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Byrnes "KymB" is an activist, patient advocate, influencer and cannabis powerhouse with her hands deep in the NYC cannabis scene, and has been setting growing and retail standards for cannabis since they were called nickel bags. Kym has been working adjacent to multiple principles of the cannabis industry and her early work helped set universal cultivation standards throughout the industry.
Kym is a Co-founder and CMO of TribeTokes, where she drives all the brands social and marketing strategy. She blends traditional marketing efforts, modern colloquialisms, and digital social culture to subliminally target customers and break into new markets in ways that many cannabis brands have yet to tap. Kym is the NYC Brand Ambassador for Women Grow, and GetNugg, and served as a High Times CBD Judge in summer of 2018.
We caught up with KymB to learn more about her about her love for cannabis.
How did you get involved in cannabis?
Damn, making me show my age on the first question, you are good! In ‘94 I basically dropped out of school to sell nickel bags and clean motel rooms to support my family. I’ve always known that “weed” was way better than drinking and over time I saw the potential as a legitimate business option with the popularization of CBD and state legalizations for medical and recreational adult use. I have always been a patient of the plant. I discovered CBD in 2015 and knew it was time to start pushing the movement. I started attending Women Grow and met my business partner Degelis. She invited me as Co-founder of TribeTokes - a vaping and CBD Lifestyle Brand out of Meatpacking NYC and we’ve been working around the clock to provide clean, safe, and easily-integratable wellness options for CBD and cannabis accessories that destigmatize the plant.
What is your mission with @cannabiswithkymb?
My mission with CWKB is to educate and elevate. As a Women's Advocate in the cannabis space, inspiring others - especially my ladies to get involved brings me so much f#$king JOY! I am here not just to push the movement but push the industry by showing diversity. If I can do this then anyone can! My website cannabiswithkymb.com will be launching in 2020 and it’s chock full of dope content including lots of how-to’s on getting involved in the industry as well as information for consumers to clarify the wild-wild west of cannabis product selection.
Where do you see yourself in the industry in 5 years?
I see myself doing dabs and building an empire! But for real, I hope to integrate cannabis into a healthy, plant-based lifestyle focused on expanding the reach of canna-wellness. We (Dege and I) created TribeBrands to introduce beauty and wellness products infused with CBD to market. I see myself having books and a platform that teaches a holistic plant-based concept through food, exercise, meditation and cannabis. I also help other women hoping to break into the cannabis industry will see our business story and be inspired to create the product that they want to see on the market.
What's the biggest challenge of working in the cannabis space and the biggest reward?
The biggest challenge is banking and marketing solutions. We don’t have the same opportunities as other industries so we have to move so differently. TT has had credit card processing shut down, Paypal shut down, social media shut down like WTF!!! We’ve had to adopt the attitude of “no excuses”: no matter what the challenge, we find a solution. There are no excuses. It means we have to be more creative in every aspect of our business planning and strategy than most entrepreneurs at our size.
Biggest reward is I get to consume and not be judged and help others have that same liberty. Those of us who have been in this game for awhile now the stigma… it sucks when everyone is drunk calling you a stoner. The ability to consume freely amongst colleagues, peers and the community is such a reward. We extend that same sentiment by creating products that help integrate cannabis seamlessly into your life. Our best-selling saber vape pen looks like a key-fob for a luxury car, so you always have your vape pen on your keys. Are you really a stoner if your CBD consumption is in your eye cream, serum or facemask? We want to elevate the perception of the cannabis consumer so it’s as acceptable in other industries as we feel within the cannabis community.
Do you have any advice for any fellow cannapreneurs?
Yes! Show up and lead by example! If you want to be part of the industry you need to be on the ground floor doing the work. There are still people being arrested, there are still people in jail and there are still patients who don’t have access to medicinal cannabis. There is still a lot of work to be done and we need to do it. Find your organizations and community projects and get involved. That will lead into networking and relationships which will definitely help guide your journey within industry.