Courtesy of Jushi Holdings Inc.
Colin Hanks got – well, kind of – into the cannabis space with a very unique strategy.
The actor, producer, director and entrepreneur recently teamed up with multi-state cannabis operator Jushi Holdings to sell his Hanks Kerchiefs branded products in the company’s Beyond / Hello pharmacies – and online. A portion of all sales will be used to support California farmers affected by forest fires while also helping to amplify the message of the nonprofits they support.
You don’t have to be a multi-million dollar company for your business to have a nonprofit component, Colin explained in an exclusive interview. “Every little bit helps”
Interestingly, and unlike many other celebrities who jump into the cannabis game, Colin isn’t a big stoner. He indulges himself sociable here and there, but he doesn’t make the herb a part of his daily routine.
However, this does not mean that he has any prejudice against cannabis.
“Like most people my age, I think it wasn’t a big deal when I was growing up,” explained Colin. “I enjoyed it quite a lot in my youth and always felt that it wasn’t as important as the older generations really make it out to be. And so, ironically, I lost interest in it when it became a little more acceptable in the mainstream sense. “
Still, Colin is happy with this mainstreaming of the work. In fact, he loves to see “cannabis shops and billboards and stuff” popping up all over America.
“It’s just not an issue for me. I’m just so glad that we somehow managed to get over it together. And as soon as people who have been in prison for too long for these things can be released, we can continue the conversation. “
The Bill Hicks Theory
As Colin delved deeper into his history of cannabis and its more frequent use at a young age, he remembered the doings of comedian Bill Hicks.
“He’s got a lot of really funny stuff about things like that: ‘Have you ever met an aggressive, violent guy? Are you drunk or stoned? Chances are you are drunk. You’re not stoned, ‘”Colin recalled.
“Now I feel like the way I’ve been looking at the subject for years has become conversation – which I’m grateful for because then it shows me that I’m not crazy, that it wasn’t irrational to have it that kind of belief. “
And he continued, “I don’t think alcohol should be illegal. And cannabis has many more beneficial functions than alcohol. The uses [of cannabis] that are positive in nature outweigh all negative ones in my opinion. “
But the actor quickly followed up with a warning: cannabis must be respected and consumers must be aware of the effects it has and can have. “It comes with being an adult and trying to look at things from a certain perspective, if you will. But it’s clear that cannabis has a million better uses than alcohol, and yet people don’t shy away from the fact that alcohol is legal. So that’s really how I see it. “
For Colin, cannabis is like a glass of wine or a cold beer at the end of a long day. “I know a lot of people sleep with it. I’ve done this on a few occasions when it was necessary. There are a number of different positive uses for cannabis. To me, this notion of “you cannot be a productive member of society for smoking cannabis” is just not true.
“Now I’ll say it affects different people in different ways,” he added. “But it’s fascinating to see how cannabis evolved and how the discussion about it evolved. And for me, ironically, that’s the kind of conversation I’ve wanted to have about it for a long time when I was incredibly passionate about it. “
The birth of an odd couple
Andreas “Dre” Neumann
Andreas “Dre” Neumann, world-renowned creative director and photographer for advertising, is the chief creative officer of Jushi. Dre is also a longtime friend of Colin’s.
During a friendly meeting, the idea of selling Hanks Kerchief’s handkerchiefs and other products came up when the duo discussed the experience of a cannabis dispensary and compared it to the experience of visiting a Tower Records store – that Subject of Hanks’ 2015 documentary All Things Must Happen.
When Dre shared details about how Jushi’s Beyond / Hello pharmacies look and feel, Colin realized they would be the perfect place for the in-store debut of his (so far) fully online brand.
“We are always looking for ideas to expand our experience in stores and to go beyond pure cannabis products,” said Neumann. “Sometimes in life you have to realize that what is right in front of you is there for a reason and recognize the unique synchronicity. The handkerchiefs went perfectly with the stores and were a great start to our new experience strategy. “
The CEO, Chairman and Founder of Jushi, Jim Cacioppo, also immediately recognized the strategic value of the partnership. “We immediately came to the conclusion that working with Colin was a perfect fit for our vision of the BEYOND / HELLO brand journey. In the cannabis industry, we are on this unique mission not only to normalize the plant, but also to demystify what pharmacies are.
“These stores are no longer a back door, a clinical whisper bar – they have evolved into the sophisticated retail experiences you would find at Fred Segal in Los Angeles, or say, a Starbucks Reserve. Like-minded people meet here to exchange ideas and discover cool new products or even music and art. Our partnership with Colin is the next organic step in what we call our ‘expansion expansion’, ”he added.
Also from Colin’s point of view, Jushi’s pharmacies are “much more than just a pharmacy: they are really an environment, a place to go to get cannabis, but you can also get all of these other products that go with one larger lifestyle. That was really interesting and engaging to me … One of the things I loved about record stores was that it wasn’t just about the music you bought. It was also about the environment, about the people, about the experience. “
Some things don’t work
Doing “All Things Must Pass” left a clear mark on Colin. And it taught him quite a bit about business too. This learning led him to start one of his own: Hanks headscarves.
According to Colin, Russ Solomon, founder of Tower Records, was also extremely curious, and that inspired him. “He didn’t need to know how everything worked; he didn’t need to know how it all worked; but he was curious about it. And so he recruited people who knew what they were doing and who could answer some of these questions and who were also curious. “
Luck, faith, and history would also play an important role in the creation of Hanks scarves. “It was a bit of the right place / the right time / the right attitude. Not too dissimilar to the Hello / Beyond relationship, ”he explained.
“I’ve always had a personal relationship with scarves or bandanas. They were always prevalent in my house when I was growing up. In shops or at truck stops or whatever, I always looked for one, grabbed it and added it to the collection. “
And that is true. Colin has been seen with a handkerchief very often for decades, just as your grandpa used to do.
For years Colin, too, viewed handkerchiefs as everyday objects and not as fashion accessories. But as he got older, the fashion element became more and more important.
“While this is a business, for me it is also a creative outlet,” he said.
In addition to history and creativity, the native Californian has always been fascinated by another element in handkerchiefs: the fact that they are pretty universal objects.
“The more I got into their history and designs, and the fact that it was a relatively easy product to make, the more I loved them, ”he said. “It can be anyone, depending on the material and design. It could be a very high quality item with a high markup, or something a little lower for everyone else, from models to mechanics. I liked the concept very much. “
Finally, Colin looked back at his entrepreneurial career and reflected. “I think part of it is just a real curiosity about things. I think this really is the first little building block you need in any kind of endeavor, ”he concluded.