Sarah Aziz is an Egyptian-American LA-based entrepreneur is a long time cannabis advocate and lover of the plant. Aziz entered the male-dominated cannabis industry in 2021 with her flower brand, Sundazed. The line of pre-rolls delves beyond the surface of cute packaging and focuses on the customer experience.
What is your proudest accomplishment in the cannabis industry?
My proudest accomplishment has been launching 9 products – I started in June of 2020 and have been working day and night so to finally get to this point where I’m about to launch feels like a huge accomplishment especially given the obstacles we faced with the pandemic.
Do you feel that the cannabis industry has more opportunities for female-identifying people than other industries?
It’s definitely a boy’s club. There aren’t as many opportunities for female-identifying people but brands like ours are coming into the space and creating those opportunities. It’s only going to continue to grow and it’ll be interesting to see how that manifests in the market.
Do you feel you have to work twice as hard as male colleagues or do you think the industry has moved past that?
Definitely. I feel like I’ve had to push very hard at every step of the way to be taken seriously. Not only am I a woman but we are a small business. I wanted to create this beautiful, elegant, pink packaging for cannabis, which had not been done in this way before. I really had to be relentless with the people I was working with (mostly males at the time in manufacturing) to work with me and help me move forward. On one of my first calls with a marketing agency, one of the owners stated in a surprising tone, “you sound confident,” which was just one of many moments where it was evident that my gender inhibited people’s first impression of me.
What was your biggest challenge in business and how did you overcome it?
I dealt with two major challenges. The first is the pandemic. There were supply chain issues due to factories being short-staffed. As a small business we were at the end of the stick for everything and the only thing we really could do was be patient because it impacted everyone.
Secondly, self-doubt was something I had to contend with. I think as a first time entrepreneur this feeling is normal to have because you’re obviously stepping out of your comfort zone and taking a huge risk and you want to know that the path you’ve chosen will allow you to accomplish your dreams. I think surrounding myself with the right people, having so many friends who are entrepreneurs, and remembering my past successes helped immensely.
What have you or your company done to help give more opportunities for women?
We are starting the hiring process now and I am working on building infrastructure that supports women and female-identifying people into my company because it’s really important to Sundazed and to me personally.
What are your personal goals for 2022?
My goals for 2022 are to create more products that people love. I’m considering edibles and hoping to incorporate Egyptian flavors in those products. I definitely want to work with more artists and continue to create opportunities where the consumer can take their smoking experience to the next level and truly feel immersed in the world of Sundazed. We’re finally starting to see the light as a society as the pandemic draws to an end and it’s time to have fun and prioritize pleasure. And while pleasure is paramount to Sundazed, helping those most in need within the cannabis community is not something that is lost on me. My top priority for 2022 is to give back to organizations that work with marginalized communities that have been most affected by the war of drugs. Creating equitable opportunities for all is so important to me, not only as a woman, but as an entrepreneur looking to make an impact on American culture as we know it.