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A YEAR OF NEWS

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”
Tony Robbins

 

By Adam Reed
Harvest time at Shadowbox Farms means all hands on deck. Working in marketing, I rarely get the opportunity to get my hands dirty and learn what it is we actually do to grow the product I see on dispensary shelves. I spend my days behind a computer brainstorming on how to package our flower, working with the OLCC, or working on the next marketing campaign. It’s easy to forget that at the end of the day, everyone at Shadowbox is a farmer. 

The entire team got together this fall during our harvest in Williams, Oregon. The trees were showing off their rich fall colors on the drive down to our farm in the Siskiyou mountains. It felt good to get back to the “roots” of our company at the crown jewel in Southern Oregon. We celebrated working together as a team (with two locations, we try to take advantage of getting to see each other) and bringing in the year’s harvest. It’s energizing being around our team; our Shadowbox “tribe” is truly what sets us apart. 

Being around this energy always gets me excited for the next project, but first, let's review what Shadowbox Farms was up to this year, while we imagine where we will be in 2028.

NATIONAL COVERAGE


Building a Solid Foundation for Your Cannabis Brand Is Step One to Success
By Tim Winner
The Green Entrepreneur
Image Credit: Heath Korvola Getty Images

The cannabis industry has evolved since legalization, but old habits die hard. The industry’s anti-corporate mentality, which stems from years spent operating in an illegal market, is still pervasive -- and it’s easy to see why. After all, before legalization, profits were high, and cannabis companies could afford to make some mistakes as they operated, without the business structures and discipline required to succeed in other industries.  For several years after legalization, cannabis operations could still function with this attitude and without business fundamentals in place.

Over the last few years, however, a reckoning in the form of overproduction has plagued the legal cannabis markets in Oregon, Washington and California. With so many cannabis products available today, prices are dropping to all-time lows. Competition to remain profitable has grown fierce.

In this environment, those who neglect to build their brand beyond a logo and website will not carve out a niche that resonates with loyal customers. Just as you cannot build a house without a foundation, you cannot build a successful cannabis company in today’s market without first laying the groundwork for the brand.

A strong brand can guide your decisions about what products or services to offer, your packaging and marketing, and your interactions with business partners and customers. It helps you avoid costly mistakes by streamlining the decision-making process in every area of your business. Here’s how to start:

Establish Your Mission
Why are you in the business, aside from making a profit? Your brand’s mission is its purpose. It should be lofty and speak to a higher calling. At my own company, Shadowbox Farms, we uncovered this by discussing what we valued as a collective team. After many hard discussions, we established that our company exists to offer sustainable, high-quality cannabis and act as stewards of Oregon’s growing cannabis industry. Our mission gives purpose to our day-to-day activities and unites our staff and customers behind a common cause that is uniquely our own.

Add weight with values.
Give muscle to your mission by defining company values to reflect your business philosophy and the culture you work to create. Dig deep with your leadership and staff to found your values in the ways of doing business that set your company apart from competitors.

For example, one of the core values that our team identified is our desire to fight the stigma around cannabis use. With this value in place, we can realize our mission of acting as stewards of the cannabis industry through education and awareness about the positive aspects of cannabis use. It can be incorporated into the company’s DNA, and enacted consistently in every marketing effort and customer interaction. We incorporated ours into physical totems that fit out brand --- in our case, wooden wall hangings -- that remind employees every day of the values we strive to accomplish as a company.

Lay out the future with a vision statement.
Think about where you want your company to be in 10 or 15 years. What will persuade customers to be a part of that journey? This is your ultimate goal, and it should tell your customers a story that will keep them coming back again and again.

Tie everything together with a brand promise.
Draw from your mission, values and vision to position your cannabis product or service in a way that makes it truly desirable. Your brand promise should encompass the benefits of choosing your company and the experience that your customers can expect every time they choose you. A strong brand promise rolled out company-wide will spur new product development and guide your company’s operating and marketing decisions.

At Shadowbox Farms, once we had our brand promise established, we could more easily make decisions about the new products we pursued. We were able to launch five new SKUs in just three months because we could make more meaningful decisions about the products we launched.

Easy enough?  Not really -- that's why many companies fail to establish a strong brand foundation if they even take the time to consider doing the work required to build one. The payoff, however, can be significant. The process itself will help your company evolve and hold you accountable to your customers and business goals. You’ll gain a true north to guide you as you build strong customer relationships that sustain your business in good times and bad.
 

To the Phylos Galaxy, and Beyond: Shadowbox Farms Reaches for the Stars
By Matthew Criscione
Dope Magazine

Shadowbox Farms – Oregon

We recently had a great sit down with one of the past DOPE Cup winners, Shadowbox Farms, (Best Outdoor/Greenhouse Grow 2016) to see how they’re continuing their success. Their Head of Marketing, Tim, told me that their “Founder, Dani Jurmann, has over a decade of experience growing cannabis,” and was previously involved in the film industry and sustainable bamboo architecture. He wanted to “bring his experience, innovation and passion to the recreational market,” culminating in Shadowbox Farms’ birth in 2015. The name “Shadowbox” refers to their intention of “bringing the industry out of the proverbial shadows.”

Shadowbox’s philosophy, as Tim explains it, combines “post-prohibition innovation and old school craft to bring a boutique product to the mass market.” They take their genetics seriously, and their tightly-knit, diverse team is united by their love for growing. Tim believes that, much like the tech world, the only way to see real success in the cannabis industry—at least, in regards to farming—is to openly share information and growing practices. He wowed me with his production lineup for 2018: Valley Fire, Grafford Kush, Cherry AF, Blue Dream, Orangina #51…and the list goes on. Grafford Kush, one of Tim’s favorites, is named after their Compliance Manager, Dan Grafford. “This kush soothes and relaxes the body,” says Tim, “while energizing and uplifting the mind.”

The future looks bright for Shadowbox. Tim states that their plans “are to further the post-prohibition cannabis conversation by creating an online presence dedicated to storytelling and education, becoming fully Phylos-Certified (do yourself a favor and google ‘Phylos Galaxy’) and a skunkworks project we hope to release early next year.” The Phylos Galaxy is like the Human Genome Project of weed, physically mapping out relationships between cannabis strains across the globe. “Shadowbox Farms has a lot of dreams and ambitions,” Tim emphasizes, “but most of it boils down to . . . [eliminating] the stigma associated with cannabis, and we want to operate a world-class farm.”

SPEAKING EVENTS

Tim Winner spoke at the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) 

Strategic Partnership: You're Brilliant, But You Can't Do It Alone

NEWS IN OREGON


Viewpoint: Oregon’s investment in cannabis should equal that of wine, beer and spirits
Portland Business Journal
It’s time for the state government and legislature to step up their dedication to the cannabis industry beyond protecting its legality

For cannabis business, yields are growing but society is struggling to keep up
KTVL - Medford, Oregon News 10
Georgia Lawson - Friday, October 26th


WILLIAMS, Ore. — This time of year cannabis businesses are busy getting their product ready for sale. Shadowbox Farm says that while their yields are growing, society is struggle to keep up. Even a smokey summer couldn't jeopardize harvest season for cannabis in the rogue valley - which makes up some of the highest demand product on the market.

Now business is booming.

But some farmers tell me problems remain - most notably the assumption that cannabis farming, despite being legal, is different than other businesses including wineries and breweries. "This isn't just a bunch of stoners. We're farmers. We're business people. And we care deeply about our plants. We care deeply about the environment in which we operate," says Tim Winner, President of Shadowbox Farms. Winner says that there are still misconceptions about the industry, and that translates into real impediments. For example, the lack of banks willing to work with cannabis businesses due to added administrative burdens.

Winner says that probably won't change soon, but he hopes that progress continues to be made into next the harvest year.

Largest Cannabis-Related Businesses in Oregon
Portland Business Journal
Ranked by Oregon employees

Information was obtained from firm representatives through questionnaires and could not be independently verified by the Portland Business Journal. In case of ties, companies are listed alphabetically. 

779: Combined Oregon employment at firms that responded to the survey for The List
1,038: Combined total employment at firms that responded to the survey for The List
81.6%: Average share of 2017 sales that was business-to-business at firms on The List
18.4%: Average share of 2017 sales that was retail at firms on The List

OLCC ADDS NEW RULE FOR HARVESTING CANNABIS
KDVR - News 12 Medford, Oregon
By: Leah Thompson - October 26th

The OLCC is making growing cannabis more rigorous. They now require cannabis farms to notify them when they are harvesting the plant. The OLCC or the Oregon Liquor Control Commissioners can also drop by the farm whenever they like.
Tim Winner, the President of Shadowbox Farms, says "It's very important to me when I came on that we treated this like a legitimate business. It's very important to me and to the whole company that we view the OLCC as a partner and not as an adversary."

Ryan Christy, the Director of Operations at Shadowbox Farms, says "The regulations are in place are put there for a good reason you know it's intended to keep us on the up and up we all want to operate within the legal perimeter and see cannabis elevated in its position."

Shadowbox Farms does everything right here on the farm. From growing it, drying it and packing it.

Ryan Christy says "We would all love to see federal legalization and the path to that is through excellent regulation and make sure that everyone is comfortable with the way that it's being managed."

The OLCC is also very new to cannabis. They normally focus just on alcohol.
Tim Winner says "We try to help them and I think the changes that they made and it's been a learning curve for them too you know the voters voted for it and it was kind of dumped on their lap and now we are all trying to figure it out."
Being so new a lot of aspects of growing cannabis is still unknown. It is constantly growing and changing. Ryan Christy says "If they don't know an answer they will find out for us."

Shadowbox Farms says it has a great crop this season and is still working to get it all harvested.
 

WE HAVE BEEN FEATURED IN LEAFLY


Opinion: It’s Past Time to Stop the Sexualization of Cannabis
Leafly
By: Jessica Ginet - May 12th

Jessica Ginet works at Shadowbox Farms, one of Oregon’s largest adult-use cannabis cultivators, and grows medical cannabis on her own land. She lives, works, and writes in herbaceous southern Oregon. Jessica seeks to remove stereotypes and reveal a more accurate depiction of who consumes cannabis and why.

Leafly welcomes op-ed contributions from industry and political leaders on a range of topics related to cannabis.

Old-time cigarette ads bring to mind a different time and place, a Mad Men-style era when sexism was on display in everyday life and played a prevalent part in advertising. These gems from Tipalet Cigarettes are a case in point: “Give her your Tipalet and watch her smoke,” one says. Another: “Blow in her face and she’ll follow you anywhere.”

Such misogynistic advertising might seem straight out of midcentury America, but when you compare it to present-day cannabis marketing efforts, it’s not clear that much has changed. Consider these recent examples put out by Advanced Nutrients:
  • Trade show booths featuring nearly naked women wearing shirts with the tagline “Size Matters”
  • A nonionic surfactant formula called Wet Betty advertised with a barely dressed woman and the phrase “Plant Penetrator”
Need more evidence? Stop by a smoke shop and survey the advertisements for rolling papers, blunt wraps, other accessories. You’re almost certain to find advertising for these products featuring sexualized photos of women.

The old adage “sex sells” is alive and well in cannabis marketing. These ads make it seem that there are only two demographics of cannabis consumer: Stereotypical stoner guys and 20-something women with big boobs, scant clothing, and an appetite to party.

The truth is that women play an important role in the industry and are a key customer demographic. A survey by Marijuana Business Daily found that about 25% of all cannabis businesses are founded by women and that women hold 26.9% of executive positions in the cannabis industry. On the consumer side, 7% of women in the US regularly consume cannabis, according to a 2016 Gallup poll, compared to 12% of men.

Any good cannabis company should have plenty of other things to brag about, whether it’s the quality of their product, a unique experience or health benefit, their grower’s pedigree, or the heritage of their strains. By instead falling back on misogynist portrayals of women, these businesses cheapen the entire industry. In the eyes of the mainstream consumer, they reduce thousands of promising products down to a single message focused on sex.

Movements like #TimesUp and #MeToo have swept other industries, including politics and entertainment, initiating waves of change. Cannabis must make the same evolution. To do this, our industry must move beyond hypersexualized images of women and instead focus on the impact that women have as customers, entrepreneurs, wellness advocates, and industry leaders. It’s high time for integrity and thought in cannabis marketing.

On the political stage, states are continuing to legalize cannabis, and the emerging legal industry is seeking federal validation. Key to federal acceptance is improving the mainstream perception of cannabis, which is hampered by sexualized marketing that brings to mind the underground cannabis market. This imagery affirms preconceived notions of cannabis as a party drug used by those who flout the law.

Marketing plays a key role in how the wider public perceives the industry, and cannabis is much more than how it is currently advertised. Let’s promote cannabis products with accurate descriptions of their features and benefits rather than sexualized images of one-dimensional women.

Our industry has the opportunity to be progressive and go beyond clichés by doing away with images of women posing provocatively with bags of bud. Let’s promote cannabis as a plant for the people—the sick, the elderly, the healthy—and a miracle plant that is carefully cultivated, lovingly cured, and appreciatively consumed.

Vacation-Friendly Cannabis Edibles for Your Visit to Oregon
Leafly
Article on Shadowbox Farms by: Katherine Losoya - July 6th

If you’re visiting Oregon to enjoy the region’s natural wonders or cultural trappings and want to enhance your stay with a little cannabis, an infused treat is an excellent choice. Oregon’s adult-use edibles are affordable, frequently low-dose, and offer the special-occasion highs that great travel stories are made of.

We compiled this list of Oregon’s most travel-friendly edibles to pair with your stop-through. Be sure to start small, keep what you buy in-state, and take a Lyft if you’ve imbibed.

Friendly advice: If you’re new to edibles, we recommend a 1:1 CBD-THC ratio. The cannabinoid CBD has been observed to ameliorate anxiety-related side effects of THC. With an equal dosage of CBD and THC, a calming, manageable experience is a more likely outcome.

Sunny Spray by OM Remedies

(Courtesy of Om Edibles)
A full-plant, RSO-derived oral-spray tincture with a fresh, minty flavor.
124mg THC, 141mg CBD per 0.5 fl oz bottle || $40+tax

Find It Here: Urban Farmacy, RKO, and elsewhere

OM Remedies Sunny Spray is the single edible I’d recommend to absolutely anyone—both regular cannabis consumers and newcomers alike. It’s a fast-acting, 1:1 CBD-THC-ratio oral spray with a minty, mouthwash flavor that reliably improves your sense of well-being, boosting mood and encouraging physical rejuvenation in equal measures without forcing a standardized dosage.

One pump of the nozzle dispenses 1mg of both THC and CBD, making it simple to find your personal sweet spot (five sprays is recommended for most). The full-plant, RSO-derived tincture delivers an experience that’s more akin to smoking cannabis than distillate-based products, and is quickly absorbed through tissues in the mouth to deliver effects in minutes rather than hours.

Sold in a stashable 0.5 fl oz bottle, Sunny Spray is an ideal travel companion. A few spritzes will ease your passenger-seat blues on long road trips, as well as relieve the aches and bruises incurred during that seasonal 10-mile hike you meant to start training for months ago.

Chili Lime Almonds by Hunny Bear

(Courtesy of Hunny Bear’s)
Almonds are a great source of protein. And THC.
1.3mg THC per almond, 21mg THC per container || $7+tax

Find Them Here: Kaleafa, Home Grown Apothecary, and elsewhere

Cookies and candies and futurist marijuana-infused drinks all have their time and place. But sometimes edibles need to perform as, well, food. (That is, food with nutritional value that isn’t sequestered to the slim, sugary triangle at the top of the food pyramid.)

Enter Hunny Bear’s infused almonds, a hiker’s best friend sold in packs of 16 spiced nuts and in familiar flavors like Chili Lime and Cajun. These are great for when your body needs real fuel and you also want to stimulate your endocannabinoid system.

Added bonus: Hunny Bear’s almonds are just about as discreet as you can get out on the trail—no visual metaphors for consumption here!—and they make great gifts for your vegan and paleo hosts.

Balancing 1:1 Peppermints by Mr. Moxey’s Mints

(Courtesy of Mr. Moxey’s Mints)
Microdose servings of THC and CBD in the easy form factor of a mint.
5mg THC and 5mg CBD per mint, 50mg THC and 50mg CBD per pack || Assorted flavors and cannabinoid ratios || $20-30+tax

Find Them Here: Home Grown Apothecary, Local Leaf, and elsewhere

Perhaps the most shelf-stable and therefore travel-worthy of all the edibles we’ve chosen for your holiday, Mr. Moxey’s Mints are low-dose breath fresheners that come in various flavors like cinnamon and peppermint—flavors that are intended to steer the impact of these distillate-derived mints.

We opted for Balancing 1:1 Peppermints, as an even ratio of THC and CBD has been observed to produce anxiolytic effects, which seems appropriate for travel. After all, navigating unfamiliar places can be a little hair-raising when things don’t go as planned (they never do). So it seems to follow that anything to soothe your nerves in stressful moments will help you bounce back to your cheerful self and enjoy your vacation, hiccups and all.

THC Capsules by Shadowbox Farms

(Courtesy of Shadowbox Farms)
Low-dose, vegan-friendly cannabis-oil pills.
5mg THC per capsule, 100mg THC per bottle || 20 caps per bottle || $28+tax

Find Them Here: The New Amsterdam, Mother Earth Medicines, and elsewhere

A pill is a comfortable cultural metaphor for wellness and traditional medicine, so if cannabis products are new to you and perhaps a little scary, there’s no shame in starting with what you know. Shadowbox Farms’ THC Capsules deliver vegan-friendly 5mg of THC with all the tech requirements of a glass of water.

These look nearly identical to fish oil supplements or any number of gel-capped medications, which means if you’re concerned about stealth for reasons that aren’t leaving the state of Oregon (that would be illegal, friends), these canna caps might be your best bet. While edibles have always been a friend to discretion, capsules are foolproof camouflage.

Peanut Butter Cannabis Cookie by Forty to Five

(Courtesy of Forty to Five)
Low-cost canna cookies in assorted flavors.
50mg THC per cookie || $9+tax

Find It Here: Tru Cannabis, Nectar, Bloom, and elsewhere

Following the present cannabis surplus in Oregon, the edibles market is seeing a price correction that could prove to be significant, and there’s no better way to feel your $9 perform like last year’s $35 than with Forty to Five’s Peanut Butter Cannabis Cookie. The potency in this product is undeniable—casual consumers should be able to comfortably derive a week’s worth of sound sleep from a single cookie.

In all seriousness, these are diminutive-yet-powerful stowaways fit for any vacation, and exactly what you’ll want when you’ve got a down night and plan to take a deeper dip into the edibles experience. For regular consumers, half a cookie is a noteworthy psychedelic journey that will make you appreciate just how far your money can go these days in Oregon.
 
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