Today we’d like to introduce you to Iyana Edouard.
Hi Iyana, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I got started in the cannabis industry in 2016. Shortly after I graduated, I moved to California with my journalism degree and a dream. The dream was originally to write for newspapers but once I realized the slim chances of that happening in the digital era, I pivoted to marketing and branding and got my first job in the industry as a marketing manager for an online head shop. Since then, I’ve been able to gain experience with multiple brands, companies, and a few dispensaries in relation to marketing and content creation. Managing marketing for a cannabis company is unlike any other so having the knowledge has really been beneficial to my growth in the industry. Now I’m the marketing manager for a large multi-state whole cannabis distribution and cannabis accessories company.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
No, haahaa not at all. Cannabis is not an easy industry to work in because it’s so new and so restricted. It requires a lot of sacrifice and attention to detail or you may end up being shut down. I’ve been shut down, had pages deactive, and I’ve worked for businesses that have been shut down and had lost pages of content or bought out and still shut down. It’s very tough and competitive and if you’re not resilient or willing to do the hard work and not just get high and have fun. Also, being a black woman in the space causes another set of challenges. People have had said some really messed up things to be or did something that they didn’t realize was a biased action based on how they perceived me in the space. I had a white male boss once tell me he was experiencing reverse racism a number or times and didn’t even have the knowledge to know how wrong that was to tell his black female employee.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I’m a cannabis and CBD marketing specialist that assist cannabis and CBD business with improving their marketing strategies to they can stay compliant but also be creative and tell the story behind their branding. I’m also a podcast host – “Wine Weed & Weave” where I interview black and brown women in cannabis about their work and experiences in the industry. I’m most proud of the relationships I’ve built and businesses I’ve gotten to contribute to that have had a positive impact on the client or consumers. My goals in the industry are to 1. Support and share as many black and brown cannabis businesses as can, and connect us to each other and 2. Help people have the best experience with cannabis possible whether they consume it or not. I come from a journalism background so when I was reading these stories and hearing narratives about all the bad things and bad people in the cannabis world it didn’t make sense to me. But once I did my own research and experienced the plant and its benefits myself I knew the narrative was all wrong and wanted to be a part of changing it in the best way I knew how.
Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
My advice for people that want to get involved in cannabis but may not know where to start is research and read a lot. Also, reach out to people that are doing what you want to do. Sending an email or DM to someone or a canna brand you really like can create a connection and show that person or organization you’re genuinely interested. And if being online isn’t for you go work and you live in a legal state working at a dispensary and a delivery operation is a great way to get your foot in the door with little to no experience and it’s a great place to learn about products and how the cannabis business operates.
I just wish I knew how huge this industry was going to get I would have prepared myself accordingly and set up ownership of something early on, but I’ll get there.