Welcome to this episode of Weed Budz Radio! I am Ry Russell and joining me today is Founder of Juicebox Collective and my friend, CJ Britton.
CJ recently wrote a compelling article, “Beware of Tourists” that inspired my thoughts about who they are and where they show up in everyone’s lives. Join us as we discuss how tourists are not just the ones we interact with in the traditional sense, but those that are part of our professional and personal lives.
Beware of Tourists Article by CJ: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/beware-tourists-christopher-cj-britton
Guest: CJ Britton
Host: Ry Russell
Hey budz, welcome back to another
episode of WeedBudz Radio.
I’m your host Ry, and I’m here in
the studio in the North Maine woods.
And for those of you watching, you can
see the beautiful northern lights behind me and
here at the studio of Budz Emporium.
As you learned the last time we talked, we opened
an adult use store here in the North Maine woods
and we’re just having an incredible time here.
And I feel very blessed to be a part of this community.
And one of the things that makes
not just Budz Emporium special, but the
whole region special, really is the community.
The North Maine woods, Baxter State Park,
Katahdin woods and water.
There’s so much beauty up here.
And rafting, skydiving camping, hiking, mountain climbing,
you can do all of that here.
So I definitely encourage all of you, if you have
not taken a trip to Maine, specifically here in the
Katahdin region, I definitely encourage you to do so.
And of course, come see us at Budz Emporium.
But one of the things that I noticed in the last
couple of weeks, especially as we gear up to having more
tourists enter the business and enter the region, I’m looking for
ways to increase tourism to really share what we have here
in the Katahdin region with the world.
There’s just so much beauty up here and
so much that you can escape from. It really is.
There’s very little cell service in many of the areas
here, which just makes it amazing. When I think of
how do we increase tourism, and then I hear things
like Baxter State Park, having a cap on the number
of visitors that can go to the park every year,
I’m conflicted because I absolutely want to preserve the beauty.
I also want to see a region that
has been hit with extreme economic hardships to
build back and to build forward.
And we have to do that with a balance
of embracing tourism and welcoming tourism and educating.
We have to educate these campers and hikers as they come
into the state about how to treat this space right.
We need to be educated when we go to
other cultures and other community spaces as well.
So this all got me thinking, and I was on
LinkedIn, and I’m very rarely on social media these days.
And while I’m having this debate in my mind
about tourism and locals and what does this all
mean and how do we increase one?
Do we need both?
I came across this article and
it was titled “Beware of Tourists”.
And it hit me because as a lot of you know,
I made my start in my career with a drive
in movie theater built on tourism, so “Beware of Tourists”.
And I started reading it, and then I realized
the article I’m reading is a good friend of
mine and a friend that you all might remember
that we went to Alabama to visit, and we
ended up working on a Delta-8 project together.
And some of you might remember the Rise and
Grind, which was my favorite product that we created.
A lot of that was in collaboration with my friend CJ,
who is joining us today, who I want to really share
this article with all of you and help, maybe you think
about what is a tourist in your life.
So, CJ, thank you so much for
joining me on WeedBudz Radio. Man, thanks for having me.
It’s good to be here.
I can’t believe that this is your first
appearance on WeedBudz Radio because we met so
many years ago through your brother.
That’s another podcast.
That’s another podcast.
And then just everything kind of continued to grow
between us and working on different projects and brainstorming,
number of different things late at night.
So it’s just been a pleasure to, one, get to
know you and an honor to be your friend.
And I’m really proud of you because
this piece in particular, it’s inspired and
it’s inspired conversations outside of this dynamic.
I’ve shared this article with other people, and then they’ll
tell me that they shared it with someone else.
So, I mean, this article is definitely kind
of grown into something, and it’s been relevant
for a lot of people’s lives.
So would you kind of tell us, what should
we be aware of and what is a tourist?
Yeah, absolutely, man.
So I’m pumped to be here.
We’ve known each other for I just did
the math in my head almost 3 years.
It was a pre-COVID friendship, which means
it’s a real friendship, my friend.
We need to get that as a tag
on LinkedIn, pre-COVID LinkedIn connection or something.
This article is inspiring because, similar to
you, I live in a destination.
So I live in the panhandle of Florida between
Panama City and Destin, which immediately most people think
of spring break on MTV and things like that.
The region I live in is called 30A.
And if you’re from the south, you know where it is.
It’s this little strip of 17-mile beach that’s curated.
It’s all been heavily designed in a certain way.
If you’ve seen The Truman Show, for all of you, that
was filmed in my area, and so it’s kind of like
a little Maybury on the beach, which is awesome.
But one of the interesting things about where
I live is two and a half million
people come down here every year.
14,000 people live here full time.
So similar to you.
It’s a huge amount of people coming
in to visit, and it’s wonderful. Right?
The entire area really revolves around
the tourist industry that comes from
Dallas, Nashville, and Atlanta primarily.
And what’s great about it is the energy is amazing.
I can go out tonight and it feels
like somebody’s birthday every time you go out.
Everywhere is packed.
People are happy.
They’ve been saving up all year to come here.
It’s not cheap.
And they’re spending a couple of
$100 on a meal and wine.
And so it’s just easy to get caught up in the energy.
But afterwards, all the excitement kind of fades away
and you wake up the next day and there’s
plastic everywhere and there’s a car in a ditch
and a golf cart crashed into another golf cart
because some dad couldn’t handle his alcohol.
And so it got me thinking a lot about
people who come here and enjoy the beauty, right?
We have to have tourists. We just do.
It’s part of who we are. And it’s awesome, right?
We all live in America.
We have beautiful landscape.
But there’s another thing to be said about locals,
and it got me thinking a lot about the
people that live here and really make it remarkable.
I’ve made this mistake in my businesses multiple times.
It’s a lesson I’m still learning.
You get caught up in the excitement of
people who see you for a very small
sliver of who you really are, right?
Coming to see the beach, go into a restaurant to
eat or drink, seeing you for who you are as
a hustler or a marketer or maybe one thing you
did, but they don’t really know you.
They don’t take the time.
They also don’t really respect kind of what it is
to be here locally and take consideration into that.
And I’ve made a lot of partnerships with
people that I would say are more tourists.
And as I was thinking through this article,
which has been really funny, to watch it
take its life on its own and how
much it’s resonated with people has been incredible.
But it’s a good practice to evaluate
the people you’re doing business with on.
Is this person just seeing me for
maybe one, two aspects of my life?
Are they just tourists kind of coming
through my life, enjoying this really specific
moment and then moving out?
Or is this someone who’s going to stay
and dig in with me and Ry?
First of all, you, my friend,
are local status in my life.
So glad to have you on board for that.
And it’s hard, right?
Like you live in Maine.
You have down months and it’s
quiet and places are closed. I live at the beach.
Do you know what happens here in February? Nothing.
It’s cold. We’re in the northern panhandle, so we do get
cold weather and you have to kind of hunker
down and weather the good and the bad.
It’s the same in business.
Like who are the people that are going to be
with you, that are going to weather the ups and
downs, not just peaks, not just the tourist season,
not just the time when it’s fun to go out.
There’s always something going on.
Who are the people that are going to sit here
in February when it’s 50 degrees and the wind is blowing
25 miles an hour off the beach and you can’t
do anything but sit inside and dig in with you?
And so the article really was inspired by
that and it’s been fun to share.
I don’t think it’s that original of a thought.
It’s been kind of encapsulated in different ways, but
I’m glad to hear it resonated with you and
hopefully it does with other people as well.
And I think it resonates in a lot of different facets.
It resonates in kind of that literal facet,
that which you and I came from, of
the natural beauty that surrounds us.
And I think we both quickly equated it to some
of the business dealings that we both have been a
part of and both have seen and witnessed and sometimes
I was giving the example a lot of times like
there’s shooting stars and there’s superstars.
And superstars are often the more kind of longevity in the
industry and they’re a little quieter where the shooting stars come
in very loud, maybe raise a fair amount of money and
then they’re gone in a year or two.
And there’s examples of that in personal lives where maybe
things are going really well in your life and you
have everything that you could ever imagine around you, friends
and relationships, and then maybe things are not so great
and that pool is much smaller.
Well, you learn really quickly like
who that inner circle is.
And I think that’s the most
important thing of all of it.
And so it really does relate whether it’s
business or friendships or just saving the beaches,
it’s something that we can all think about.
And so, CJ, I know with your business specifically, you
help companies in a number of different facets and so
define a little bit like what a tourist is, what
is an ideal customer look like for you and for
your team to work with, along with the types of
projects that you have been kind of crushing that.
Absolutely. And it’s great that you’re in the
cannabis space because you get this more
than anyone else, especially emerging industries, right?
A tourist very similar to a shooting star is
someone just trying to find a quick buck, right?
I saw it when I did some consulting in COVID.
I saw it when I’ve
worked with different cannabis businesses.
You can tell who’s really passionate about the
actual business and industry and who’s just there
to make a quick buck. And so, with me, with Juicebox,
I do consulting for a host of different businesses.
We really are a marketing agency.
We do a bunch of different things to help
small but growing businesses really become their best.
And you find out really quickly on a
first call if someone’s passionate, like a founder
is really passionate about something, right?
Because the startup space is full of people who
have a little extra cash and are like, I
found this niche thing, I’m going to do it.
And then you have people who
are almost borderline psychotic about it.
And I love those people because they
know it and they breathe it.
I think you and I have
had this exact conversation before.
I don’t work with a founder who doesn’t
try, believe or use their own product.
From if you’re developing a construction hardware and you’ve
never picked up a hammer in your life to
running a cannabis brand and you don’t enjoy cannabis,
it’s just, authenticity is so few and far between
nowadays and startups don’t understand that is the one
advantage they have over big businesses.
Big businesses are not authentic. They never will be.
And it’s okay, right?
Like, it’s like the tourists and the locals.
There’s a place for everyone.
Big businesses are going to do stuff and write
checks and we love our people, but at the
end of the day, they’re here to make money.
Small businesses are here to make a difference
because it’s you and me and maybe two
or three other people at most.
And so the idea is if you’re really in this
to make a difference, that’s beautiful and I hope you
achieve all your dreams if that’s one of those that
you want to grow into a big business and you
just get way larger than you can handle. Awesome.
We need both.
But I think the problem is there’s a lot of people
who lie to themselves and when you engage with them, you’re
the one that’s going to get burnt in it.
I want to be a small business.
I want to make a difference.
When really it’s just dollars in the back of your mind.
And what happens is in startup
world, you get beaten down.
You have to do things that
may not be in your wheelhouse.
You have to be a Swiss Army knife when really you
just want to be the knife or the fork or something.
You have to do all the things and you
get burned out and it just doesn’t last.
And so the only thing that keeps you going is
that ultimate belief and purpose and your ability to go,
I know what I’m doing, I know my why.
I’m going to make a difference
and I’m sticking with it.
And you should really ask yourself, would you do
it if you were doing it for free?
I think at this stage and you and
I both do work in other industries as
well, outside of our primary things, especially on
the media production side, is the money worth
the dynamic? Is always the question and something
that we’re always trying to figure out.
And luckily we now are in a position where
kind of what you’re saying, like, if I wouldn’t
necessarily be buds with you, it doesn’t mean that
you’re the wrong fit for maybe your own show
or your own site or what have you.
I will fail you because it’s not the right fit
and I won’t be able to see the whole vision.
And I think you and I kind of
got into that phase, right, where a lot
of people will just say, yes, there’s $1,000. Yes.
And then it comes with a laundry list of
things that comes with that at this point. Like, yes.
Obviously everybody should earn a keep
in whatever their keep is.
But it is fun to just watch some of
those dynamics over the last couple of years begin
to shift in that mindset, begin to shift because
if you wouldn’t do it for free,
the money is not necessarily going to make it fun.
It might make it easier to do, to accomplish, but
I think it’s a lot better, especially being up here
in the cultivation centers, I see people trimming that enjoy
trimming and enjoy being around the plant, right?
Like, I don’t I personally do not like trimming
and it wouldn’t be a fun activity for me.
You have to pay me to do it.
But there’s people where, like, it’s a
hobby, it’s very artistic, it’s very therapeutic.
So it’s awesome to be a part
and to continue to witness this develop.
So CJ, what’s next for you, man? What do you have
shakin’ and bakin’?
What are you looking for, man?
So I’ve been consulting with a couple of businesses.
I’m from Birmingham, Alabama originally, now living in
Florida, so thankfully I have some connections there.
And then obviously the world is small because of the
internet, so I have a few different clients I’m working
for in healthcare, cannabis actually as well, and CPG.
So beverages, snacks, things like that.
I really enjoy that space a lot.
And so doing some different consulting.
I have a couple of companies who are looking
to me to be like a fractional marketing director.
My big pitch is I’m always looking
for the why, not the how.
So spoiler alert to everybody listening if you need
a how, I just need social media management.
I just need design Fiverr.
Is your best friend. Never going to beat that rate.
But if you need someone to take your hows and really
build it into a why that’s going to make someone pause,
which is the hardest thing to do in the world nowadays,
is to make a potential customer go, hmm.. they might be onto
something, that might be something I want to try, then I’m
your guy and that’s what I really enjoy doing.
And so you have to kind of think exceptionally.
You can’t just think nuts and bolts, but that’s really
what I enjoy doing and there’s nothing that gets me
more amped and talking to a founder who gets high
on their own supply, to use a cannabis analogy.
I love working with people like that.
I love the energy of startup founders who are
just believing what they do are small business owners.
And I think that’s where I really can help people grow.
So that’s what I’ve been focusing on, enjoying
it and obviously getting out in the sun
with my family because it’s hot.
So if I’m one of those small business owners, and
I know that I madly need some proper assistance in
these categories, what’s the best way to contact you?
My LinkedIn. You can find me on there or juiceboxcollective.com.
There’s an easy contact form, it will come straight
to my phone and I’ll respond very quickly.
Perfect. And of course we will have all of those
links in the show notes over at weedbudzradio.com and we’ll
be sure to add a direct link to CJ’s article
so you can check that out over again
at weedbudzradio.com, we’re so excited and so grateful to
have you tuning in with us today.
We’ll see you in the next episode.