1. What is your company? How did you get started?
- Rowdy Wellness. We're a CBD company based in Atlanta, Georgia and we strive to offer quality, trusted products. Our team includes athletes and artists who are passionate about providing an alternative option to opioids. As athletes, we saw countless situations where talented players got injured and began to use prescribed opioids in order to play through the pain – not knowing the risk that this would lead to a dark road of addiction, and if they're lucky, recovery. As artists, we have lost so many young, talented individuals to heartbreaking overdoses, which maybe could have been avoided.
- I’m also the CEO of Suite 420 Access, a company that provides financing and funding to other minority owned companies in the cannabis space. I got involved with Suite 420 Access after facing many hurdles with Rowdy Wellness and seeing the overall impact of social equity on the black and brown communities.
2. What is/was the hardest obstacle(s) you've had to overcome?
As a cannabis company in the emerging cannabis industry in the South, the hardest obstacle we are still dealing with is social equity. We pride ourselves on being black owned and home grown in Georgia, working to secure a Class II Production License. We have truly started from the ground up and the best advice we can give to any new cannabis company is not to try and accomplish everything on your own – be open to networking and collaborating with other companies to learn and share and find support.
One of the main reasons I accepted the CEO role at Suite 420 Access is because of the challenges we face as a minority owned start up cannabis business. I’m now able to help other entrepreneurs effectively navigate through it all, since I've been in their shoes before.
3. What are near-term (and longer-term) plans for the future of your business?
This is a two-part question, for Rowdy Wellness we want to be THE go to medical cannabis consulting company in Georgia. We do this by having highly educated specialists on our team who can not only register you for the state medical cannabis card, but also provide individualized guidance for each person’s different needs or concerns.
- Our longer-term plans are to bring Rowdy Wellness products back to our stomping grounds at the University of Georgia to give athletes more options for improved recovery and performance. Medical cannabis products for NCAA D1 SEC athletes have the potential to be a game changer and give a competitive edge.
- For Suite 420 Access, we want to support even more minority entrepreneurs in this space, making sure they get a seat at the cannabis table. We do this by being active at industry conferences and events, and connecting with companies about who we are and what we do.
- Our long-term goal is to continue to make a positive impact by creating opportunities for business independence and generational wealth. This, in turn will help minority communities and advocate for social equity issues which is what drives us.
4. Who or what inspires you as an individual or as a company?
Companies created by other athletes and artists inspire us to do what we do. For example, Al Harrington has made major waves in this industry by being brave enough to be a voice for change. Artists like Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa are icons for this industry and beyond by being true to themselves and providing access to quality products.
5. What do you look for in a new partner/company to work with?
- For both companies, we look for a partner that is like-minded – sharing our same goals, mindset and energy. Our team at Rowdy is very big on protecting our brand, so we want to make sure we align ourselves with people that share the same values and beliefs.
- At Suite 420, we want to ensure that we're funding companies with a genuine drive and passion to see their startup through – whatever it takes. It really takes a special kind of person and attitude to grind and turn a business into a successful company, and that is what I want to see and expect from everyone we work with on the Suite 420 Access side.
- In my role at Suite 420 Access, the greatest contribution I hope to make is to help establish minority entrepreneurs for success, by ensuring they have equal access to finance and are able to retain ownership of their businesses. Plus, I’m their biggest supporter whether we're able to help fund a company or not. The more minority companies I see getting started and off the ground in this industry, means I’m getting closer to my overall goals of helping people to thrive.
- For Rowdy Wellness, it’s providing trusted, quality products. Helping to educate and provide solutions or hope for consumers. Staying inspired and inspiring others for the expanding cannabis industry in the South!
7. Can you share an important mistake/misstep you made in the business?
Our team’s mindset is that we show up every day to compete for a winning spot. We're highly motivated and eager to accomplish our goals on both sides of the field (products/selling and financing). One of the biggest things we’ve learned is that even though you may be ready for something to happen, sometimes you just have to wait until the industry is ready for you. Patience, preparation and timing is everything.
8. Can you share something about yourself (yourselves, your business) that many might be surprised to learn?
Not only am I passionate about educating consumers on cannabis and CBD, but I also want to inspire the next generation of leaders by teaching them about alternative medicines and holistic wellness. I want to help young people to look at all perspectives when approaching a business idea. Preparing our youth with the tools they will need to succeed in any opportunity – whether it’s cannabis, finance, science or sports – will help drive the future of business and industry beyond our wildest expectations.
What it Takes is a series of interviews with founders who were brave enough to take the leap, make mistakes, pivot, and keep going. This is What It Takes to be an entrepreneur. If you're a creator who is determined to follow a purpose or push the boundaries, then you’ve signed up to make mistakes, that’s the price of innovation.