This month Hardik Tuteja, Director of Strategic Operations, interviewed Ryan Moran, VP of Operations of Humboldt Legends, now Flower Co. to check in with him 6 months into our relationship.
FLOWER CO. is a members-only cannabis delivery club based in Humboldt, California. They are working with 50+ brands delivering cannabis right to the doorstep with hard-to-beat prices.
HT: Thanks again for taking the time today. To start off, let's talk about software a little bit. You've seen most of the platforms in the industry already switched between a couple of them. When we what were your pains? What were you looking for in software in general?
RM: So when I first met you, I was actually looking to switch platforms. Because we work on a depot-style delivery-based model, the biggest pains were around packing orders. Things like ability to print the individual UID tags to put on each package while building the order. Another large pain was not being able to push over to METRC all the manifest information, so we weren't doing double data entry. It's really important for our business to be efficient and having to do all of our splits and then re-enter all that data into metric was just kind of a.... it would have really hurt us.
HT: Yes especially now. Your orders are often one hundred-plus, even two hundred lines sometimes, so it would have been painful otherwise. Talking about that, because of your unique model and large numbers of order lines, when we started to work together it was a little bumpy. But then, what made you stay? How did we improve? What did it take for us to get you on comfortable, stable level?
RM: To be completely honest with you, what made me stay was the customer service. Initially, you know, there were some gaps on the features I was expecting to get and didn't. But your ability to work with us, working on the issues and prioritizing the stuff that I needed, and delivering it back in a fast, agile way is another big thing that made me stay.
HT: Awesome! Yes, there's a lot of nuances to this industry, as everyone does things their own way and there are so many edge cases. So, yeah, I agree - us working together is what really worked well into building this.
RM: Yeah, I think that's one of the things I discussed with you. And I think maybe [Flourish CEO] Colton too within my first month or so of working with you guys. Your pitch is really good. But yes, especially in this industry, because everyone's operating a little bit differently and everything is so new, I think you have to have the right expectations set. Because if you don't set those, you're going to disappoint your customer.
HT: Totally agreed! So let's talk about Humboldt Legends and Flower Co. When we first met, you were operating as Humboldt Legends, then it was also West of West, and now it's Flower Co. How did this all start, and how is it setup now?
RM: Yes. So actually, when we had met, you came to my old building. I think I pointed out the new building was under construction. So, we moved in here in December and that's when we switched from the McDoestle license to the Prussians Sticks license. We've since merged with Flower Company. Before we just had a contract with them where we were doing fulfillment and menu design, and they were the ancillary tech platform. But we're now combined as one. Humboldt Legends started off as a pre-roll company. Then we were selling flower as well. As you know, being in the industry, there's a million pre-roll companies. So, we're really flexible to continue changing with the times. We actually got Old Pal started, got that going, and then moved on from to start Flower Co., which is a really innovative idea. You can order online. It gets delivered right to your door. And we have the best prices in the state of California. This pretty much guarantee no one sells quality products cheaper than we do. And within the past few months we're having record breaking sales and increasing our deliveries week over a week. It's working, as we're seeing really good growth right now.
HT: Nice, that's awesome and exciting! I know you operate the main base up in Humboldt. Are you setting up any warehouses in SoCal or partnering with other distributors there?
RM: No, our main warehouse is here in Humboldt. That's where we run all of our distribution out of. And we have partner last-mile-delivery hubs that we utilize, but they don't intake any products for us. This just help with the deliveries.
HT: Got it! How about adding brands to your menu? How many do you have and what's the plan moving forward?
RM: Now we've got probably 60 or so brands that we're working with. We're trying to get a lot of high-end brands on there right now. We're also launching a direct consumer project which allows brands to basically set e-commerce on their site to sell directly to their customers. And we're really focusing on craft cannabis right now. Often craft indoor cannabis growers, who usually have like smaller batches. This way we get limited releases right to customers, with only one or two select retailers being able to get that price for flower.
HT: What are you what are you personally focused on right now? I mean, I know there has been some changes. Are you still spending all your time down at the warehouse?
RM: My title is V.P. of Operations. So I'm focused on making sure everything's operating properly. With the corona virus, we cut down some of our team. And then at that time, we also increased our sales volume by 120 percent. So I've spent the last month and a half focused on making sure that as we're doing more sales we are not break our system. I really focus in on that. I run all of the logistics for our production with co-packers for the Old Pal we're still producing. And I run a fair amount of our DTC (Direct to Consumer) program. We just opened up Next Day for L.A., so I spearheaded that. And we're we're moving into delivering across the state of California seven days a week.
HT: Lots of things happening, very exciting and sounds like you're busy!
RM: You know, it's like whoever is still working right now through this whole Corona thing and didn't take time off, is definitely feeling what it's like to work towards that.
HT: So coming back to Flourish. If you had to tell someone, why buy Flourish? What would you tell them?
RM: So, if somebody would ask me why they should transition to flourish, the first thing that I would say would be customer service, because they're probably going to run into some issues. But the fact is that you are responsive within 30 minutes, that I have your direct phone number, and, as I don't hesitate to call you, you always answer. Same thing with the support staff, whether it's through email or not. If I leave the message, in a half hour to an hour, they're asking me the right questions to solve that issue and doing everything they can. And when we are discussing with you the things that we need, you have the ability to give us quick solutions. An example is the dashboard, when you put the SKU's on there. If we have one SKU drop off, we can actually just look right there and see it instead of sifting through hundreds and hundreds of inventory items. Another big thing is your ability to deliver fast. Initially, due to our large orders there was a lag. And you guys really you fixed all that up well. Reporting is another factor, as we are able to automate a lot of the reporting, which saves a lot of time and gives us real time visibility. The biggest thing still is just being able to push our METRC manifests from Flourish to METRC. And that's huge.
HT: Awesome, that's great to hear! Well, this has been so fun. Really appreciate your time and feedback and excited for what's coming next!
Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.