Stay professional. Just because you’re in the cannabis industry does not mean everything is casual. It’s important to remain professional and collected, but also be personable.
As a part of my series about strong women leaders in the cannabis industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Arianna Zadourian.
Arianna Zadourian is a Los Angeles native who was raised by a great family. She has always had a passion for helping others and felt that CBD would be a great avenue in doing so. Her father triggered her hunger, even more, when he was diagnosed with Cancer. Along with having the hunger to help others, Arianna previously worked with autistic kids and has traveled the world, but Los Angeles is the city she will always call home. She now resides in Hollywood as it’s the most convenient area to run her stores from in addition to being socially involved with all LA things.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the cannabis industry?
I was introduced to CBD when I started doing research back in 2015 for alternative medicine for my father who had cancer. He had just been diagnosed for a few months and he was beginning treatment in stage 4. He did not want to feel high, so I started doing some research to find him alternatives. I started giving him CBD for inflammation and pain. As time went on, I thought about opening a CBD store and helping people like my father. The timing wasn’t right, because my time was spent on my father and work at the time. Unfortunately, he passed away in October of 2017.
I opened the first location in West Hollywood on September 22, 2018. We are the first CBD store that opened in Los Angeles. Our goal is to provide the best quality CBD and CBD education to those who need it at the most affordable prices. The second location in Los Feliz opened June 6, 2019. This is our bigger store where we usually do events. I love helping people and hearing our customers be ecstatic about the results they get from CBD. My father would’ve been proud of.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Credit card processing was one of the main issues we faced as did many other companies in the industry. Everything else has been pretty smooth. I am a perfectionist and need to make sure all of our customers are satisfied. I am very involved in the business on a day to day basis. I think as long as you enjoy what you’re doing, the obstacles don’t really seem like obstacles, but more like errands that just need to get done to get the results I want.
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?
When I started this business I didn’t use Shopify which now that I think about should have come up as the top POS system to use when searching for the right method to utilize.
Do you have a funny story about how someone you knew reacted when they first heard you were getting into the cannabis industry?
One of my acquaintances told me I would only have clients who were ages 65 + because I was opening a CBD store. They made it a point to mention that the younger demographic wouldn’t be interested in CBD as it doesn’t have a psychoactive side effect. However, our demographic ranges between so many ages and more proving that CBD is for everyone..
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?
My partner, Mike Akopian, was super helpful as we both came up with the idea and implemented it to make this a reality. There has been so much that we both worked through in order to make this all as successful as it’s been.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We just opened up our third location in Hollywood, so we’re currently in West Hollywood, Los Feliz, and Hollywood. We’d, of course, like to expand but are keeping an eye out on the next best location and timing has a lot to do with it. In addition, we just re-launched our website and will be concentrating on online sales with the same customer services we give in-store. We will have our own CBD brand out hopefully by the end of the year that will consist of a variety of products. Stay tuned!
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Despite great progress that has been made we still have a lot more work to do to achieve gender parity in this industry. According to this report in Entrepreneur, less than 25 percent of cannabis businesses are run by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender parity moving forward?
I’ve definitely noticed the corporate takeover become increasingly common. I think when it’s convenient and once the industry is noticed to be profitable, big companies and investors will be more interested to be a part of it. Since most of the people in those companies are men, they will end up supporting men as the corporate structure is used to that. We always support female-owned companies as long as they meet our standards of product quality and ethics. Women should not be afraid to get into this industry just because big corporations are getting involved. From my research, I am the only female that owns multiple or even one cannabinoid store. I suggest every customer, brand and media outlet talk about successful women-owned companies and about the gender issue as well so the information is out there. When we are informed about it, it gives us an outlet to actually address the issue.
We should also research the companies and brands that we support and give our business to. That makes a huge difference in a cycle that goes around for women-owned businesses all around.
You are a “Cannabis Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the cannabis industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each.
- Be ready to be in competition with thousands of brands. It’s a very unregulated industry so there is a lot of litter everywhere.
- Find something that makes you different. Do not create the same exact product most brands have. Do not overprice the items and don’t claim to have a CBD product with the lowest amount of CBD possible, this is why we are selective with which brands and products we provide in our stores/online.
- Stay professional. Just because you’re in the cannabis industry does not mean everything is casual. It’s important to remain professional and collected, but also be personable.
- Have a valid reason as to why you’re in this besides the sole purpose of making money. I’m passionate about this industry because of my personal experience with what my father experienced.
- Be ready to have advertising setbacks. It takes a lot to advertise through main sources and almost impossible.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the cannabis industry?
- How much it helps people especially children, the elderly and the sick.
2. The research that is constantly evolving to better CBD.
3. When I see new inventions and ideas surround CBD.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
The 3 things that concern me most about the industry are
1. Open credit card processing for CBD specialized brands and industries as it’s been a struggle to implement within the business. I think it’s ridiculous that CVS and other big chains can sell CBD products and their credit card processing is through a general bank, but for a company that specializes in CBD applying for a merchant account is a frustrating process.
2. Allow advertising on all social platforms
3. Talk about the benefits without restrictions on how the information is relayed and presented.
What are your thoughts about federal legalization of cannabis? If you could speak to your Senator, what would be your most persuasive argument regarding why they should or should not pursue federal legalization?
CBD is legal but it needs to be clarified federally so we don’t run into all the issues that are relevant.
Today, cigarettes are legal, but they are heavily regulated, highly taxed, and they are somewhat socially marginalized. Would you like cannabis to have a similar status to cigarettes or different? Can you explain?
Cannabis and Hemp are not man-made chemicals. They have an extensive list of benefits. There is no logic or reason to compare how cigarettes are regulated to the cannabis industry as it’s very different. One is poison and the other one helps you with your homeostasis and health, not to mention it treats symptoms of many diseases and concerns.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” -Albert Einstein
Most problems and feelings can be solved through nature. People tend to forget we are a part of it and have access to it every single day. Whether it’s taking a walk to clear your mind, being healthy by looking for natural alternatives or just simply sitting in natural scenery, it gives you a sense of clarity.
You will see Heal with Nature neon signs in all of our stores and our website with a ton of greenery to reflect that nature is important.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
It would definitely be supporting Health insurers to cover CBD and Cannabis for their patients.
Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you only continued success!