The Clever Root

Fall / Winter 2015

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2 6 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t C M Y CM MY CY CMY K FF Meet Bagman Vertical Print.pdf 1 9/9/15 9:36 PM IN 2010, SCOTT PALMER AND Kristi Knobloch looked around at the market for cannabis edibles and what they saw was not good. Products were inconsistent, untested, and unlabeled. They knew there had to be a better solution to serve those seeking edibles. They set to work with a team of experts, and nine months later KIVA Confections was launched with a deep commitment to efficacy, food safety, and business integrity while creating a better edible. Since then, they've expanded their line to include over a dozen products available in hundreds of California dispensaries and have garnered multiple awards. With this growing business comes a need for a larger team, and KIVA recently joined forces with FoodForce to recruit new hires. We sat down with KIVA CEO Scott Palmer to discuss what it's like hiring in this new industry. FOODFORCE: So in the beginning it was just you and Kristi, but obviously you've grown quite a bit. How did this growth come about? SCOTT: We're actually at 53 at the last count. When we first started, I think we were look- ing more at just getting up and running. It is a great quality product, so that's what drove us into the first year of business. For the first two years, we had a very small management team. I think we really started getting a little more sophisticated three years into the business. We started looking at bringing in talent to help us more on the strategy level, and ultimately that's what lead us to FoodForce. FOODFORCE: Since the cannabis industry, in the legal sense, is relatively new, I'm assum- ing there's not a huge pool of candidates who have a cannabis background, so what do you look for when hiring a new candidate? SCOTT: There are no candidates with marijuana backgrounds. It's like the early days of alcohol after Prohibition, or maybe even during the days of Prohibition if you're using that analogy, so it's incredibly hard to find people who have any experience in the cannabis space because it's so new. I think the second biggest challenge is finding people who are willing to take a risk, and who recognize the potential that cannabis has. FOODFORCE: Shifting gears a bit, what's something you feel is special about the KIVA team? SCOTT: It's still a relatively small company so the impact that each member has really sends greater ripples than the companies they've left behind. It's also such a new industry, and KIVA's really at the leading edge in terms of anything we do being really noticed and picked up. We've been around for almost five years, and you can see the effect that KIVA's had on other products coming to market. I think our team is very much aware that what they bring to the table is ultimately going to have a huge impact in the years to come. FOODFORCE: Along the same lines, what do you think are some of the perks of working for KIVA? SCOTT: Well, you eat a lot of chocolate, so there's that. More importantly, there is a strong medical community using our products in California, and we're having a really beneficial impact on those patients' lives. I think for me that's probably the biggest perk. Hopefully, the rest of the team would agree with me. ■cr —Lauren Weiss for FoodForce FOODFORCE PHOTO BY HARDY WILSON BUDDING CAREERS KIVA CEO Scott Palmer.

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