This week we got the chance to sit down with the CEO of Wick and Mortar, Jared Mirsky, and his cute little Boston terrier, Blazie. It was great to be able to sit down with someone who has been in the industry since its medical cannabis was legalized in Washington state in 2009. Jared has a unique insight into the industry, and what it takes to succeed, both in the cannabis space and in life in general, making him someone you should know.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Jared Mirsky. I’m the CEO and founder of a creative agency here in Seattle called Wick and Mortar. We’re focused on the cannabis industry.
How did you first get started working in the cannabis space?
In 2009 I had the opportunity to work with several dispensaries because Medicinal Cannabis had just become legalized in the state of Washington. That was really where I started.
Are there any unique challenges that come with branding for a cannabis client versus a non-cannabis client?
The biggest challenges when building a brand for a cannabis client are really understanding the plant, understanding the client, and most importantly, understanding the rules and regulations and compliances pertaining to each state that our clients are in. Not only that, but I feel like the industry is growing so fast that things are changing very quickly, which is forcing everyone to have to be quite a bit more nimble and malleable. So I’d say that that’s probably been the most difficult thing. But ultimately I feel pretty damn comfortable in the cannabis industry now, given how long I’ve been in it.
Now that you’ve been in the industry for a while, what advice would you give to someone who is looking to transition over to a job in the cannabis space?
You know, I would say be extremely active in the community. Go to conferences – go to as many as you can, and network. That is really where you’re gonna get the opportunity to interface with the most people, to get the best sense of what you should be doing, or where you’re at, or what moves you need to make. Ultimately, I would just say to put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people. Not everyone knows exactly what they want to do or where they belong in the cannabis industry. But again, I believe that inevitably, if you just put yourself out there and meet as many people as you can, you’ll figure it out and you’ll find a way.
How does your family feel about you working in the cannabis space?
My family doesn’t mind. There’s no way I’m gonna convince my mom to smoke weed but I started getting her on topicals, which is the first step to getting my mom stoned. Again, I don’t know if it’ll happen in this lifetime, but I’m gonna try.
But to answer your question, she loves the fact that I’m in the cannabis industry, and I think more importantly she just loves the fact that I’m doing something great with my life. Cannabis is a huge part of that, but I would say branding and design are far more important to me. That said, yeah, my family loves it. My dad’s a smoker, so it’s nice to share the little office treats that I get from my clients with him.
What is your favorite way to consume?
I consume in so many different ways. I have had some bad experiences with edibles, but since then I’ve rather enjoyed them. But I would say, first and foremost, dabbing is my favorite, followed probably by a good joint. But you know, if someone is gonna hand me a pipe and say “Hey you wanna smoke this?” I’m not gonna say “Nope sorry, I only do dabs,” you know? I’m definitely gonna hit that.
What’s your favorite activity to do while stoned?
I love working way too much. It doesn’t even feel like work. I really enjoy designing while stoned. Smoking cannabis has been a big creative outlet for me. I feel like it enables me to do so many things that I can’t when I’m on my daily grind. Obviously, I’m not going to be smoking weed all day while I’m working on client projects, so when I get home and I smoke a bowl or do a dab, if I still feel like grinding on some work that’s what I’ll do. I also love getting stoned and playing with my dog. That is a lot of fun.
Can you elaborate on how cannabis enhances your creative process?
Every time I smoke I get this insane burst of creativity. Now naturally, I’m a pretty creative person but unfortunately, I can’t do a lot of those things at the office. So when I get home and I smoke a little bit of weed, the juices start flowing, and the creativity starts coming. I start designing and having fun. It’s a recipe for awesomeness. For any of you who smoke weed, I definitely recommend trying some Lavender and Chernobyl mix, because I feel like from a creative perspective, that seems to a pretty good combination for me.
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I’ve received was when I was 19 years old working at Gold’s Gym for my father. My dad has this manager working for him – a good family friend named Lyle – and he gave me some great advice. He said, “Jared, the teacher will appear when the student is ready.” And for the longest time, I had no idea what that meant, until I reached a point in my life where I knew I was willing to learn from anyone at anytime. And that’s really what it means – your willingness to learn from anyone at any time. The teacher will appear when you’re ready to learn. It doesn’t just come out of nowhere. You’re not just randomly going to absorb all of this knowledge and immediately know how to do something. You need to be WILLING to absorb the information given to you before you can do anything. Ultimately, I think that was the biggest lesson I learned then that I’ve carried over to the present. I still believe that. I’m still hearing stories and listening to people and being a sponge because I think that’s what’s best.