Lord Jones on Building a Brand in the Ever-Growing Cannabis Industry

How design and packaging is helping to elevate edibles

California-based Lord Jones handcrafts small-batch confectionary that elevates the concept of “edibles,” while also concocting rich, luxurious lotions. The focus is on high-quality, natural ingredients that contribute to customers’ wellness and cater to a higher aesthetic. They use California-grown cannabis that’s extracted with great care to maintain maximum quality and purity—resulting in an excellent product that delivers a consistent and predictable experience based on our testing. While offering a quality product is (of course) key, creating a brand within the fast-growing and increasingly accepted cannabis industry is of the utmost importance. As marijuana use is legalized more and more in the country, experts and rookies are starting companies in respond to the increasing demand from consumers for new, different or specialized products. The shift from the stereotypical lazy stoner and 420 toker has well and truly happened, so we were interested to speak with Lord Jones founders Cindy Capobianco and Robert Rosenheck—both of whom have well established backgrounds in branding and marketing—about how they brand and market to a more sophisticated customer in the new frontier of cannabis in America.

When did you first have the idea to start a cannabis-focused business? And why did you do it?

When we moved from New York to California, we became medical marijuana patients and soon discovered that the choices for cannabis infused products were very limited. You would find a cookie in a plastic bag with a staple and no labeling information. It was a little like Russian Roulette with what you were getting. We saw a big opportunity to bring best practices to the fledgling cannabis industry and create a lifestyle brand based on quality, transparency, efficacy and safety. We wanted to make a brand for people not currently in the medical system, a brand that would appeal to people like us.

When you were starting up, was the focus more on developing the brand or the product?

Great question. To us there is no difference between product and brand. Your product is your brand. We set out to accomplish three goals that would become the pillars of Lord Jones. First, a truly desirable brand experience from the packaging to the messaging. Second, best-in-class food and personal care products that could compete in the non-cannabis world—candy that was as decadent and delicious as any fine confection and personal care that could sit on the cosmetics counter at Barney’s. And three, cannabis superiority. We have gone to extraordinary lengths to source the finest cannabis inputs and strictly control dosage. Each of our products contain a proprietary cannabis blend. Our THC edibles are designed for pain relief and the perfect psychoactive experience. Our CBD edibles are designed for pain management and wellness and our topicals are non-psychoactive, formulated for pain relief and the treatment of various of skin conditions. We want to be the first choice for cannabis connoisseurs and first time cannabis users, so the brand and products must to deliver on all three fronts.

Where does the name Lord Jones come from and how does it play through to the identity and packaging for the product?

Lord Jones is laced with meaning from several sources. We wanted the brand to be sophisticated and at the same time be irreverent, fun, funny and fearless. We had read accounts that John Paul Jones, the Revolutionary War Naval hero famous for declaring “I have not yet begun to fight!” when asked to surrender, was also a hemp farmer and notorious cannabis user.

The title Lord implies status, nobility and royalty—luxury, but the name Lord Jones is meant to be ironic. Jones is the name of a commoner, not a Lord. So Lord Jones is an iconoclast, a fearless navigator of uncharted waters and the ideal purveyor “for your royal highness.”

Are you targeting a specific customer with this aesthetic?

Of course. Anyone who cares about quality ingredients, the finest cannabis and beautiful packaging. With our topicals, which are a distinct product line for our edibles, we offer an incredibly effecting pain management product. We are absolutely thrilled when patients send us testimonials about how our Lord Jones Pain + Wellness Formulas are helping them with chronic pain, arthritis, psoriasis and other skin conditions. It’s perhaps the most rewarding part of our work.

As recreational and medical cannabis products become more accessible, is it feasible to scale a brand like Lord Jones and how would you do so?

As we continue to make California our primary focus, we have plans to expand the brand to Las Vegas, Canada, Washington State and Massachusetts. We will be launching in Colorado in 2017. Eventually, Lord Jones will go global.

Are there other brands in the space that you love and respect?

There are so many terrific brands out there now. It takes a tremendous amount of skill, knowledge and care to grow quality cannabis, to process the plant and make great products so we have the utmost respect for everyone helping pioneer and grow this industry.

Images courtesy of Lord Jones