LeafLink Social Equity Brand Spotlight: Shake Brands Corp.
Empowering Women in Cannabis: A new brand out of the Ozarks, Cannabis By Women™, is on the rise. Its mission is to spread word to female owned businesses and industry participants that there is a support network for them. From sharing advice from leadership roles, to dispensary jobs, to best practices for manufacturing, CBW aims to lift up these female voices and encourage more women to get involved in cannabis. So who is behind the brand?
Nestled within the quaint city of Johnson, Arkansas is a USDA certified organic. CBD company, CBD & ME® adjoining a chemical-free, THC extraction facility. Both of these facilities are run by Shake, an all-female led operation which crafts some of the most intriguing, health-centric cannabis products on the market.
Taking a Different Path in the Cannabis Industry
Shake was founded and operated by four partners, Antigone Davoulas, Julie Brents, Brittany Phillips, and Syrona Scott, and was born while the four campaigned to get issue 7 (medical cannabis) on the ballot in Arkansas. With an all-star leadership team, the company holds the distinction of being a pioneer of cannabis in Arkansas and acquired the first processing license in the state of Arkansas for both industrial hemp and medical weed. Shake Extractions® products (the THC arm) focus on three key areas: beauty, dietary supplements, and sexual health. Meticulously overseeing every detail of their products, Shake creates everything in-house, from the development of its products to the branding and packaging.
Standing Out from the Rest
Shake stands out in the industry. While so many companies are focused on flower or edible sales, they are forging a different path and taking on the steadily-climbing non-smokeables category. They add a healthy ratio of CBD and THC in each product and have positioned themselves at the top of the market, producing only small-batch, premium products aimed at the health-focused. They only use 100% organic, ethically sourced ingredients and the results have been incredible, according to their patients.
“Sometimes it seems like a race to the bottom for what you are seeing on shelves these days. Patients are more sophisticated than people give them credit for. It’s not just a matter of suggesting the highest THC dose for the cheapest price or pushing products with synthetic inputs that result in inconsistent highs or harsh side effects. We are interested in a holistic alternative by empowering patients to choose products they can incorporate into their everyday wellness routine, skin care regimen, or sexual health care plan,” said Tig Davoulas, Chief Legal Officer.
Educating Customers On Health and Wellness
One of Shake’s main goals is to promote and educate individuals about the alternative uses of cannabis products. Take dietary supplements as an example — tinctures or edible oil drops infused with vitamins and other cannabinoids have the potential to help regulate a multitude of body functions including hormones, sleep cycles and the central nervous system. They have a long shelf life, offer versatile application options, and unlike many other cannabis products, provide very precise dosing. According to Shake, many patients are adding these products into their daily lives and discovering the benefits they offer from boosting mood to feeling more energized, and even in the sexual health arena, optimizing orgasms!
“Our products are great for those who are just starting to explore cannabis, for those who already make health a priority and for patients who choose not to smoke or can’t for medical reasons. The kind of delivery methods bring precise dosing for consistent effects. There is a lot of hesitation around using cannabis products and a lot of misinformation about the way it will impact any given patient,” Julie Brents, Chief Operating Officer. “Using our precise formulas, our patients can find their specific dosage and know what to expect, which is less intimidating.”
Expanding Outside of Arkansas with a Licensing Program
As Shake’s product line continues to grow in popularity, they look to expand their footprint outside of Arkansas in a meaningful way and identify partners who share their vision. To do this, they are rolling out a full licensing program, and sending everything a multi-state partner would need to license their growing THC line among other brands in their impressive Trademark portfolio. This includes ingredients, packaging, and education components. DM them if you are interested in partnering.
Lessons Worth Sharing
The Arkansas market, like every state, grapples with how to handle cannabis – what works, what doesn’t, and since every state is so unique, there really isn’t a one size fits all approach. Two important lessons Shake learned are:
From the start, be extremely thoughtful and thorough in your approach.
Early on, Shake prepared a vast array of documents (around 400 pages!) outlining every aspect of their business so state regulators could take the time to educate themselves. It’s made their market entrance easier and less bumpy.
Education in cannabis continues to be so important.
For the government, and also for bud tenders, who are speaking directly with patients every day. By taking time to connect with them and provide meaningful tools such as tip sheets and LeafLink menus, tenders feel more empowered to speak about Shake’s products. They even engaged the community by launching a competition for bud tenders to submit their own ideas on products and have received submissions from all over Arkansas.
What’s Next for Shake?
Aside from expanding their THC licensing program outside Arkansas borders, their growing CBD brand, CBD & ME® is primed for national distribution. Shake is finding success in niche markets like co-ops, wellness centers, massage parlors and even crowded markets like in-state dispensaries. More and more people are realizing the benefits cannabis can bring to their daily life and finding ways for it to help using a multitude of cannabinoid combos.
“It’s kind of a testament to the bootstrap method. We don’t have investors. We don’t have silent partners backing us. We’ve built this business on our own. We’ve made every single sale that’s been made. We’ve shaken every hand that we can in the industry and will continue to do this. You really have to have that mentality to get out there and work to make it in this industry, but it’s worth it,” Brittany Phillips, CCO.
Shake has been a LeafLink Marketplace customer since 2022 and uses the platform to bring awareness of their Cannabis by Women™products in the non-smokable arena. To check out how they are shaking things up, head over to their marketplace here.