Ben Kaplan: Your award was chosen by Canada's budtenders from around the country. What does that mean to you and what role do the budtenders play in our industry?
Brad Canario: Kolab Project is a brand owned and operated by Auxly Group, a Toronto-based licensed producer that also operates the popular Robinsons’ line. Brad Canario, Brand Director, Kolab Project, talked to Ben Kaplan about his winning the Best Hybrid pre-roll award, as chosen by budtenders across Canada, and the big plans for Kolab Project in the new year.
BK: You won Hybrid pre-roll of the Year, what is it about your pre-roll that's resonating so well?
BC: In a word—quality. Kolab Project pre-rolls are made of high-quality, whole flower and are hand-finished with care for consistency. We never use stems or shake. Special attention is given to preserving the moisture content of our pre-rolls so they’re always fresh for the consumer. This is why we ensure optimal environmental conditions at our pre-roll processing centre and include humidity packs in every shipment so they arrive at stores as fresh as when they left our facility.
BK: Brands are having a tough time connecting, but not you—and pre-rolls are so competitive. How are you breaking through?
BC: Kolab Project is a platform dedicated to supporting and celebrating the connection of cannabis and culture and we know that budtenders play an important role in that—word-of-mouth from these discerning tastemakers separates us from the pack. We’re also a purpose-driven brand open to collaboration. Just a few examples we’re very proud of from 2020: a partnership with the OCAD University for a series of art and design project from the next generation of Canadian artists; collaborations with craft growers like Lotus Cannabis Co. and Safari Flower Co., to bring premium, small-batch cannabis to the market; finally, we’ve partnered with the e-waste recycling leaders at Greentec and more than 100 retailers across Canada to introduce a vape recycling program that accepts vapes from all licensed producers and allows consumers to responsibly dispose of their vapes and cartridges. Today’s consumers are looking for brands that are bigger than just their products.
BK: The legal industry was originally beset by complaints about quality, but budtenders are resonating with your product. How important is quality to your brand?
BC: Kolab Project’s mission is to offer a refined collection of high-quality cannabis products and design-focused, purposeful goods. In addition to pre-rolls, Kolab Project also offers vapes and edibles, which are developed and produced by a team of passionate scientists and researchers at our facility in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Since Day 1 this group has been driven by the guiding principles of quality, safety and efficacy.
BK: We've seen the Cannabis Act pass and Cannabis 2.0 products introduced in our legal marketplace. What's new on your horizon for 2021?
BC: We’re always working on exciting new products, like Cherry Cola Pop, which combines popping candy, milk chocolate and high-quality cannabis distillate—there’s truly nothing like it in the marketplace. We’re also launching Live Terpene cannabis vapes and are just scratching the surface when it comes to collaborating with craft growers. In 2021 we’ll be looking to collaborate also with retailers and find ways to help grow their brands.
BK: What's one random act of kindness that restores your faith in humanity both for this holiday and for the year to come? Who, or what, makes you feel good?
BC: Kolab Project is designed to foster an appreciation for art, culture and design and we’ve been very fortunate to work with some amazing designers who’ve been a huge inspiration to us this year. In the spirit of paying it forward, we encourage kind readers to check out the work of Fran Miller, Tomo Hosogoe of WCROW, Mercury Bureau and IV Studio—brilliant creative teams who motivate us to bring our best to Kolab Project every day.
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