Kikoko Co-Founder Explains Strategies for Success


Rachelle Gordon

December 3rd, 2019

News


Kikoko is not your typical cannabis company. The California-based purveyor of infused teas, honey, and mints is arguably one of the most visible brands in the industry to date, achieving high profile mainstream coverage in Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, and Vogue (to name a few). And despite a period of relative skittishness across the industry, the female-led firm was still able to close $8 million in their recent Series A.

But if you ask Jennifer Chapin, co-founder and co-CEO of Kikoko, what truly makes the business different is their commitment to healing – and the fact that they don’t want to be considered a cannabis company at all.

Jennifer Chapin, co-founder and co-CEO of Kikoko

“We first and foremost wanted to be a wellness company,” Chapin told CFN Media in a recent interview. “We wanted to promote the wellness aspects of this plant that’s been around for thousands of years.”

Tragedy Begets Inspiration 

Chapin and co-founder Amanda Jones never thought they would be involved in the marijuana business. Both serial entrepreneurs and lifelong activists, they were called to action six years ago after a friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and lamented the lack of medical cannabis products to suit her needs

“We thought it was a human rights violation, that people did not have access to cannabis,” Chapin explained. “So, that’s what got us fired up.”

While their mutual friend sadly lost her battle with cancer after a brave fight, the seeds of Kikoko were planted then and there. They decided their flagship product would be tea sachets, after realizing dispensary shelves were filled with gummies and chocolates but nothing that represented health-conscious consumers.

Kikoko offers several “mood based” varieties of their tea:  Sympa-tea for calm and relief, Tranquil-tea for relax and sleep, Sensuali-tea for passion and play, and Positivi-tea for mood enhancement and joy. Their honey shot line features four unique blends – calm, snooze, focus, and buzz – while their new low-dose mints come in calm, sleep, and focus.

Recent Raise “Gratifying and Humbling”

The company’s Series A fundraising round was met with enthusiasm across the board, securing $8 million for the firm led by Bengal Capital. 

“We are very excited to align ourselves with Kikoko, a company founded by women that is creating health and wellness solutions for women,” said Sanjay Tolia, a partner at Bengal Capital, in a press release. “Kikoko has proven hugely successful thus far, and we’re thrilled to assist them in their next phase of growth.”

The company has raised $14 million to date with additional support from distribution partner FlowKana.

“It was validation that Kikoko is on the map, and we’re growing,” Chapin said of the Series A raise. “ We are seen as a powerful and viable brand. It’s amazing how many people have heard about Kikoko – it’s very gratifying and humbling.”

Chapin adds that the company intends to use the funds to expand the team and work on new and innovative offerings set to launch sometime in 2020. Kikoko is also doubling down on their commitment to sustainable packaging, with the goal of all product packaging being compostable or recyclable to “every extent possible” by Q1.

“Six Unbreakable Rules” Critical to Company Success

It’s not uncommon for businesses to adopt guidelines within their company ethos, but for Chapin and the team at Kikoko, they’re engrained in every decision made.

“We spent a lot of time thinking about our operating principles and the values that we stand for, internally and externally, which created a framework for what we want to put out in the world, and who we want to work with.”

What is core to Kikoko’s ethos are it’s “unbreakable” rules of doing business:  no a******s; equality for women; unrelenting quality; generosity of spirit; when it all goes horribly wrong, laugh; and make an impact.

It’s the final rule that Chapin believes truly guides Kikoko, as it channels the spirit of why the company was founded in the first place.

“I believe that we, and the industry, have a responsibility to give back. We want to promote these values out into the world.”

This article was published by CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN), owner and operator of CFN Media, the industry’s leading agency and digital financial media network dedicated to the burgeoning CBD and legal cannabis industries. Call +1 (833) 420-CNFN for more information.

Rachelle Gordon

About Rachelle Gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a Minneapolis-based writer. Find her online at www.rachellegordon.net.


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