Seeking for additional income two retiree from Colorado engaged in a multibillion-dollar industry, the legal marijuana business. A former school teacher Deb Baker and her friend Barbara Diner, who used to be a marketing executive, have been in close relations for 27 years. They didn’t enjoy the tedious retirement life, so no wonder friends quickly started a market-research.

Due to marijuana legalisation in Colorado, the industry started growing rapidly. In 2014 there appeared new government standards of packaging including making it child-resistant, opaque and bearing a warning. This and the lack of qualitative materials on the market gave rise to Higher Standard Packaging. “We thought consumers would want to store their edibles or medicines in containers that were F.D.A.-approved to store food in. So we looked into making them from recycled plastic milk jugs,” — Ms. Diner said.

Other companies used to make containers with chemicals which might influence the contents. Ms. Baker added: “A recreational user or a person using marijuana products for medical reasons wants a container that won’t contaminate what’s inside”. This is how the idea to deliver U.S. manufactured, compliant packaging that satisfies ASTM, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and FDA protocols came to the pair.

Deb Baker And Barbara Diner

Deb Baker And Barbara Diner

Deb Baker And Barbara Diner

The success

They started with cold-calling and visiting businesses with samples and price sheets in the Denver area. Sellers used to work with young men didn’t trust the two mature women at first. It took some time for Deb and Barb to win them over. Now the two are warmly welcome to their customers: “The ladies are here!” — they would announce.

Since then Higher Standard Packaging have gained about 50 clients from Colorado and around the world. Their clever approach to business brought them profit in the very first year. They didn’t hire any employees and took no outside funding. What is more, they were buying products only being running out of them. The ladies also used for delivery a van Ms. Baker’s 90-year-old father-in-law gave them as a gift.

Working in marijuana industry is far from stable, government policy influences directly. Today you can hardly handle the amount of phone calls, a few weeks later the business experiences total chill. In November California legalized recreational cannabis use but then Donald J. Trump announced Jeff Sessions a future attorney general. Keeping personal connections is important as they can later be used for collaborations in new projects. Also existing clients sometimes are growing and it brings gain to Higher Standard Packaging.

Deb Baker And Barbara Diner

Deb Baker And Barbara DinerDeb Baker And Barbara Diner

Not without issues

The laws concerning marijuana regulation are constantly changing from state to state. Therefore Deb and Barb are flexible and always ready to adapt to the circumstances. Lately in Colorado appeared a new law requiring the special stamp on a package indicating a product contained THC. This safety measure helped people to identify cannabis and non cannabis products but lead to material losses for manufacturers. The business cost increased due to the need to recreate production molds for their foods. Thus Ms. Baker and Ms. Diner were to come up with strategies reducing the cost of products saving the quality.

The business is for sure profitable but getting this profit may sometimes be challenging. The first payment the two got from a Denver marijuana dispensary. They describe it as: “$5400 — all in small bills and the whole thing reeked of pot”. They didn’t venture to try to make a deposit with them. The money were to pass the way of cleaning firstly in Baker’s clothes dryer with some Febreze sheets. Secondly, in her freezer — under some loaves of bread. “We literally laundered the money,” Baker laughs, “and ended up with cold hard cash.”

Supplying clients with top quality containers Deb and Barb, according to their site, are trying “to gain your trust. We want you to feel confident that you’ve enlisted two savvy women who prove they are honest and ethical through their words and actions.” They believe in what they do and in the importance of their responsibility to customers to provide a “higher standard” of service and products.

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