An Open Letter to Cannabis Sales Reps in BC and Beyond

Hello from Andrea Dobbs and all who are Village Bloomery!

As founder and brand manager let me start by saying thank you for embracing our team and our retail shop experience with such warmth and genuine interest. We have enjoyed connecting with you all. 

That said, we’d like to better manage our interactions with you. 

Unfortunately when sales reps visit the shop our staff often feel like they’re being pumped for information and that the reps are hanging around the shop for what feels like too long. Some of our regular customers have told us they recognize reps and they  feel like they are being watched. This feedback requires that we establish some boundaries to create healthier, more productive relationships.

We’ve decided to explore an alternative.

Please engage with us directly with one or both of our key product-focused staff, or by booking a Village Family Dinner. We ask that you do not stop by the store to find them. Instead, request a meeting via email.

  • Contact our Inventory Manager Unity Whitakker [unity@villagebloomery.com] to introduce new products, address quality control issues and present innovative initiatives. 
  • Contact our Director of Store Culture Rian Bevan [rian@villagebloomery.com] to share more about who and what your company represents so that he can pass that information along. 
  • Book a Family Dinner or Brunch with Rian to break bread with us and gain direct access to inform our front-line staff about your products.

Village Family Dinners are held every other Sunday when we set aside two hours for sales reps to engage with our staff. We pay staff for the full two hours so plan your presentation for up to 1 ½ hours. Make it interesting and those staff who choose to attend may stay longer to engage in more dialogue. Our Store Manager and our Director of Store Culture will attend to ensure your intel is pollinated across the entire team. Please contact Rian to set up a time and place to meet with us.  Note that we will re-evaluate this in the new year to ensure that this is beneficial for all.

Please only come into the shop to purchase some of our quality offerings or to introduce a friend.

Village Bloomery is boutique retail—not big box.

What differentiates our boutique approach from big box retail is that we create our menu organically, shopping for products that pique our personal interests. We purchase samples from the BC Cannabis store, we run our own set of practical tests on the products (with flower we smell, squeeze, grind, roll, dry pull, burn and evaluate for effects) and then we dig deeper to explore the corporate ethos behind the brands that we enjoy—community involvement, diversity programs and sustainable practices (including packaging!) to name a few. 

We invest a lot of energy exploring the who, the how, the why and the “what else” for each producer. We encourage all of our staff to explore and evaluate the products we’ve selected and we gather their feedback. This investment of time and energy into selecting the best products ensures we are proud of the products we offer our customers. 

Please note: We are not sold products. We enjoy being exposed to quality products and we enjoy making informed decisions based on our personal experience with those products. Salespeople do not convince us to purchase anything. We see the sales rep as primarily a resource for new and innovative product intel, troubleshooting issues, and for getting big picture insight into their company as it evolves.

It is important to me that we nourish our brand and our customer experience. This means staying tuned in to feedback from our customers, our sales team and our executive team. The feedback to-date is that sales rep visits to the shop feel largely inauthentic and detract from the positive vibe we cultivate.

Our staff are our most important resource. They are the human interface, they collect the feedback and they are the people who create opportunities for genuine customer experiences that allow us to do the work that we do.

We are a boutique cannabis shop—not a data collection center

We want this to be a successful industry. And we understand that you are being asked to collect intel for your companies. One of our core values is to honor and protect our customers’ privacy. We do not share sales data outside our organization. 

We are open to sharing information we feel useful to nurture and support the industry as a whole, so if you have questions, please email us at info@villagebloomery.com so that we in Head Office can provide our best response.

Our Roots

First, a proper introduction to who we are. Village Bloomery was founded by two entrepreneurs — my partner Jeremy Jacob and me, Andrea Dobbs. Both of us have been politically active in municipal, provincial and federal affairs for over 30 years regarding issues related to Canadian Sovereignty, the environment and Cannabis.

I am a retail professional with 40 years of frontline retail experience and 30 years of retail design and management. I have shaped my retail philosophy working with strong brands—Ikea, BodyShop, Womyns’Ware, and now with Village Bloomery.

In the early 1990’s, I founded the Cafe Du Soleil—where you can still enjoy hearty and healthy vegetarian meals on Commercial Drive. I also opened and operated two retail shops: Ragz and Rerunzz—new and consignment clothing, and Earthbabies—locally sourced and sustainable children’s clothing. Both were innovative retail experiences in their time.

These are the common threads across across all my retail experience.

  1. Put people first 
  2. Nurture a dynamic feedback loop between customers and front-line staff 
  3. Uphold and honor a strong social mission

My co-founder Jeremy Jacob is a professional mechanical engineer with experience in the alternative energy sector—fuel cells, solar arrays and wind farms. He also founded an award-winning geothermal design-build company and two additional businesses with excellent education and high-touch service as key pillar of success. 

When we decided to move into the cannabis space we decided to go all in and bring our ethos, design sensibility and our political acumen to the project  We put our heart and soul into creating what is now Village Bloomery. We’re at a place now where we’re ready to scale our concept. 

When we began planning our growth we knew we had to be very clear about who we are and what we stand for. To express that we looked to brands that we respect for clues.   And so here we are—if IKEA, Patagonia and Lush had a baby it would be the Village Bloomery.

  • IKEA because we work to be egalitarian and we empower people to DIY. 
  • Patagonia because our customers come to us with the knowledge that we value quality, and only sell products that we use and enjoy.  
  • And finally, Lush because we are fun, inclusive, eco smart and accessible.

What we ask of you is this:

  • You do your best to hand select product you think best fits our ethos.
  • You reach out to the appropriate person in our organization to make your connection: 
    • Unity for Inventory and data requests
    • Rian for culture and education, including Family Dinners
  • Please only come into the shop to introduce a friend or to purchase some of our quality offerings.

Thank you for supporting and respecting our boutique cannabis experience. We look forward to learning with you as this wonderful space evolves. And we look forward to enjoying a Village Family Dinner!

 

With love and compassion,

Andrea and the entire Village family!

 

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