At Green Revolution, thinking outside of the box is an ethos that extends far beyond what packaging materials to purchase. Formed in Washington state in 2015 by Leo Shlovsky and Edward Lafferty, the company quickly gained major market share with innovative products like water-soluble tinctures and an environment-first approach to doing business.
In 2020, the company took another big step by opening up operations in California.
Speaking by phone with California Leaf, Green Revolution Sales and Marketing Director Joe Derr said the mission for the company today is the same one that has guided it from the very beginning.
“For us, it all started with wellness,” Derr explained. “The reason we’re in the industry is to really change people’s lives. I think it always starts with the customer and paying attention to what they need and delivering on that. If you can really focus just purely on that, the rest will come.”
THERE’S SOMETHING IN THE WATER
Green Revolution’s first splash in the Washington State market was a water-soluble tincture that dissolves in any liquid upon contact.
“Essentially, it took the tincture and the beverage categories and merged them into one,” Derr said. “Whatever you want to call it, it’s a product that’s uniquely positioned for both categories and it was a foundational product for us.”
The company then released a CBD-dominant version, called Relief. But this was back in 2016, long before CBD’s ascent into the mainstream.
“It was an absolute game-changer,” Derr noted, “because it was real, full-spectrum Cannabis oil. That took off for us too.”
Today, Green Revolution has the top-selling tincture in the Washington market. In fact, they’ve actually been responsible for seven of the state’s 10 top selling tinctures over the past three years. In total, Washingtonians can now choose from over 120 different Green Revolution products across 11 categories.
And in 2020, they decided it was time to let California join the party.
GREEN IN THE GOLDEN STATE
It was just over a year ago that Green Revolution became a California resident. But finding a handful of small, family-run Cannabis farms using organic, regenerative practices to partner with in California did not prove to be an easy task.
It’s one Derr had already encountered during his efforts to foster similar relationships with farmers in Washington. That’s because both there and in California, Green Revolution operates not as a vertical company, but instead as a one-stop extraction-manufacturing-distribution hub in partnership with a select number of small family farmers.
“We’re creating, essentially, an ecosystem of small farmers,” Derr said. “And we will only work with and buy from them, which ensures there’s systematic, sustainable, consistent purchases being made to really support these farmers who are aligning with us.”
Building such trust can also require substantial patience, which Derr encountered as he began to seek out farming partners for Green Revolution’s California products.
“California was quite a bit trickier,” he said, “because it’s a multi-generational thing, but there’s also that old-school mentality of not really wanting to expand your network past a certain point.”
Such difficulties were only amplified when Derr went to visit the remote, tight-lipped environment of Humboldt and the Emerald Triangle.
“Up there, it can feel like you’re on an island,” he explained. “And that separation made it hard to reach them. Also, a lot of these farmers have been pretty screwed over in the past. They’ve experiences up there where they’ve had people try to rob them and whatnot, so it requires a bit of trust, especially if you’re a bald guy like me showing up out of nowhere. It takes a bit of relationship building. It took about a year to develop one solid relationship.”
But prudent patience has not deterred Green Revolution from making some noise in its first year in California.
Even with the challenges of COVID-19 to contend with, the company has managed to stay busy. Thus far, they’ve released nearly 40 products into the market – with plans to up that number to over 100 by August.
In the interim, their first items to land are already earning rave reviews.
IF YOU KNOW BETTER, THEN DO BETTER
2020 was mostly awful, but it did feature a few bright spots for Green Revolution.
In the fall, they took home “Best Tincture” at California’s WEEDCon Cup for Deep Rest (a tincture made with an all-organic, non-GMO avocado oil base and a formulated ratio of CBD, THC and CBN). Meanwhile, the brand’s all-organic real fruit juice Doozie gummies nabbed “Best Edible” honors at both the Seattle Sun Cup and Washington’s Craft Cannabis Cup.
At the same time, Green Revolution continues work on its California operations, which includes finishing the build on its two-facility Palm Springs headquarters.
According to Derr, one of the operation’s marquee attractions is a two-story building which will soon house “one of the fastest beverage lines in Cannabis.” The company has also become a trendsetter in transparency by being among the first brands in California to embrace packaging with QR codes linked to product testing reports.
“When we came in a year ago and started doing that,” Derr recalled, “there were only two or three other companies doing it. Now there are probably over 100. There are a lot of companies watching us.”
Acknowledging the bright spotlight that has shone on Green Revolution since it first came to prominence, Derr noted that part of the responsibility of being a leader on environmental issues is always looking to see where you can improve too.
“If you know better, then do better. That goes on every level, including Green Revolution. We have so many improvements to make.”
One area Green Revolution is looking to address right away: more environmentally-friendly packaging. “We’ve sold millions and millions of units,” Derr noted. “And we definitely want to do our part to continuously improve.”
But in the true spirit of Green Revolution, words are but the conduit to concrete action.
“One improvement that you’ll see this year, in California,” Derr continued, “is that we’re shifting to more sustainable sources for packaging. We’ve still got a few product lines to work on, but we are currently making a huge shift. We know that this is incredibly important, especially in terms of the impact this industry is going to have. What California companies do is going to set the tone for the world.”