Kimberly Dillon is the founder of Plant & Prosper
, a strategic marketing consultancy that works across emerging industries such as Cannabis, Crypto, and Tech. She also is the founder of Frigg, a wellness brand that combines cannabis and mushrooms in a variety of unique form factors. She got her start in Cannabis as the CMO of Papa & Barkley, a Cannabis startup that she helped grow to a $100 million dollar business. Named a “Brand star” by Adweek for her story-driven approach to branding, she also serves as a mentor to the Our Academy (cannabis accelerator) and is an advisor to a number of startups.
She has spoken on the topics of wellness, authenticity, and the power of intuition at a number of key conferences including Goop, SXSW, and NCIA. She worked at several Blue Chip companies like Procter & Gamble and Clorox. She has two undergraduate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from the University of Michigan. Kimberly lives in Los Angeles, where she trades NFTs and Crypto in her free time and is working on her 42nd passport stamp.
When did you formally enter the cannabis space?
What made you decide to work in the cannabis industry?
Its exciting to build new industries. I always tend to be fascinated by whats new and what is possible and I wanted to be part of shaping the narrative of what Cannabis could be. And years later, I feel proud of that work. I wanted to show that there is a spectrum of use cases and users who can use Cannabis to improve their lives. That there is a middle ground between medicine and sheer escapism.
Do you feel there is more opportunity for Black Americans in the cannabis industry versus a more traditional industry? Yes or no and why?
I have a bit of push back on this question, as the reality of it is, that the structural changes you face don’t really change if you are in Cannabis, Insurance, Football, or Daycare. The opportunity and the mandate that Cannabis should take is to be the most innovative and diverse industry because of our history of prohibition on the war on drugs. Cannabis folks are so innovative, even though in the media we tend to reserve those words for Silicon valley types. The fact that we have an industry, given all of the hurdles, shows innovation. And as it relates to black people, given the fact that the war on drugs was manufactured to oppress black people, and then to not see this industry figure out how to provide generational wealth opportunity to the black community, is quite frankly appalling. And I am not talking hourly jobs, I am talking wealth. Because wealth makes communities healthier, really. Solving for income inequalities makes societies better. But net net coming back to the question, we have a lot of work to do to provide real equity and by equity I mean money.
What is the most successful social equity effort in your opinion? Can be a charity or company program.
Well I am biased as I am a mentor to Our Academy, Which is a pre accelerator program for social equity and BiPoc founders. The ecosystem that we are building is really quite exciting. They provide mentorship, training, supply chain solutions, community, and we are working on a variety of investment solutions as well. We have partnered with lots of MSOs and brands like Cookies, that really align with our values.
What is your personal goal for 2022?
I am really fascinated about the possibilities of web 3 and Cannabis. Its no secret that funding is hard to find in Cannabis and it really is icing out a lot of early stage and diverse founders. Not only is this not good for the health of our ecosystem, but it also stifles innovation. Diversity is not just about representation, it is also about the bottom line. Consumers and society want radical change, transparency, diversity, and sustainability. Especially as the younger consumer enters the market, companies who aren’t working on diversity and sustainability yesterday are going to suffer tomorrow. Web 3, specifically NFTs and DAOs have the possibilities to build communities the world over, and also represents an alternative source of capital that quite frankly is one of the innovative things I have seen recently