Looking to jump into cannabis or hemp business but don’t want to do farming or don’t have connections with the processors yet? A cannabis broker can help you with that. But before you make those deals, tune in to this episode and learn how to pick the right broker.
Lance Kreck is an Army Green Beret Veteran. Getting out of the military, he decided to go the entrepreneurial route and help parents like him, care for their families.
He works with businesses who want to get into the cannabis or hemp space but don’t want to grow their own plants or don’t have those relationships with the farms, or the processors making the products.
In today’s episode, Lance talks about his transition from the military into a cannapreneur. He also talks about the pitfalls he had growing his company and how to avoid them. If you are new to the industry, he has some tips to avoid getting ripped off by cannabis brokers.
You got to watch out for the brokers that whenever you ask them the hard questions, they don’t know what they’re talking about, or they have to ask their buyer or ask their seller. – Lance Kreck
Some Topics We Discussed Include
03:26 – Lance transition from the army to the cannaboom
13:55 – Coronavirus, a conspiracy?
19:07 – About his podcasts
21:27 – The problems that he solves for businesses
28:49 – The Amazon of hemp
32:22 – The skill sets that gave him an advantage in the space
34:46 – Lance’s advice to avoid pitfalls
38:32 – Marketing Strategy
40:07 – How He’s Vetting the Products That He Carries
People Mentioned / Resources
Connect with Lance Kreck
Hemp 101 Podcast
If I Was President Podcast
Connect with Sonia Gomez
Sonia Gomez: What’s up, guys? Sonia Gomez coming to you from Denver, Colorado on another rock your socks episode of The Hemp Revolution podcast, where we are sharing and telling the real story of cannabis and hemp through the eyes of the entrepreneurs and changemakers who are making things happen in the green rush.
If you are somebody who’s been following me for a while you know that it is my mission to empower you and the world with the truth about cannabis and hemp so that you can make educated, empowered decisions about how you care for yourself, the people that you love conditions you may be suffering from or otherwise just enjoying this beautiful gift of life.
So if you’re someone who’s looking for products that you can depend on to deliver the results you’re looking for, check us out at medicalsecrets.com and if you’re a budding entrepreneur or established business owner hitting brick walls and glass ceilings in this industry. If you’re looking for banking, merchant processing, stabilized supply chain quality products, or ways to compliantly market your business, shoot me an email. I would love to hear more about you, your business and your story. [email protected] is the best place to get me. Can’t wait to find out more about you.
You guys know that I like to bring on the best of the best folks from all different walks of life and all different facets of this industry, and today is no different. We have yet another rockstar entrepreneur in the space. However, this one is a little bit different in the sense that he has been a serviceman and is a respected veteran of our army.
So I’m super excited to hear more about his story and how he transitioned into the space. Lance is an army green beret veteran with various experiences in the hemp industry ranging from wholesales, B2B business, retail extraction, and more. You know that there are about 1000 different ways to be involved. So I’m excited to find out how he is making an impact with his two podcasts and owning a hemp retail store with an online store attached to it. No doubt that he’s creating some pretty massive change.
I’m super excited to hear more about his story. Help me put your hands together and welcome my guest. Lance Kreck.
Lance Kreck: Yes it is.
Sonia Gomez: Yes. Another one for me. What’s up, Lance?
Lance Kreck: Hey, how’s it going?
Sonia Gomez: It’s going really good. I’m so excited to have you on the show. I have done some pretty extensive research into your personal and professional life. Sorry, not sorry. But I’d love to hear straight from the horse’s mouth, who are you? What is your background and how did you end up in the cannabis craze?
Lance’s Transition from the Army to the Cannaboom
Lance Kreck: Okay, all right. So I joined the army in 2006. One year after high school. I did the college thing for a year, decided it wasn’t for me and joined, I raised my right hand and enlisted in the Army. I was in the infantry for four years I was stationed out in Hawaii, that’s how you got the 808 number.
And then I volunteered for the Special Forces assessment and selection program or course, if you will, it’s a three week assessment period that you go there. You do the rocks and the rounds. It’s etc and then they decide whether or not you’re fit to be selected for the training and I was lucky enough to be one of those and so I was a Green Beret for the last seven years of my career down in lovely sunny Florida at Seven Special Forces Group shout outs all those guys still doing their thing down there. Love you guys keep your head up, watch your six.
I got into the hemp space after, I would say failed but a pivoting attempt to go for one of the licenses in Florida after amendment too passed I think back in 2016. We were getting a team together, you know after the ballots, vote everything like that. 72% voted in favor of way to go Florida, but their programs still in shambles. Anyways–
Sonia Gomez: Yeah.
Lance Kreck: The regulation requirements or the license requirements came out and everybody was completely shocked. You had to be completely vertical. You had to Have a farm or a nursery that had been in operation for over 30 years, which very limits, tremendously the little guy to come in. So the barrier to entry was very steep. And so we just decided to kind of pivot to hemp.
Through one of the guys that we’re bringing on to our team, who was doing research. His products had been selected by Israel to do testing his CBD products, etc, etc, you know, human trials, clinical trials, and stuff like that. He’s based out of Colorado, endo-scientific, [unintelligible], a great guy got me started in this. Met him on LinkedIn.
You know, because the last couple of years, whenever I started voting, or after the vote for 2016, in Florida, I was so focused on cannabis, but he was kind of showing me the eyes of CBD and hemp and Cetera. And so well, as you know, the blinders got peeled by him back in 2016. And that’s when we kind of got started.
I wanted to get started into cannabis because I was a brand new father and seeing how the medical community, the medical cannabis community was actually helping out with mostly the grand mal seizures and Alzheimer’s and they were doing really good work for the plant bringing the cannabis plants to the forefront of mainstream society and saying that it’s not the devil, it’s not the devil’s lettuce. It’s not what everybody thinks it is.
And you know, so I was fortunate enough to have a healthy child but I wanted to help out parents who didn’t. And so that’s what got me started in this and then the hemp side, you know, just then understanding about different compounds, different formulations, etc, etc. And how versatile this plant is. Just seeing how regulated cannabis was and then unregulated hemp was that’s why we decided to go from the wholesale side working with Paulie doing trade shows for his brand, and then just opening up a retail store in Eugene, Oregon. And that’s where I’m at today.
Sonia Gomez: Killing it. [laughter] pretty significant transition from sunny beaches of Florida to Eugene, Oregon, just saying.
Lance Kreck: Oh, you have no idea.
Sonia Gomez: I do a little bit because I came from San Diego to Denver.
Lance Kreck: Oh, that’s not too bad though. San Diego, my mom’s originally from San Diego, so I love California. I got a special place in my heart for California. I would be there right now. But if it wasn’t how expensive it was. We decided Eugene because getting out– Let’s see, I decided I was going to get out back in 2016 2017 because I was coming up on the end of my contract. And so I knew that this was the one I wanted to do go to the entrepreneurial route and go into hemp and cannabis and we looked at the West Coast because that’s where it was most sympathetic. This was all free Farm Bill. So you know, hemp was still you know, considered cannabis to pretty much most of the rest of the country.
And so you know, we did my ex-business partner was from Washington, so I didn’t want to go there. California was too expensive. And it takes that huge amounts of time just to get anywhere. You know, I guess it just depends on where you live and so you know, trying to go from city to city and doing the research and you know, demographics and market research, etc., we pretty much just narrowed it down by the state, you know, California is too expensive, the taxes, etc. So we landed in Oregon.
And so we did you know, the markets or market research on you know, Ben’s Albany, Salem, Portland, Eugene Grants Pass, and it came down to what was most beneficial for us, which was Eugene, Oregon. There was a school here. There was the widest demographic here. It wasn’t as big as Portland so you know, the small town living if you will, able to get close to the farmers. The little guys if you will.
Because you get out in the city, you know, city slickers go, to the farms. They’re like, who’s this guy, why is he walking on my farm, etc. So yeah, so, so that’s how we landed up in New York. In Oregon, and you know I plan on using my GI Bill and going back to school here and you know becoming a duck.
Sonia Gomez: [laughter] I love it. Like that threw me for a loop for a second. I was like, wow, that’s ambitious. Do you want to be a duck? I’m not sure yet, but then I click Okay, nevermind.
Lance Kreck: Yeah, the Oregon Ducks. Well, clarify that one for your listeners.
Sonia Gomez: I literally have a blonde moment right now that was like–
Lance Kreck: it’s all good. It’s all good. I’m sure it sounded crazy. You’re like what is this guy talking about?
Sonia Gomez: No. Oh my god. That’s so funny. Okay, I have to ask you and to Just tell me if I can’t even ask this question but I’ve never had a Green Beret on my podcast before and so I just have to ask you about this whole thing cuz I’m like really into this whole Coronavirus conspiracy.
Lance Kreck: Uh-huh.
Sonia Gomez: So I have to ask you, Sham, or should I prepare for Doomsday?
Is Coronavirus part of a Conspiracy?
Lance Kreck: Oh my gosh, I’ve gone through that same thing myself because, you know, going from, I guess for lack of a better term behind the veil, working for Uncle Sam and then going to working on the outside, I guess, being a regular civilian.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, you’re a civilian now.
Lance Kreck: Yeah, you know, we’re kind of exposed to certain things on the Uncle Sam side, you know, DOD and everything like that. You kind of I wouldn’t say, you know, the army is exposed to things that, you know, the normal populace is not it’s just, you know, you kind of got to put two and two together and look at the real, the brass tacks, what’s going on.
You looked at Zika, and, SARS and all that stuff, for somebody, I mean, I’m kind of into some conspiracies here and there, I think 911 was an inside job, but I can say that now because I’m not wearing the uniform anymore. But while I was in that was kind of a taboo, but I still support the troops. Of course, I support the troops. There’s no reason why I wouldn’t.
But the government is corrupt. There’s no level of government that is not– that’s a very broad, you know, terror. statement to make so, I’m sure there are, some good people out there. I would venture to say that there are mostly good people out there. I want to believe that good people are out there.
Sonia Gomez: You have faith in our country.
Lance Kreck: Yeah, there’s so much money to be made in the stock market with– I mean, just look at what the Coronavirus has done right now, you know. You’ve seen the good stocks go up and up and up. Say, a prime example, Tesla. Disney’s gone up Apple has gone up, but Tesla has gone up tremendously and they’re not going anywhere.
So if somebody can manipulate the stock market with a potential outbreak, etc, etc, to benefit certain companies or to benefit themselves because they didn’t get in at the right time. And the “price is too expensive” for them to get in. Because there’s a subscription service that I obviously subscribe to that stock service. And they have buy zones and the stock price gets too high, it’s not worth it. The potential for growth is not what it’s, you know, the analytics says that it’s going to be, so they want to get the most bang for their buck.
So what they can do, if they’re in government is manufacture these stories, if you will and take the stock market and then buy low and then just watch it rise because the stock market will correct. You know, it’s almost– obviously it will because we’ve seen over time that it goes back up here and there after crises because nobody wants to be in a tanked economy, obviously and that’s not what America is about.
America is about staying on top, being on top, and staying on top. And so, we’re where the best economy that we’ve obviously seen in America because that’s just where we’re at at this point in history. It’s not contributing, you know, to one individual, you know, obviously President Donald Trump. People think about how they think about him, etc, etc.
But, you know, it’s just it’s very easy to manipulate the stock market with certain prices. And if the economy’s going really well, and you can get in on multiple buys, if you will then why not take a little hit for the rest of the public because you’re not feeling it, you’re working in government, you have a guaranteed contract, a guaranteed paycheck, medical dental covered. Who cares about the little guy?
They don’t, obviously, and if you don’t see that, then you know– I’m not saying you specifically but all the listeners out there, if you don’t see that, then you’re kind of naive and blind to it because it’s very easy to manipulate the stock market because you see these rise and falls and companies want to make money, but they also want the other companies that are trying to make money to fail and or succeed whether they have a vested interest or not. So, [crosstalk]
Sonia Gomez: Am I gonna die from Coronavirus? Like are they withholding information? Should I not travel, like I literally went to buy rice at Costco.
Lance Kreck: Like well, so with that being said, there’s no reason to mess around with a biological or manufactured, whatever you want to call it, disease because Coronavirus has been around different types of Coronavirus, etc, etc.
So, I mean, you have to take your own precautions for yourself, you know, it’s like I’ve seen a video online, you see this guy riding this bike through a crosswalk, and obviously, the car’s not stopping and he’s just holding his hands up, you know, expecting the car to stop because he’s gonna see him but it’s like, nobody is responsible for your life but yourself.
So I’m taking precautions. I’m not you know, stocking up on water, etc, etc. Because where modern medicine is going and where modern medicine is at today, it’s astounding. You know, the life expectancy of us as humans is increasing based on technology based on modern medicine, etc, etc.
So, I mean, take the precautions that you want. I don’t want to contract anything if I don’t have to. So, staying away from sick people. If you are sick, stay home. But they’re saying that it’s treatable. It’s not treatable. I mean, I don’t want to be the guy that says You know you can or can’t die from it because it’s still very new to a lot of people.
I’ve got kids so I want to keep them safe so I’m not taking any chances if it was just me then I’d be like, well you know it is what it is.
Sonia Gomez: I’m buying ammo and rice [crosstalk]
Lance Kreck: There you go buy ammo that’s good ammo is a good currency to have I would say ammo is more valuable than Bitcoin.
Sonia Gomez: You know, I would have to agree with you. I’m just tripping out about it. And we have kind of conflicting opinion. This is totally off subject but I’m still going there. We have a differing opinion in my house because I’m like stocking up my first aid. So I’m like, we’ve got to get the cannabis edibles. [crosstalk] I going to have some hemp going on up in here. Where’s my hemp seeds at? Like I’m collecting my stuff? And my husband’s like, the fuck are you doing? I’m making backpacks with emergency plans in them right now.
Lance Kreck: Yeah, there you go.
Sonia Gomez: Fully not ready, but I just had to ask like What is the opinion? You know?
Lance Kreck: Well, you know, so I mean, my personal opinion is you can never be too safe, it’s always good to have a plan. You know, that’s one thing that the army instilled in me is always have a plan, you know, so if, if it does start to go south, you know the hell in a handbasket, as we say, you know, it’s always good to be prepared, you know, water, rations, etc. So you can’t be too cautious, you know, within a certain extent.
It’s not like the world is gonna end tomorrow, you know, so, you know, stock up normally, you know, here and there. Buy in bulk of more than what you would or add those things to your list, you know, for this month and whatnot because, you know, if it does start to go haywire pretty soon like you know, people are starting to die on the streets and zombies are starting to pop up you know what I mean? I’m sure you can get to your local grocery store and get what’s left you know, the necessities but if you buy the things that not everybody’s thinking about here and there. Buy extra toothpaste by Extra deodorant. So, you know the normal pleasantries of life. So, you know, once you say the apocalypse does happen, you know, you can still smell good and you know, maintain that some somewhat quality of life you know?
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, look good smell good, and keep that fire in your pocket.
Lance Kreck: Yeah. Because we will bounce back and you know, nobody wants to deal with, you know, smelly homeless guy or you know, something like that.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, totally.
Lance Kreck: You gotta keep your image up even at the end of the world, so I don’t know. But you’re right, I think the stocking up on water and ammo and you got to have the cannabis. You got to have the cannabis. So if you get your seeds and go for a magical butter machine and magical butter can make you any concentrate you want. So that’s what I would recommend.
Sonia Gomez: Hell yeah, I love magic butter machine.
Lance Kreck: And have a power source. Electricity is going to be crucial if the quote-unquote grid goes down. That’s one thing that I would recommend is if you do live out in the country, you know, generators or solar panels if you will, you know, back up batteries, etc. Because we live in an obviously everything is plugged in these days. So, you know, if we, if we have to go without batteries or some sort of form of power, then you know, you might as well have something that you can rely on so you can get a message out or you have loved ones that have certain medical conditions and they need to live on some sort of life support or battery power of some kind.
It’s just those things that normal people I wouldn’t say that you know, I’m any better than anybody else. But you know, we’ve always planned for the worst and hope for the best. So that’s what my advice would be is to plan for the worst hope for the best.
Sonia Gomez: I love it. Okay, so you have to pop– thank you for indulging me by the way.
Lance Kreck: No problem.
Sonia Gomez: I love it. And I’m so into this conversation right now I literally like attend a wine and weed event so that I can just bullshit about this right now. [crosstalk]
Lance Kreck: There you go.
Sonia Gomez: Okay, so but I have to ask you, what are you talk to me about your podcasts What are you jabbering on about? Tell me, it’s like I talk all day. So what do you guys talk about?
Lance Kreck: Um, so it depends on the guests.
Sonia Gomez: What’s the name of your podcast?
Lance Kreck: The podcasts that I have is The Hemp 101 podcast because I’m still relatively new to the cannabis space in the headspace. I’m not an industry expert, by any means, based on my time in the industry, so I’m getting there. I’m pre Farm Bill so you know, I’ve got something on the people that just got in this last year before but /hemp 101 kinds of breaking it down to the listeners about the different experts that we bring on about the history of the hemp, history of cannabis, why it’s illegal, testing, growing, pretty much anything and everything that has to do with hemp and cannabis.
We’re bringing the experts on– to talk about their experiences with whether it’s lobbying, we’ve had Richard Rose on who’s the original Hemp Nut, who got started in the hemp seed side of the house back in, I think the ’90s he said, maybe even the 80s and then there was another podcast.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah. I know Richard Rose. He’s awesome.
Lance Kreck: He is. He’s great. I was just pretty much in receive mode whenever he was on the show. I was listening to everything that he had to say because he’s like, Well, I’m not gonna listen to this kid, but I’m glad that I was fortunate enough to have the conversation with him because he’s one of the original “OGs” that is in the space still.
Unfortunately Jack Herer is no longer with us. That’d be awesome for him to see the legalization of hemp, you know, him fighting the good fight and everybody that got into it early you know, the guys that were doing it underground, and the guys and gals that were doing it underground, you know, before legalization, and then after legalization. Now, you know, they got into it, they took the risk, you know, the entrepreneurial risk the jump leap of faith into the green rush. And you know, those are the ones that are getting it done.
Sonia Gomez: Separate from your podcast, you’re also running a B2B wholesale business and from what I understand you’re making it happen all over town. Talk to me a little bit about your wholesale business what do you really specializing and what problem are you solving the most often for your business, businesses, and clients?
The Problems That He Solves for Businesses
Lance Kreck: So what my quote-unquote claim to fame is, whenever it comes to the B2B side are transparency and integrity. That’s just the army values that have been with me. So with the clients that we do work with, that are looking for the hemp materials, whether it’s CBG, CBD, biomass, the flower material, the biomass, on the stick, hemp flower that’s can be rolled and smoked. So pretty much what we’re doing is we’re selling solving a problem for the businesses that want to get into the cannabis or hemp space that don’t want to grow or don’t have those relationships with those farms, or those processors that are making the products.
So that way, we’re kind of the link between them and the client. And then once we establish that link, we get out of the way. I’m not your typical broker, the brokers that I’ve worked with, you know, getting my start in the hemp space, oh, this guy’s got this, this guy’s got that then you find out it’s not real, then there go three weeks of your life. It’s a fucking shit show out there. It really is.
I’ve pretty much stopped doing the wholesale deals unless they proof up first, you know? So when I say proof up, they’d have to show proof of funds or the money in escrow of, or purchase order. They’re saying, Company A wants to buy product B from so and so, and we’re willing to pay this price. Okay, that enters the negotiation process.
But the people that call around saying, hey, do you know anybody that’s got 500,000 pounds of biomass at this percent, they’re looking to pay this, it’s like, well, let’s get them to the table. And let them work it out before we start doing all the negotiations between them, and kill the deal because I’ve been a part of deals where the brokers want to add a $1 per pound and something like that just to get paid. And then the final price back to the client is like millions of dollars or thousands of dollars more than what they were quoted. And they’re like, Well, no, thanks, you know, go elsewhere.
And it’s like, why are you doing this, you know, you tell them what the exit price is, what they’re paying from the farm or the producer or whoever has the material that’s licensed to the client that’s buying it, you tell them what they’re gonna buy it for. And then you work out a fee agreement as a broker between the buyer and or the seller. So the buyer is comfortable about what they’re getting for their price, and you pay a reasonable price to a broker.
If a broker wants to charge more than 5%, You’re out of your fucking mind. I’ve seen brokers– they gave me a piece of paper just because I asked him a question like, hey, do you know anybody that’s got this and she sent me a fucking email and she’s like, okay, my fee is 30% I said get fucked. See you later. You know.
It really is. It’s a hit or miss out there. Sometimes there are good people out there. What is it green? Green Ventures, I believe. Amber Wilson down in California. She’s doing good work out there. Did a couple of deals with her. It’s not always on the brokers. It’s mostly on the buyers. The buyers, they’re looking for the cheapest price, obviously, they’re trying to do business, right? They’re trying to get the cheapest price for the best product that they can get out there.
Sometimes it’s not going to come from the connections that we have and that’s just life. Working with the companies because CBD is so over-produced right now or was over-produced this year. I would Say overproduce it was just produced in large quantities because a lot of people wanted to get into the industry. It’s just drove the price down. Everybody’s got a product they want to move, so everybody’s trying to undercut here, make a buck there.
It’s an interesting time to be a broker on the B2B side. I don’t even consider myself a broker I just like to make deals. I connect the people I send my fee agreement and they agree to it or not and they make the deal. I get out of the way so that’s what my word of advice to all you brokers out there is get out of the way.
Sonia Gomez: Well, I think a lot of brokers are just like making the transition from the traditional market into this new age market, which allows them to do what they’ve always done which is at a point on every pound. Like if you’re new to the game, that’s the old school ways like Okay, cool. I know the guy. Because at the end of the day cannabis and hemp is all a relationship business.
Lance Kreck: Yup.
Sonia Gomez: And it’s never been any different, right? The guy is growing the pounds. The guy doesn’t want to know anybody else. Right?
Lance Kreck: Yup.
Sonia Gomez: So, the brokers, the pounds, and it’s a race to the bottom, generally, unless you have quality enough product that you can sort of stabilize. And that’s what it is.
Lance Kreck: Exactly. You’re exactly right. Because the guys that know the girls and the guys and gals that are doing the growing, and the labs and stuff like that those are not the ones I’m talking about. Those are the ones that get it because they’re going to add their price on top, but it’s going to be in a fee agreement, it’s going to be transparent. If they’re not, that’s where it’s going. That’s where it should be.
It’s the guys that are coming in, they’re looking for the product from their buyers. The buyers want this, the buyers want that. And then you got to worry about circumvention. It’s like, okay, why–
Sonia Gomez: It’s like a state deal at that point?
Lance Kreck: Yeah, but that’s the thing. It’s like you enter, there’s one party trying to buy something from another party and the people that are involved from there, they may be finished the transaction based on the seller or the buyer. That’s the relationship that that broker has at that point, but it gets to the point where– you got to watch out for the brokers that whenever you ask them the hard questions, they don’t know what they’re talking about, or they have to ask their buyer or ask their seller.
And so those are the ones you kind of got to tread lightly with because A), they probably don’t know what they’re doing. B) they’re probably new to the game and C) there’s probably some shady stuff going on, you just got to know what your exit price is. Because that’s the thing, you know, there’s a deal on the line, why not make the deal whether you lose $1 or lose 50 cents, whatever, and you get paid? If you’re transparent, why not make that deal and get your name out there? You know, why do something that’s going to sacrifice a deal just because you want to make $1 per pound. That’s the thing. Yeah. Work it out with a fee agreement. It’s that simple.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, I totally agree that professionalism definitely has to get elevated up in here because we’re in a lot of cases operating like an old school industry when we’re trying to be the new age of cannabis, and I think keeping somewhat of that grassroots element where everybody can benefit from a transaction happening is good, but there need to be clear and transparent agreements. I totally agree.
Lance Kreck: You’re exactly right. You know, because also, this industry is not getting any younger there are people that are coming into it from big corporate America or the real estate investors or real estate brokers, etc, etc. The people who know what they’re doing so there’s somebody coming in, that wants to come after your job. So if you’re not going to do it, right, somebody’s going to take it. Plain and simple.
There's somebody coming in that wants to come after your job. So if you're not going to do it, right, somebody's going to take it. - Lance Kreck Click To Tweet
Sonia Gomez: Absolutely. Tell me a little bit about the retail store. I’ve seen and heard so many people opening up retail stores and I’m really interested to know about your store, what’s different about you guys? What do you really specialize in and how business
The Amazon of Hemp
Lance Kreck: So the retail store that we have was one of a kind because it was not just CBD. It was a hemp store that sold CBD and hemp textiles. So it’s almost like a hemp trading company if you will. Call it the Amazon of hemp. Jeff Bezos go ahead come after me, I don’t care. We sold clothes, hemp jeans, hemp T-shirts, hemp treats for dogs, hemp CBD, anything hemp, you know, walk in the store, it’s a hemp store.
A lot of companies now are just doing the CBD side, you know, or they’re just doing the hemp side, but that’s the thing. It’s a niche market. It’s not widely known that a lot of people need it yet because it’s still so new to the industry and to mainstream America. So, I’ve had a lot of interest that one it’s, you know, people that want to take it to a franchise level and so it’s something I’m exploring. You know, New York, Florida, Georgia, I think there was one even in South Carolina that wanted to open up a store because it’s unique. It gives them the revenue from the CBD side it also gives them the revenue from the hemp side because [crosstalk]
Sonia Gomez: Yeah 90,000 other ways that hemp is innovating right now.
Lance Kreck: Exactly. And so, I guess the big claim to fame for the store was we reached an agreement with Patagonia because Patagonia just came out with a hemp line. So getting the Patagonia hemp into the store was going to be huge you know, for the textile side because not everybody knows, you know, the hemp brands that are out there, but everybody knows Patagonia if Patagonia has hemp, then we’re going to sell it in the store.
Sonia Gomez: Hell, yeah.
Lance Kreck: Yeah. And so, it’s just the market, the innovation and everything like that the different products that are out there, bath bombs, the creams for the ladies, the serums, day and night serum, etc. You know, just kind of pretty much-providing hemp to the masses that we can.
Sonia Gomez: I love it. That’s so great. And you said that businesses good. That you’re looking at franchising your model. This is an incredible thing to celebrate. What skill sets Did you have that could help you be successful? I mean, let’s be fully honest here for a second. No matter how new the industry is, it’s getting very crowded very fast.
There’s retail stores popping up all over the place all the time. There is people who are doing things that are somewhat uniquely different. I really like your model, because we’re seeing more and more like the trend is moving towards, not necessarily CBD, but answering the question, what else can it do?
So, we’re seeing the construction industry, industrial industry, the fuel industry is going to be interrupted here pretty shortly, I think in the next three to five years. And I’m just curious to know from you, like there’s a lot of entrepreneurs who are listening right now, thinking like How can I apply my current skill sets to make it a benefit whether they want to open their own business or participate in somebody growing somebody else’s brand?
What were your past skill sets outside of the army that gave you the confidence to open a retail store? Do you have a team or a partner that’s helping you with this? Or like, are you a lone ranger?
The Skillsets That Gave Him an Advantage in the Space
Lance Kreck: Oh, I’m a lone wolf all through and through. My prior skill sets, I would say are nothing because I’m self-taught. I did this all myself. You know, Investopedia. I did do a business incubator before I got out. So I did that for a couple of weeks. Bob Foster down in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. You know, got into that program. This was whenever we were going to do the cannabis side.
So, wanting to do the whole entrepreneurial route, kind of getting a passion with you know, Gary Vee. You know, getting that inspiration out there, you know, changing your life, etc, etc. And that’s where I was, you know, I was very naive when it came to this. Ignorant when it came to business, etc, etc. So paying attention to the key players that were out there, then, you know, five years ago, you know, Gary Vaynerchuk, and his hustle video just, you know, self-motivating to want to do this because I didn’t want to work for somebody else whenever I got out of the army, because, you know, I was working for Uncle Sam, I wanted to work for myself. And so it was just a matter of where I wanted to apply that and cannabis was just starting to take a boom and I was like, why not? that’s gonna help so many people. And so that’s where, you know, I decided to focus my efforts. And, you know, once I sink my teeth into something, it’s very, very seldom that I come off it.
Sonia Gomez: Badass, and I was hoping you were gonna say that honestly, because a lot of people ask me like, Oh, well, you know, What school do I need to go to or with this or that or so on so forth, and Like, man, you got to have a couple of things, perseverance, determination, sticktoitiveness and the willingness to learn and if you’re resilient, you can pretty much make it here. That’s not to say, any old Joe off the street is going to be successful, but there’s certainly a way for you to participate and be a part of the movement and create a success story from it, whether you’re working for somebody else’s brand, or starting your own.
What have been some of the challenges for you and start in starting and growing your business? What is like one or two of the top challenges that you face? Or have faced right now in growing your business? Um,
Advice to Avoid Pitfalls
Lance Kreck: Get everything in writing, everything in writing, have a paper trail, you know, you can take people for their word, you know, because you know, people, I’ve had family involved, friends involved and those are the people that screwed me over the most. I had a friend steal equipment from me, I had a friend steal product from me.
So, whenever people start seeing the dollar signs, that’s when people change, so know who you’re getting into bed with. Pay attention to it, have somebody that you can turn to, and have a good lawyer, have somebody that you can bounce those questions off of, where do you go from here, what to do what’s legal, what’s not.
And then just another big challenge was just having that recognition, if you will, that, that brand recognition, just that success story, if you will, to give you credibility in the marketplace because you want to start off small, but every business owner, they don’t want to be small. They want to be the next Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates or just the key players that have, you know, kind of shaped the entrepreneurial mindset and framework.
Sonia Gomez: The Steve Jobs and the Jeff Bezos. [crosstalk]
Lance Kreck: Yeah. So, I mean, you just got it you I mean, it’s gonna take time and that’s the biggest thing is is the time factor, you know, because I was very impatient guy whenever I first you know, started doing this, I was like, Okay, this, this is going to happen, then, you know, I have a meeting on Thursday, and Okay, what am I gonna do from now till Thursday?
And then it’s just okay you want it now, you want it now. And I’m a millennial, you know, so be it people can say that what they will about me I don’t care. But you know, it’s just the patience factor. That’s been one of the biggest challenges by far is just, these things take time. Like, I’m not where I’m at today based on overnight success, it takes time. It takes relationship building, it takes that drive and it takes, you know, like you said constantly learning because if you’re not learning, you’re not getting smarter, somebody else’s. And they’re like I said with the broker thing, somebody else is going to take your job. Or you’re going to become irrelevant in the marketplace, you have to innovate, you have to stay relevant or you’re going to become obsolete.
Sonia Gomez: Such important advice I talk about this all the time, like, what are the key brand differentiators? And how are you marketing to get in front of your consumer? These are like, I won’t even work with people who don’t have a marketing budget built-in. They’re like, well, we’re gonna just build the product, and then we’ll go out and sell it. I’m like, No, no, no, you gotta have like a much more significant plan on how you’re going to move and sell products.
Lance Kreck: Oh yeah.
Sonia Gomez: What you might invest in the first three months, six months, it may not produce anything, you may be a duck totally out of the water, no pun intended. But you may be a duck out of the water, not knowing how to effectively market whereas other folks are working the hardest on their marketing so that they can effectively reach their consumer. It’s so important.
I see so many phones creating the challenge of trying to get distribution. Distribution they want to be placed into retail. But that doesn’t always mean that you’re making sales.
Lance Kreck: Exactly.
Sonia Gomez: It’s such so important I cannot emphasize it enough to have proper marketing in the [crosstalk] So how are you guys marketing your business and your brand?
Lance Kreck: Most of it is social media and word of mouth, honestly, because there are so many different things that I’m doing, marketing specifically because we’re mostly about marketing other people’s brands, you know, where the location that people bring their stuff to get sold. You know, so we personally don’t have a brand of product because there are the forces that be just where the industry is going, you know, trying to find the right person that sells the right oil that can make the right product, etc, etc.
Sonia Gomez: But the brand of your store is the brand.
Lance Kreck: True, Yes, true, but like you know, we don’t have a specific product like a tincture or t-shirts, something like that. We put our logos on the hem t-shirts, etc. But it’s not like an actual brand, but to brand our store is just is more of an education side through social media, you know, the benefits of hemp. Providing that value with the products that we, that I sell Sorry, I keep saying we, that I sell.
There’s good, bad and ugly out there, there really is, you know, the consumer has to be aware of what they’re putting in their body, what the product is what it isn’t. And I try and do that for them because I try and do the screening I get down to the core of what the brand is before they get into the store. Do they sell the right product? Do they do it for the right reasons? What’s their story? So I make sure that the brand that’s coming into my store is the right brand that I want to be associated with. And that’s another form of branding is just you know, Association, who you’re associated with.
Sonia Gomez: What are some of the things as a retailer and this is going to be super valuable for so many people listening in right now. What are some of the key things that you look for? Like, what makes you pick one brand over the other?
Lance Kreck: Hmm? Well, the quality of the product if their test results actually provide what is really in there, if it’s an isolated product versus a full-spectrum product, but it’s mostly about the story, who they are because people do business with people, you know, they don’t just do it with products, you know, they do it based on emotions, you know, whether you have brand loyalty or not people do business with people.
And so that’s what I try and do as well. I try and, you know, have that relationship with that brand, you know, talk to the right person, because if the owner reaches out to me with their product, and the owner delivers their store to me, in the store, then I’m going to do business with them. If it’s a rep if it’s this, you know, I’m gonna put them to the kind of on the back room, but that’s one thing that I look for is the story if they’re doing it for the right reasons, if they have a cause that they can get behind, if they donate to their own program. You know if it’s a nonprofit, etc, but mostly about, you know, the products.
You have to be careful out there because there’s, you know, for all the listeners, there’s something called White labeling or private labeling. So what these brands do is they will buy products that are already made and slap their label on it, so it’s not really theirs. So that’s something that I look at as well. If it’s a white-label or private label, I don’t sell it. If they make the oil themselves, then I look at it even closer. So that’s one key thing that I look at because, you know, everybody’s trying to make a buck these days.
And that’s a service that I think the CBD industry should stop offering is the white labeling because so many people are saturating the market like you said, and so to get back to the real brass tacks here, we need to get the key players that are in there making the oil getting, their story out getting their brand out, etc.
We need to keep them here and get the quote-unquote fake guys just trying to you know, come in and make a buck not saying anything against capitalism because I’m all about free market love it. You know, because I’m here to I’m trying to make a buck But you know, that’s one thing that I look for is if it’s an actual manufacturer product from that brand and not a white label product.
Sonia Gomez: So interesting. I know a lot of companies who work with a base of a product and then customize the formulation from there because frankly, there are not too many things that are different from one CBD oil to the next. It’s all very similar carrier oils like there’s not too much that’s new. But there are ways to make it unique.
And so that’s definitely an area that I agree with you is like, how can we take something– there are very few new things in life. And you always have to be looking at like how can you take something that’s already in existence and make it better? And so I would have to agree with you there. I like how you’re supporting the artisan craft, medicine maker. Even if they can operate at scale, there’s something really unique about somebody Who understands formulation and really takes their time?
Lance Kreck: Oh yeah, because they’re doing it for the right reasons you know the people that just slap slap it on a bottle you know it’s because they’re trying to make $1 and I’m not okay with that, you know because I got into this for the right reasons that are all I’m gonna fight for the people that are doing the same.
Sonia Gomez: Incredible love it. I’m sure this is not the first time you would hear this but there’s definitely a fighter in you that it’s super like it’s kind of intoxicating, like to hear and feel and see your passion and you’re coming from a completely other side of the spectrum like generally, people in the military are not cannabis consumers. They’re like cannabis-friendly, kind of, but they’re more like who raw Here we go, and super patriotic and a lot of sense that some veterans are not so much after seeing and being involved. But, you know, most folks like yourself with your background have a very patriotic you know, Sorry, I got tongue twisted there. patriartic. It’s that the right word?
Lance Kreck: Patriotic. [crosstalk] I’m a patriot Damn it.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah. I am too. I am too. I think we look and sound like idiots if you’re just like, like America’s blah blah blah. I’m like, um.
Lance Kreck: Yeah. It’s easy to do that. No, I hear you because, you know, working with different cultures in different countries across the globe, I’ve done Presidential Security detail for President Obama and in Peru. I’ve worked in Colombia with DEA, I’ve worked in Texas, did some training with DA in Texas. And then obviously, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. And then, I was born in Germany to a military family. So I’m very open to different cultures. You know, I’m not the closed-minded, typical American, that, I wouldn’t say typical, because it’s a very judgmental thing to say, but, you know, I guess, summing everybody up in the millennial stereotype is we’re, they’re very closed-minded.
Anyways, when it comes to the culture and everything like that you have to be sympathetic to that kind of thing. And so you understand outside of what just America is and that’s very few and far between these days, I would venture to say, but it’s very easy for other people outside of our country to see that based on social media, the ignorance that people post. It’s very hit or miss. People are doing the right thing, but that’s the thing is, you know, that’s the double-edged sword that is social media is people can literally post anything.
And then people from around the globe see the dumb things, quote, unquote, the dumb things that you know, Americans do. And I, you know, I’m thinking to myself, you know, I’ll put a, you know, dumb things up there, here and there, but you know, we’re all human.
And that’s the thing you know, is you can label us as Americans. We can label you as the Germans or Japanese or whatever, we’re still humans at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter just where we’re located geographically or the color skin that we were born with, or the point in time that we were born like millennial, baby boomer, etc, like, fuck you like seriously, it’s just a label. Get over yourself like seriously just deal with the people. That’s pretty much what it is when you get down to brass tacks, deal with the person respect them, they’ll respect you, and then we can move forward as a society.
Sonia Gomez: Yeah, I love it. And that’s one of the things I love about the cannabis and hemp industry is that we’re somewhat self-regulated right now. And we can hold each other accountable for the way that we do this business and how we do business together. And so I’m super excited to be a part of this. And I’m really excited to get to know you and to follow along with the success that you’re having there and your story.
I’m excited to share your podcast as well with our listeners, you’ve been able to make a pretty significant impact here. So super excited to be able to share that with you. What’s next for you, and where can people find you if they’re looking if they want to know more about you, your story, or your store.
Lance Kreck: Um, so the story is still kind of new getting out this one thing that I’ve kind of. I don’t like to toot my own horn when it comes to that side of the house, but I’ve thought about writing a book. Just my experiences, etc to get that message out there because there’s a lot of people out like me because obviously, the war is still going on. We’re going on 19 years, right? It still blows my mind.
So, hold on, let me go off on a little quick tangent right there right here. President Trump or Bernie Sanders, whoever the fuck is the next president and the war already? Okay, I digress. [crosstalk] we need to bring it we need to bring them home. We seriously do. We need to be done with that war. We need to be done over there for whatever reason, we are over there, whether it’s oil, etc. I don’t care, you know, just be done with it because people are suffering. families are suffering and they don’t need to.
Anyway, I digress. So if they want to check out the store if they want to check out some really good quality CBD products were the only kind that I sell on the store because I’ve done my research. I know those brands personally, check out HippieHemp.co that’s just like hippiehemp.com minus the m. You can check us out on Instagram, @hippiehempLLC. You can also check out the podcast Hemp 101 Podcast on Instagram, that’s a relatively new account.
And then also, you can check out the hemp one on one podcast on Apple podcast, Spotify.
Also, anchor.fm is the site that hosts it and we’re trying to get it out to you know, as many people as possible. And there’s also another podcast that I started years ago. It’s called If I Was President Podcast, you know, just kind of getting the guests on and asking them the question about what they would do if they were president. You know, because everybody wants to be president, you know, and then probably most likely, you know, the stats are against them that they won’t you know, I’m not gonna be president and you And obviously.
So you know, it’s a fun little podcast I do on the side of political podcasts. You know, you could check out if I was President 2020 on anchor, Spotify or Apple podcasts, and then you could also just, you know, reach out to the hippie app store or send an email, through the podcast, help one on one [email protected] And you can reach me personally, I don’t have a staff I don’t have, you know, people, you have to go through set up appointments, you’ll reach me personally, and we’ll, we’ll get on the phone.
Sonia Gomez: Amazing. Well, thank you so much for your incredible sacrifice and service to this amazing country. And for all of the incredible work that you’re doing in your community, and I’m super excited to follow your story. I think you gave some really good value and advice for folks who are listening in and for the end, so I’m just super grateful to you. Thank you so much for your time today. And for those of you guys who are listening in all of the social media handles, posts websites, so that you can follow what’s happening with Lance are going to be listed around this episode along with the transcriptions and all of them mentionable from today’s episode, and I’m just so grateful to every single one of you guys for liking and sharing content just like this because you like and share content, and have been tagging five people, we’ve been able to impact over 200 million people’s lives around the world in the last three years. And the number grows daily. We are quite literally transforming the way that we think about and talk about cannabis and our families and communities. And for you, I am so grateful. For those of you guys who are looking for products that you can depend on Check us out at medical secrets calm, and if you’re a budding entrepreneur looking to solve some of the industry’s significant problems for your business, or just want to share your story. shoot me an email at Sonya at medical secrets calm. I’m your hostess with the mostess Gomez, and this is the Hamp revolution. We’ll see you on our next show, guys.
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