Company: Presidential Cannabis
It was no slam dunk that after a career playing professional basketball in Europe, Everett Smith would succeed in the burgeoning cannabis industry, but 10 years after launching Presidential Cannabis, the brand is now the No. 1 blunt brand and No. 4 infused pre-roll brand in the country.
“At the end of the day, it all started with a curiosity to create something unique and that would leave an impression, and we continue to use that mentality,” Smith says. “We were trying to create a product that our friends would enjoy.”
Smith was living in Las Vegas after retiring from playing ball overseas and says he was working a marketing job he just “wasn’t passionate about.” When given the opportunity, he moved into the cannabis industry, white-labeling products for another brand, but soon decided to strike out on his own, teaming up with business partner John Zap to launch Presidential in California in 2012.
“We understood the importance of branding, which allowed us to differentiate ourselves,” Smith says of those early days. “John and I went full force and were some of the early players in California’s infused market.”
Smith says the company’s focus on customer satisfaction and its mantra of “keep it simple” helped Presidential rise to the top in California. The company zeroed in on its Moon Rocks product, standardizing its production line to ensure consistency, with a focus on great packaging and recognizable branding, something it is looking to repeat in Oklahoma and Nevada as well.
“We plan to stick with what we do best,” he says. “If you have quality and consistency, people will come back over and over again, and that translates to any market.”
What prompted you to join the cannabis industry after leaving professional sports?
The truth is, it was a chance encounter that turned into an opportunity that I couldn’t resist. After retiring from my professional basketball career overseas, I was living in Las Vegas and working a 9 to 5 marketing job I wasn’t passionate about. So when an opportunity came my way, I couldn’t turn it down. At first, we were just white-labeling products for another brand, but soon we realized that we had the potential to create something truly special. That’s when I teamed up with my now business partner, John Zapp and we decided to launch Presidential.
We understood the importance of branding, which allowed us to differentiate ourselves. John and I went full force, and were some of the early players in California’s infused market. Slowly but surely Presidential gained traction and people started to recognize the brand.
I am incredibly grateful to him as he backed me when I wanted to shift our focus and make Presidential what it is today.
What, in your opinion, is the number one factor fueling Presidential Rx’s commercial success?
We focused on quality and customer satisfaction from the very beginning and continue to do so. We knew that if we could deliver a great product, people would come back for more. Our motto is to keep it simple, and by stripping everything to its most simplest form, we are able to develop the highest quality product that stays consistent, and that has allowed the brand to grow in popularity, organically. Presidential’s growth has primarily been through word of mouth and through our strategic collaborations. At the start, we were knocking on doors and sending our brand ambassadors to do customer and budtender appreciation, and not much has changed in the strategy.
At the end of the day, it all started with a curiosity to create something unique, and that would leave an impression and we continue to use that mentality. We were trying to create a product that our friends would enjoy, and we still continue to think like that now with our products, packaging, and collaborations. We listen to our customers and they come back for more.
What did Presidential learn in California that it will implement in the OK and NV markets?
Sourcing products and upholding quality and flavor. We found our niche in California. We learned to zero in on Moon Rocks, and established standard practices that allow us to scale. We standardized our production line and know the importance of consistency and the importance of great packaging and branding. In today’s world, if you have quality and consistency, people will come back over and over again, and that translates to any market.
Our focus is on producing high-quality infused Moon Rocks, and we plan to stick with what we do best. Our main challenge is finding biomass that meets the same standards as the flower we use in California. However, we are confident that with the right team and the ability to adapt to market changes, we can continue to uphold our reputation as a top priority.
What was your biggest milestone in the cannabis industry?
It’s been a long journey with many incredible milestones. We recently celebrated Presidential’s tenth anniversary shortly after BDSA ranked Presidential as the No. 1 blunt company and the No. 4 four-rated infused pre-roll brand in the country. That was definitely one of our most significant milestones within the industry.
Celebrating all this and being included in Marijuana Venture’s 40 under 40 list makes me really proud of our team and all the hard work.