What happens when two sisters who have a passion for cannabis and entrepreneurship team up? Juliana and Gianna Franzone are the founders of BudKups, a cannabis vape accessory company. Their inspiration for launching the businesses started out of practicality. Both avid cannabis consumers, Gianna and Juliana noticed that packing vaporizers was a pain. It was a timely, messy, and disorganized process. There had to be an easier way. It didn’t take long for an idea to spark. Juliana realized the solution was right at their fingertips! Why not create a product that made vaping the natural cannabis leaf an amazing and easy process? Needless to say, BudKups was born. Today Gianna and Juliana are on a mission to share their love of cannabis and help stop the stigma, one puff at a time.
Tell us more about BudKups
BudKups is small, family-owned business based in Maryland. It is our goal to make the vaping of natural cannabis leaf as easy as possible. We are a team of just 10 people, always working on new solutions to simplify the whole ritual of vaping herb. We know that the simpler the process, the more portable and accessible cannabis herb becomes for consumers. Our team is led by my sister and I. We love the possibility within this industry and the chance to create truly new-to-the-world solutions.
What inspired you to enter the cannabis industry?
Being cannabis users, no doubt. Particularly PAX users. We were drawn to the elegance and simplicity of that particular vaporizer, but still felt like there were too many steps and too much mess to have a cannabis experience truly integrated into our lives.
My PAX fits in my purse but how can I load it on the go if I have to empty and repack it while I’m out? I found myself using my PAX less because emptying, cleaning, grinding and packing the PAX each time I wanted to use it was a pain. There had to be an easier way.
We started thinking of ways to simplify the process. We knew that if we could make it easier to use herb we could be a part of the work to destigmatize cannabis.
It was my sister, Juliana, who came up with the idea of a dosing capsule for the PAX, and thus BudKups was born.
What type of cannabis products do you offer?
A whole suite of products to make using your PAX vaporizer even easier!
Our OG product is the BudKup, a loading capsule for PAX 2/3 that allows you to pre-pack multiple doses of herb at one time, easily load and unload cannabis into your PAX wherever you may be, saves your PAX from gunk and frequent cleanings, and gives you a truly portable cannabis experience.
From there we have created...
The new BudKup Generation 3.0, our best loading capsule for PAX with improved heating and more vapor production.
The Bud Case, which holds 6 BudKups and is small enough to fit in your pocket or purse.
The Packing System where you can quickly pack 6 BudKups at once with no mess
The BudKit, a storage solution that contains all of our accessories for the PAX and finally gives you a slim, stylish way to organize everything.
What makes BudKups unique?
We are currently the only dosing capsule for PAX on the market. But more importantly, we are a passionate group of people who really care about customer experience. We work super hard to be responsive, dealing with each customer interaction on a personal level. We want each and every customer to have a positive experience with us and love BudKups as much as we do!
We have been working this year to really improve our BudKup. We have listened to our customers closely and used their feedback to design what we feel is our best BudKup yet. After customer trials and lab testing, we are preparing for the release of BudKup Generation 3.0 and couldn’t be more excited to offer something that we know will really improve and simplify the vaping experience for people.
How has cannabis influenced your lives?
Cannabis has been a game changer for both my sister and I. She has suffered from insomnia her entire adult life, whereas I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder in the 3rd grade. After decades of prescriptions with negative side-effects and addictive properties, we finally turned to cannabis. Honestly, it’s the only thing that has ever truly helped... in a way no pill ever could.
Having experienced its medical benefits first hand, makes us so passionate about ensuring quick, on-demand access to herb for cannabis patients. In this way BudKups has changed our lives as well.
What have been your biggest hurdles operating in the cannabis industry so far
Working within the archaic legal and corporate framework surrounding the cannabis industry.
We don’t sell cannabis or vaporizers, only accessories, but still we have faced problems with trademarks, banking, e-commerce, and continuous issues surrounding the marketing of our product. Social media’s prohibition on all things cannabis is outdated. The federal prohibition will be eventually be lifted. Cannabis is here to stay.
How have you been able to overcome these challenges?
We just keep pushing forward. We have relied on the advice of our peers in the industry and are trying to wait it out until full legality comes.
Partnerships with other brands and players in the industry have been key to helping us grow. It’s a wonderful community that looks out for each other and we are happy to be a part of it.
Name the top 3 skills every cannabis entrepreneur needs
What is the best advice you've received recently?
When making a salad, always pick a bigger bowl than the one you think you’ll need.
Any tips for maintaining a work/life balance?
Respect the process. Running a company with a small team means you’re always on call and you have to wear a lot of hats. It’s easy to get caught up. In some situations it’s necessary to let an issue run its course instead of micromanaging it into a solution. It’s hard to know when you can fix it and when you should let it go. That discernment comes with time, but once you find it, it frees up a lot of mental and emotional space. If you can’t force yourself to disconnect,...there’s always cannabis! 😊
If you could offer an aspiring cannabis entrepreneur one piece of advice, what would it be?
Join a network! This is a young and dynamic industry that is always growing and changing. It’s also a very open one, filled with more women entrepreneurs than any other new industry. It’s imperative to have a network to stay informed and connected to the changing landscape.
Women really have an opportunity to help each other forge an unprecedented path to leadership and female-ownership of cannabis-related businesses. There is no glass ceiling in cannabis. I hope we can work together to keep it that way!
PAX® is the registered trademark of PAX Labs., Inc. VPC and BudKups is not associated with or sponsored by PAX Labs., Inc.