For the past 14 years, Sari Gabbay has been running a creative agency – U2R1Media. Today Sari is running not one but two cannabis companies. Two and half years ago, Sari decided to apply her expertise to the cannabis industry. She teamed up with her business partner Twyla Monti to launch Redefining Cannabis as the cannabis division of the company. Sari saw it is an opportunity of a lifetime. In the midst of changing legislations, the expanding awareness of the benefits of cannabis along with the number of businesses arriving in the space – Sari knew it was time to align her passions of health, wellness, and plant medicines with her experience in the digital domain. When she isn't running her creative agency or traveling around the world, Sari is hosting cannabis-fueled retreats. An avid yogi and wellness guru, Sari founded Cannabliss Retreats to create an opportunity for people to experience cannabis, wellness, and yoga in some of the most beautiful locations in the world.
Tell us about your path in launching Redefining Cannabis
For the past 14 years, I’ve been running a creative agency U2R1 Media. It formed in Toronto Canada and 4 and a half years ago I moved to LA and expanded the company. I brought on my business partner Twyla Monti, two years ago and 6 months ago we decided to launch Redefining Cannabis as our cannabis division of the company.
We felt this was an opportune time to do this based on the changing in legislations, the expanded awareness of the benefits and the enormous number of businesses arriving into the space. It aligned with my passions in health, wellness, plant medicines and eradicating the taboo associated with this amazing plant.
How has cannabis influenced your life?
Cannabis is a part of my lifestyle and has been as long as I can remember. When I was young I smoked to get high, like most kids do, we seek to rebel and feel everything we can because we are just learning what it is like to be human and to challenge that by pushing ourselves to our own limits.
Now my relationship with the plant has changed tremendously and I’ve become more of a microdoser. I use cannabis to expand my consciousness through yoga, meditation, and writing. Cannabis enhances my creativity whether I’m writing inspired copy or designing brands and graphics.
I also do not drink much alcohol so I like to relax with a little weed and existentially nerd out as much as I can.
We see that you also host ganja getaways, can you tell us more about Cannabliss Retreats?
I’ve had this vision for quite some time, to help open and expand people’s minds and awaken them to a more consciously evolved life.
How would you describe the experience?
The food will be gourmet catered by GrassFed, a pop up cannabis catering company.
There will be vaping stations with educational bud tenders advising on dosages for various needs as well as many activities throughout the day including our very own “Plant your Seed” workshop. The days will be filled with yoga, meditation, workshops, fitness, creative exploration, existential talks, amazing food, music, and more!
Your experience will be nothing short of magical!!
What to expect:
💚 Gourmet cannabis infused meals
💚 Cannabis influenced yoga and meditation
💚 Psychedelic yoga enhanced with euphoric experienced nootropics
💚 Cacao evening ceremony
💚 Acupuncture, massage and energy healing sessions
💚 Mind and heart expanding "Plant your Seed" workshops
💚 Sativa infused fitness experiences
💚 Education on cannabis use and benefits
💚 Gift bags with the best products!
💚 So much more!!
Any tips for maintaining a work/life balance?
Just do what makes you happy, be with people who make you happy, there are no tips. People focus on what they value most in life. So decide what it is you value and then move towards that and you will have balance because you will feel fulfilled.
People get stuck in what they “should” be doing and when they live based on other people’s values then that’s when they find their work/life is not balanced. As long as you know what it is you truly desire and you have the courage to step into that mission, then everything will align itself.
Challenges happen when we are not living by our values.
What is the number one mistake you see cannabis companies making when it comes to branding?
Thinking that just because they are in the cannabis business they do not have to treat their brand/product the same as any industry.
Competition will be ridiculously fierce very soon, this is not a get rich easy industry, if you are not a serious player then you will be kicked out very soon by those who actually get it.
Name your top 3 marketing tips for cannabis businesses
1.) Establish your brand and be meaningful
2.) Build your community by creating a reason to connect with your audience beyond just cannabis
3.) Be humble and partner and network with everyone you can in the industry
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I’m building people’s dreams and creating visual representations of their visions.
I love starting with nothing, feeling the rush of the anxiety of having to create something incredible and then coming out of that on the other side with something amazing to show for it.
It’s the ultimate rush to create – that’s what we are here to do!
What is the biggest challenge you've faced working in the cannabis industry?
The laws and restrictions especially with social media and not being able to outwardly advertise or communicate the product sales.
Name your top 3 marketing tips for cannabis businesses
1.) Know the restrictions you are facing and make sure you have a creative strategy that is unique and not reliant on traditional marketing
2.) Be creative and smart, make it about your audience and how you are helping them not about how great you are.
3.) Be visually compelling, make sure your images and graphics and style is appealing to your demographic. Don’t just use cliche images because the industry is changing and we want to see beautiful creative brands like we expect from any industry and successful business.
If you could offer an aspiring cannabis entrepreneur one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t be in this industry just because it’s cannabis, find what you are good at and really have a passion for it. Otherwise, it will be very challenging because your audience won’t resonate with you.