Today we had the honor of interviewing Kelly Dooley, the CEO and owner of KANNA KINGDOM.
Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I originally got into the industry in 2018 via nutraceuticals as Chief Sales Officer for a topical vitamin patch company. One of our patches contained 120 mg of CBD and it was extremely effective. This was at the height of the CBD isolate craze. I then familiarized myself with the industry and learned the cannabis lexicon, if you will, so I could speak intelligently about the plethora of cannabis related products. I resigned from that company and decided to start my own company. The first 6 months felt like I was getting initiated into a gang because it was essentially an avalanche of obstacles. I stuck to my guns though because I saw that the real opportunity in the cannabis industry was bringing a level of professionalism and integrity that was virtually nonexistent. I knew that my background would be appealing to the white market and that I would be able to use my resume to elevate anyone who worked for me. So my intention was threefold: (1) To capitalize on the white space in the market by combing into my mission with my vision. (2) To use the same strategy and ideology that I used in the fashion industry to introduce a level of luxury that had not been present in the cannabis industry. (3) To create positive change in every way—creating the best quality products, thereby enabling consumers to use cannabis as an alternative to big pharma, which I am vehemently opposed to; by infusing the industry a with pay-it-forward mindset via purpose based ventures; and to providing women and minorities with the tools they need to thrive in cannabis and beyond. I prefer to give people hand ups rather than hand outs. I want to lead by example by inspiring whomever crosses my path to embrace the fact that health is the truest wealth and to move from success to significance.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
It’s difficult to pinpoint a specific incident because every day presents new opportunities and new challenges but the overarching theme would be the overall lack of integrity. So many people just want to make money but have no idea how to do so and because their intentions are not pure, their success is short-lived.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I was too trusting. I wired funds to a CBD isolate supplier in Oregon and got completely ripped off. He, of course, claimed that his lab had burnt down, but it was clearly a lie. So while it’s not funny, per se, I often chuckle at my innate naïveté. I learned to do more due diligence and to take my time while structuring any type of deal.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes, many but I prefer to win in silence before making public announcements because I am very spiritually aligned and I do not want to invite any bad juju into my life. I did just launch a new company called LBC, which is a luxury branding agency whose tagline is higher standard. We’re the LVMH of Cannabis, building a global brand using my skill set from the fashion industry.
Luxury brands lead the way for the rest of world in art, fashion and design. Luxury brings out the best design, the best materials and the best packaging. Luxury branding captures the attention of the masses while captivating connoisseurs by securing aspirational sales for high-end items. We have a vast array of major projects in the works that are drastically and positively changing the cannabis industry in real time, so stay tuned to watch a the magic unfold.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Yes, I am grateful for my business partner, who maintains a silent role. He is the yin to my yang because he does all the numbers, which enables me to shine in my lane as visionary and creative genius. I am an ENTP and he is an ISTJ. I design the corvette, if you will, and he builds the engine to make sure it runs with a V12 engine. I always tease that when he listens to me speak, he only hears, “blah; blah; blah; $100,000; blah; blah; blah; $25,000.” He only cares about the numbers. We have the same goals but different areas of expertises, which, combined, makes us limitless.
This industry is young dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
Yes, I have B.S. in Print Journalism from Boston University and my M.A. in Media, Culture and Communication Studies with an emphasis in Luxury Marketing from New York University. I also used to have a luxury sports bra company called BodyRock Sport and have been heralded as one of the pioneers of the athleisure industry from 2010-2014. I do not want to give away my secret sauce but I would emphasize the the importance of the consumer experience, of purpose based ventures and of developing a strong brand DNA that will make you stand out in the industry. If your WHY is clear, the HOW is easy.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
3 Things that excite me:
- The recent emphasis on branding and the use of a vertical marketing approach
- My staff is predominantly black. My daughter is mixed so I feel morally responsible to help this largely stereotyped race create generational wealth and thus forever break generational curses. I love winning with my team and watching them thrive.
- Marijuana is currently only legal in 33 states. We are literally creating a new legal industry, which is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
3 Bad things:
- The regulations hurt a lot of farmers when the law should be empowering them and enabling them to thrive.
- Most license holders are confused about the taxation because they hear so many conflicting views.
- The lack of integrity is often daunting but it enables my companies to stand out by providing value that is absent everywhere else.
Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”? Please share a story or example for each.
Trust but verify.
If you want to grow, you have to let some people go.
Sometimes you have to keep the good news to yourself.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
We don’t grow when things are easy. We grow when we face challenges. Look at obstacles as opportunities to learn. Expect problems and eat them for breakfast. Be the leader you would love to follow.
Sometimes you have to keep the good news to yourself.
People who defend your name when you are not around are the ones you need.
The real test is being kind to unkind people.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
One of the pillars of LBC is cause based marketing. One of our client requirements is that they have to tie their brands to a purpose, whether that be domestic violence awareness or suicide prevention. I am in the process of forming a 501c3 called Ashes to Diamonds that is going to spark major change within the world of philanthropy. I am basically forcing cannabis consumers to do good because if they are purchasing any of our products, they are inherently helping others.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
My Instagram is @thenomadfashionista
Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you only continued success!
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