Legacies Podcast

Legacies Podcast Watch Now on Youtube Button

A Passion Ignited: Lisa Bigioni’s Personal History with Cannabis

Lisa’s transition from casual user to industry pioneer gained significant momentum when she, along with her husband Brian, obtained one of the first retail licenses in Ontario through the lottery system. This process was anything but smooth; it was fraught with uncertainty and relentless competition. Amid the chaos, numerous large companies approached Lisa with offers to either partner with or acquire her newly won license. Despite the allure of substantial financial backing, Lisa and Brian chose a path of independence, a decision that marked the true beginning of their entrepreneurial surge in the cannabis retail industry.


The Birth of Stok'd Cannabis Retail Stores

With a license in hand and a clear vision in mind, Lisa’s ambition was to create a retail space that felt welcoming and informative. Partnering with Choom, Lisa and Brian opened their flagship Stok'd store in Niagara Falls. This partnership was strategic, combining Lisa’s grassroots insight with Choom's industry prowess, culminating in a venture that has redefined cannabis retail in the region.


Innovative Marketing Meets Regulatory Hurdles

The marketing landscape for cannabis is fraught with stringent regulations, particularly in Canada where Health Canada imposes tight controls to prevent mass marketing and potential underage exposure. Lisa, in collaboration with the Angry Butterfly advertising agency, spearheaded a unique campaign that creatively leveraged the social media and physical storefronts of neighboring businesses. This not only enhanced community engagement but also introduced a novel approach to circumventing restrictive social media guidelines.

However, this clever strategy did not go unnoticed. While it garnered considerable attention and praise for its ingenuity, it also attracted scrutiny from Health Canada, leading to a notice regarding potential compliance issues. Lisa’s intent was never to evade the laws but to explore the confines of what was permissible to effectively market on social media in a heavily censored space.


The Controversial "Data Deals" and Market Dynamics

The conversation then pivoted to a darker side of the cannabis retail industry, known colloquially as "data deals." In these arrangements, larger retail chains are alleged to receive significant payments from producers in exchange for priority shelf space and data sharing practices. Both Owen Allerton of Highland Cannabis & Lisa Bigioni expressed deep concerns about this trend, highlighting how it places smaller, independent retailers at a disadvantage. They lack the negotiating power and financial clout to secure such lucrative agreements, which skews the competitive landscape unfavorably.


Navigating Challenges and Fostering Consumer Education

Lisa is vocal about the challenges of operating within such a tightly regulated sector. She stresses the importance of consumer education, distinguishing between legal and illicit cannabis products. Her commitment extends beyond just running a business. She is passionate about supporting other independent ventures within the industry and insists on maintaining high standards of customer service and product quality.


Engaging the Community and Encouraging Brand Loyalty

To conclude the vibrant discussion, Lisa highlighted her ongoing efforts to solidify Stok'd’s presence in the retail market and engage more intimately with the customer base. This includes giveaways and promotional activities featuring Stok'd merchandise, fostering a sense of community and belonging among consumers.

The path Lisa Bigioni and her team at Stok'd have taken illustrates more than just a business success story; it’s a testament to the power of innovation, independence, and integrity in the shifting sands of the cannabis industry. As regulations evolve and the market continues to open up, the pioneering spirit of entrepreneurs like Lisa will undoubtedly shape the future landscape of cannabis retail.

Brand loyalty is a primary goal for High Flyer Media and you can support your favourite brands by gearing up for summer with licensed cannabis brand swag from The High Flyer, the dopest store online!