s platform and it was really intuitive. I could easily upload my artwork, and I could not believe that I was able to order such a small volume of bags. This was ideal for us because as you probably know in the cannabis industry our SKUs can change so frequently with rules and regulations and new symbols we may need to include on our packaging. I thought that the short runs of bags Roastar offered was just ideal. I don’t have to get a huge amount. I may sound like a walking advertisement but it was really great that I didn’t feel the pressure to have to get so much.
Nah, you don’t sound like an advertisement, and we love to hear it! How did you find the design process? Are you a designer?
I’m not a designer, but I do know enough about the design platform to be able to upload artwork and to understand it. We’re so busy and as an entrepreneur, I’m pretty stressed out at times, but luckily Ashley and Jess at Roastar work so closely with me that sometimes they’ll just upload the artwork for me. It’s been really nice that at times that they’ve given me that extra help and figure out what I need.
So, when you opened your business, what did you know about packaging?
I didn’t know a lot about packaging and it was one of the things I struggled with as a new business owner. I had zero packaging experience and I definitely was competing with people that did. Some of our competitors had worked with huge brands and I know I was competing with people that had some solid packaging background, while I had none at all.
What were you looking for in a packaging partner?
So, I wasn’t just looking for a printer. I was looking for a partner that could give me ideas, and give me some help of how to do it. I truly wanted to be inspired and not borrow ideas. I wanted to be inspired in how to do packaging correctly. At home, I’ll simply cut some paper out and put it together like my own little models and experiment, and I’ll wonder if it’ll work.
With the sample bags I got from Roastar I was able to take our product and put it in the bag and see how it worked, see how it felt, and you know it was very hands-on. I have no idea if that’s the way other people do it but it worked for us!
So has your view of packaging changed?
I think about materials all of the time. Like right now, because we are getting ready to launch a new product, I’m thinking a lot about packaging because it will be so critical to the launch. I think about it every day. I think about it when I go home. I draw things out. I print out inspiration. I was talking about it for about an hour this morning while we were looking at more Roastar sample bags.
Haha, that sounds like us, always thinking about packaging. What’s an immediate challenge in front of you?
One of the biggest factors in me producing packaging today is COVID. Because of COVID people aren’t going into the stores. Even when they were going into the stores our products were either behind glass or on a menu where you can’t see them. That said, the things we have going for us are that people like our products and they like the brand name, so I’m very, very grateful for that. That’s awesome because I don’t have to rely on budtenders to sell it if people are looking for it. But if you want to launch a new cannabis product in today’s world it’s really, really challenging. So now I look at the packaging as the key factor in distinguishing the fact that it’s related to our existing product line, but different.
The packaging has to “shine” and it has to look great, while I also need to be thinking 5 years down the line on how I’ll be able to evolve the family of products and packaging with new flavors and SKUs.
Sounds like the packaging needs to grow with wherever Craft Elixirs is headed next?
As a candy-maker, it takes years to get a product developed. But once one is done I can make it into multiple SKUs. Single-serving, multiple servings, THC, or CBD. One product means four SKUs, which is four different packages. That’s the flexibility I need in packaging.
When I’m creating new products working with Roastar is great because I don’t have to commit to huge amounts of packaging with their short runs. I know from experience that during the product launch something will change or I may want to modify the package after seeing it out in the market, so I really like the short runs.
Anything else you want to say about Roastar? We know we’ve enjoyed working with you and watching your business grow!
I am the most impressed with Roastar’s flexibility with being able to help us out with our storage issues. I’m able to ask them to store any large quantities of packaging I may not have room for. Because I’ve built such a great relationship with them, I just thought I’d ask them, because we have a huge space issue at the moment, which is part of our growing pains. It’s been a huge change in the way we do business because I can print out a ton of packaging for products I know have been successful and Roastar will store it on site. They’ll ship the bags when I need them. It was a game-changer when they said “ok” to that. It’s really helped us out! How cool is that?
A big-time “thank you” to Jamie for hanging with us and talking packaging and the cannabis industry! It was great speaking with her again and learning more about her business.
If you want to print out a PDF of this case study, go for it. CraftElixirsCaseStudy.pdf