TULSA, Okla. — This past week, Cannabis Industrial Marketplace gathered insiders and experts for the first-ever marijuana industry business-to-business event in Oklahoma.
The two-day gala — held April 3 and 4 at Central Park Hall — featured guest speakers, entrepreneurs, accountants, attorneys and an assortment of local and national patrons. From vendor booths to educational seminars that covered all aspects of the industry, the Tulsa show provided an excellent platform for all involved.
Patrick Witty, founder of Stories Not Atoms, a creative agency in Tulsa that’s focused on branding in the cannabis industry, attended the event for one key reason: To see Jennifer Whetzel of LadyJane Branding — the featured speaker — discuss maximizing creativity in the quickly expanding cannabis space.
Whetzel’s vision has inspired many within industry circles, and she was certainly a highlight of this past week’s exhibition.
“I really admire their work. Their website design is beautiful — how they come up with people’s brand identity,” Witty said of LadyJane. “I’ve followed them for a while. When I saw that they were speaking here and giving a seminar, I was like ‘I’ve got to go to that’… as well as connecting with the rest of the (cannabis) business in Oklahoma.”
Already familiar with Cannabis Industrial Marketplace, John Hartsell of DizPot headed to Tulsa to continue what he started during the 2019 Michigan Expo in Birch Run — and that was to network and spread the word about his growing brand.
“This was our second (Cannabis Industrial Marketplace) event. Two times in a row, the organization has really provided a positive environment for us,” Hartsell said. “Everybody we’ve talked to, or are really close to, are qualified buyers of what we sell, which is packaging specific to the cannabis industry.
And that’s really important to us, because we get a high-quality conversation with a lot of customers all in one place, and a new market (Oklahoma) for us. It really puts us on the map. We really appreciate the heck out of you guys.”
Five years ago, Liquid Bottles was operating out of a garage in Florida.
Today, it’s working out of a 35,000 square-foot space, becoming a leading container provider in the cannabis industry.
Sure enough, profits are necessary in order for a business to grow and prepare for the long haul — they drive the machine.
But like many others at the Tulsa show, Chris Zalopany saw much more than an opportunity to display his brand in front of thousands of eyeballs and make a few dollars — he viewed it as a way to forge meaningful relationships with other like-minded individuals in order to ensure the stability of the industry for years to come.
“It’s all about making people happy. You can make money from anybody, but it’s about making relationships and building strong relationships with other companies,” said Zalopany. “These types of events… that’s what you get out of it, and that’s building relationships with people. We don’t want to ‘seal the deal’ the first day. We want to get you in, get you as a part of the team, and just work and grow together.”