As part of my series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Recker.
Eric Recker is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Operations at Indicaloud, a premier producer of U.S. grown, high-quality delta 8 and hemp-based products. Through his experiences driving strategic growth for startups, Eric uniquely understands the complexity of building a successful business in an emerging industry like cannabis. Prior to Indicaloud, Eric managed and built sales teams at Catapult Sport and Sports Performance Tracking, helping to leverage data and analytics to support athletic performance. Eric specializes in launching new operations, increasing sales and consumer presence, and information technology. He holds a business degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Business.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Personally, I’ve always been interested in the Cannabis Industry. My path was a different one than many in this industry. My career up to this point has been in Consulting and Sports Technology and in many ways the two align perfectly. Sports has been my passion and a big part of my life from the time I was a young boy. Over the years in sports, Cannabis has always been frowned upon and has caused many Athletes to lose their careers just because they were looking to reduce the pain of an ailment or to enjoy recreationally to relax. That didn’t sit well with me and I started researching the Cannabis Industry further while still pursuing my Sports Technology Career. I noticed quickly through tedious research, that many cannabinoids including Delta-8 THC, CBD, CBG, CBN, THC, etc. can and will help with many sports ailments and would be highly beneficial to athletes. It drove me to research further and as luck would have it, I met my current business partner who was already in the process of starting a Health & Wellness Distribution company that was heavily focused in cannabinoids. As we continued to grow our Health & Wellness company, we noticed that it was difficult to find high quality and reliable Cannabis products, which is why we decided to launch Indicaloud.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
This isn’t the most interesting story that has happened to me but more of a line of stories. The Cannabis Industry can be taboo, too many people including people in your inner circle (family, friends, etc.). It was difficult for me at the onset of this business to explain what I did because so many people have a biased uneducated opinion on what the Cannabis Industry is. In some cases I was hesitant to tell friends and family because of what they would think, rather than taking the time to educate them on the “why”. I learned pretty quickly that many people have a negative opinion on this industry because they haven’t educated themselves on the benefits and reasons why people use Cannabis. I’ve learned to not steer away from the conversation but work to educate people why this is an amazing industry and how so many people can benefit from Cannabis.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Like anyone else who has started a company, there are certainly a lot of blunders along the way. Many of the mistakes made aren’t funny at the time they happen but certainly become comical over time. One of the funniest mistakes I’ve made was misspelling a couple of products on our website and not noticing for almost a week. This normally wouldn’t be all that funny but the misspelling of the products would certainly be meme worthy if caught. The misspelled words were not PC and would create quite a buzz if it were to happen now. Luckily, we were in the infancy at that point and didn’t have the brand recognition that we do now.
Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We’re always looking for ways that we can improve and enhance the customer experience. Whether that’s introducing a new way to consume cannabinoids or launching exciting new cannabinoids to the market. We’re in the process of producing new cannabinoids and products that we’ll be launching into the market in the coming months alongside with some exciting changes and additions to the company, Indicaloud.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I’ve been lucky in my career to be part of many startups and within many of those startups, some very dynamic leaders. I’ve been able to pick and pull great qualities and advice from each of them but my father has been the most influential in my life. He was an entrepreneur during a part of his life and his trials and tribulations taught me a lot on how to run a business. For most people you learn from the successes and failures in business and hopefully don’t repeat the same mistakes. The one thing that he taught me and I learned from his experience was to always pick your business partners wisely and make sure that you surround yourself with great people in business. I believe that we have something special at Indicaloud with the great people in our organization.
This industry is young, dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
I’ve always believed that you need to listen to your customers and provide an experience or product that really excites the end-user. We work with an amazing PR team and marketing team that has felt the pulse of our consumer base and provided new innovative strategies to keep us engaged with those that are enjoying our products. We have affiliate, influencer, and Ambassador programs that have really enhanced our Social Media and Marketing presence. By keeping engaged with our most important resource (the consumers), it has helped us keep excitement around the brand and organically grow based on the positive experience our customers are having. Many companies including larger legacy companies can get lost along the way of their success and stop listening to their customer. That’s when brands become stale and less excitable.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
- The Innovation of exciting new products and cannabinoids
- The medicinal and positive healing effects of Cannabis
- The Challenge
- Lack of education and government alliance to push the positive messaging around an amazing plant with so many benefits
- Cannabis companies with the wrong agenda and lack of compliance standards. Companies who are doing things the wrong way can hurt the image of an industry that can help so many people.
- Lack of support of entrepreneurship in the cannabis industry. Providing everyone an equal opportunity to join an amazing industry without political bias.
Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”? Please share a story or example for each.
- Be Patient. This is the same with any new business but especially when you’re breaking into an industry with little experience. You have to build respect and trust with those you do business with and that takes time. We have been lucky enough to build strong fruitful relationships but that took a lot of effort and patience to get to the point we are today.
- Not Every Opportunity is the Right Opportunity. I, much like many entrepreneurs, don’t want to have wasted opportunities and don’t want to miss out on opportunities. This can
- Sometimes lead down a path of wasting time on the wrong opportunity while you could’ve spent that time and effort improving another facet of your business.
- Listen to Your Customer. Rather than only looking at your internal team for answers, ask the customer what they want, what are new trends in the market, what kind of products would they like to see… You can get so bogged down by your day to day that you forget to go out and seek what customers are looking for.
- Be Innovative. Consistently research and be looking at ways to improve your business with new products. Look outside of your core business group and seek out what consumers are craving. Many businesses succeed but to stay successful, you must set and stay ahead of trends in the market.
- Never Stop Grinding. Starting a business and maintaining a successful business is hard work. If you aren’t willing to put in the work and set the tone for your business, no one else will work hard to make your business a success. It’s up to you and your leadership team to set the tone!
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Build an inclusive environment where everyone has a part of your company’s success and incentivize your employees for their successes. Some of the best and most innovative ideas come from your employees who are out in the field speaking with customers. Building an enjoyable environment where employees truly feel like a part of the team will pay dividends over and over again. Formulating a fun, inclusive environment will also help attract the best talent in the industry to want to join your team!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
In this industry, there are still so many unknowns. Will Marijuana be federally legal? what will happen to cannabinoids like Delta8? Will more states continue to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana? What I would like to start, is the movement of legalizing all cannabinoids and educate the masses on the benefits and values associated to the wide variety of Cannabinoids. I heard a story today of a little girl who was going through a tough battle with terminal cancer. She was in constant pain and was unable to be comfortable through normal pharmaceuticals, which is a story that you hear way too often. Her family was devastated that she couldn’t get comfortable during her final days. They took matters into their own hands and provided her with RSO during her final days, to be more comfortable. This should not be a taboo method to handle pain and should be available to those that need it. My movement would include the ability for this type of treatment to be readily available and Cannabinoids to be a normal part of society.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
- Facebook: @indicaloud.official
- Instagram: Indicaloudelta8
- Twitter: @indicaloud