Uber Enters the Hashish Market

It doesn’t often happen that your job is to define the vision and path of a new business, especially when your business has the potential to influence hundreds if not thousands of individuals by selling a product that is known to discriminate will, in an industry that seems almost impossible.

But when Daniel “Danny” Wise started building a chain of cannabis dispensaries in California, he had to do just that.

© photo courtesy of Berry


Danny had to imagine what it would be like to tear down decades of barriers. He had to imagine what the look, feel and ultimately brand would be for his retail chain. When he began this journey, he began with one feeling he wanted to evoke: happiness.

He wanted to create a customer experience that welcomed people of all ages, genders and ethnicities to the pharmacy. It was also important that his concept be unique and make new customers comfortable enough to shop in his stores. It had to be different from the old “trap” stores in the state selling cannabis in the gray area of ​​Proposition 64. Then, after months of brainstorming dozens of concepts, one evening came to him: cake. He thought to himself, who doesn’t love cake? Everyone loves cakes!

Much of this was inspired by his love for hip hop artists who often refer to cakes in their songs, but it was so much more than that. Some of the most popular cannabis varieties are wedding cakes, lemon cakes, birthday cakes, pound cakes, jungle cakes, cherry cakes – the The list goes on. Cake makes you happy. When people eat cake, it is a special festival for friends and family. From a lyrical point of view, cake is often used in music as an indication of making money, paying bills, or being something light. The term can easily appeal to a wide range of demographics where the concept evokes the core feelings of joy and happiness.

When you thought of brands like Uber or Google, they started out as companies, but changed the market in such a way that the company name became a verb. Ubering means to take an Uber, and most people know what “Google it” means. When Danny brought the concept of Cake to his team, that is exactly what happened. The team immediately embraced the brand and turned the company name into a verb that uses cake puns to rule the day. This is how “Cake” was born and the company began to create Cake with the ultimate cake-over!

When Danny approached his legal team about the concept of Cake, they said that “Cake” alone could not be protected as intellectual property and sent him to develop the idea further. After some peer feedback and further review, the concept of The Cake House came to life. The best thing about The Cake House was that the initials are TCH. This is a clever nod to the traditional THC acronym because with a quick read someone could quickly reverse the C and H just to see THC.

In addition to the name and logo, the development of the Cake brand also included the design of the interior of the facility, which corresponds to the company identity. The Cake Teal was inspired by the petrol that Chevy used in the 50s and 60s, which evokes joy and nostalgia. Every store has fun buzz words as part of the signage package such as “Icing on the Cake” and “Have Your Cake and Smoke it Too”.

The Cake team also wanted to pay tribute to the colorful and artistic nature of traditional cannabis culture. To achieve this, each store has a mural designed by local artists Travis “Sharky” Crosby and Hasler. Cake’s Vista, California, features the Cake Spaceman as a nod to Wise’s determination that he “won’t stop until there’s a cake on Mars!”

The Wildomar, California store features a mural of the Monopoly Man with a Cake Machine, where money comes in and cake comes out. This points to the sheer difficulty of navigating the complex real estate game of identifying lots with green zones and the costly process of opening a retail cannabis store. The colors and shapes reflect messages from the Reefer Madness era.

In Cake’s Malibu, California, Danny surprised me with a homage to my late brother Shaun Berry. I lost him in early 2021 after his lifelong opiate addiction. He had been clean for 90 days when he was given a fentanyl-infused counterfeit Valium. Shaun’s addiction began in the early 2000s when his stepfather got cancer and was prescribed too many opiates. Current series such as Hulus Dopesick show how this story resonates with many families.

Given my sheer desperation over the loss, this tribute serves as a humiliating reminder of the stark reality – if cannabis had been offered as a viable, non-addictive pain management mechanism, Shaun’s life and that of so many others would have been very different.

After all, Danny is a U.S. Navy veteran and a passionate advocate of helping his brothers and sisters who served in the military. Cake offers a 20% daily discount to all active and retired members of the U.S. military and donates cannabis products to veterans in accordance with California’s SB34 law. The Cake team actively recruits military veterans and promotes diversity within the team. Each team member is trained on the proprietary CAAKE guest model, teaching them to create meaningful relationships with each customer, and encouraging them to end any transaction with a memorable reason to return to the store or leave a positive review.

Every detail of the Cake experience has been thought through to serve the company’s mission of bringing delight to customers while breaking down the barriers associated with cannabis use.

It’s easy to build relationships with employees, customers, and the community when they’re all focused on the same goals. At Cake, we want to create a happy, welcoming customer experience for people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. We believe it is important to make cannabis available to all who would benefit from it, including veterans and those looking for alternatives to pain management. After all, we want to pay homage and celebrate traditional cannabis culture.

At a record pace in California, Cake opened its first store in Vista in early August, followed by its second store in Malibu and its third store in Wildomar in early September. So far the customer feedback has been exceptional. The branding, combined with great products and prices, resonates with customers. Between Google, Weedmaps and Yelp, customers have already left hundreds of reviews in which Budtenders are regularly recognized by name.

Cake customers enthusiastically support the company, not only because of the joy that the store brings, but because there is an authentic social purpose behind it. Month after month, all three locations have doubled the number of customers visiting each store. We regularly receive emails from our customers expressing their excitement about not only having access to great products at competitive prices, but also eager to support Cake’s brand and mission. With more than 20 projects in Cake’s pipeline, this is just the beginning and we look forward to continuing to put the icing on the cake!

  1. Start with a single emotion that you want your brand / image to convey to customers.
  2. Consider a brand name that evokes those emotions and also reflects elements of the cannabis industry and culture.
  3. Make sure that the brand name you choose can be trademarked.
  4. Take into account your motivations – what inspires you and your team about cannabis – and any personally inspired stories you can share through your branding and images, including the causes you want to support with your brand, business, and practices.
  5. Create a store design and color palette that reflects the brand’s emotions.
  6. Use hiring practices that are not only inclusive, but also identify those that support and convey the brand’s mission.
  7. Implement and build a guest experience model to ensure employees create the environment that you want your customers to experience.

Charlena Berry is the COO of The Cake House, a California-based cannabis company and CEO of Cannabis Business Growth, a consultancy specializing in cannabis license acquisition.