1. How did you initially get into the cannabis industry and how long have you been involved?
I’ve been in the cannabis industry for about 4 years now. Prior to this, I was in the fashion industry and started Florida Fashion Week in Miami and Naples. I also helped with establishing another company called Glamour and Glow, which featured blacklight body paint and a fashion show.
2. What’s the origin story of SōKo as a cannabis brand?
The name Soko is my last name but the origin of the brand originally came from wanting to create a luxury lifestyle brand. Social Responsibility is one of SōKo’s core values and is the base of the brand’s identity. We recognize that the philosophy of “sustainable value” is at the heart of our management policies and our corporate conduct. This means that we have implemented a process to integrate social, environmental, ethical, human rights and consumer concerns into our business operations. Our business model is designed to provide our customers with the highest quality products, made entirely in California in a responsible manner.
3. Where would you like to see SōKo in 3 years?
We just launched our SōKO CBD line in Ireland, Scotland, and England so continuing the brand’s vision not just in the U.S. but also globally. Global and nation-wide expansion is our focus for the next 3 years. We are starting to produce the SōKo Cannabis Ball in Miami and Las Vegas and will even host a SōKO Ball in New York City sometime within the next year or so. Our hemp clothing Swimwear line is ready to launch at the upcoming Cannabis Ball in San Diego. Partnering with the right people to advance our vision is pertinent to the success and delivery of our products to the public.
4. What is the best-selling product in SōKo’s lineup?
This is a hard one to answer because the cooking line, chocolates, and vapes are all very popular. Our topical line probably has the most interest due to its medicinal benefits.
5. Ideally, who is the primary target audience for SōKo products? And how have you “tapped” into this ideal audience?
Female millennials to older generation men all appreciate the brand. We are a top-shelf brand which means it is more expensive than others. However, since all of our products are organic and GMO certified, it means that they are more expensive to produce higher-end SōKO products. Our packaging definitely attracts a consumer who appreciates high-class products.
6. What has been SōKo’s primary ally in terms of marketing? Is it lifestyle marketing? Influencer marketing? Word-of-mouth?
All of the above and then some. Social media is incredibly important! Our branding is superior to most, if not all other brands out there so reinforcing visual imagery, throwing events, and giving consumers hands-on and tangible experiences are the best ways for us to market. When you produce a great product, word-of-mouth comes hand-in-hand and then becomes influential marketing. People will actually sell the product for us by telling everyone they know how well SōKO works, tastes and feels! Having relationships with respected companies like WebJoint also helps elevate the brand and reinforces consumer confidence.
We were nominated for Brand of the Year in at the 2018 California Cannabis Awards but didn’t win due to lack of funding to support popular voting. We hope that this year we get another shot at an opportunity for Brand of the Year at the 2019 California Cannabis Awards. SōKo is self-funded so we are going against big brands but hope to have a Cinderella-story ending.
7. The SōKo Fashion Ball appeared to do a great job at mending the gap between fashion and cannabis. Some might even say that the synergy between the two industries was brought to light due to the Fashion Ball. How do you see the synergy between fashion and cannabis developing?
When coming into the cannabis industry, especially as a fashion-forward company we wanted to be different. I was turned off by going to the same cannabis events, with the same people and the same guests… so I started the SōKO Cannabis Ball. By having an event that offers runway fashion, body art, culinary tastings, dance music and an opportunity to put a tux and ball gown on, the SōKO Cannabis Ball aimed to blur typical lines. So many people who have attended and have had amazing, memorable times had no idea that it was a “cannabis event.”
8. What should the public know about why this gap was bridged by SōKo?
This is a good question. People should not be ashamed or criticized by others in society or by government bodies. The benefits of cannabis have not only been suppressed but actively erased from history. Giving people an opportunity to embrace the goodness, the culture, and the health benefits of cannabis is crucial, especially at this point in time. We wanted to show the judgmental people out there that “yes, we can have a fun, classy and sexy event based around cannabis.”
I was ready and prepared to go to jail on the night of our first Cannabis Ball before cannabis legalization. We were doing something that was never done before in the public light. I was confident that we could pull off a show where people came dressed up, took pictures on the red carpet with our runway models, and created an atmosphere of classiness and luxury for all who attended. I wanted to erase the negative stigma of cannabis forever.
9. SōKO sponsored the High Times MJBizCon Party. On Instagram, SōKO promoted the event and brand as the “Gucci of Cannabis.” Can you expand on this?
I wanted to give the cannabis industry a facelift by becoming the “Gucci of Cannabis”. We consider SōKO to be influential, innovative and progressive as we are reinventing a wholly modern approach to the cannabis industry. Born out of a unique collaboration between artists, fashion, and cannabis experts comes SōKO Cannabis Creations. We represent the pinnacle of craftsmanship, unsurpassed quality and attention to detail, further reinforcing SōKo’s position as one of the world’s most desirable cannabis brands.
You can find more on SōKO Cannabis Creations by visiting www.sokocanna.com.