I have to say that my favorite part of my job is getting the opportunity to sit down and really get to know beautiful souls like this week's Wikileaf Social Spotlight, Lizzy Fritz. She's fun, energetic, passionate about everything she does, and most importantly, this woman can puff with the best of them. We brought her into the office for an interview and a photoshoot around Capitol Hill, and then she and I took a small field trip to the International District so that I could show her a little bit more of Seattle. We found out that we have a lot in common, from our Midwestern roots to our music choices to our shooting styles. I had a lot of fun getting to know Lizzy, who I can truly call a friend now, and if you ever have the chance to do the same, you should too.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Lizzy. I do cannabis branding and photography. Essentially I help brands tell their story in a creative way.
Do you do that freelance?
I started out freelance and was working on the growth side of social, so really connecting brands with their target audience and their potential consumers. Then it got more creative, and I separated and created my own company, Social Lizard, and was doing that all on my own. Now, my boyfriend and I and a few others have morphed into what we call The Farmhands. I am in charge of all the digital media for The Farmhands.
How did you decide when you were ready to make the transition to freelance work, and then from freelance to running your own business?
That's a good question because I don't think that anyone really decides. I think there's a decision, absolutely, that needs to be made, but I feel like a lot of us in the space kind of find ourselves at a crossroads where we're creative, we have a certain skill set, but it may not be being used to the best its abilities. This kind of pushes individuals to find a different route, and find a way that they can use their creative juices without having to be at a nine to five and not have to adhere to anyone's rules and regulations. Being creatives, we don't like that. We don't like being restricted. So the decision was made when I felt like I was unappreciated, overworked, underpaid, and I was just like "I gotta get out."
I gotta get out, and I know I can do it.
So you have all this branding and marketing experience in the cannabis space. Is this what you were doing before you moved over to cannabis or has your work always been cannabis related?
You know, it hasn't. I was doing growth, just growth and nothing creative, just trying to figure out where are people's target audiences and how do we get to them. And I was working with fashion, music, art, culinary, anything. Some of the craziest ideas that I was working with. Cannabis has always been a part of my life, and there are several reasons that got me to this point, and it was kind of a lunge that I had to take on my own. I think a lot of cannabis brands haven't been able to market and advertise, and it was kind of this perfect sweet spot of timing, and I really wanted to help. And, any time you can make magic with a plant, that makes it an easier decision to make.
For anyone who is trying to come into cannabis as a creative or some other aspect of the industry, what was your process of getting so involved in the industry? What advice would you give?
Honestly, I just reached out to any brands that I saw knew the value of social, so they were putting in a little bit of time, and a little bit of energy. But typically what this looks like - whether it's a grow, a brand, edibles, anything - is this team that has to come together and runs the social together. So you'll have all different voices, all different vibes, and trying to be this cohesive brand is tough. So I basically just reached out. A lot of people have their emails on their Instagram, so I just reached out. Nothing salesy, it was super personal. Something like "I saw you on my personal Instagram page. Loved the brand. I'm kind of a la carte, so if you need help reaching your audience, content creation, curation - maybe you have all the content in the world and don't know how to push play and where to put it - I can kind of be your girl." And it was pretty insane the responses I got back. I used to be in sales, so you wouldn't believe how many times I sent an email and got an angry response back like "Get a real job!" But these were different! Everyone came back being like "Lizzy, thank you so much! Here's what we need." So my advice would just be to stop worrying about what it sounds like, how many followers you have, what your page looks like compared to other people. Just find your thing, and find the other people who need what you have, and reach out to them and see if you can collaborate. That's my advice. It's never going to be perfect, the timing isn't going to be a little note on your desk saying "Make that lunch!" or "Email those people!" You gotta just put yourself out there, and you'll be surprised at what you get back.
Okay so before we got started with this interview you mentioned how much more comfortable you are behind a camera than in front of one, so let's move on to some photographer specific questions. First off, what are you shooting with?
I shoot with a Sony A7II. It's new to me, but it's pretty badass. I have a 60mm macro lens that's great for product shots, obviously, but also has this really versatile way to it, you know? I can be in front of the golden gate bridge and get this really great shot of someone holding a j, and then in two seconds, the Golden Gate can be the focus. I really want to get into more video. I saw a lot of really awesome people who are doing great video, skateboarding, lifestyle, sports. We can really use that, so it's like let's go! Let's try it.
When you're shooting your cannabis shots, what's at the forefront of your mind? What are you looking for?
That's a good question. I feel like because I worked behind the scenes for social - so, the backend, finding your targets, moving these metrics, are you location-based, are you shipping worldwide - you have to take all of these things into consideration when you're working on someone's backend. But you also have to be cognizant of what the front end looks like. What's at the forefront of my mind is, "What would make me stop scrolling?" What would make me stop scrolling through my feed like we all do automatically now like it's a trigger? We're not even looking anymore, we're just scrolling. What would make me stop and engage, whether it's a like or a comment? It's a perfect storm that you have to create. Think of how high the bar is now. Think of the crazy shots of people doing handstands on the edge of a cliff that drops 600,000 feet in Dubai. Or the "follow me shots" with the girl with all the jewelry and the gorgeous outfit and she's leading her husband into this crazy garden. You really have to pick what your style is, but then milk it for all it's worth. There are going to be repeats and some of your shots are going to look similar. You're gonna get inspired by brands right next to you. But you really have to put your own spin on it, and then go for it. I think that's what get's people to stop scrolling.
Alright, now we're going to move on to some fun questions. First off, what is your favorite activity to do when you're stoned?
Can I say everything? I mean that genuinely. I have a CBD heavy sativa before I work out. Blue dream is great when I need to be creative. It's not like before I do anything, I'm like "Oh quick I have to get high." It's a part of my life. I don't drink coffee in the morning, I have cannabis. I don't drink. Alcohol keeps me from achieving my goals. Cannabis helps my goals. So I would say my favorite activity to do stoned is life.
What is your favorite way to consume?
Smoking. I think it brings people and it encourages unity. For example, I was just at Van Der Pop's headquarters right down the street from you guys, and I knew one girl Kyran who I had worked with for years now, April I knew a little bit, and there were a few others who I didn't know at all. But you come in the room, the common denominator is cannabis, and the people around the table are artistic and fun and free-spirited and positive. So the conversation just comes together, and is too easy to collaborate and have fun and talk about all different things. I think smoking really brings that together.
What is your favorite high food?
I love all food. my favorite high food would have to be something where the culinary aspect is really there and I feel like cannabis really helps to bring out all the tastes and textures. So definitely something like sushi that has complex flavorings, but I love all food.
Favorite brand and strain?
My client Avitas. They're very Pacific Northwest. Their mission, who they are, the people behind the brand, they're all this little family that helps convey and helps me to convey who they are and what they stand for. They're really awesome. They have no additives. All their stuff is so clean, and the high is clean, the hit is clean. My favorite strain, as of late, because I just got to smoke their flower for the first time, is strawberry fields. Tastes like a strawberry milkshake, and it's an indica so it's good for putting you to sleep.
What is the best piece of life advice you've ever received?
You know, we can look around and we can compare, now more easily than ever, because we have numbers to our value, like how many followers do you have? And I don't think that's a real thing. I think that's awesome that you have a sense of community around your page and people like seeing your stuff. But if we worry about everyone else and what theyre doing, and let it curtail what we're doing, you kind of get wrapped up in the rat race and lose all sight of what you really started for. So my dad, he always told me you're going to get knocked down. You're going to get fucked over. You're going to have people not pay you or not value you, or not understand you, or tell you that you're wrong. But at the end of the day, we're here once. This isn't a rough draft. I don't get to come back in my next life and apply everything I learned in this first life and say "I'll do it right this time." It doesn't matter what people say, or how many followers they have. What matters is that you're proud of what you're doing, and you feel good talking to people like you guys [Wikileaf] about it. At the end of the day, that's what matters. If you're doing what you need to do, and you're a good person, good things will happen. You can't get caught up in what's going on around you.
Focus on yourself, on the task at hand, and your project and creativity, and I think it comes together in a really cool way.