Words by Adrian Farquharson
Back in April 2018, I met Rama Mayo at a big 420 celebration at his Green Street Agency office. It was a joyous occasion with a bunch of his clients in attendance, as well as some of my own friends from other industries who I’d known for over a decade. Over the course of the party it became clear that Mayo was someone I wanted to build a strong bond with, especially as we discussed not only our past, but the future of what we envision for cannabis culture and the industry overall.
In July, Mayo wrote to me that after years of planning, he was finally ready to present Hall of Flowers, a BTB premium cannabis trade show. When he showed me his event slide deck and I was immediately impressed. His vision for the tradeshow aligns with the MARY aesthetic, with a focus on bringing a mature voice to cannabis culture and catering to more modern, informed consumers.
Prior to launching MARY, I ran a website, Limite from 2008 – 2016 that was an online publication dedicated to capturing the echelon of modern world culture—elevating the unique and inspiring in fashion, design, travel, the arts, and pure expression. From 2013 – 2014, I was asked to be apart of Project tradeshow’s Blogger Project for 3 seasons in New York City and Las Vegas. The focus of the tradeshow was to highlight upcoming collections from some of the biggest fashion brands on the market and the Blogger Project was a curated list of content creators to document the experience and share with their audience. Project wasn’t the only tradeshow highlighting key brands in fashion and streetwear – there’s Capsule, Agenda, Liberty Fair and for those who are veterans in the industry, definitely remember the MAGIC tradeshow.
When I heard that Dani Diamantstein, who held the title of chief operating officer of Project and Liberty Fair, was cofounder to Hall of Flowers, I knew that this was the tradeshow I wanted MARY to be a part of. It became pretty obvious to me that Hall of Flowers would excel where other cannabis tradeshows fall short.
The inaugural Hall of Flowers took place on September 17 and 18 this year. The goal of the invite-only B2B tradeshow was to get curated brands in front of buyers to facilitate trade between premium cannabis products and members of the media. Upon entering, tradeshow participants were led into the hall and greeted with the Hall of Flowers’ signature orange branding at every corner, making it difficult to ever get lost.
Vendors included AbsoluteXtracts, Apothecanna, Banana Bros., CannaCraft, Canndescent, Care By Design, Gas Cannabis Co., Dosist, IC Collective, Hemper, Jungle Boys, Kiva Confections, Lowell Herb Co., Mary’s Medicinals, Papa & Barkley, Pluto Pearls, Satori Chocolates, SHO Products, Timeless Vapes, Trees By Game and many more. Each vendor showcased new products for release this fall/winter and shared plans for 2019 initiatives.
During Day 1, digital maverick and motivational speaker, Gary Vaynerchuk (who took a 50% stake in Green Street earlier this year) delivered an excellent keynote speech about the importance of building community and shaping the future of cannabis.
Meeting vendors, shaking hands, and making new friends can make a person hungry. Thankfully, there were plenty of food trucks lined up outside to satisfy the hankering and fuel the rest of the day. Downtime for recharging happened in the consumption lounge where members of the community could enjoy some of the quality products presented at the show.
So what makes Hall of Flowers so different? For one, the “less is more” mindset is key to their execution. No long hours are spent in line, no forcing your way through huge crowds, and no missing out on a rep you want to talk with because they are swarmed by people. ALL OF THAT IS DONE WITH! Instead, you get that one-on-one interaction that’s always so difficult to get at these events—you’re able to make meaningful connections and learn from creators. Out with the old way, and in with the new hope.
In all my fashion, media, and agency experience, I learned that simple and clean environments result in the most successful brand and exhibitor experiences. Hall Of Flowers hit it right on the head.
From floorplan layout and event décor to musical guests and post-event activity, Rama, Josh, Dani, and Gary and their teams are the future of cannabis tradeshow executions. We are happy and proud that MARY was a part of this exciting inaugural event. We’re already looking forward to the next one!
Hall Of Flowers – Sept 17th – 18th 2018
Also published on Medium.