Manufacturing Success: Q&A with Alex Kranzberg of Kran Organics
Alex Kranzberg was born and raised in Kansas City. He’s spent most of his life in and around KC. Kranzberg attended University of Kansas in Lawrence and earned a degree in Economics, before moving to Seattle, Washington area. It was in there that Kranzberg perfected his vision for edibles before returning to Missouri and founding Kran Organics.
Kran Organics has become synonymous with innovation and quality in a crowded infused edibles space. The company produces clean, healthier, products that are allergen friendly and safe for vegans, celiacs, people with sensitivities to artificial colors and dyes, or corn syrup. Vegan, organic edibles are hard to find, but a focus on health and quality for patients and consumers is behind every decision made by Kranzberg and his team.
It’s that attitude of compassion and care for other that fuels not just the company, but Kranzberg himself.
“The best way to find yourself is to get lost in the service of others,” he says. “One of my greatest experiences with volunteering has been being a big brother for big brothers and big sisters of KC. It’s been incredibly rewarding watching him grow over the last 10 years. He is now studying abroad for a year then going to KU.”
“My professional background is just like my hobbies, a wide variety of experience that I have been able to cross referencing techniques, skills, lessons from one industry to another. A term that I call an innovation broker. My very first job was when I was super young, like 6 or 7. I was a child shoe model, it was a blast, I got to go to trade shows and runway shows. Once I retired from my modeling career, I went to work for my family at the ripe old age of 10 or so. My family had a Workwear and Footwear business which is how I was able to be land the shoe modeling gig. When I was in college I created a company, Workwear Incorporated, it was a spin off of my family’s company. I provided us an online presence and the ability to go after government bids, solicitations, and contracts. I wasn’t passionate about clothing, it was just something I knew. I had always found construction to be super cool, so I landed a sweet job at Kiewit Power, a huge construction company with their hands in power production, mining, building highways, bridges, building, and pretty much everything in between. After a few years I learned this isn’t my passion either. I then spent some time exploring my interests instead of focusing on making a living. Since health is a big part of my life I spent plenty of time in natural grocers, so they offered me a job, I loved it!”
“Again, not passionate about working in a grocery store but it was a great way to spend time while figuring it out. An opportunity to be a business development manager for a local construction company landed on my desk so so I did that for a few years. While I was in that role, I was getting bored so I started to grow microgreens hydroponically and selling them to friends and family. I then moved to the Seattle area and that was my first time spending decent time in dispensaries. This is where I perfected my first edible product, the chill cake. A vegan gluten-free cheesecake that would later be sold frozen in dispensaries in the Missouri market with our branded freezers.”
How did you find your way to working with cannabis?
I started using cannabis when I was a junior in college and I have been quite fond of it ever since then. Once I moved back to KC from Seattle I introduced some friends and family to my recent creation, the chill cake! They ate it up! Literally. Lots of people told me that I should make and sell these in Missouri Dispensaries. I reached out to my cousin Daniel Shafton who had applied for the maximum number of licenses and asked him if he wants to create an edibles company with me. After some convincing, he agreed and we reached out to Ethan Foster at COCO Labs, we drove from KC to Clarence Missouri to meet with COCO and introduce them to ourselves, our product, and our vision. The rest is history, I think that’s how the saying goes.
What does cannabis mean to you?
That’s a loaded question. I guess it depends on the day and my mood. But I view marijuana as a medicine, and as a recreational product. I have had over a dozen surgeries in my adult life, I don’t take any pharmaceutical medication, and I don’t drink alcohol. I use marijuana for comfort and to alleviate pain. I also use marijuana for my mental health, cause you know how life can be a motherfucker sometimes. I also enjoy using weed socially. Obviously, I love edibles, but they do take a minute to take effect and you just pop them in your mouth and continue to do whatever you were doing. Whereas grinding up your bud, rolling up a joint, and smoking it forces you to take some time to relax and enjoy your ritual. For me, I eat the edibles first and then roll up.
What products Kran Organics produce?
We launched with the Chill Cake, a vegan gluten-free cheesecake free of preservatives, dyes, or colors. We launched this in 3 delicious flavors, blueberry lemon, cherry and chocolate. There were several reasons this was our debut product. The bioavailability in the Chill Cakes is amazing. They are loaded with tons of healthy plant fats to carry the THC for optimal consistent effectiveness. When we launched our first product, it was a limited medical market. I knew that most gummies were loaded with corn syrup, dyes, and colors that are harmful to our health. So I wanted to launch a healthier more effective alternative product. We learned that 80% of edibles sales are gummies…So we knew what was coming next. The next product we launched was our Kran Organic gummies. We also know that we need to make a gummy that not only tastes amazing, has an amazing texture, won’t melt, and needs to be a bit “cleaner” than other products. What he have now is the best-tasting and textured gummy in the Missouri market, with mind-blowing unique flavors such as Vanilla Ube, Apple Chai, and Blackberry Lemonade. Our gummies are free from artificial colors, dyes, and corn syrup, and they don’t melt! We launched with 10 pieces of 10mg gummies, but will be coming out with a micro-dose gummy of 2.5mg, and a macro dose of 50mg, along with ratio gummie, nighttime gummies, and full spectrum gummies.
We have also developed a cookie dough that will be in our freezer. You can either eat the cookie dough raw, or take it home and bake it.
We have also teamed up with a highly qualified pharmacist who specializes in cannabinoids to create a topical and other “pharmaceutical” style products. More details to come in the near future.
What is the biggest obstacle you face in a manufacturing facility like this?
Our biggest obstacle has been launching last year during the medical market, switching manufacturing facilities and partners, not being on shelf’s during the launch of recreational and picking back up has been like drinking from a firehouse. We are having a hard time keeping up with demand, we are continuing to hire employees at the manufacturing facility to help with production demands.
What has the legalization of recreational marijuana and the beginning of adult-use sales meant for your company?
Growth! It means we get to introduce our quality products to more and more people. It’s really quite incredible. Our sales from the first few weeks of gummies in Rec have pretty much surpassed our sales that took place in the first few months that we launched our Chill Cakes.
What are you doing to keep up with increased demand?
We are hiring more people in the manufacturing facility to increase production, using software to increase efficiency, and we have a prototype of an automated machine that we are hoping to test out this week!
What lessons have you learned from day 1 to now?
IT IS NOT A GET RICH QUICK BUSINESS.
I’m afraid I don’t have enough time to tell you, and you don’t have enough time to listen, haha. Some of the biggest lessons can be taken from other industry I have worked in. Coming with construction experience I often find myself saying to myself and my team, “measure twice, cut once”. Meaning taking time and planning can help avoid costly mistakes.
Clearly communicating and following up is vital, this industry needs vast improvements on this area.
Time. Everything takes time. I have learned that everything in this industry takes even more time.
What’s the best piece of advice someone has ever given you?
Follow your passion.
In your opinion, what’s the best way to consume cannabis?
Eat it, obviously! It’s potentially the least harmful way to consume. Don’t be mistaken, I consume it in all ways!
What makes your products unique in this space?
We are a small local company composed of friends and family. We are in this industry to provide high-quality products that are all-inclusive for people with potential allergens.
What is the top-performing product you produce?
That a super tough question since we have limited products on the market at the moment. We currently do not have the Chill Cakes on the market, but they will be returning once our facility has the ability to produce frozen products again in the near future. So for now the Kran Organic gummies.
What’s your favorite product?
My favorite product is our Chill Cake. It’s my favorite for several reasons. First reason being is, it is absolutely decadent and delicious. Free from chemicals and preservatives. Loaded with healthy plant fats that guarantee a consistent effect every time.
What makes you passionate about cannabis?
It’s an amazing plant that has so much to offer. I’m passionate about providing great quality products to aid in the improvement of people’s lives and happiness.
Give our products a try and “bite into a peace of mind.”