Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

PollenGear | Brand Spotlight Partner What is this?

3 Tips for Creating Unique Product Packaging That Turns People's Heads

In the cannabis industry—as in life—first impressions are everything. Before a consumer can even ponder the options on a dispensary shelf, the head-spinning variety of packaging speaks volumes. 

Courtesy of PollenGear

“Customers often buy products based on their very first experiences with the package,” says Ed Kilduff, co-founder of Pollen Gear™, a supplier of innovative cannabis storage solutions. “They may decide not to make a purchase because of something as simple as fingerprints on a lid.” Recently acquired by Greenlane, the leading distributor of premium vaporization products and consumption accessories, Pollen Gear has laser-focused its resources on product innovation, designing air-tight, 100%-child-resistant, ASTM-certified, odor-free vessels crafted from thoroughly tested, FDA-grade, food-safe materials. 

From elegant jars designed to house pre-rolls and edibles, to sleek vape cases and exit bags featuring a patented SnapTech™ closure system, the company’s providing luxe packaging with ultimate functionality, while also offering a myriad of brands—both ambitious startups and established players—thoughtfully customized solutions. In an increasingly saturated market, after all, differentiation is key; carefully conceived, brand-specific packaging “helps make a brand’s positioning instantaneously clear to the customer at a glance on the shelf,” Kilduff says. “We can’t rely on budtenders alone to push a brand. The packaging must always speak for itself and tell its own story.”

Kilduff shared his top three tips for how businesses can create dynamic packaging of their own.

1. Find an opening in the market.

When Kilduff conceived the idea for Pollen Gear in 2014, it was to seize an untapped market—a dearth of premium packaging ideal for both storage and display, for a fast-expanding, increasingly legal and mainstream product. When he founded the company, he says, “There were mainly only commodity plastic baggies and pill bottles repurposed for cannabis.” 

Leaning into its mission to “find solutions that do not exist yet,” Pollen Gear’s impressive IP portfolio—offering a variety of sizes and fully customizable designs—continues to innovate with new pioneering solutions, and plans to expand as the cannabis industry evolves. “All of the products we plan to develop will meet our criteria for market demand, development cycle, custom design, and cost,” Kilduff says, “while helping brands to differentiate and establish prestige on the shelf.”

2. Remember that the customer is right (usually).

As the industry becomes more established, consumers are in turn more discerning, with increasingly sophisticated expectations. “The end customer can tell the difference between cannabis that has been exposed to air, versus cannabis that has maintained its integrity,” says Kilduff, who adds that high-grade products “require the absolute best air-tight containers.” 

Using premium materials, like FDA-grade plastics “that you would find in medical and pharmaceutical products,” is non-negotiable in such a competitive space. So is product safety and responsible consumption, which all products designed by Pollen Gear—named in 2018 as a Top 100 Cannabis Company by Green Entrepreneur Magazine—are designed to promote. Says Kilduff, “Packaging is a reflection of a brand’s quality.”

3. Never cut corners.

The difference between a carefully conceived solution and one that’s less thought-out may be timely and expensive—but is always worth it. Kilduff explains that “creating compelling packaging that stands out and tells a story, while still adhering to strict packaging requirements” is a huge challenge, while considerations of time and cost can likewise seem prohibitive. 

“The barrier to entry is very high,” he explains, “and you need to design, 3D model, prototype, and mold the packaging before you know if adults can open it and kids can’t.” Still, exceptional quality provides the ultimate edge, no matter how crowded the marketplace. 

“We believe that as long as we continue making quality products,” Kilduff says, “customers will find their way to us.”

Learn more about Pollen Gear’s child-resistant packaging at


Brand Spotlight Partner

Spotlight is brought to you by the Entrepreneur Partner Studio, which creates dynamic and compelling content for our partners.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur Spotlight partners are their own.