“It’s super important right now, when we talked about the whole sustainability thing; people care. And that leads back to the whole branding thing, whether it’s clothes, food, whatever, consumers are becoming smarter and when we talked about, ‘does it matter what kind of oils are in a pen’ yeah it all leads back to that, whether it’s your clothes or anything that you’re putting into your body people care more nowadays than they ever have.”

– Rae Brown

Rae Brown is a Brand leadership professional with an entrepreneurial drive. She previously worked as Creative Director for Burb and HIKU where she built the Doja brand, digital environments, and retail experience. Rae is a committed leader with experience inside fragmented start-ups and established public corporations.

Rae fell into the design industry while attending Vancouver Film School. Her interests led her to New Zealand, likely the dentist, Fiji, and after getting hitched, on to the Middle East where she found much of the inspiration that flavours her design style. She returned to Canada, and after having a child, launched her new business making baby toys, which came before the well-known online stores of today. It was a great success, selling her products locally and globally, but it got old fairly quickly, autonomy won out and she sold the business to return to design. Today she is leading the design of OCIO and driving an exquisite lifestyle cannabis brand offering and experience. She shares stories, insights, and advice for those in the cannabis space on how standing out in a crowded space comes down to every touchpoint in design - and offers up a treat to the convo on the land of psychedelics.

[05:20] Jason and Joel officially welcome their next guest to the Extraction Insider studio, OCIO Founder Rae Brown. They talk about Rae’s unique design aesthetic, where her inspiration comes from and the minimalist approach she favours. Given the accessibility to the world via the internet, Rae offers her insight into why style and aesthetics remain so distinctive to a particular region.

[9:08] Jason, Rae, and Joel discuss minimalism in brand design and packaging that induces an element of mystery and anticipation that draws a consumer in. An experience of the senses.

[13:14] Tips from an expert. Rae shares how to get started with developing a brand (short of hiring her that is!) by relaying her experience, feelings and imagery that evolved into the exquisite brand experience of OCIO.

[16:54] The Canadian packaging compliance conundrum. While companies selling in Canada developed their brand and packaging, they simultaneously had to weave and change course along with the compliance regulations. It led to an enormous amount of time invested in packaging, recycling, and re-inventing. Each market and product have a different requirement and at times it is frustrating and counterintuitive.

[23:24] Rae discusses consumer awareness and savvy when it comes to caring about what’s in their cannabis product. Do they care or know about CO2 extraction and quality ingredients or is cheap, cheerful & potent still the benchmark? The long game for product development requires quality for longevity and consistency in every step.

[28:54] Starting a cannabis brand? Rae provides some unfiltered advice. Think consistency, creativity, and differentiation. And sometimes, timing can fuck you over, but it doesn’t have to stop you in your tracks.

[33:11] You’ve got the phenomenal product, the kick-ass brand, now how do you get the word out? Rae shares her experience with launching brands and capitalizing on influencers. Creating a story around your desired brand experience can provide a wealth of creative opportunities and expand your reach.

[38:31] Rae brings her perspective to the gap in gender branding. Many of the CBD health and beauty products target women but there is opportunity to design something that appeals to all genders. Similarly, Rae takes a product like their pen, visualizes, and builds a picture in her mind’s eye of her luxury design and marketability to all genders.

[42:18] Rae talks a bit about her missed opportunities and less successful ventures but for the most part she has been intentional about who she works with, which increases her likelihood for success.

[45:23] Going through the process of rebranding is a far different experience than creating a new brand. Rae explains how that is and reasons why a brand would even want to take on a refresh or rebrand. Sometimes a brand is too iconic to change but even a small refresh or tweak can elevate their status.

[50:04] The tricky dance of balancing product distinction with compliant packaging while striving to be eco-friendly and provide quality components plus have your product look amazing– whew! It’s not a simple undertaking. Rae talks about some of the ways they are making it happen.

[57:19] Rae gives her perspective of possibilities and gaps in the Canadian cannabis space, plus her ideas for branding in the world of psychedelics.

[59:13] Rae and Joel talk further about psychedelics and branding, in particular about the differentiations of Psilocybin and the marketing potential. Focus has shifted to Psilocybin, and cannabis companies could be primed to take on this space having already working in an industry with no blueprint. Once that extraction side is figured out, it will change the game.

[65:56] Exploring the medical side of psychedelics, how they are already helping people with mental health issues and hurdling the false stigma around psychedelics to have a broader reach.

[67:28] Flip the table! Rae gets to be the interviewer. Jason talks about the importance of understanding the optimal extraction methods for differing plant varieties, engineering their equipment to match those needs, then where Vitalis is headed in consideration of the Psilocybin space.

[71:13] Hey! Cannabis aside, what else does Vitalis extract? There are some cool things in the works, that will also benefit our amazing planet and contribute to its sustainability. People care more about what they put on or into their body and the way something is manufactured or created matters more than ever. Vitalis is already aware and in conversation with companies that feel similarly and care to innovate and clean up supply chains.

[74:42] Vote with your dollars. As consumers we need to be more mindful of and congruent with the buying decisions we make if we are truly interested in a more sustainable planet. We can’t bash the mass-production chicken farms then go to the store and stock up on chicken because it’s $0.99/lb. The more we buy ethical products, the more available they will become.

[76:23] Quality is foremost with OCIO, as evidenced by their “no” list on the packaging. It’s safe to say there will never be any synthetic “cupcake” or “bubblegum” flavours in this camp.

[77:33] Where can you find Rae and OCIO online and in store? (also check out the notes above)

Reach out to our friendly team here at Vitalis through VitalisET.com or through our Instagram @vitalisextractiontech.

Hosted by Joel Sherlock & Jason Laronde, Vitalis brings you wise, humorous and sometimes shocking conversations with entrepreneurs and extraction industry innovators on 'The Extraction Insiders'.

Connect with Rae Brown
OCIO Twitter
OCIO Instagram
OCIO LinkedIn

Selected Links and People Mentioned from this episode
Alexander McQueen
Leisure Suit Larry
The Chedi Muscat, Oman
Edition Hotels
Good Sunday