Marijuana Venture just finished our 15th Interchange business event in Renton, Washington (a Seattle suburb). We launched Interchange in 2015 as an alternative to the many cannabis trade events that often came across as party first and business later. At the time, we figured there might be a place in the rapidly growing industry for a two-day gathering of industry professionals that brought buyers and sellers together for some serious product evaluation.
At first it was a bit of a challenge. On the buying side we often heard, “Why do I need to go to an event like Interchange when the growers come to me?” or “I prefer to let sellers stop by the shop.”
On the vendor/grower side, it was a different story. They balked at the idea of paying to go to an event to pitch buyers: “Why would I pay if I can drive to stores and drop off samples?”
I could write a long-winded explanation of the advantages of a show like Interchange, but in the end, for both sides, it basically comes down to something very simple: time. After all, the old saying about “time is money” was true when it was coined and remains true today.
Thankfully, Interchange has become something of a tradition in the Pacific Northwest, and after producing close to 20 of them in Washington, the industry has come to recognize that efficiency and time-savings are key ingredients that lead to increased profits and decreased costs. The event may not be flashy or even that much fun. However, it is productive and a great bargain.
Our most recent gathering on May 23-24 saw 55 of the biggest cannabis stores in Washington, which collectively have about 175 storefronts, arrive for two days of meetings with 60-plus vendors who pitched them many different products and services. It went off without hitch and was an overwhelming success.
For me personally, the thing I like most about our event is that I get to talk to a large group of people (many are friends) who love coming to the event and almost without exception have great success. It’s a far cry from the moaning and groaning that’s become so endemic to many circles of this industry. Last week, a friend who’s been struggling with the big oversupply issue in the Northwest came up to me at the event with a huge smile: “Dude, Interchange was a lifesaver. I’ve been sitting on product for months, and in just two meetings I got rid of 90% of it. I’m stoked.”
Words like that are music to my ears, because in the end, while business is about making money, making people happy and knowing you’re producing something valuable is equally important, and in many ways, more gratifying!