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Harrison Bard: The Next Big Thing in Pre-Rolls

How he built a customer-centric pre-rolled cone and packaging business focused on compliance.

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This week, Harrison Bard, CEO and co-founder of Custom Cones USA, joins the Cannabis Equipment News podcast to discuss how he built a customer-centric pre-rolled cone and packaging business focused on compliance.

Harrison Bard knew he wanted to work in cannabis. When he graduated from college, he moved to Washington because it was a recreational state, and he wanted to be involved with the industry. While he was working at Amazon to pay the bills, every day, he thought, "How can I quit? And what business am I going to start."

Bard and fellow Custom Cones USA co-founder Fredrik Rading, who also worked at Amazon, landed on cannabis-derived blunt wraps. The idea sent Bard down several rabbit holes, like paper science, how to make paper, pre-rolls, and cones. Embracing their entrepreneurial spirits, the pair started multiple cannabis-related businesses, including Custom Cones USA.

While the blunt wraps failed to get off the ground, Custom Cones USA started to take off with the emergence of the pre-roll category. Bard helped the sector grow by bringing more accessible machinery to the industry. 

Custom Cones USA's humble beginning started in Bard's living room, but it gained traction by becoming the first company to offer bulk pre-roll blunt cones. Their other ancillary businesses faded (or were swallowed by Custom Cones USA), and the business flourished. The company became a direct manufacturer of pre-roll cones and partnered with several equipment manufacturers to offer pre-roll manufacturing and packaging equipment.

Bard is driven to fulfill customer needs and strives to be a customer-centric business that is a one-stop shop for everything pre-roll related.

While the cannabis-derived blunt wraps remain in a holding pattern, Bard sees new opportunity in pre-roll freshness — he believes freshness will be the next big thing in the category — and that includes humidors at various parts of the supply chain, including humidors to store blunt wraps during the manufacturing process, and using them to store pre-rolls as they come off the line. He also says high-quality infused pre-rolls will soon be sold out of humidors in dispensaries.

Other emerging trends include growth in premium tipped products, like glass, wood and ceramic tips.

Jump around:

  • The difficulties making a cannabis-derived blunt wrap. (3:55)
  • The early days at Custom Cones USA. (4:47)
  • The company's customer-centric focus. (9:33)
  • How to vet manufacturing partners. (11:38)
  • The future of pre-roll freshness includes humidors. (13:56)
  • Why many operators are still hand packing pre-rolls. (19:55)
  • The dip in custom branding and packaging and growth in premium tipped products. (23:33)
  • The launch of DaySavers, the company's consumer line of pre-roll cones, blunts and smoking accessories. (26:50)
  • How to stand out in a crowded consumer space by making unique and safe pre-roll products. (34:09)
  • The importance of educating consumers. (39:38)
  • Dealing with supply chain challenges, especially when it comes to hemp wraps. (40:48)

Please make sure to like, subscribe and share the podcast. You could also help us out by giving the podcast a positive review. Finally, to email the podcast or suggest a potential guest, you can reach David Mantey at [email protected].

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