We had the good fortune of connecting with Adelia Carrillo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adelia, the decisions we make often shape our story in profound ways. What was one of the most difficult decisions you’ve had to make?
The most difficult decision I ever had to make was deciding to close my first startup. The first company I started was a cannabis digital media news network called Direct Cannabis Network. DCN highlighted the startups, entrepreneurs and innovation in the cannabis industry. With DCN I was able to give a global voice to entrepreneurs and startups, highlighting their mission, their why and their businesses. I also successfully raised capital for this company and DCN become a well-known industry platform and resource. However, building a media company was hard and my goal was to not build a pay to play media platform, I also didn’t have strength in financials or building a stable revenue model. So as we hit our 5 years in business, I was working myself so much, trying to do everything I could to scale the company and finally hit my wall as an entrepreneur, and although DCN was my baby, I no longer was able to give it 110% and I knew it was no longer fair to keep moving forward to our team, for myself and for the community. DCN will always live on and I am thankful for the impact we were to make during the time and the voices we were able to highlight and share.
What should our readers know about your business?
EventHi is an online ticketing platform catering to the cannabis culture. We provide event hosts with a safe hosting platform to sell tickets and sponsorships for their cannabis-related events. Mainstream ticketing platforms have been known to shutdown and freeze the funds of events catering to cannabis, CBD and hemp and EventHi has been able to solve that problem, however it wasn’t and still isn’t an easy task. We have been able to cater to this space by obtaining an MRB marijuana-related business bank account, which allows us to be transparent with our financial institution. This is just one of the differences about Eventhi and the marketplace. In 2019, we were scaling the company, we processed over $1million in ticket and sponsorship sales and we were so excited for 2020 until Covid happened. It was like a punch in the gut, seeing state after state shut down and getting calls and emails of events cancelling or postponing. We as a small startup had to look at those hard questions on how and would we survive. Even with all the unknowns, we as a team came together and knew that through this difficult time our main focus should be on educating and keeping the community together and helping event hosts merge to digital events. We are not making close to what were were in 2019 but so far we have survived, we have built an even stronger community and have learned a lot as a team. And it’s all because we didn’t lose our mission, our mission has always been about bringing people together to further the education and experiences around this plant. Education and community is a vital component to this industry and keeping the culture alive and by sticking true to our mission and passion, it has been vital through each of the startup struggles we have faced. One thing I wanted to share is that we highlight all three of our audiences, first our event organizers and help provide them with tips, insights and updates on the cannabis event landscape, event-goers on upcoming events, staying connected through covid and even safety when attending cannabis events and brands who we educate on upcoming sponsorship opportunities, why sponsoring or partnering with events is important for their brand and ways to market themselves at events. It’s been an exciting journey bringing people together and we are thankful that we get to continue to do so as we move to the new landscape of cannabis events.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would begin each day adventuring to different hiking locations throughout San Diego, checking our Double Peak Park in San Marcos, Potato Chip Rock in Ramona, Annie’s canyon in Solana Beach. On the days I wouldn’t cook us breakfast, since I love cooking for my friends, I would have us go to the following spots: Ranch 45 in Solana Beach, Fresh Fruit San Diego in Escondido, Holy Matcha in North Park, Son of a Toast in North Park and Cafe 21 in Gaslamp District. I definitely would plan a winery trip in Valley Center, like Hill Top Winery and a picnic at at Kate Sessions Park. I would definitely visit at least two recreational dispensaries in San Diego, as my friends are all over 21+ such as Hikei and March & Ash. Then for dinner it would range, but must include a Mexican shop like TJ Tacos in Escondido, Lumi for sushi and drinks, Juniper & Ivy and Mikko Sushi in Escondido. And we would watch a few of our ocean views sunsets from Encinitas and Ocean Beach preferably during their Farmer’s Market nights so we can walk around.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to highlight 4 individuals who heavily impacted me, pushed me to never give up, motivated me and guided me when I had no idea what direction to go in. Whitney Beatty, CEO of Apothecarry. I was honored to meet Whitney in the Cannabis industry, she inspired me from the beginning and I was able to share her story and mission with my first startup, we both also attended a cannabis accelerator program together. She has become a friend, and is someone who has seen me at the moments where imposter syndrome really was taking hold of me and we both together have shared advice and experiences together. Remy Meraz, CEO of MeTyme Network. I was lucky to meet Remy when I was still in the corporate world. We both together left our corporate jobs and began our entrepreneur journeys together. We both have guided each other throughout the entrepreneur journey and have become family through the years. She is someone very important in my life and I am honored to have met her. Melissa Stapley, CEO of Mj Hybrid Solutions. Melissa, I met after going through the cannabis accelerator program and like both the others, has been one of my friends who has been on speed dial, where we have masterminded, inspired and helped each other during the ups and downs of startup life. She supported me when I closed my business and motivated me when I took on the new CMO role at EventHi. It has been an exciting journey and friendship the past few years and honored to have her part of my life. And last but not least, Ali Fakhri. Ali Fakhri, CEO of EventHi and to be transparent is my partner/fiance. He has been an amazing man for so many reasons, but most importantly through his support over the years. He always believed in me especially during the moments, when I didn’t believe in myself. He listened to me and always grounded me when I felt like a hurdle was impossible. I admire him because of all that he has accomplished in his own life, he was an immigrant who didn’t a word of english but didn’t let that stop him or slow him down in life. He also was the backbone of how we have been able to keep our startup, a cannabis event tech software alive during a global pandemic and he has worked tirelessly behind the scenes. I am honored to see how he has grown and by seeing his transformation, it has helped me tremendously on my entrepreneur journey keep moving forward and realizing that every hurdle is just a new opportunity and chance to learn and do better next time.