Executive Spotlight: Jennifer Whetzel

Full birth name: 

Jennifer Whetzel




Ladyjane Branding

Years at current company: 


Education profile: 

B.S. in Food Marketing, M.S. in Managerial Economics, Miami Ad School Account Planning Bootcamp

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis:

Before moving into the cannabis industry, I spent my career gathering expertise in different sectors of marketing. I worked in retail operations and merchandising, PR, advertising, branding, consumer insights, strategy, consumer product marketing, new product development, and experiential marketing. 

My biggest win came when I launched a line of animal health supplements into a fragmented, disorganized market and within 18 months gained 16% aided brand awareness among target consumers. This is significant because the market landscape contained popular brands that had been around for more than a decade that was still hovering between 20-30% aided awareness. 

Interestingly enough, working in the animal health supplement market was surprisingly similar to the cannabis market in that there’s a lack of clear federal oversight and no formal regulations. Some animal health supplement companies attempt to follow federal regulations for health claims – but most don’t, making it an unequal playing field with many players preying on the hopes of customers that products will heal their animal.

What made the win even bigger is that I was selling an anti-inflammatory product, but I couldn’t make health claims, I couldn’t communicate those benefits to my customers or my company would be open to an unwelcome letter from the FDA. Instead, I had to rely on PR, thought leadership, spokespeople, influencers and articles written by third-party experts to educate the market about the health benefits. The successful launch of that brand gave me a solid formula for how to break into the cannabis market with compliant messaging.

Company Mission:

Our mission is to help entrepreneurs stand out and sell more. 

I started Ladyjane Branding to provide branding shortcuts to bootstrapping startups who couldn’t necessarily afford to hire a strategist or an advertising agency. A solid, consistent, strategic brand with a loyal customer base is critical when seeking funding, but branding is a step that many entrepreneurs skip. I wanted to make it as easy as possible to build and maintain a consistent brand, which is where I got the idea for the Two-Hour Brand Makeover and my Archetypal Segmentation model.

The Two-Hour Brand Makeover is a guided interview process that helps startups solidify their brand identity and strategy to ensure consistency in all business decisions, marketing, and advertising. The Archetypes and Segmentation Model are short-cuts that help entrepreneurs personify their brand identity then provide messaging and design inspiration.

Company’s most successful achievement:

Pretty simple: telling stories in an honest, compelling way. 

Introducing the concept of Archetypal branding to the cannabis industry is our biggest achievement so far. 

Archetypes are universal characters that reside in our collective unconscious, such as heroes and mysterious strangers. I developed 16 Archetypes – to include a Hippie, Activist, Stoner, Doctor, Healer and Rock Star – to give companies inspiration to build their own brand identities. 

Brands discover their Archetype, then use those universal values and characteristics in their messaging and design, so that customers instinctively understand and connect quickly. It makes every brand’s story connect with consumers in a deeper way; by emulating an Archetype, brands build trust through consistent messaging that feels human and familiar.

More recently, we’ve taken on the task of understanding the topic of diversity and inclusion from the perspective of women working in the cannabis industry. By collecting data and creating knowledge on this topic, The Women In Cannabis Study will help us determine the education, policies, procedures and actionable recommendations that can help make the industry a welcoming space for everyone. 

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no): No

if so, how much?:

Any plans on raising capital in the future? Yes

Most important company 5-year goal:

We recently launched the first online course as part of a curriculum called Ladyjane’s Brand Camp. The course is called Sell Joy! and it’s designed to teach brands how to write copy and messaging that won’t get them in trouble with the FDA. 

There are so many entrepreneurs out there with brilliant ideas for new cannabis-related products and services. My 5-year goal is to have a full branding, marketing & advertising curriculum that teaches entrepreneurs everything they need to know – all the shortcuts, tips and tricks – to launch a successful cannabis brand and build a loyal customer base.

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