Photo Courtesy: Stillwater Brands
Warren Bobrow=WB: Please tell me about Stillwater Brands? Why cannabis? Tell me about your professional path to cannabis?
Coree Schmitz=CS: Stillwater Brands is a company that believes in the power of cannabinoids in functional doses. We create fast-acting, consistent products that consumers can trust. Our flagship product, Ripple, has grown to become one of the best-selling brands in Colorado.
Having grown up in the Mountain West, cannabis never had a stigma to me. As I looked to career paths that were both personally and professionally satisfying, I continually came back to cannabis. I have always been a strong supporter of the plant personally, and therefore professionally I jumped at the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with cannabis supporters, legislators, attorneys, and investors to help construct an industry that was functional and proud. The work, of course, is ongoing, but I LOVE being part of the process.
WB: Obviously (to me anyway) it’s a conscious decision to work in cannabis. Who are your mentors in regard to the plant? Indoor or outdoor grown? By whom?
CS: It was absolutely a conscious choice to get into cannabis and one I had to chase down for a few years before finding my way into the industry. As someone with a very conventional background but a HUGE passion for the industry and the plant – I found it challenging to find my way into the industry as I didn’t have the credibility or skillsets that were initially needed in Colorado at the time of legalization.
Mentorship, for me, in the industry didn’t align with just one person or organization, but rather the full Colorado community. I was so impressed with how many people replied to my emails and requests to grab coffee and learn more about them and the industry so I could find my way into working in it. From all sides of the industry and associated services, I had fascinating meetings with people who had been working with the plant all their lives, had been making their own products, had had a hand in legislation, or were passionate to push the industry forward.
My professional path to cannabis defined itself further and further as I met more people, and what it truly came down to was three things:
I LOVE a challenge and I continued to ask myself how many times in my professional life was an ENTIRE legal industry going to show up overnight and need help from all aspects of business and legislation to be defined? It was the most excited I had ever been about a job – and I didn’t even have the job – and I wanted to work in THAT industry
Working with legislators to build laws and regulations that are best for society is crucial and sometimes the best way to work with the law is to challenge previous assumptions and push the limits. I love looking at a challenge and pushing the limits, I love helping have a voice in laws that will impact jobs for the next group of cannabis workers and consumers.
Most of all, I supported the plant. As the child of the oil and gas industry and an athlete through high school and part of college, I had been randomly drug tested for the majority of my life from ages 16-26, so I was never an active user. That said, my support for the plant, the choice, and the industry remained strong and unwavering, and the opportunity to work in the industry was something I wanted to be a part of the minute I moved back to Colorado in 2011.
WB: What are your six- and twelve-month goals? What obstacles stand in your way? How do you anticipate removing these obstacles?
CS: All of our goals involve growth and expansion. In the shorter term, Ripple is gaining three new SKUs to the portfolio in early 2020 and my goal is to introduce the Colorado market to Ripple Quicksticks, while ensuring they are understood and accepted with excitement!
With any new SKUs, there are a plethora of obstacles, including ingredient lead-time and sourcing, selling into the dispensary channel, adoption of the consumers, etc. Our plan to remove obstacles remains what it has been since Stillwater joined the THC market with lower dose SKUs back when the perception was that lower dose wasn’t going to succeed: Do a lot of due diligence and create a great product that we believe Colorado will be thrilled to enjoy. Game on, Colorado.
On a 12-month runway, I am focused almost exclusively on expansion into other states. The list of obstacles in expansion is arguably even longer than launching a new product, and I think the best plan Stillwater has had is realizing we won’t be able to anticipate all the obstacles. We are working with great partners to help evaluate and choose markets that make sense both today and in the years to come as the industry evolves. Ripple Dissolvables are products that we feel would be enjoyed in all legal markets, and therefore we are building an expansion strategy that will help us grow in a sustainable way.
WB: Tell me about what kind of food you enjoy? Favorite restaurant? Where?
CS: I was a cheesemonger in a past life, and therefore food is one of the things I enjoy the most, and it’s a wide variety. I don’t know if I can have a favorite restaurant, but, off the top of my head, To the Wind Bistro in Denver is my happy place when I’m home. It offers incredible food, incredible creativity, and the kind of in-your-face, authentic creativity that you would expect from an amazing service industry team. I am also 100% likely to request tacos from Taqueria Selene in Mexico City on my deathbed. It’s unreal good. I also would never say no to dessert at Juana La Loca in Madrid or escargot in butter sauce in Saigon.
WB: What is your passion?
CS: I love humans so I have a lot of passion around the human experience. For example, I have a life goal of traveling to a new country every year (this year was Cambodia) in order to experience new sights, sounds and food, but also new ways of thinking, communicating and deciding how to move a common society forward. I suppose, most of all, I am passionate about the humanity of interactions. Life is complicated, cannabis is complicated, working and building and being part of a team is complicated and I love that stuff.
At the end of the day, I get to work for a company that <legally> makes a line of consumer products based on water soluble THC – it’s complicated but it’s a helluva fun ride.
Stillwater Brands is leading the right-dosing movement with functionally dosed cannabinoid products, powered by patent-pending Ripple soluble cannabinoids, which ensures that all the brand’s edibles are reliable, consistent and fast-acting. With Ripple-powered products, consumers enjoy the perfect edible for any lifestyle discreetly and without any bitter or “green” flavor. Stillwater Brands’ range of products – including Ripple Dissolvables, Stillwater Beverages and Stillwater Gummy Supplements – help responsible adults complement their active lifestyles, or simply find the calm they need to stay focused, productive and in control of life’s anxious moments. The clinically proven products are made using the highest-quality ingredients and adhere to strict testing, ensuring they provide relaxation without the fear of overconsumption. Over the course of two years, the team built Stillwater into one of the top edibles manufacturers in Colorado. Its core brand, Ripple Dissolvables, has become the best-selling soluble cannabinoid powder in the state, with the top three beverage SKUs (Headset, October 2019).