How This All-Woman Team Successfully Created a Female-Focused Cannabis Brand

Women are driving the growth in THC beverages from behind the scenes and at the retail counter.

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Cannabis, CBD, hemp and psychedelics reporter.
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This story originally appeared on Benzinga

Famed cannabis brand CannaCraft recently launched a new product line. Dubbed Gem + Jane, this sparkling botanical beverage line was developed by an all-women team and delivers a light, manageable dose of cannabinoids, appealing to cannabis-curious consumers who want to stay in control, or anyone looking for a social substitute to alcohol. 

The initial Gem + Jane line features a maximum dose of 4mg of THCv, a rare cannabinoid, or Delta-8 THC, and is available at dispensaries throughout California.

Interested in learning more about what went into the development of this line, Benzinga caught up with CannaCraft’s chief marketing officer Angela Pih, who explained that Gem+Jane is a celebration of women’s multi-faceted nature.

“Jane” is an obvious nod to cannabis. “Gem” reflects “their richness and the ways that women can show up, their uniqueness, shining and brilliant from the inside out, like a gem.”

In fact, the cans were designed in bright gem colors to play off this brand concept.

RELATED: Women Are the Biggest Buyers of Cannabis Drinks

Creating a gem

As a marketer, Pih always starts the creative process with three simple questions:

  • Who are we designing this for?
  • What are these consumers’ habits?
  • How can our brand be relevant and differentiated?

“Being data-driven [at CannaCraft], we definitely noticed women are driving the growth in cannabis beverages. They outspend and outpace all other demographic segments. Yet there are very few brands created specifically for women. We created a delicious line of beverages that would appeal to them,” Pih told Benzinga.

“With women heavily interested in microdose beverages — and Gen Z and young Millennials, in particular, looking at non-alcohol lifestyles and alternatives — it was clear we needed to create an outstanding brand for women.”

In this sense, graphic design took a central role.

As Pih explained, the cannabis consumer is increasingly more sophisticated and the beverage category ever more competitive. This is why shelf appeal and design are so important.

Beyond design

While the look and feel of Gem + Jane were central to its creation, the CannaCraft team did not 

lose sight of what is really important: what’s in the can.

“We looked at how the canna-curious want to feel, taking into account a softer high and mild enough to be sessionable. We honed in on cannabis-derived Delta-8 THC for these reasons. We also love the way THCv might make you feel: low psychoactivity with a burst of focus,” Pih explained, adding THCv often helps consumers avoid the munchies thanks to its appetite-suppressing properties.

Elderflower Pear, Lemon Blueberry Lavender and Strawberry Hibiscus varieties contain a blend of 4mg Delta-8 THC and 2mg of CBD, for more mellow moments, like relaxing with friends.

The 0-calories Simply Seltzer and Yuzu Rose Raspberry flavors each contain 4mg of THCv and under 2mg of THC, intended to complement an active lifestyle.

“From automotive to beauty and caviar to cannabis, it’s all about the A,B,Cs of who you design for and how you develop a relationship with your consumers,” Pih added.

RELATED: 3 Women Who Are Trailblazing Social Equity Programs

A bumpy road

Despite a successful launch, not everything was roses for Gem + Jane.

Regulations posed a major challenge. And so did scale.

“Regulation is a moving target that keeps us on our toes. It also forces us to be creative while being compliant. We do not have all the conventional funnels and channels of marketing,” said Pih.

“As an executive in the cannabis industry, the pressure to scale and grow is considerable. The industry grew around 41% last year. However, only 1 in 3 dollars in the state of California is spent in a licensed store. Staying competitive, developing innovative products and edutaining consumers requires discipline as we all grow.”

Finally, she addressed the cultural issue.

“Cannabis culture is unique and rapidly evolving. We stand on the shoulders of trailblazers and those who have fought for cannabis legalization. We also have to balance the needs of those new to cannabis who are starting to see cannabis in a destigmatized way and are curious to learn or consume,” Pih concluded.

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