Valarie Sakota, Co-founder & CCO of Barbari
Barbari crafts herbal smoking blends and low-dose herbal spliffs from carefully sourced organic ingredients from quality farms.
What is the biggest obstacle you are facing right now in relation to the pandemic?
Primarily, supply chain disruptions and production logistics. We are a small team in a relatively small space so we've had to get creative to adjust production systems to accommodate social distancing. Thankfully, being a small business has its advantages in moments like this, as we have the ability to be more limber with our operations.
How are you adapting your business to meet the needs of your clientele?
We built our brand to be accessible to any state, despite the legal landscape, so our products are available online as well as wholesale, and we are launching in dispensaries this summer. Because we already had an established online platform, we were able to shift our marketing strategy to digital platforms quite seamlessly. We've invested more resources into growing our social channels and aligned with organizations that are curating online content and hangouts.
People have been looking for products to help them cope with the unprecedented times.
Are you experiencing an uptick or decline in business?
An uptick! People have been looking for products to help them cope with the unprecedented times. Our effect-based herbal smoking blends, which can be mixed with your favourite weed to prolong the stash or embellish the effects, and CBD-rich hemp spliffs have been a popular option for our customers lately.
What is your takeaway from the new reality of operating during the pandemic?
Operational flexibility and redundancies in the supply chain are vital for a company like ours to be able to survive these types of moments. The pandemic has really reinforced that mentality for us as we work to both meet our customers’ needs and desires, and become more widely accessible to them whether that's in their homes or their favourite dispensary.
What are you doing to keep it together both on a personal level and business level during these challenging times?
We're largely working from home and alternating time in the facility for shipping and production tasks. This new way of working has opened up the opportunity to play around with our individual working styles to see how and when we can be the most productive and focused. We've taken time to incorporate mental breaks into our day, which for me is a little bit of gardening at lunch or a bike ride to the local coffee drive-through. We've given ourselves, and each other, the space to adapt to this new way of working in our own ways.
The New Canna-Normal is an ongoing Q&A series with the cannabis community as we evolve to greet the new normal.