SAVANNAH, GA / ACCESSWIRE / June 11, 2019 / Darby Cox and Sean Geng had $600 of startup capital when they started Smoke Cartel in 2013.
Now, not only do they have a multi-million dollar business, they have also positioned themselves as a pioneer in an industry that is primed to explode.
The online bong shop isn't able to advertise on major digital marketing channels such as Facebook or Google Ads. Smoke shops and cannabis companies are limited by Facebook's prohibited cannabis content, and Google AdWord's cannabis policies.
From starting out with next to nothing in capital, to fighting against the tide of government, corporate, and public perception--the journey hasn't been easy. The company is now publicly traded (OTCQB: SMKC) with worldwide sales of its own signature product lines.
By 2019, the winds against cannabis have ostensibly shifted and a fully legal cannabis market will open the door to a new set of customers. In the meantime, Smoke Cartel is already well-recognized in the e-commerce of cannabis yet tailoring its individual retail channels to appeal to new demographics: ladies only, smoke shop subscription box fans, even pet lovers.
Growing a Business in the Cannabis Industry
When you're bootstrapping a business like this, you have to do things the hard way.
SmokeCartel.com launched as an online head shop with a wide range of industry-leading brands on its digital shelf. A strong brand identity has held the attention of cannabis enthusiasts new and old at cannabis tradeshows and across social media.
The company's e-commerce operation was able to smoothly insert multiple new products from its own in-house engineers (such as the patent-pending Cinderwitch Viosparc Torch) as well as those acquired in strategic partnerships like the ready-for-anything Roll Uh Bowl travel bongs.
When Smoke Cartel took on Glassheads Distribution (now known as Smoke Cartel Wholesale), the operation needed to take on a long list of massive new orders and clients. The now B2B smoke and vape shop service also took on branding services to place Leafly and High Times logos on quality pipes.
Keeping up with today's rise in cannabis popularity requires Smoke Cartel to maintain the systems to provide customer service with real-time tracking from warehouse pick-route to customer's doorstep; to provide actionable insight from the orders being processed; and have the ability to keep up with the rigorous audit and accounting standards of a publicly traded company.
At one point the company's payment processor shut them down, leaving them business days away from being forced to admit defeat as the obstacle had taken down leading competitors before them. The team stuck it out, and it's most significant growth hurdle--of course, tied to superfluous cannabis-related restrictions--remains coming up with creative advertising strategies.
The online bong shop isn't able to advertise on major digital marketing channels such as Facebook or Google Ads. Smoke shops and cannabis companies are limited by Facebook's prohibited cannabis content, and Google AdWord's cannabis policies. Fortunately, this company was founded on perseverance and creative problem-solving.
Grassroots connections and top-notch customer service kept early adopters coming back--and telling their friends. The best connections have been built at industry conferences and tradeshows. Smoke Cartel CEO, Darby Cox, will soon be headed to the 2019 Women Grow Leadership Summit where she'll join the CEOs behind Simply Pure, TerraVida Holistic Centers, and Women Grow in a fireside session titled 'The Future is Female: A Conversation with the CEOs Leading Big Cannabis Business.'
From Cannabis Accessories to E-Commerce Applications
CTO Sean Geng, originally a software developer, crafted Smoke Cartel's site and fulfillment system from the ground up. On the front end, their site is fast and easy to navigate. But the real magic happens on the back end. Their software controls all the key aspects of retail, such as inventory control, order fulfillment, data analytics, and financial reporting.
Having tested its abilities on a scaling business in the fast-growing cannabis sector, Co-Founders Sean Geng and Darby Cox, decided it was time to share the 'secret sauce' to their success.
The first non-Smoke-Cartel entrepreneurs to enjoy the features of this in-house SaaS design was Smoke Cartel's wholesale (and dropship) clients. Warely access was provided for real-time order tracking to facilitate retailers' customer service needs and to extend its cool capabilities like bundling and recurring orders.
Everyone from accountants and auditors to pickers and packers in the warehouse offered valuable input on the cloud-based software in everyday business operations. The result: Smoke Cartel's rising star, Warley.
Smoke Cartel's proprietary Warely is being packaged as a growing app suite for e-commerce entrepreneurs. Shopify store owners can now add Warely's Data Backup & Recovery protection through the Shopify App Store.
Smoke Cartel built something strong in a difficult cannabis market. The result is a strong foundation to share the company's e-commerce technology, developed to durably evolve with the expanding cannabis sector. Darby and Sean may have began as a couple of college students with a dream. Now they're a key driver in the changing face of e-commerce.
About Smoke Cartel
Smoke Cartel was founded in 2013 by a couple of art school students in Savannah, GA who knew they could build a better online headshop. With 600 bucks and a whole lot of grit, we've expanded the team and grown a e-commerce start-up into one of the top sources for smoking accessories in the world.
We at Smoke Cartel have a great love for craftsmanship and artisans, and we offer a great variety of high quality glass pipes, water pipes, bubblers, spoons, oil and dab rigs, and all the accessories under the sun.
We hold all of our products to the highest quality standards and offer warranty programs for some of our most trusted vendors and products.
More importantly, we're made up of a close knit team of glass lovers, dedicated to making sure you get the best possible service and education about your new smoking gear.
Co-Founder & President - Smoke Cartel, Inc.
Shop Online: https://www.smokecartel.com
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SOURCE: Smoke Cartel
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