Camille McCutcheon | Co-Founder | Rolling Paper Depot
Feature: Camille McCutcheon
Company: MJIC, Inc.
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Website: www.MJIC.com | www.RollingPaperDepot.com
Being a part of this rapidly progressive industry is amazing. Being a part of it and watching it grow, watching history happen right before your very eyes is another thing. I had a chance to interview one of the cannabis industry movers, someone who has been involved in this industry for quite some time. She has co-founded several companies, had her hands in all different kinds of areas during these start-ups and finally through all of that has found her one true passion in the cannabis world. She is an cannapreneur that radiates energy and excitement! Her dedication in this field is refreshing and being able to interview her about the path that led her here and where she thinks all of this is going has been an uplifting experience. So here she is, Mrs. Camille McCutcheon.
CM: Thank you so much for allowing me to take up some of your time to chat with us about your experience in this industry and as an entrepreneur. Do you mind if we start with a little background information? Where are you from, what did you go to school for?
Camille: I have a background completely unrelated to this business. I’m a west coast girl, I went to school for life sciences for three years but ended up dropping out to start my life. School made me feel like I had to delay my life. I love to work, so I joined my boyfriend, now husband, in starting an E-Commerce website and the rest is history.
CM: I am sure many can relate to that! Where are you currently living?
Camille: Scottsdale, AZ.
CM: Seeing as you are in the Cannabis industry, when was it first introduced into your life and what role did it initially play for you?
Camille: I started out in e-commerce in the tobacco industry 10 years ago. The conversation was just barely beginning about how cannabis should be legal; and it was just starting to become legalized as medicine then, but I never really thought much of it. Then this online smoke shop opportunity fell into my lap (Rolling Paper Depot). And over time, we just realized that this thing was going to be huge!
CM: I know the cannabis industry is still working on developing its identity. How did you decide to enter the cannabis industry? What led you here?
Camille: It was a fluke. If you had asked me 10 years ago what I’d be doing now, I couldn’t have given you the right answer even if you waved a million dollars in my face. I got here by a series of very fortunate events, diligently putting one foot in front of the other every single day. That website that I dropped out of school for was selling cigars online. When we realized we made this business successful, we knew we were good operators. Having sold our cigar website, the timing was great to get involved with Rolling Paper Depot.
CM: That’s awesome! I feel like that is generally how it happens right? One day you just wake up, realize what you are supposed to be doing and then all there is that is left is to just do it. I understand you have played a major role in a few companies. Can you go into any detail about them, the founders, what led you to start them, and where you found the time to do so?
Camille: I have to start by saying all of these companies were start ups. Very little capital put into them initially. I think my role could be defined as co-founder but at one point I was wearing all the hats. Answering emails, phone calls, filling orders, all of these come simultaneously when you’re living the start up life. As time goes on, you hire people to help with the things you aren’t as good at and over time you find your niche, and mine was digital marketing.
CM: Being a co-founder to several start ups, I would like to point out that you are also a woman in the cannabis industry (which is an amazing venture) but the majority of it is male driven. Do you feel that being a woman in this industry that is still forming its identity has faced you with many obstacles? Has being a woman helped or hindered you in any way?
Camille: I don’t think about it very often because I have so many great partners, colleagues, and friends in the industry that it doesn’t really come into play. 99% of the time it isn’t an issue because we’re all competent and here to help each other. It’s never hurt me in this industry. I have a very close relationship with my business partner/husband so we can often use our differences to our advantage.
CM: That’s great! Just what I love to hear! So, you currently are working at MJIC, what is your specific role there?
Camille: A few years ago, I remember very clearly being aware that I was at a crossroads in my professional role. When you live the start-up life, you kind of get used to wearing a lot of hats. Then, if you’re lucky, your company might get to the point where you can start to specialize. That’s where we were, so I had to make a conscious decision whether I was going to focus on operations or marketing. And I figured marketing was kind of a lot more fun by default, so I told my partner that’s what I was going to do. Now, my daily activities revolve around the digital marketing for MJIC’s sales channels in ancillary cannabis. We don’t touch the plant, but we get to play with all the fun toys that do!
CM: That is so amazing to be able to come to that point in your life where you are choosing what you get to do and its something you truly love being a part of. Where do you hope to be in lets say 3-5 years? Do you have a dream job within the cannabis industry or is your dream job what you currently do?
Camille: I love my job. I get to work at the intersection of 3 huge, fast-moving industries: cannabis, social media, and e-commerce. And my team is like my family. What could be better!?
I think in 3-5 years, I’d like to be seeding and advising the next generation of startup entrepreneurs. Kids like I was, in their 20s who all they have is a goal and work ethic.
CM: Do you have plans on founding any more companies?
Camille: I actually love to work. I think it’s in my DNA. I’m sure I’ll get into something if the right mission crosses my path.
CM: As this industry is rapidly changing are there any events that you enjoy attending that keep you up to date on the business and culture of it all?
Camille: I subscribe to several email and news publications that I check multiple times a day for the latest industry news and progress on legalization. This keeps me aware of the current state of the industry and gives me insight on what our audience is seeing and going through. I attend a number of trade shows that are fun because you get to meet people you’ve bought from or worked with in the past. I like to curate the selection of products we carry to things I know our consumers would enjoy. It’s great seeing the newest innovations coming out of the industry. Every day there’s some new way to enhance the consumer experience and it’s inspiring seeing the passion people have for the products.
CM: Oh, for sure! The things people are doing are incredible and it is fun to see all the new ideas and products. From a regulatory standpoint, do you foresee all 50 states finding a way to adapt to the industry in one way or another?
Camille: Definitely. I’ve seen the momentum build over the last 7 years or so. And it’s not only happening in the US. It’s starting to happen everywhere! It’s so cool to watch history happening right in front of us!
CM: Where do you see the cannabis industry playing in on a global scale?
Camille: There’s a number of countries starting to explore the benefits that cannabis can have for medical or recreational purposes. If the US is a micro example of what will happen when legalization begins, that the momentum will keep building and it will only get bigger.
CM: There are so many ways that this industry could go as far as culture, social influence and public perception. How do you think the industry will develop in terms of those aspects? How would the industry develop in your ideal world?
Camille: We’re already starting to see a relaxed public opinion on cannabis use. I think that will continue in order to further the conversation and research. . .
We’re at an interesting time right now because the industry is at a cross roads and anyone who knows this industry knows what culture has surrounded cannabis in the past. Then you have the professionals who want to make it more professional and open up to everyone, we’re seeing those two clash right now and it will be interesting to see what happens over time.
There will always be an air of counterculture. Alcohol industries have begun playing off of the prohibition days and I think over time we will see the same in the cannabis industry.
In my ideal world we would see the professional cannabis industry and the counterculture blend. It should become more convenient for people to access these products. I would love to see the industry progress in terms of business practice but to keep that rebellious spirit.
CM: Seeing as you are in marketing, how important do you think the internet and social media will be in the shaping of this industry as it moves forward? What are some of the boundaries now with online services and cannabis?
Camille: Just like the rebel spirit the cannabis industry has, the internet shares that quality. As long as we keep the internet free, they go hand in hand. In the future if we keep things open source and unsecured, the public will be able to access more information about cannabis and it will have the opportunity to promote responsible and productive use.
Banking is the biggest barrier. Credit card processing. Age verification is hard to ensure in practice and that’s a huge roadblock. Regulation and technology can help to solve this but it is a matter of time. The other boundary is that you can get practically anything delivered nowadays almost instantly, and that hasn’t happened in our space yet. This is something we work every single day to bring to market.
CM: A little play off of that last question, how do you think tech’s role in the cannabis industry will develop? What services do you think may be provided through websites or apps as the industry progresses?
Camille: On demand services and freedom of information is at our fingertips and I think this will only progress. That same technology is going to bring cannabis even closer within reach.
CM: Well I can’t thank you enough for all your amazing insight! It has been a pleasure hearing what you have to say and how you go to where you are now! I have one last question for you. Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs, investors or people just looking to get their foot into the cannabis industry?
Just do it! If you see a problem you can solve or a need that you can fill, figure out what you need to do to get it done. Then just take at least one step every day to make it happen. Be brave; you can be scared, but be brave. Be creative and relentless.
And make sure you choose the right partner. Partners will either drive you nuts or keep you from going nuts. Having the right partner should feel like you complement each other’s strength and weaknesses and like you could be friends even after this mission is over.
Adopt a growth mindset and an attitude of “progress, not perfection”. It’ll make the bumps in the road easier to handle and more useful toward achieving your goal.
Oh my god, I could go on!