Articles Interviews

Five Questions with Mike Tsai, Co-Founder Canlock

cannabis- stash jar black coat
Nancy Gallardo

1. Are you still located in the East Coast? How has your company changed in the year since we last spoke? What opportunities have you discovered?

I’m still out in Brooklyn and operating everything out of Los Angeles. There have been many changes this past year.  For one, we’ve tripled the size of the team.  One of the new hires is a buddy and former colleague of mine, Brandon Rea, whose focus is on developing and growing our business.
From a product perspective, we’ve expanded our initial offering (i.e. portable container with a built-in vacuum pump lid) through adding different sizes, colors and designs, all of which is geared towards a direct-to-consumer approach.  And on the B2B side, we’ve put a lot of effort into creating new solutions and processes to help manufacturers vacuum package their goods for sale, helping supply chains become more efficient and work around logistical issues through the extension of product shelf-life.
Overall, the biggest opportunity that we’ve found is understanding that the ‘business’ is a byproduct of the community; not the other way around.  Truth be told, the whole Canlock team  (including myself) joined this community in high school, which is why our focus is on both the flower and end user. So whether it’s working tirelessly with brands to give their products a safe shelter, or offering customers an opportunity to have one of our jars through giveaways and discounts, we are making most of this chance of being a part of the industry during these unpredictable times.

stash jar 4-print
Nancy Gallardo

2. What have you done differently from a design standpoint? Sizes? Colors? What are your six and twelve month goals going forward?

From a design standpoint, we always try to encompass 3 main features: preservation, reusability, and cost effectiveness.  Keeping this in mind, the roadmap is set to bring larger vacuum containers to the market, not only for bulk storage but also as a curing solution for commercial and at-home growers.  And of course, we’ll continue to develop our portable solutions, taking other formats (e.g. edibles, concentrates) into consideration.
All that said, most of our resources will zero in on the innovation of our B2B products and processes.  Our goal isn’t to work with every brand out there, but to focus on the nuances of the brands we do work with, ensuring brand consistency or packaging efficiency.  

Cannabis soda lime jar
Nancy Gallardo

3. Do you have a mentor in this business? How did you start the company? What obstacles are you facing currently?

I alluded to it earlier, but this is yet another example of why the community is so important.  I’ve been fortunate to meet folks from all parts of the business, including manufacturers and dispensary owners, to other smoking related accessories and PR agencies, and I’ve been able to learn something from almost every conversation I’ve had.  
Compared to 2 years ago when we started the company because we wanted to make our own personal stash last longer, it has matured into a business that hopes to bring consistency to the market, in turn creating a safer environment for cannabis and eventually removing the stigmas associated with it.
This stigma is actually one of the bigger obstacles we encounter on a daily basis.  As if it weren’t hard enough to start a company from the ground up, we’ve had to be extremely creative in working with the roadblocks that every digital platform puts up when it comes to cannabis.
It doesn’t matter if you sell the actual plant or even just provide a storage solution for cannabis,  if you are starting a business in this industry be prepared to be fully acquainted with the policies associated with every “essential” social media platform.

Nancy Gallardo

4. Where is the best place to get a burger near you? What does your favorite meal look like these days?

I would only order a burger if adding a fried egg (over hard) is an option, and Moo Burger never disappoints.  But these days, I’m just looking for a meal where my sons don’t bicker with each other – my wife can attest to this.

5. What is your passion?

Without a doubt, it has to be hip hop.  In fact, I could argue that it is hip hop that brought cannabis into my life. There’s never a moment when music is not needed.

stash jar national book lovers day
Nancy Gallardo