When it comes to cannabis in Canada, Budtenders are the key that turns the lock. Budtenders learn all they can about the products they sell and use that knowledge to effectively navigate the specific wants and needs of the customers who walk into their shops. Recognizing the integral role that Budtenders play in supporting brands, is important, as they truly guide the in-person interactions for the products.
In the first of an on-going series, we sat down with Alexandrea Scott, a budtender out of Ottawa, Ontario who shed some light on her experience working with Spiritleaf, and what she’d like to see moving forward in the industry.
WROG: How long have you worked in the Cannabis industry?
AS: I’m a very new Budtender – our store opened in October. I’m working with Spiritleaf, Crossroads in Ottawa. Spiritleaf of course is a franchise, and our owners have 3 Spiritleaf shops – Crossroads, South Keys, and Hog’s Back.
WROG: What interested you about working in cannabis?
Cannabis has always been a passion of mine. I’ve been consuming cannabis for over 15 years and decided to leave my traditional corporate job for something that I loved to do. When I left school I started as a receptionist at a head office of a large real estate company. I bounced around the corporate recruiting world trying to find my fit. I thought I had found it when I moved to Ottawa, but then COVID happened. I decided that when I was ready to go back I wanted to really focus on the cannabis industry.
Obviously, budtender is a great way to start, and I love it. I love it. I love going to work and selling something I believe in.
One of my favourite things is when I connect with customers. I especially enjoy when seniors come in for instance, and they tell me what their preferences are or what they are looking for, and I can help guide them and give them what they are looking for. Then they come back – and they’re excited about what they tried – and you can really see the change in them.
WROG: How would you describe your Budtending style?
AS: Authentic. I like to listen. I’m the Budtender asking, “what would you like to do?” I like to get a feeling for what our customers are looking for from their experience first before I recommend products, especially if they are new to cannabis.
For instance, some people do want to want a head buzz, and others want to relax & chill, some want to have a fun time with their girl friends… so I like to start there. But I’m also just here to help if someone comes in and want to try something unique.
I’m all about customer service -I like to get to know my customers so our service is less transactional.
WROG: How do you get a sense of what consumers are looking for with edibles?
AS: I find that talking to people like they’re your friend, you’ll get more information. If you come in too “salesy” people are turned off and don’t listen to what you’re saying. It is really building a friendship, having a conversation.
For new users, obviously, we tell them to start low and go slow. Even if someone has experience with legacy market edibles, I tell them that recreational edibles are made a little different than what they might be used to. My advice, in this case, is usually to practice caution because it happens that what they might have gotten before wasn’t all that it was made out to be.
WROG: What do you find consumers are looking for?
AS: People are looking for tasty new fun products. Customers are looking for different dosage options, and trying out new things is important.
I have a lot of people come in either looking for something that they can enjoy during the day or something to do with their friends. In this case, it’s very much a social need they’re looking to fill. Alternatively, it’s experience-driven. People come in looking for something to help them relax, hang out at home and wind down from a day.
I help point them in the right direction.
WROG: One big difference with edibles is the onset time. Do you find that this factors into your conversations?
AS: Yes. They want quick, they want to be able to eat it and then feel something within the hour.
WROG: It’s unfortunate that there aren’t many rapid onset options though.
AS: No, there aren’t. Which was great. I know there’s the new “quick,” but I don’t know if it’s a thing that works. Personally, when I’ve tried the Quicks, they work in about the same time as the other ones. And there are others on the market that really do take an hour or two to kick in.
I did notice that your edibles didn’t take very long to feel the effects.
WROG: What is important for you to have in your arsenal to be able to sell edibles?
AS: For me, the most important thing is the flavours. It is what grabs the customer first. If they’re not interested in one of the flavours, they aren’t going to be into the edibles. What’s really coming up for us now as budtenders when we talk to customers is the terpenes. You have THC, CBD, CBG – whatever cannabinoid, but that’s not the only thing that adds to your high.
People are also interested in the ingredients. I don’t particularly have a lot of customers looking for sugar-free options, but they’re more interested in the cleaner options. People do inquire about Indica or Sativa, but they’re beginning to understand that edibles are predominantly hybrids.
WROG: Shifting gears a little, when it comes to the industry, what kinds of things are you looking to see change?
AS: Obviously the go-to is package sizing. It’s something that we really need to fight with Health Canada about.
The other thing is the stigma. I want to show and prove to the world that you can go to work, be a productive member of society and still be a regular cannabis consumer.
WROG: What are the ways in which you think that could be accomplished?
AS: By being an example to the customers that come into to work. You know these are people who see me there, working hard, 40 hours a week and being extremely happy with my job. They know that I go home and enjoy cannabis then get up and go to work in the morning. Just like how people go home, and they have a glass of wine. I really want cannabis to be at par with alcohol and I really do find that the more people that come into the stores and try it themselves then the more they understand that it’s not something to look down upon. It’s about spreading knowledge.
WROG: I completely agree. Leading by example, talking about cannabis, it’s the only way forward. And how about you, what’s your favourite way to consume cannabis?
AS: Honestly, cannabis plays such a huge part in my life. It’s hard to narrow down a favourite way to consume because I use it in so many different ways all the time. There is a time and place for it all to improve the quality of my life. Most recently I have been experimenting with topicals for some of my personal medical concerns but I regularly smoke flower, consume edibles, and use vaporizers. This plant has truly enhanced my life!
WROG: Now just a fun question, since you’ve tried our soft chews. If you could design your dream edible flavour, what would it be?
AS: You know what I haven’t seen, and it would be like a dream flavour for summer – carrot cake.
WROG: And would that be a THC, CBD, CBG or something else?
AS: I really do enjoy a balanced option. For me, a CBG, I think it would definitely have to be more of citrus. I think for a carrot cake one, would be nice for a 1:4 ratio like the Blackberry Merlot.
A lot of the people I know would really carrot cake.
WROG: Noted. Thank you so much Alex.
You can find Alexandrea at Spiritleaf Crossroads in Ottawa, Ontario.
We know that there are many amazing Budtenders out there guiding the cannabis conversation, if you are a Budtender or know an amazing Budtender you’d like to see featured, send us an email at: email@example.com