Krista Whitley likes solving problems. More than 44 million tourists are set to pass through Las Vegas in the next year, and there’s no real plan to cater to all their cannabis retail needs. That’s a problem she knew needed a quick solution. Her latest venture in Las Vegas’ booming legal cannabis market is called […]

 In Main Sub Feat, Opinion

Krista Whitley likes solving problems. More than 44 million tourists are set to pass through Las Vegas in the next year, and there’s no real plan to cater to all their cannabis retail needs. That’s a problem she knew needed a quick solution.

Her latest venture in Las Vegas’ booming legal cannabis market is called The Weekend Box – and it’s exactly what it sounds like. Krista has made unlikely collaborators out of Nevada’s top cannabis companies, creating a box of goods that can easily be picked up by tourists to make their Vegas trip truly top shelf. From the branded products and coupons within the box, to the growing list of dispensaries where it can be picked up, the product is a testament to the cannabis community joining together for the common good.

“I see it as a win-win-win situation,” said Whitley about her creation. And with the first round of boxes already well sold out and available for pickup in early July, it looks like others may seriously agree.

The winding journey of a serial entrepreneur eventually led Whitley, like many others, to the cannabis industry. Rich with growth potential and opportunities to help people, it seemed the perfect fit for a woman who had already won awards for her fast-growth business ventures and been called “the real deal” by none other than Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary.

Krista leads the Las Vegas cannabis community through marketing savvy and direct in-person engagement. She created and moderates the Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association’s monthly panel, “Millennials in Marijuana.” This year she also stepped up to the plate to be the Las Vegas Market Leader for national networking organization Women Grow.

Her pride and joy, a full-service digital marketing agency named Social Media Unicorn, has a multi-state footprint and handles high profile clients along the lines of MERRY JANE, Tahoe Hydroponics, Manna Molecular Science and the latest, Caviar Gold. The agency was founded in 2014, on the cusp of Nevada’s involvement with medical cannabis. Just two years later, Nevada voters elected to allow adult recreational use as well. The agency is now in prime position to be the online engine for cannabis empires that are now rapidly expanding into the state.

In running her agency and various business ventures, Krista has encountered, counseled and built internet hype for dozens of cannabis entrepreneurs. She obviously knows a thing or two about what makes each type of business tick – and how leadership affects the brand vision and bottom line.

We asked her to break it down: What are the most essential traits for a business owner to have in this exciting yet cutthroat era of marijuana marketing?

Adaptability
You can’t always control what’s happening around you, but you can absolutely control your reaction. Nevada is arguably the most regulated cannabis ecosystem in the world today, but instead of viewing that as a negative, I see it as an opportunity to work with regulators, making sure that everyone in the cannabis community has a safe experience. Every cannabis industry leader is vested in all cannabis consumers having positive experiences. We don’t want one-time party consumers, but to win the hearts and minds of the cannabis curious tourists experiencing regulated cannabis for the first time. We don’t do that by “wrecking them,” but by exposing them to the wellness aspects of whole-plant medicine.

“The world needs more people doing what they do best.” -Krista Whitley

Optimism
When I started The Weekend Box, I went to all of the brands in the industry, assuming they’d be thrilled with an order of 10,000 units. The vast majority saw the opportunity, but there were a few who saw that level of volume as a burden and only had objections. Neither approach to business is right or wrong, they are just different. I am an incurable optimist and I believe that we will go farther together than alone. Nevada’s cannabis community has an opportunity to be the shining example of what regulated cannabis can be worldwide someday.

Enthusiasm
There’s one thing that I can do better than anyone else: fail. All the best leaders in their field fail faster and harder than anyone else. I believe my ability to work faster than anyone else, to achieve more in less time, and to optimize unique opportunities is a direct result of all of my failures. I am so laser-focused on the goal, that when someone says no or someone has objections, I fall down, but I never stay down for long and I’m always back up in short order. I wish more leaders shared their stories of failure. It’s too easy for aspiring leaders to compare themselves to the highlight reel of these “overnight successes.” I can out-fail anyone, but it’s those priceless lessons from failure that made me a smarter, savvier leader today.

An endorsement from powerhouse cannabis investment guru Leslie Bocskor, President of Electrum Partners, is the figurative icing on the colorful unicorn cake that is Krista’s career. “She defines the best of what an entrepreneur is and should embody: character, effectiveness, leadership, courage, adaptability and agility,” he said. “One day we will look back at those that have become the titans of this emerging industry, and Krista will be there.”

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