Q&A with Summer, Flow Kana’s new Marketing Coordinator
Summer started with Flow Kana a few months ago as the new Marketing Coordinator. She comes to us with four years of experience in advertising agencies and working on various marketing teams on both coasts. She received her Bachelors in Creative Advertising at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Masters in Global Marketing at Emerson College.
What was your path into the cannabis industry?
You know, the cannabis industry was never the path I imagined for myself. I think it was mostly because I was raised in Virginia where it is very much illegal. I saw way too many friends go to jail over possession charges. I guess my way of thinking changed once I moved out west and experienced a completely different cannabis culture.
I spent the past few years working in CPG marketing and advertising agencies. I’ve been lucky to work for wonderful companies over the years that helped craft my marketing and branding skills. I enjoyed the teams and projects I worked on, but at the end of the day, I didn’t feel like my work made a real difference in my community. I just didn’t feel emotionally connected. One day I realized I wasn’t where I wanted to be with my career and resigned from my job. It stunned a lot of people close to me. I took a couple months off to see family, get outdoors, and figure myself out. I wanted to find a gig that would make me feel invigorated. I needed a career I could get excited about. Then I found Flow Kana. It felt like the perfect match.
Why Flow Kana over another cannabis brand?
The idea of working for Flow Kana excited me because it wasn’t just about selling cannabis. Flow Kana is on a very significant mission. This brand is about preserving the earth with sustainability, supporting small farms and farmers, providing organic medicine to patients, and defeating prohibition of something very natural and remarkable. It doesn’t hurt that I’m selling (what I believe to be is) the best cannabis your money can buy. Cannabis grown, for 8 months, under the sun and moon is in a league of its own. Nothing replicates the power of the sun. Nothing.
What have been the most surprising moments since you started with Flow Kana?
When I first started with Flow Kana it amazed me how little support our industry receives, despite being recognized as medically legal in California. Fun fact: The cannabis industry is actually very similar to the sex toy industry in this way. Both industries have a very hard time finding financial institutions to back them. We both constantly get our digital advertising accounts shut down, our content censored on social media, and find very little partners willing to work with us for fear of appearing like they support something controversial. Recently I was trying to plan a Flow Kana event and dealt with many potential partners deciding they don’t want to be associated with our industry for fear of bad publicity. I see Flow Kana as a sophisticated brand, but its clear that we still have a ways to go.
On the flip side though, it was especially pleasant to learn how supportive and close-knit this industry is. Whenever I attend industry events it feels like a big family reunion. We cheer each other on, lend helping hands, and work together to accomplish common goals.
What was it like coming out as a cannabis user and supporter?
I kid you not, this was one of the hardest parts for me. My mother used to call me Mother Teresa because I never did anything bad growing up. Imagine trying to tell her Mother Teresa smokes pot. In college I started smoking cannabis recreationally and, honestly, didn’t enjoy it all that much. I didn’t realize at the time that there were different strains that had different effects. In Virginia, I got what the dealer had. I didn’t have the choice of a high CBD strain or an indica to help me relax. So whenever I smoked with friends it always felt like a game of roulette. Since moving to California I now have the luxury of walking into a dispensary and requesting exactly what I want. I know how these strains will effect me. I know which ones will help with back pain or an upset stomach. I know which ones will calm anxiety. I know which ones will compliment a Netflix binge. I have the power of choice now.
I wanted to have this narrative with my parents when I accepted a job in the cannabis industry. I remember calling my mother up and telling her about my job. The first question she had was “So you smoke pot?” And I replied, “Well, I mean, for pain and — actually yes. Yes I do.” And she replied “Okay. That’s cool.” My father even requested that I send him some. (Hey USPS, I haven’t done that, don’t worry.) I have the support of my family and friends back home, which made the transition into this industry so much easier. It’s pretty nice to know that I can go back home for the holidays and openly talk about what I do.
Have you dealt with anyone in your life not as supportive?
People will always have to share their thoughts on your life decisions, even more so when it involves something like marijuana. I recently had a friend accuse me of being a criminal. I’ve had black market drug dealers give me an earful. I’ve had a few friends try arguing with me about the medicinal benefits of cannabis. Honestly, it can be difficult to defend your work to others, especially if their biases take control. You just can’t let it get to you, though. I just keep doing my job and staying proud of my work.
What keeps you going each day?
I wake up every day knowing that I’m making a difference in both farmer and patient lives. I power through the week knowing that I’m helping to push forward a brand that is fighting to end cannabis prohibition, which in turn will get so many out of incarceration. What keeps me going? Knowing that I have a job that makes me so incredibly happy and fulfilled that I cannot imagine doing anything else.
Summer photographed at Rusty Shovel Ranch.
Follow Summer’s adventures at our farms on Instagram.