The Green Revolution brand prides itself on creating “the fuel that powers the peak moments in people’s lives.”
Whether consumers are looking for fun, wellness or personal care, “we make the products that help you turn that moment from fantasy into reality, time and time again,” CEO Leo Shlovsky says.
Shlovsky, a serial entrepreneur, is pushing Green Revolution to break new ground this year with new products, new state markets and rolling out a national CBD brand.
It’s all part of Shlovsky’s personal philosophy of business, one that has made him successful and continues to serve him well in the high stakes and competitive world of cannabis.
“You have to do things right and you have to work a lot,” he says. “Take nothing for granted.”
Shlovsky has been working his entire life. Born in the Soviet Union near the height of the Cold War, he started his first business at 13, though even then he was thinking bigger than a standard lemonade stand. Instead, Shlovsky sold jeans.
“I was in Leningrad and for eight months it’s very cold there; your lemonade can get frozen,” he says with a laugh.
Shlovsky went on to get his degree in chemical engineering in the late 1980s in the city now known as St. Petersburg. When the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed, Shlovsky and his wife moved to New York City, where he continued to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams.
“When I came to New York, I was working three shifts in different restaurants as a bus boy and a waiter,” he says. “After one year I started my own business.”
In what ended up being a kind of preview of what he would be doing 30 years later with his startup in the cannabis industry, Shlovsky founded a commodity company that traded in edible oils.
“I was buying edible oils in bulk. I was buying soybean oil and sunflower oil,” he says. “It was edible, non-THC oil that you buy in a store to cook with.”
After that, Shlovsky started several other businesses, including working in the software industry and as an outsourcer, but as the legal cannabis industry began to take shape, he saw a “huge opportunity” in the burgeoning industry, and not just financially.
“All my life, I’ve liked to do new things,” he says. “I like to explore things and I like to learn. It’s a great opportunity to build something new.”
In 2015, Shlovsky and his wife packed up and moved again, this time to the state of Washington, where in 2012 voters had approved recreational cannabis sales. The state in 2014 began licensing companies to grow, process and sell the products. Not knowing anything about the cannabis industry, Shlovsky knew he would need a partner.
In Washington, Shlovsky met Edward Lafferty and in 2016 the two co-founded Green Revolution, a producer/processor with the goal of providing consistent, high-quality products that allow a user to find a repeatable experience that is right for them. It was a partnership that paid off. The company now has more than 40 employees, including professional cosmetologists and nutritionists and world-class chefs. Green Revolution produces more than 100 SKUs and can be found in 90% of the cannabis stores across the state.
“I joined his company when it was only four people — now it is 10 times more — and we became one of the top companies in Washington in the edible space,” Shlovsky says.
Shlovsky says that in the past four years, Green Revolution built out its production, sales and distribution lines and has seen a 400% growth in revenue. According to 502data.com, which aggregates sales data from the state’s website, it is among the top 25 highest-grossing cannabis companies in the state since the opening of the market.
Viva la Revolution
As a producer/processor, Green Revolution’s focus fits well with Shlovsky’s chemical engineering background. He went into the cannabis business, in part, because he believed he could leverage his experience and expertise in the food and technology industries to bring sophisticated processes and a high standard of quality to the production of cannabis products. The company’s products include tinctures, edibles, topicals, concentrates and beverages, organized into four “experience” categories: Chill, Relief, Elevate and Fly. Shlovsky says the goal is not only to create quality products, but to do it consistently so that consumers know exactly what to expect and can recreate the experiences.
“Every human being can find in our product line the product which is suitable for their moment,” he says. “You want to get high? You want to relax? You want to chill? It’s very easy to scroll through our product line and see what kind of experience you want to get in this moment.”
The only flower product the company sells is its Joysticks line of pre-rolled joints. Designed around the same experiential model, the Joysticks are blended from multiple strains of cannabis that the company gets from its partner growers, dubbed the “Revolutionary Farmers Alliance.” Each Joystick is rolled with hemp paper and a hemp filter and each box of five comes packed with a Boveda humidity control pack to ensure freshness.
Shlovsky says his prior entrepreneurial experiences taught him skills that have been invaluable in the building of Green Revolution, including organization and survival skills as well as honesty and the importance of building the right team of employees, which he views as a family considering the amount of time they all spend together.
“One of the biggest achievements for me is we’ve built a great team of people,” he says. “They are not working for Green Revolution, they are part of Green Revolution.”
Building on Success
With its success in the Washington market, the company has also expanded into the California market. Lafferty remains CEO of the company’s Washington business, while Shlovsky is CEO of the overall company, including its California efforts.
California is a much bigger market than the Evergreen State with its own set of regulations and challenges, but again, Shlovsky likes the challenge and his “take nothing for granted” philosophy is serving him and the company well, as Green Revolution products are already available in stores throughout California. The brand has already won numerous industry awards, including, most recently, first place in the best solid edible category at the 2020 Sun Cup for its mixed-fruit flavor Doozies.
And after conquering the West Coast, Shlovsky plans to turn his attention to the emerging markets on the other side of the country with the goal of getting Green Revolution products into at least one state on the East Coast by year’s end. He is also working to get the company’s new CBD line into stores not just across the U.S., but around the world.
Like the rest of his journey from Russia to New York to Washington, Shlovsky knows competing in the largest markets in the world will not be easy, but he likes the challenge.
“All my life I like to live positive and bring positive things in life to all people,” he says. “We will do our best.”