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Here’s how I broke into the cannabis industry as a woman of color

Angela Mou using one of Elevate Jane’s joint holder.  Angela Mou
  • Angela Mou is an LA-based entrepreneur and founder of online shop Elevate Jane, which sells accessories for smoking.
  • She works from her living room and brought in over $117,000 in two months during the 2020 holiday season.
  • This is what her job is like, as told to freelancer writer Danielle Bauter.

I was cruising Instagram one day in 2017 when I came across these beautiful ceramic pipes and bongs, and wondered why no one had put them in a shop. I started looking for interesting and unique pieces and the more I looked, the more I found. I became obsessed with the idea of starting a shop for a good two weeks, and finally I decided to make it happen.

To get started, I wanted to figure out how much it cost to buy the pipes and how much I could sell them for. So I pretended to be a smoke shop in order to receive wholesale pricing info, like line sheets and minimums.

Once I’d found 10 or so pieces that I wanted, I started looking around for pop-up markets in LA. I applied for all the necessary licenses including a reseller’s permit, and then I built my website and Shopify site. For two months I worked nonstop, and then launched Elevate Jane in July 2017.

Before Elevate Jane, I’d worked in tech, hospitality, e-commerce, and marketing.

In 2017, I was taking a break from a hotel company that I was working for in New York and figuring out what I wanted to do next, including moving back to LA. I grew up in Southern California, and I’ve been smoking weed since middle school. It’s so prevalent in the culture here.

I spent $10,000 to launch my business — $4,000 for buying inventory, $2,000 for legal fees, and then another $4,000 for setting up logistics, packaging, marketing costs, etc.

petal pipes.JPG Elevate Jane Angela Mou
Elevate Jane’s petal pipes.  Angela Mou

Early on, I did all of the traditional smoke shop things. I went to the trade shows, I saw the distributors, and I saw what I wanted to bring to the industry with my business.

I wanted to create a one-of-a kind experience completely different from walking to your corner smoke shop.

From the beginning I always wanted Elevate Jane to be an online store, and COVID-19 really pushed us to focus on that.

I work out of my living room, and I have three employees — one full-time and two part-time. I shoot all the photos myself, so my workday is a mix of content creation, order fulfillment, purchasing, product development, and marketing planning. I like being involved with every aspect of the business.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Angela Mou and Danielle Bauter on Business Insider

Published: March 10, 2021

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