Nikki Kujawski is the senior brand manager for Ripple by Stillwater Brands, an expanding line of dissolvable cannabinoid products. Nikki develops consumer research-driven marketing initiatives, establishes long-term goals for media outreach and elevating brand awareness, oversees campaign execution, and ensures all product lines feature cohesive messaging that aligns with company values.

Nikki’s management role encompasses Ripple’s original calorie-free, flavorless cannabinoid powder packets that consumers can add to any hot or cold food or beverage, Gummy Supplements and QuickSticks that are designed to be ingested on their own. Since 2016, she has helped steer Ripple’s growth in both the THC and CBD product sectors, elevating the brand into a top category sales leader in Colorado’s adult-use market. 

Previously, Nikki managed a video production company in New York City that developed content for media outlets and national brands including Food Network, Unilever, Tabasco and Bon Appetit. When she’s not at work, you’ll find her outside. She loves camping and exploring nature trails with her partner and their two dogs.

We spoke with Nikki for our Higher Calling series, where we chat with leaders in the cannabis space.

Nikki, tell us…

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, and I currently live in Denver. I spent about seven years in New York City before moving out to Denver, and I haven’t looked back. 

Your current role in the cannabis industry, and where you’re based.

I am the senior brand manager at Stillwater Brands, makers of Ripple, and I spearhead our marketing initiatives. We are based in Commerce City, right outside of Denver.

Your earliest cannabis memory.

I consumed cannabis for the first time with a friend out of a homemade orange-juice-container bong. We’ve come a long way in the world of cannabis. In Colorado, my first dispensary experience was in Aspen, and I couldn’t believe it was real.

A story about the positive impact cannabis has had on your life.

I use cannabis for relaxation. As a very high-intensity person, it can be a challenge to turn off my “work brain” at the end of the day—to hang out, relax, or even sleep. Since making the move to Denver, I have really focused on managing my body and giving it what it needs. Cannabis has been instrumental in helping me take the time that I need.

A favorite flower, edible, product, or brand.

I’m a big fan of flower, and right now I am really into the strain Green Crack. I personally enjoy smoking flower because I feel the effects immediately and can manage my dose well from years of learning and journaling. When discretion is advised or I am unable to smoke, I will always turn to Ripple to get that same quick onset. I like using forms of cannabis that I feel confident I can control. 

The biggest challenge cannabis marketers face today.

We are still in a world where regulation is holding back our ability to really market, in the traditional sense. Unfortunately, we are still working on large-scale cannabis education and how it should be treated in a legalized setting. I am constantly inspired by my colleagues in the marketing space and the new things that are coming to light.

One thing you’re excited about right now in cannabis branding, partnerships or marketing.

I am really excited about the regulation clarification between advertising and branding that occurred at the beginning of 2020. This has allowed cannabis companies to explore so many more marketing tactics and strategies. I am always proud to see one of the many cannabis billboards around the Denver area as I drive by; it means we are making progress on better education and breaking the stigma.

A cannabis trade/social justice organization that you support.

I am a huge fan of the team over at Kind Colorado, Kelly and Courtney. They are absolute warriors and some incredible women doing really important work in the industry. They have done some really incredible projects with cannabis companies in addition to fully launching corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs in some large companies. They continue to be pioneers and leaders in the space, and they’re also just amazing humans.

A recent project you’re proud of.

Ripple recently partnered with local artist Tony Ortega to create unique Día de los Muertos limited-edition labels to raise money for arts education. We donated 5 percent of sales to RedLine Contemporary Arts Center, a nonprofit that fosters education and engagement between artists and communities to create positive social change. Ripple has been one of the first companies to execute such distinctive limited-edition labels, and I am thrilled that this partnership turned out the way it did.

(Excerpt) Read more Here | 2021-02-04 06:01:00
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