Rarely do people have the vision and foresight to put their dreams into action. We all have dreams, what we'd love to do in our lives, how we'd love to give back and add value to our family and communities. Dreams keep us hopeful, motivated and encourage us to continue when days get tough and challenging. As a child, I had many dreams but not all of them came to pass. The ones that did, were a result of hard work, determination, foresight and anticipating opportunities while seizing the moment.
Serena Somani, the owner of Tweed in Ajax is one of those rare visionaries that had a dream and when the opportunity presented itself, she seized the moment and made it a reality. Learning about Serena's journey gives me a lot of hope and encourages me to continue to dream, it makes me proud to live in a country where a woman of colour can dream big, make history, and become a role model for small business owners.
We had an opportunity recently to connect with Serena Somani, the owner of 4kcannabis.ca, which operates the Tweed cannabis retail store in Ajax. Serena dreamt of opening a cannabis business after visiting and working in Amsterdam and recently made it a reality with a sophisticated, elevated, uncomplicated store that shines in its friendliness, knowledgeable staff and comfortable environment.
We connected with Serena earlier this year when she was opening her store and looking for strategies to hire the best of the best in Ajax. We recently reconnected with Serena to interview her about her experience opening the store and what makes Tweed in Ajax a must-visit location for cannabis enthusiasts, new consumers and those looking to learn more about plant and cannabis culture.
We do our best to offer excellent service to each and every person that walks through our doors. We take the time to share and educate our visitors.
Serena and her team do more than sell cannabis; they're creating a culture of inclusivity, connection, education and fun. We enjoyed getting to know Serena and look forward to visiting the store and recommend everyone in Ajax to stop by and say hello to Serena and her team.
What is your background, and how did you come into the cannabis industry?
My education and experience fell primarily into Hospitality and Business Management. I've managed restaurants, bars and hotels. Which led me to work at Booking.com; a large corporate online travel site. Our head office was located in Amsterdam. Where I was exposed to an enlightened, solution-oriented Dutch culture. After work, 'Coffee Shops' did not interfere with amazing work habits! I thought, perhaps the creativity is fuelled by the culture. Which inspired the dream! One day, when it's legal, I knew I would want to have a Coffee Shop of my own.
What motivated you to start your current business?
Inspired to make my Coffee Shop dreams come true while helping de-stigmatize the cannabis world in Canada. Our brand was born 4K Cannabis Inc. A brand for all people from all walks of life. So many people enjoy cannabis responsibility, and 4K Cannabis Inc. could not be more proud to open the second Tweed location in Ontario. A welcoming, community hub for all things cannabis. Whether canna-curious or cannoisseur - Tweed, Ajax is the spot!
Describe a previous failure that was instrumental in developing you as a person, business owner, and entrepreneur?
Learning to trust my gut. Without going into details here, I can say anyone who has read Malcolm Gladwell's book "Blink" will understand. It can feel overbearing at moments, but trust your experience, skillset and knowledge when something is not right!
What have you and your company done to develop your culture?
Foster a fun environment, where we truly believe learning is the daily routine, growing people into superstars that shine their brightest every single day!
We work hard to avoid stereotypes and stay away from language that has a negative history attached to it. E.g. marijuana - check out the origins of the word potentially derived from the word prisoner.
What social values do you support, and how do you actively instill them at work?
Education goes beyond our team. We strongly support learning about cannabis and its safe use in our community. We believe great neighbours build great neighbourhoods and do our best to give back within our communities. We all acknowledge what we have and try to give back traditional thanks, with our first food drive success during thanksgiving! Thank you to all who contributed. St. Paul's Church appreciates you!
Why do you think your employees like working at 4K Cannabis Inc.?
We are biased to in-bound growth opportunities before seeking external candidates. We offer lateral development internally, we value our team and offer bonuses, as well as a great overall compensation package with perks. We challenge our team to grow and encourage on-the-job product knowledge and cannabis learning activities.
How do you engage with your customers?
We are genuine and love what we do. We appreciate spending time with our new nugs and repeat rollers! We take the time to listen and match the products to each individual's needs. We are creating a community of passionate cannabis connoisseurs.
What effective sales, marketing, and social media strategies have you used to attract customers, develop your brand, and increase customer loyalty?
We launched an opening plan called the 7 days of Giveaways! This helped drive some attention as we handed out munchies all week, along with many draw prizes!
Most recently, the creation of an actual member's only club. The 4K Cannabis Club brings value and experience to our customers each month. We offer an incredible deal, along with merchandise that is not available for purchase. As well as unique member-only exclusive events!
On social media, we are running giveaways on a regular basis. Most are as simple as following us @4kcannabisclub and "like" the post to win!
How do you differentiate your product and services compared to your competitors?
We do our best to offer excellent service to each and every person that walks through our doors. We take the time to share and educate our visitors. It is important to be in the moment, ask questions and match the right product to their preference.
Our selection process is thorough. We make sure to offer products to suit all demographics.
What advice would you give to someone looking to get into the cannabis industry?
Only enter the cannabis world if you have a passion for it! It is certainly not a cakewalk; you need to bring your A-Game and work ethic, along with experience beyond the plant!
How can customers, potential employees and fans engage with your brand?
Weed love to meet you!
Tweed (4KCannabis Inc.): 75 Bayly Street West, Ajax, L1S 7L7