FOUNDERS | Carly Stojsic of COURT
Next in our series of amazing founders is Carly Stojsic, founder of COURT, a cannabis consultancy agency. COURT will assist brands and companies in staying up-to-date and ahead of the curve in all aspects of the marijuana industry. Before creating COURT, Carly Stojsic was a senior trend forecaster at WGSN (one of the world’s top trend forecasting agencies) giving her a unique background, and perspective to keep track of this new and fast-changing industry.
She shared with us what she thinks about cannabis tourism, where the edibles market will take us, why you shouldn’t talk about the industry without talking about ‘Cannafeminism’ and her favourite publication (we think it’s pretty cool!)
So, you’re launching COURT. What’s the game plan and what can people expect?
COURT provides advisory, trend insights and best-in-class executions (focusing on cannabis and culture) for companies across all categories. Working with brands and agencies we arm teams with global trends, insights, and original ideas to substantiate client mandates, and mobilize their activations to market. Every brand has a story to tell; applying trends and insights ensures those stories are told in ways that deeply resonate with consumers.
Tell us about some of the services you’ll provide
Trend reporting is COURT’s main game. These trends span the gamut from, marketing strategies to retailing, design practices, consumer and educational experiences, and beyond. At the most basic level, we provide seasonal (or monthly) trend reports on cannabis, across different lifestyle and consumer verticals (retail, fashion, home, sustainability, tech, pet, wellness, marketing, etc.). Many people come to me with a specific mission in mind for example consulting in, product development or content creation. Bespoke consulting format is at play, so I start with a preliminary conversation to determine where I can best amplify a client’s brand and project pipeline.
How does your background as a trend analyst and forecaster apply to the world of cannabis?
Identifying trends in neighbouring lifestyle categories becomes a starting point as to how the cannabis industry is going to play out and develop in the marketplace. Trends represent emerging forces that are gaining momentum in our culture and these cultural touchpoints translate into consumer data that companies can answer to. I’ve always found success in cross-pollinating ideas across industries keeping my client’s work fresh and original. Not unlike tech, the new cannabis consumer IS the consumer of every other vertical! A new (more) open global marketplace and Canada’s legalization of cannabis is igniting convergence in almost every other sector (retail, design, agriculture, manufacturing, science, tech, etc.) Having trend forecasting experience in every other category allows me to frame and reframe the best ideas and executions for companies in the cannabis space.
What are some of the current trends in cannabis in Canada?
On a macro level, we’re seeing an onslaught of mandates surrounding public education. And we all need it! What makes cannabis more complex than tech (for example) is that the very nature of cannabis is inherently individual; from the genetics of the plant, to every individual interaction and experience with it. We’re working within the experience economy and I’m really enjoying seeing Canadian brands connect with new communities of cannabis-curious consumers in interactive, immersive, and collaborative ways. Cannabis is fuelling mindfulness and wellness trends and eco-activism. Both of those areas of consumer behaviours mean there’s a massive trend uptake to focus on societal health, tolerance and wellbeing. One example on a more micro level trend; I think the Canadian hospitality industry is slated to make new moves with ‘elevated’ cannabis tourism and dining starting to flourish. This will be a critical focus as the legal edibles market opens up later this year.
How should brands prepare for the legalization of edibles come October?
The cannabis consumer is about to use your products and services in totally new ways! While cannabis is slated to be a superfood of the future – the landscape with edibles will require patience. Every company in the culinary and hospitality space should engage professionals who work across markets to apply best practices. I think many companies need to put forth the small investment of education and learn more about what cannabis provides to their consumers before blindly developing products and services. There will be endless applications of cannabis to everything we ingest. Making sure the application is brand and ethos aligned with your assortment or platform will lead to successful outcomes. Like other areas of cannabis retail, the edibles market will see a boost in devices and homewares with security and safety measures in place.
What periphery industries inside Cannabis are you seeing emerge? Anything surprising you?
I’m gunning for the hemp fashion and textile industry to see growth here. As the big licensed producers produce quality cannabis and hemp on a large scale, and as the consumer learns about the multitude of attributes of using/wearing hemp textiles – we should see more materials available to use – homegrown Canadian! Everyone’s biggest surprise was the retail lottery (in Ontario) and how that stifled how retailing cannabis was introduced from a legal perspective. I hope the larger national grocers (who will be selling new edible products after late 2019/20 legalization) will activate major community educational environments on an ongoing basis. I know firsthand how social (and sexual) the cannabis experience can be, but I’m surprised at how quickly the beauty and personal health industry fused to meet with THC/CBD-infused personal lubricants, suppositories, balms, etc. And there’s a big, cross-generational demands for these products!
What are your favourite Cannabis publications right now?
I really love Broccoli the most. Check it out – you’ll immediately feel it.
How can Cannabis grow into a profitable but environmentally and socially conscious industry? What needs to happen right now?
We all need to be conscientious of current social frameworks and what kind of carbon footprint this budding industry will make. Brands should adopt a more human-centric approach (we are not only data points) and redefine consumers as ‘patients’ in an effort to be more mindful of impact and empathetic to causes. The cornerstones of cannabis are inclusivity, diversity, sustainability and wellness. ‘Cannafeminism’ is a thing and I like to put a focus on female led and centric businesses. Women have a huge opportunity here to carve out the landscape with holistic connectivity. Supporting brands and movements that have socially-conscious initiatives and community or ecological giveback (and regenerative systems) in place, will be key. There has been a big boom in areas surrounding agricultural and environmental studies across the country. At the end of the day, we’re working with a plant and a living commodity – the more we all learn about it, the more we all grow as a culture, society and civilization.
Any closing remarks?
Behaving as trends inherently do – cannabis is magically explainable at varying degrees, and also inexplicably omnipresent. Understanding different lifestyle and consumer trends and applying them to the cannabis industry, makes my heart beat faster!
COURT is launching soon.