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Step-by-Step: How Revelry Supply Became a Million-Dollar Cannabis Lifestyle Brand

Revelry Supply makes odor-absorbing luggage geared toward higher end cannabis users

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Sometimes you just want to keep other people from smelling your stuff. Enter, Revelry Supply. The Santa Cruz, Calif.-based company makes odor-absorbing luggage — duffels, backpacks, personal bags, etc. — aimed at cannabis users.

The idea for the company was hatched in 2014, and Revelry Supply started selling luggage in 2015. In its first full year, Revelry Supply made about $700k. Since then, revenues have steadily increased, and the company is on track to make ~$2m this year.

With lawmakers passing cannabis-friendly legislation and plans to diversify further into the cannabis lifestyle market, co-founder Brandon Stewart says Revelry Supply expects major gains in the next few years. 

This is a step-by-step guide for how Revelry Supply became a leading luggage company and how it plans to take the next step.  

💡 The idea phase

Stewart and his fellow co-founders came from a California action sports background. They were business professionals who liked to unwind on weekends through pursuits like skateboarding and snowboarding. “Cannabis is a huge part of that lifestyle,” he says.

They realized that in 2014 cannabis-related brands didn’t cater to their group and wanted to make a brand focused on this “average California Joe.” 

But cannabis was still mostly a black-market pursuit. So they brainstormed ancillary products and noticed theindustry was lacking quality luggage. “It was all black but logoless bags,” Stewart says. “Maybe it didn’t smell but it looked like you were carrying around drugs, guns, or money.”   

  • Differentiation: They would differentiate by making a fashionable bag with a logo — that didn’t look like the property of a smuggler.

💵 The first spend  

Funding: Stewart had funding from a previous business related to skateboarding, and Revelry Supply received other funding from friends. The business needed ~$100k to start up. 

Where they invested: Early funds went to hiring a first employee who lived in China and had connections with factories and companies that could provide materials to produce the luggage.  

  • Revelry found its first employee through networking. A friend of the co-founders had a different luggage business and offered the recommendation. 
  • Revelry also found a logo designer by networking with friends. 

🏃‍♀️ Building the product 

First, survey the market: Revelry Supply found that gym bags were using activated charcoal filters to absorb smells and realized it could use the same technology. Stewart hired a friend who had graduated from the San Francisco School of Design. “We added the layering system of the carbon filter, and she designed the aesthetic,” Stewart says.  

🏗️  Marketing + brick and mortar

Because of the mostly black-market status of cannabis –– and customers’ penchant for paying cash –– Revelry Supply bucked the trend of many new companies and didn’t go heavy on online direct-to-consumer sales. Instead, the company went for brick and mortar. 

  • Convention recognition: Revelry launched by attending Emerald Cup, a well-known trade show for Northern California growers. Stewart and his team thought they had brought enough products to last two days, but everything sold out on the first day. “When you start any brand or company there’s always a leap of faith,” Stewart says. “You believe in your heart it’s going to work. But when you have the proof of everyone else coming to your booth and buying your product, that’s when you know you have something.”

With momentum from the trade show, Revelry Supply began negotiating with hydro stores and grow shops to sell its products. Stewart recalls customers coming up to him while he was talking with store owners and expressing interest in the luggage. 

The key for Revelry to expand was to get into more stores. The company needed distribution for that.    

✌️ Partnering to expand sales

Revelry Supply quickly partnered with distributors Hydrofarm and Green Planet Wholesales, which sold the company’s luggage. Recently, it struck a deal with Greenlane, an even bigger distributor. Greenlane, which is a publicly traded company, sells cannabis-related products to thousands of stores and dispensaries and directly to consumers.  

“In each case they found us,” Stewart says. “Five years later, there’s still not a whole lot of quality brands out there. We’re in a unique position of having a quality brand people are big fans of.”

The distribution channels helped Revelry Supply go from modest sales at the end of 2015 to $700k in its first full year in 2016 to $1.2m the year after.  

  • How Revelry Supply got seen: Stewart says the key to getting the attention of distributors was having a brand that stood out at various trade shows. Revelry Supply was a rare lifestyle brand targeted higher end users.   

🚪 Next steps

  • Diversifying product: Revelry Supply is going to start making other ancillary lifestyle products related to cannabis. These products will include household items that would help cannabis users build the cannabis equivalent of a liquor cabinet.  
  • Seeking VC money: Now that cannabis has gone mainstream and laws are slackening, Revelry Supply is looking for venture capital funding. Stewart is relying on a team of advisors he knows from the tech industry to help him navigate how to reach out to VC firms and raise capital next year.

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