We recently spoke with Eric Miller, the Sales Manager for Holistic Industries in Pennsylvania. Holistic Industries is one of the fastest-growing private MSOs in the country and their roster includes brands like Liberty Cannabis, DO Drops, and their newest brand, Strane, which is craft cannabis at scale, focused on genetics and quality strains.
In this discussion, Miller shares the challenges Holistic faces in a growing Pennsylvania market and how they’re gaining a competitive edge with new brands, creative marketing, and a commitment to customer support.
Watch the full interview here.
Pennsylvania’s growing market has its challenges
While Strane products can also be found in Maryland and Massachusetts, there were some particularly unique challenges to launching in Pennsylvania. When dispensaries started serving patients in 2018, there were roughly 12 to 15 growers permitted. They were all in the initial buildout stage, which meant cultivation was low. However, in the last year, Pennsylvania has seen many facility expansions from major MSOs, including Holistic Industries. This growth quickly turned the market from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market.
The shift in the market is excellent for patients and the state’s medical cannabis program, but it does create a few hurdles for state operators. One such hurdle is that clinical registrant licenses, which the state initially only granted to clinical research dispensaries, have opened so growers can sell into any dispensary, creating more competition for companies like Holistic.
Pennsylvania is also an increasingly expensive state to operate in, with finances primarily allocated to the application process, facility renovations and expansions, and lab testing. For some companies, the operating expenses make it difficult to lower product pricing, but Miller says Strane is an affordable brand that will ensure Holistic’s products are accessible to more patients.
Setting themselves apart with Strane
Miller says he sees the launch of Strane as Holistic’s one major identifying factor in setting them apart from other MSOs. The concept of the brand is to bring quality and consistency to the market by acquiring the hottest genetics from some of the most well-known breeders such as Compound, DNA, Jungle Boys, and Swamp Boys. Strane is craft cannabis at scale.
And for cannasseurs who are seeking something extra special, Strane LIVE delivers premium, terpene-forward products. All LIVE products are fresh-frozen during the extraction process, giving the flower its full taste, aroma, and effects.
“Right now, we’re building out our genetics and available biomass we have to work with,” explains Miller. “We’re doing some lab upgrades as well. We have an amazing lab manager. The things she’s put out already have been phenomenal, so having her feed us with those LIVE products, I think that will bring the next level of Strane into Pennsylvania.”
“By the end of the year, we plan to have at least a dozen new flower varieties available in the market,” says Miller. “With Pennsylvania opening up our ability to bring in new genetics, I see that continuing to go in a good direction.”
Strane improves accessibility to patients and customers with attractive marketing
While Strane wants to provide quality products to the market consistently, they also want to be accessible to new patients. One way they’re doing that is through more attractive packaging and brand design.
To help newer patients identify what strain may work best for them, they’ve developed icons (“eye-cons”) that look like eyes to showcase the effects of a product. “The eye is closed for indicas, open for sativas, and halfway for hybrids, so it’s easy to find something that could potentially work for you,” says Miller.
Improved marketing also means adopting the right tools so Strane can get in front of the right customers, such as their wholesale marketplace platform, Leaf Trade which they use in 6 states such as MA, DC, PA, MD, MI and CA.
“Leaf Trade has been a great platform for us to not only sell our product but also do advertising and marketing,” says Miller. “I hear sales managers at other companies struggling with spreadsheets and trying to keep everything organized with data all over the place. Leaf Trade puts everything into a nice concise package, not only to maintain our inventory and keep an eye on sales but also for some of these marketing components.”
Strane is putting customers first with a commitment to customer support
As the brand grows, Miller and his team want to ensure patients and customers have reliable customer support. With all of their growth, they recently hired a Customer Success Representative to serve the western side of Pennsylvania directly and planning pop-up events around the state to bring staff education and resources to customers.
They’re also utilizing technology and tools like Leaf Trade to ensure customers have a simple and easy buying experience. “Leaf Trade streamlines the process for our purchasers to log onto the storefront. It’s live 24/7, so even on a Friday at midnight, you can log on, see what we have to offer, and put your order in at your convenience.”
Contact Eric Miller at [firstname.lastname@example.org ] for PA retailers interested in staff training via the web or in-person.