Updated: Mar 27, 2020
GOOD KARMA COALITION AIMS TO BUILD COMMUNITY WITH CANNABIS
JONATHAN OLSEN-KOZIOL We see them every day and many don’t even realize it. They are under the stoops screaming at on-lookers or under bridges hiding from the rain. They’re on the corners digging through the trash and begging for scraps. Members of our community are battling demons in the form of drug addiction, violence, and property crimes of every nature. Seattle’s homelessness crisis is unavoidable and it’s spilling over like a flooded septic tank to other parts of our state. City council is scrambling for solutions as each new report released only further hammers home what we already know – something must be done. Good Karma Coalition (GKC) is a cannabis brand that wants to help create solutions for social causes and give consumers an easy way to help fund them, by simply buying the cannabis they were already going to buy.
GKC was co-founded by Matt Coggan and Dayna Usa. They envisioned a cannabis brand that could be as focused on sustainability and giving back as much as it is focused on streamlining business practices and increasing profit margins. “At GKC we strive to be a cannabis company that our customers can genuinely trust and respect,” is what reads on their brand brochure.
NOBODY HATE THE WEED PERSON Dayna, a life-long Packers fan from Chicago, moved to Bellingham to attend Western Washington University. Looking to make friends in a strange place, she quickly realized that nobody “hates the weed person.” She started rolling up at parties with bags of dank and steadily started becoming more ingrained in Washington’s cannabis culture.
After school, she headed down to Oregon to build a growing operation from scratch. “That was the hardest fucking work of my life,” Dayna lamented. “After that, I was done growing.” After bouncing around from sketchy business partners to now dissolved PDA Magazine, she started learning the ins and outs of cannabis marketing and branding. After starting her own brokering business “Hustle and Grow,” she had grander visions of a brand that gave back to the community.
“You know what the fuck you’re talking about,” Matt said of Dayna. “You have information that’s beneficial to the customer, farm and retailer and has a genuine vision of what this business needs to be.”
IDEA WRANGLER Matt is the “old-guy” coming from a successful background at Microsoft. He quickly hit a wall after attempting the “ totally unoriginal Seattle tech start-up,” Matt said with a nostalgic laugh. “Raised a bunch of money, lost everybody’s money, crashed and burned on the business, but learned a shit load of those little nuanced things.” Those biggest nuances were less talking, more listening and more action. He quickly learned that he had to listen to his customers and the market to develop a business or product that has any kind of longevity. Matt wanted to try his new business outlook in the recreational cannabis industry and started a consulting company called Certified Clean Cannabis. Once he met Dayna, their chemistry was on point and decided to start another business her in the form of GKC.
“You have to have someone who’s pushing you back a bit,” Dayna said. She described Matt as her “idea wrangler,” roping in her grand daydreams and molding them into obtainable short term goals that make the company money and slowly build into a sustainable long term vision.
THE WHO AND WHY BEHIND WHAT YOU BUY Gaining customers trust to build brand loyalty is something that’s generally missing from the cannabis industry. Shelves can be filled with dozens of different brands basically selling the same product with no details or selling points that differentiate them from their competition. This is a losing environment for the seller and consumer. The consumer is leaving with a product they know virtually nothing about and have no connection too. It’s harder to get customers to become regulars if they can just get any pre-roll at any pot shop on their way home from work.
Rusty Funk has been growing weed for years as a one-man cultivation machine out of Port Townsend. When he obtained his tier-one recreational license, he didn’t change a thing. Rusty operates his one room grow on the solo-tip, offering only a handful of signature strains like Mowie Wowie, Grapefruit, and YG. Rusty grows, waters, harvests, trims, and even rolls the joints, all by himself. You probably don’t know about the story behind Pure Funk. I had no idea there was a guy basically running an entire cannabis license by himself, until Matt and Dayna told me about it. And that’s where GKC’s business vision comes into view.
HEALTHY CO-DEPENDENCY WITH GKC
GKC’s purpose is to create a healthy co-dependent relationship with the brands they work with. Each side offering the other a vital need, in exchange for shared resources, profit, and market space. GKC only wants to work with brands that want to work with them for the long haul. This means creating safe products for consumers first, then aspiring to the greater vision of GKC and giving back to the community. GKC works with every brand on a trial basis to ensure the chemistry is stable.
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY
Delivering a brand narrative not only humanizes the brand, it gives consumers more information to make an educated choice about a product that fits their needs. Dick’s is a local fast food chain that gives customers spare change towards homelessness programs like Mary’s Place, while simultaneously giving their employees fantastic benefits like college tuition aid and medical. Knowing this, I choose Dick’s almost every single time I crave fast food.
All fast food is going to make me feel like a regretful piece of garbage when I’m done eating it. However, knowing my money is chipping away slowly at the homelessness crises and paying employees a livable wage, I can at least feel good about being a conscious consumer and giving, even if it’s only slightly, back to my community. If a guy from Moses Lake, now living in Seattle, knew his money was supporting his home town economy everytime he purchased an Evolution Cannabis Co. product, he’ll support it all the time. Most people want to help, especially when you make it easy for them by laying out vital information in a well designed and color coordinated brochure.
MOVING CANNABIS FORWARD
This is why GKC donates five-percent of their overall revenue towards state-wide homeless issues. Not only because they want to fix their community, but to give conscious consumers an avenue to shop for cannabis responsibly and vote with their dollars. This is one of the easiest ways to make a change in a consumeristic society. GKC doesn’t need everyone to buy their products, they wouldn’t have the inventory to fill those orders anyways. GKC wants to work with consumers to build relationships the same way they do with the cannabis brands under their umbrella. This will not only make buying cannabis safer and easier; it will create happily informed consumers. Informed cannabis consumption elevates the entire cannabis industry. It forces other companies to brand and market in new and unique ways that move the industry forward.