I was lucky enough to talk to Brianne O’Neill, the head of marketing at VapeXhale. Brianne O’Neill is the right hand wo(man) to Seibo Shen, founder and CEO of the company. Considered a Jane-of-all-trades, not only is Brianne the only female on the team, but responsible for much of the behind-the-scene dynamics when it comes to maintaining VapeXhale’s reputation as the leader in innovative vaporization technology. With her strategic mind, she develops and implements all marketing initiatives used to promote, build and drive product sales. Brianne is a prime example of a woman business leader thriving in the marijuana industry, a business that has predominately taken on female employees as “pretty faces” to sell products. Below are my questions in bold, followed by Brianne’s answers in regular font:
How long have you been with VapeXhale?
Officially since Feb 2014, but have been assisting with tradeshows for the past 2 years
How has your experience working for a vaporizer company been?
It’s been great! People are blown away by the VapeXhale Cloud EVO due to our unique all glass vapor path. It’s feels great to be able to exceed people’s expectations and to be able to help them consume in the healthiest way possible. Our product sells itself once people can try it, now it’s just making sure everyone knows we have arrived.
What did you do before you worked with VapeXhale?
– TV Network
– Freelance marketing/social media for local shops in Nashville
– Touring musician
How does working working with VapeXhale compare to your past jobs?
Working with a start-up involves extreme self-discipline and perseverance. I can say that it’s definitely the most fun and I feel really lucky and excited to have a front row seat as this industry booms
What is it like being a female working in the cannabis industry?
When I first started going to tradeshows a couple of years ago, I felt like the “odd-woman-out” since I didn’t succumb to the bikini wearing and the provocatively posed product pictures like all the other girls I would see. Now I am seeing more and more highly intelligent, respectable women surface and I couldn’t be more excited!
It’s definitely a male dominated industry, but in time I believe that it will balance out. I would tell the women out there – knowledge is power ladies!! Know your product, cause, service, etc. inside and out!
Who do you consider to be your hero in the cannabis industry/movement?
It changes daily. Today I am really inspired by Jose Mujica, the President of Uruguay, because Uruguay is first country to nationally legalize marijuana, and the fact that he gives 90% of his income to charity and lives on a humble farm. Yesterday it was Meg Sanders, CEO of Gaia Plant Based Medicine- such an inspiration for women in the cannabis industry.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the cannabis industry today?
Legalization and educating the public on the health benefits of cannabis.
Where do you see the cannabis industry in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?
In 5 years I think most states will have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes and the research/results will be more substantial recognizing both the medical benefits, as well as the economic benefits. Hopefully it will make legalization undeniable.
In 10 years – full legalization and a booming economy.
In 20 years – people will look back and laugh at the fact that cannabis was ever illegal.
It will be viewed similarly to an essential vitamin or a glass of wine (depending on what part of the plant we’re talking about!)
If you could give advice to someone trying to get into the cannabis industry, what would it be?
– Get involved with both your local as well as the online cannabis community and network.
– Stay up to date on the latest industry advancements.
-Take this industry seriously, just like in any other industry, the best rise to the top.
I have used some VapeXhale products, and they are stellar to say the least. What makes VapeXhale products better than other company’s products?
It’s the all glass vapor path and the water filtration. Seriously, the smoothest, most flavorful way to consume cannabis on the market!