Chris Piazza, the cofounder of CannaDevices (CD), sat down with our own Candance Weizman to talk glass, sustainable processes, and how they work with a network of glass artisans. Chris and his partner Robert Bank started CD just over two years ago as a response to all the cheap “gas station” glass pieces that have made their way into dispensaries. Cumulatively, they have over 30 years of experience as glass artists. Chris is passionate about getting high-quality glass devices in the hands of patients and dispensaries, building CD’s network of artists, and helping their customers make profitable inventory decisions.
Here are 5 takeaways from their conversation. (You can find the recording here.)
1: Both Cannabis and glass have evolved a lot in the past decade
As Chris pointed out, glass is older than humanity itself (lightning + sand = glass). But in the past decade or so, the cannabis market has become more sophisticated. Candace said, “If you would have asked me, five, ten years ago what’s a dab, what’s a quartz nail, what’s a rig, I wouldn’t have had any idea.” The popularity of concentrates has risen, so too has demand for more sophisticated glass pieces. Dab rings, nectar straws, various rigs, have all become hot, in-demand items.
While paying close attention to the market, and creating innovative glass devices for dabbing and concentrates, CD isn’t necessarily following the trends to a tee. Instead, they are putting their effort into high-quality, safe, and affordable pieces, built for medical users. Most importantly, they are putting the bulk of their effort into creating sustainable processes.
2: CD builds sustainable processes
Over the years, CannaDevices has learned a thing or two about process. They start with the glass itself, choosing the thickest raw glass available. While being harder to work with, it’s also much stronger and safer for customers.
Next, they only color their glass with frit — a kind of colored glass powder. Unlike cheap knock-offs, they never use dye or potentially harmful chemicals. By focusing on manufacturing their best-selling products, they are able to focus their network on crafting a steady inventory of quality pieces.
Then they run those pieces through rigorous quality control. Chris trains all of the Q.C. people himself. They use powerful lights to check for flaws, cracks, or other imperfections in the glass. Finally, they pass on their knowledge to a powerful network of artisans.
3: It pays to have friends
CD has built a network of over 50 glass artisans across the country, with plans to expand that network to 100+. All of those artisans are small businesses, and many start out in their garage with a single workbench. But with CannaDevices’ help, they are able to expand operations to hire assistants and more artists. In that way, CannaDevices is dedicated to building up local economies and supporting artists.
Chris has a passion for teaching these up and coming artists, and helping them grow their business. Chris related, “For me as an artist (before CannaDevices), I had a very hard time having consistent sales. So, when Bob and I started, one thing we decided was that we wouldn’t bring on new artists until we had enough work for them to be as full-time as they wanted to be… So the artists we work with aren’t starving artists… We help them secure bulk discounts for the raw materials, so they can get the best price available.”
4: CD adds Value for dispensaries
CannaDevices helps their customers make sense of their sales data. Chris told the story of how one of their dispensary customers had a great first couple of weeks, then experienced a 50% drop in sales of glass pieces from CD. Chris called the customer to find out what had happened. After doing a little digging, it turned out that they had run out of stock and were experiencing an inventory error.
Another customer was concerned that they wouldn’t sell CannaDevices’ glass pieces because they were located next door to a head shop. After a few months, that location was moving more glass than any other location.
Dispensaries partnering with CannaDevices routinely see increases in sales. “One of our partners started out with a $565 order in all of their stores to try us out,” Chris related. “About two weeks order, they placed another order, and then another order two weeks later and now they’re averaging $1500 to $2000 per order for each store.”
5: CannaDevices Starter Pack is a clever way to learn about your market
One way CD can really leverage their expertise is through the glass starter pack. For $1200, dispensaries receive a sampler of 150 different glass pieces, plus handcrafted display materials. “The reason we like to start with that,” Chris said, “Is that we can see all the different price points and start to watch sell-through. We’re going to know fairly quickly, within 60 to 90 days, which price point will make sense for your location.” Based on how the different pieces sell, CD can advise on which pieces will move in future orders and help you plan inventory down the road.
Ready to get started with CannaDevices? Visit the Vendor Discovery page in the Leaf Trade platform and click on the starter pack. Or reach out directly to the LT customer success team and we’ll put you in touch.
Join us for April’s Ignite where we’ll speak with CuraLeaf on how to run an effective Lab. Keep an eye out for emails and posts with the details.