Exclusive with Scott Bryant, Co-Founder of Tree-Rolls Hemp Company
Scott Bryant is the Co-Founder and CEO of Tree-Rolls® Hemp Company, a premium hemp CPG brand created for the convenience store market. He is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Pineworx®, the nation’s leading white-label pre-roll manufacturer. Both are based in San Diego, CA.
With a background of 15+ years in the cannabis and alcoholic beverage industries, Scott’s previous work includes launching one of the country’s first medical cannabis pre-roll brands in 2012 (Jay’s Pre-Rolls) and working as Regional Sales Manager, overseeing the Western U.S. for the world’s largest distributor of hops to craft breweries.
To learn more information on these companies, visit www.treerolls.com and www.pineworx.com.
Here we sit down with Scott, to know a bit more about his journey as an entrepreneur.
Q. What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
Scott: Since I was young, I always dreamt of working for myself and building something new. Growing up, my father worked as Vice President for a handful of large corporations and I loved learning about the process.
The frustrations of working for other companies only solidified my drive to create something unique and break away from the standard 9-to-5.
Q. How did you get started?
Scott: I began my entrepreneurial journey at age 22, founding a digital marketing company as a side hustle while working at my career in the hops industry. I was building the company infrastructure and managing 6 employees out of my house, while still working my day job. It became a bit overwhelming and after a couple of years I dissolved the company and considered it a ‘learning experience’.
In 2012, I received a job transfer to San Diego, CA where I quickly discovered that cannabis was legal for medical use. Venturing into my first few dispensaries, I noticed that there was no recognizable branding, no quality standards, and a lack of innovation. I was determined to launch the country’s first branded pack of pre-rolled joints and start driving industry progress. After spending nearly 6 months formulating the business plan and teaming up with our President and Co-Founder, Victor Berrio, Jay’s Pre-Rolls was born.
Through the success of the brand and a clear path of opportunity, I took the jump in 2015, resigning from my career and transitioning into full-time startup mode.
Q. What was your biggest startup challenge? What steps did you take to overcome it? What did you learn?
Scott: Our biggest challenges stemmed from the legal grey area in the medical cannabis market and lack of support from banks, leasing agencies and suppliers. We couldn’t get a facility to operate out of and we were denied bank accounts, forcing us to operate with cash only. Many suppliers even refused to sell us products because it was against their policy to work with cannabis businesses. We were forced to get creative and create separate management companies just to operate.
Because of the legal grey area, we were not offered the same tax deductions, which thinned out margins and made it difficult to keep the lights on. Moreso, because cannabis was federally illegal, we were unable to file for trademarks to protect our brands. This ultimately led to a cease and desist from a tobacco company and having to shut down our first brand. We were forced to learn new trademark strategies and we’ve secured nearly 10 federal trademarks since.
In regards to manufacturing our products, we were literally one of the first, which meant that there was no existing off-the-shelf equipment. We had to put our engineering hats on, learn 3D printing, and build all of our technologies and prototypes from scratch. We’ve spent nearly a decade working to continually improve our processes.
After the legalization of recreational cannabis in California, there was a painful regulatory transition, with regulations changing on nearly a monthly basis. This caused us to lose large amounts of products, packaging and resources due to packaging compliance. We’ve learned to closely manage inventory, stay on our toes and be ready to pivot at any moment.
Q. What is the most memorable thing you’ve done since you started your business?
Scott: We’re most proud of helping to kickstart an industry that was nearly stagnant for so many years. We launched one of the first packs of pre-rolled joints, created innovative (patent pending) production technologies, launched the first white label pre-roll manufacturing company and are currently expanding Tree-Rolls Hemp Company — a brand built around sustainability and giving back. To date, we’re proud to have planted over 60,000 trees through sales of the products.
Q. What is one book you recommend, and why?
Scott: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This is one of the first books that opened me up to the fact that mindset is a huge factor to success.
Q. What are your top 3 favourite online apps, tools or resources and what do you love about them?
- Later — A budget-friendly platform for social media planning
- Monday — Project planning and keeping on track
- Headspace — Great for relaxation and clearing your mind before bed
Q. In terms of legacy, what is the mark you’d like to leave on the world?
Scott: My goal is to create sustainability programs that help to reduce waste and make the world a greener place. We’ve got a headstart with Trees for the Future and planting trees through Tree-Rolls Hemp Company, but I’d like to further expand on our charitable programs.
Q. In one sentence, what’s the best advice you’d give to someone just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey?
Scott: You will face many challenges; It’s all about creative problem-solving, delegating tasks, and using existing resources and software to streamline workflow.
To keep up to date with Scott and his journey, connect with him and Tree-Rolls on Facebook, and Instagram.