Jouke is a multilingual cannabis enthusiast and hobby grower. With over 10 years of experience he is one of the most introduced people in the cannabis industry with a large network that stretches out to all continents. He works in close collaboration with the first generation cannabis entrepeneurs who have started in the 1970’s and shares his experience and knowledge with many of the 3rd generation of young people who are starting their carreers in this industry nowadays. He has been responsible for numerous bussiness development projects for various cannabis companies. Jouke is likely to be the most creative and experienced Marketing and Branding specialist of the modern cannabis industry.
1. How did you get started in the cannabis space?
Growing my own produce has been a fascination since I was a kid. The fact that with little effort it is possible to grow vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers was rewarding and even felt like a kind of magic. In my teenage years I got into cannabis as a consumer and a grower. Always 5 outdoor plants per season, just for me and to share with friends. I kept doing this every season, including when I moved to my own house and even when I moved abroad to Spain. All this time I grew seeds I was gifted by friends and was not aware of the existence of a cannabis industry.
In 2011 I was working in marketing and sales for a large multinational when I found an advertisement in a newspaper for a big cannabis seed company looking for a chief marketing officer. The description of that job exactly suited me, my professional experience, private interests, languages etc. I could tick all boxes and realised this job was for me and indeed it was! My eyes where opened and I fully understood how it is possible to work very hard without feeling obliged to do so. Being able to combine my passion and my professional experience working in this industry was one of the best things that has happened to me in my life.
2. What did you think about the stigma around cannabis before you started and compared to now?
That it’s stupid and unfair. There are no changes in my views, if anything my understanding of the issue has deepened but my opinion hasn’t changed.
3. Could you tell us a little more about your role in the Seedstockers ? How it all started ?
After working some years in other types of industries and growing privately at home I learned a lot of things in the cannabis industry. The first generation of cannabis entrepeneurs did a lot of great things, driven by their passion, they always have been examples to me. Somewhere around 2015 I realized that a lot things could be done differently and I came up with the idea to start a completely new seed company where I could combine what I learned from the founders of our industry with what I learned in “traditional” bussiness. My goal was to create a fun project, where we could maintain the informal character of the old school companies and their bussiness model based on trust in the people of the cannabis scene. The other pilar of Seedstockers was to be more effective, faster, better organized and more customer oriented. After a couple of years of research I found support for this project and got the chance to open Seedstockers in Barcelona which is without doubt the cannabis capital of the 21st century. It has been hard work but I’m very proud of where we are today, homegrowers around the globe are succesfully growing our genetics which have great results, we do this with a team of young highly motivated people who share a passion for cannabis but also enjoy working in our informal but effective organization.
4. What was the most surprising part of your journey?
I always had people around me who accepted cannabis as a part of society but once I got started in this industry I openly told anyone who wants to hear it what a great business this is. I learned that lots of people are “in the closet” as a cannabis user, medicinal, recreatial or both. Those people do not normally tell anyone and consume privately but when they figure out you work in the cannabis industry they open up and share their stories. Cannabis consumption is normal, just not yet normalized.
As General Manager of Seedstockers, I have been able to discover and coach the young team (the next generation) behind Seedstockers that with effort and passion there is a long professional career to go through in the sector and even more at home. Seedstockers is a seed bank that has grown exponentially in the last 4 years and is now one of the leading cannabis seed banks in the world.
5. What do you know now that you wish you could tell yourself 4 years ago?
To be honest I can’t think of anything, I normally plan ahead and have a clear view of what I want to reach and where I want to be in the future. Generally I am happy with how things are going and have had no big dissapointments or problems which could have been prevented if I would have known more than 4 years ago. Things never go exactly as planned but that’s part of the plan.
6. What advice would you give someone who is thinking of going into cannabis now?
Don’t do it for the money and definitly don’t think it’s easy. Working in this industry is greatly rewarding if you are in it with passion and lots of energy. If you treat cannabis as an anonymous high proft commodity I don’t think you’ll make it on the long term. If you want to be a lazy stoner and get rich without effort then marry a millionaire.
7. And to the readers who read us? What would you say?
Be curious about the cannabis sector, a huge world yet to be discovered by many. If you want to get started in the cannabis space, Seedstockers team will help you, contact us on Whatsapp or email@example.com. And most important, if you want to smoke, grow! it’s the only way of controlling what you consume, it’s fun, sustainable and an opportunity to learn about the plant. On top of that is saves you a bunch of money too!
8. How has COVID19 affected the cannabis sector?
We’ve seen increases of sales generally when lockdowns around the world started. We did some research to this and found that many people realized how depending they where on external suppliers for their cannabis. Without doubt there are more people homegrowing right now then ever before. So covid definitly had a positive impact on our sector. Mostly cannabis related bussinesses are thriving except some of the smaller “neighbourhood” growshops who have been hit unequally by lockdowns, expecially the ones who did not have the possibility to deliver their products to customers because of the rules in their county or becuase they had not online order system set up. We are doing what we can to help those bussinesses survive, we believe they are an important part of our industry and we have trust that most of them will survive in the end.
9. Do you think it is a good time to start a business in the cannabis sector or is the market too saturated?
Our market is definitly crowded, maybe overcrowded in some segments. But, if you can make a difference, do the things better then the competitors or can come with whole new bussiness models it might be possible to conquer your place in this, growing, industry. I strongly believe it will still be decades before the growth of the cannabis market comes to a hold so hard workers with an innovative apporach make a good chance.
10. How can someone contact you? Email? Social media?
Or contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org, they will forward me any messages directed to me.
Thanks, Jouke, best of luck with European legalization!
(This is a sponsored post that Cannabis.net received compensation for publishing)
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