VIBE Cannabis named Start-Up of the Year
Best of the Industry 2023 – Start-Up of the Year
It didn’t take long for VIBE Cannabis to make an impression.
With stellar, experienced leadership and a focus on quality cannabis, VIBE had all the tools to make waves. Despite not launching flower products in dispensaries until late 2022, the company quickly created a culture that connected with employees and patients. With that, VIBE Cannabis rapidly became one of the most visible and talked about new brands in Missouri. The company’s first promotional effort, the Green Ticket event made an immediate impact on patients and industry participants. From there, VIBE only grew in popularity.
“To us at VIBE Cannabis, 2022 was like we formed a rock band, we worked painstakingly in our studio to compose our first album, and then we went on tour to dispensaries to connect with our patients and budtenders,” VIBE’s CEO, Jonathan Milo told Greenway. “As glamourous as it may sound, we felt the uncertainty of our reception for nearly the entire year so we tried to stay focused on our passion of cultivating great cannabis. By the time VIBE launched products in August 2022, the market was already against us to resonate with patients in only five months. We launched during a time of product oversupply and at the end of a second wave of cultivators that now reached over 30 brands. Also, we did not have the benefit of operating any dispensaries so we couldn’t force product onto dispensary shelves using the quid pro quo game as many vertical operators rely on. Nonetheless, we just worked at what we believed in; the things that mattered to us as patients such as genetics, freshness, packaging, and a brand we could care about.”
A Missouri-owned and operated company, anchored in downtown St. Louis, VIBE was recognized for the effort and diligence put in.
“By the end of 2022, we were surprised to receive four nominations including Best Cultivator, Best Cultivar (Gelato), and Best Concentrate (Gelato Live Rosin) from Greenway Magazine. For only being known in the market for just five months, we were thrilled to be voted 2022 Start-Up of the Year, which we view as our band’s first Grammy Award. However, we’re humble to remain focused on making great cannabis since 2022 is over and patients and consumers will always want the next hit.”
What about your VIBE differentiates you from other companies in Missouri?
With all the market consolidation, we’re one of the last truly Missouri-owned and operated entities and we’re not an MSO. Also, we value working with local growers, specifically our first collaboration with hometown celebrity Tree1Four Genetics. We’re proud to authentically represent the state of Missouri.
Tell us about the team that helps push VIBE’s success?
As a CEO, I appreciate and praise our team as I view them as family and we’re all in this together. One best supporting actor that I would like to highlight is Wes Greene, who is currently our Finance and Inventory Manager. Not many people know this, but Wes is my right-hand employee that is the only one that has been through every milestone with me over the last four years. What makes a great leader, partner, teammate, and employee is someone that has a willingness to work hard, learn new things, and wear multiple hats. Wes is a perfect example of those attributes and I have had the pleasure of watching his career evolve into success and I am truly happy for him.
What endears VIBE to patients and others in the industry?
From a patient perspective, we think they appreciate having access to high-quality products at affordable prices relative to other options in the market. From a budtender and partner perspective, we think they appreciate our creativity to work with them and focus on solving patient needs. From an employee perspective, we think our team appreciates that their leaders are trying to grow their careers, our transparent company communication, and our efforts to continuously try to do more for them as we grow as a startup.
With the launch of adult use, how do you intend to stay competitive as the Missouri market continues to grow?
Nothing really changes from our original goals which are to produce the highest quality medicine at the most affordable price under a brand that patients and consumers can feel good about.
What does the legalization of marijuana for adult use mean for your company?
Adult use legalization means continued runway to focus on the best genetics, the highest quality flower and concentrates and the most affordable prices. Without adult use, the failure rate would have accelerated for all cultivators, manufacturers, and dispensaries, leaving patients with fewer options and many laid-off employees. Thus, we’re happy that instead of contracting, Missouri is growing towards a leading national example of cannabis legalization.
Can you tell readers how VIBE is involved in the community?
In less than one year, our business has immediately provided a large volume of jobs, professional training with exceptional leaders, and local tax revenues for our local community. We’re located in the heart of an economic development zone in downtown St. Louis, where we have grown from 2 employees in February 2022 to currently over 110 employees. Our goal is to increase our job count to 200 by year-end. Additionally, the majority of our municipal taxes support the local school system which is in need of additional funding. Lastly, we ended 2022 by hiring a new Security Manager, who has a decorated military and police background, but just as important to us is he has community initiatives and direct connections to the city of St. Louis. In 2023, we plan to work with the city of St. Louis to determine how we can continue our investment into a community that arguably needs it the most in Missouri.