We had the good fortune of connecting with Kary Radestock and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kary, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I was working at a major international printing company, working with Fortune 500 clients. I had over two decades in the business and was really dialed-in to the latest production techniques, packaging trends, and the industry as a whole. Then, somewhat out of the blue and within a short time span, several people had contacted us asking whether we could provide packaging for a product in the newly legalized cannabis industry. This sparked a thought in my mind. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, so I started looking into the market. I found that there was an absence of quality packaging in the cannabis sector. The industry just didn’t have much packaging and design expertise to execute well on developing a brand and product line. After giving it some intense thought and discussing the idea with friends and family, I decided to jump in, and I opened Hippo Premium Packaging. We provide quality, custom packaging solutions for clients in the legal cannabis and hemp (CBD) industries, along with a range of brand building services. Our company is just about to celebrate its Fifth Anniversary, and we couldn’t be happier. Business continues to grow year over year, we are piling up prestigious awards for our work, and we are now considered one of the leading packaging providers in the market. It’s been an amazing five years!Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The cannabis industry is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it is probably one of the toughest industries I’ve ever encountered. For instance, regulations are constantly changing. There are multitudes of rules regarding the packaging of cannabis products, and these not only change regularly, but they are different from state-to-state, and completely different in Canada – one of our largest markets. We have to be on top of the regulatory issues so that our clients are always in compliance and their packaging adheres to all local, state, and federal guidelines. We have heard many stories about companies that invested in packaging and had to throw it all away because it didn’t meet regulations. Accordingly, we decided to hire our own compliance expert so that we could help our clients navigate these challenging waters. Our expertise in compliance, along with packaging and branding is one of the reasons our clients value our services. Of course, there are other difficulties in being on the bleeding edge of an emerging market, such as lack of access to capital and investors (although that is quickly shifting gears), competition from the black market (which takes quite a bite out of the regulated market’s sales), and the lack of opportunity for interstate commerce.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love to show off San Diego to friends and family from out of town! We would have to go to Little Italy for some amazing Italian food, and to the Gaslamp district for drinks and fun. We would probably go out to Coronado and see the beautiful beaches and visit the Hotel Del, which not only has some great history, but also has the best Sunday brunch in town. I would also take them walking around Harbor Island to see the sunset against the downtown skyline, and maybe some great seafood at Tom Hams. It’s always fun to walk around Seaport Village, and of course, no trip to San Diego is complete without a visit to Balboa Park! There’s so much to see and do here, that’s why I love to call San Diego home!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
They say it takes a village, and I certainly could not have built this business alone. My biggest thanks is to my partner and co-founder, Julia Gosnell, without of whom I don’t think we would be where we are at today. Julia concentrates on the business end of the company so that I can concentrate on sales and building relationships with our clients, although there is a lot of crossover of duties and in essence, everyone here focuses on taking care of our clients. Also, we have an amazing team of professionals, all with years of expertise in their respective fields. Without a doubt, one of the main reasons that we have been so successful is because of the quality of our team members. They are all award-winning and respected professionals in their own right, and we are lucky to have them on our team
Other: Vimeo : Hippo Packaging