Interview between Brett Fink, Managing Director at Greater, and Alice Moon
Brett: We’re excited to have one of our favorite people with us for our Q&A, Alice Moon, cannabis entrepreneur, media specialist, PR pro.
Alice, obviously I know a ton of your background, but I want our readers to get a glimpse into how you got where you are today.
What’s your story?
Alice: I grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana. I dropped out of high school and moved to Los Angeles a few years later in 2010. I always tell people I went to school at Google. Everything I needed to learn I googled. Finding information is easier than ever these days.
I started my cannabis career in 2011 working as a trimmer, then moved onto being a budtender. I was making jewelry at the time and the owner of the dispensary said that if I could make something that would appeal to our customer, I could sell it there. The first entrepreneurial endeavor I had was born, The Secret Smoker Bracelet, a bracelet you could smoke out of. It became the perfect Coachella accessory!
A fun project and we definitely got noticed, of course we were eventually knocked off and I wasn’t passionate about a life-long dedication to smoking accessories, so I decided to fix another problem in the space.
At the same time I was making Secret Smoker Bracelets, I started to write edible reviews, because in 2011 there were no product reviews available online. Weedmaps was still a small business. I tripled the dispensary’s edible sales with my reviews.
I helped people find products that fit their location, price, and dietary restrictions all through a tech platform I created called Swallow. Swallow was a web app completely designed for helping customers find the right edibles for them.
B: From trimming, to smoking bracelets, to tech, a lot to swallow in a short amount of time. How did you get the word out for the business?
A: I kept growing my presence online - I started to gain an audience on Instagram and in 2016 I had 14k followers. Unfortunately IG was much more strict back then and my account was deleted.
I started a new account @thealicemoon and I have organically reached 10.1k! Thankfully Instagram has become much more relaxed with their deletion of accounts, and for the ones that do get deleted, a majority of the owners get them back.
The year I was deleted, I decided to get involved as much as I could in the cannabis space. How else was I supposed to immerse myself in the industry? I went to over 200 events in 2017 and started making as many connections as I could. I went to every event you could think of. Massive infused cannabis meals, experiential events, and everything in between. Every event was an opportunity to meet others in the industry and to use my platform to not only get reviews but to grow my business. I transitioned from edible reviews to the media side of the world. Many cannabis companies still have problems navigating the press. I built a specific network and skillset where now most of my clients come to me for everything PR related.
B: Why Cannabis?
A: In the early days I realized how much it helped with my own depression and anxiety, and how much it helped others. One size fits all medicine. I fell in love with the industry and more specifically helping people understand ways they can benefit from using cannabis. I don’t consume anymore but have a deep respect for the power of the plant.
I felt like working in this space would be a great way to help people change their lives.
B: What is the most interesting business that you have seen recently?
One of the most interesting companies that I've covered is Kin Slips. They are essentially a cannabis infused listerine breath strip that can fit in your wallet.
I actually did a review a while back that you can check out: https://alicemoon.la/2017/11/03/kin-slips-cloud-buster-strips/
Also I have been seeing a lot of non alcoholic wine, which I absolutely love. I think it is a great replacement for alcohol.
Finally, I love Dosist. I think it's a really cool concept, and I love how specific it is with its dosing. Most products that you smoke, you don’t know how much of a dose you are getting, but not with Dosist and that is what makes it so unique.
B: An entrepreneur, fashionista, reviewer, media specialist, and writer - a five tool professional. Why write?
I have been writing since I was young. I like writing more than speaking because it gives me more time to process thoughts.
Here and there I’ll see an opportunity to create content and capture what’s going on in the space, so it’s fun for me to write about certain things. The last article I wrote was with Cannabis Now hosted by High Seas, where we were on a 3 story yacht in Newport Beach, CA for an amazing cannabis experience.
Additionally, I write press releases for clients, so my random set of skills all kind of come together.
B: What other projects are you working on, what excites you in the space?
I have to talk about my newest client Vanguard
Vanguard is a cannabis lifestyle women's magazine. The goal of Vanguard is to amplify the voices of women in the cannabis industry.
It was founded by Tiffany Watkins, a Black woman who also currently works at Old Pal (wahoo!).
I’ve been working with her for about a month now. From running the social media channels to helping with the website, it is truly special to be a part of creating a company from the ground up. Vanguard has already been recognized by Willamette Week!
B: Tiffany is a true gem, I loved working with her at Old Pal. What about Tiffany’s message will make Vanguard successful?
A: Her passion and sincerity. You can say you want to help, and not mean it, and that is truly the opposite of her. She really wants to help women succeed. Tiffany has been working in the industry for 27 years and she is on the right track to making Vanguard very successful.
B: The industry is definitely changing, how do you think COVID has impacted cannabis as a whole?
A: I have seen a lot of negatives come out of the pandemic. First off, I have seen many companies let go of their marketing and advertising teams, they seem to be let go first in most companies.
It’s ironic because of the huge shift to online ordering and delivery that the pandemic has caused. Some companies don’t fully understand just how important those teams are. I have seen that engagement has significantly dropped, and this is most likely due to the more competitive social media environment.
Also seems like there has been a big transition from smoking to edibles, because COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, it’s swallow & chill instead of puff, puff, pass.
B: Sounds like changes are coming and that means people need help adjusting, how does PR play into this?
A: PR helps tell a company's story. They might have a hidden gem of a story that isn’t getting heard. They need PR to amplify their mission and values. As the industry changes so does the messaging from the existing folks at work. How do you continue to stay relevant in the change from in-person to digital? Always happy to consult where I can www.alicemoon.la
B: You’ve done all of this before you turned 31, it’s impressive. What are some of the values or habits in your life that you believe have made you excel in your career?
A: Being honest, bluntly honest. It is very important in a relationship driven business. In addition to honesty, a genuine desire to help goes a long way. I love to use my network to help others grow. Also, I was always told to be a little selfish and very selfless.
B: Who are your main influences and mentors?
A: Nichole West, my mentor. She’s been in the game way longer than me. She inspired me to shut down my tech company. She was very blunt, and told me it was a good idea, but time to move on. She is a hard ass and very straight forward. I think that I have inspired her as well. Everyone needs a mentor. I am super grateful for her!
B: What do you want the future of cannabis to look like?
A: I hope to see lower prices and more inclusivity. We need to focus on bringing people together. Build a team that is more inclusive. A team that is diverse in race and gender roles. Make space for others instead of taking up space. Inclusivity starts with HIRING! Hiring people with diverse races, genders, and backgrounds is the change we need.
B: One hundred percent, the future is changing fast, and we all need to be a part of improving the space to be accessible for all. Especially the people who have helped us build the industry. Alice, thanks for taking the time to talk through everything.
If you’re interested in learning more about Alice’s PR endeavors you can check out her website @alicemoon.la, IG @thealicemoon, or email her team at email@example.com