I had the pleasure of interviewing Chris Folkerts, founder of Grenco Science, a company that specializes in advanced vape pens and portable vaporizers.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I was born and raised in St Louis, where I cut my teeth as a concert promoter in the rock and hip hop world, and toured around the country managing bands. In 2009 I moved to Los Angeles to work for a record label and a few years later was introduced to very early vaporizer technology for cannabis. I saw the benefits and the opportunity, and G Pen was born in 2012. I took what I learned from the music industry to turn G Pen into a lifestyle brand by working with artists, musicians, athletes, etc., to collaborate on marketing the product.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
I was at a party early on after G Pen was just getting some traction. I was talking with a few people I’d just met and they asked what I did. I told them I’m the owner of G Pen, and someone’s first response was “you can’t own G Pen”. This was the first time I realized the product was having the Xerox or Q Tip effect, and people were referring to any vaporizer pen for cannabis as a G Pen, no matter the brand.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We have never done very standard marketing and try not to pigeonhole ourselves. We are a technology brand but also a lifestyle brand, and we like to expose our customers to artists, brands, etc., through our collaborative products and events.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
There is not really one person; I would credit a lot of our success to having a small core team that has been with me since the beginning. We’ve all built the brand up together and with the help of our distribution partner, Greenlane, and partners Berner and Snoop Dogg, made it a globally recognized brand.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
The Cookies collaboration is one we’ve been working on for a long time and we are excited to finally see it coming to market. We are working on some well-designed new products and will have some releases before the end of the year. And as people have come to expect from us, we have a few collaborations in the works as well.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
We always try to give back where we can and have worked with many individuals and organizations over the years for causes we or our partners believe strongly in.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
What To Expect When You’re Expecting. Now, having a 2-year-old daughter, I’ve never learned more from one book in my life.
You likely have heard of the famous cliché that in a gold rush the one selling the shovels makes much more than the one who finds gold. This is the modern day “green rush”. Can you recommend to our readers 5 technologies or services that can potentially be lucrative “shovels” for the cannabis industry? Can you give an example for each?
2. Problem solving technology
3. Medical research
4. Delivery services like Eaze
What 2 things would you advise to someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?
1. Be the first up and the last to bed.
2. Don’t be afraid of failure.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Keep yourself flexible and always be solution based.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this.
Jilea Hemmings is the CEO & Co-Founder of Leaf Tyme. She is running a series on the latest innovations impacting the cannabis industry.