​​​​​​​Have a Happy Hippo 4.20!

The Hippo is hitting the road!

It’s so cool that our industry has its own holidays and 4.20 is the one of the biggest! Canna-businesses have been busily preparing for the various festivals and events taking place across the country over the next several days.

The Hippo’s no different! NorCal team (Julia and Bill), will be attending Cannacon in Santa Rosa and our SoCal team (Kary, Stewart, Mitch, and Tina) will be at the High Times event in San Bernardino.

The significance of these events, as well as attendance, is expected to sharply increase as legalization and interest in our industry continues to spread across the US. Have a booth? Check out Hippo’s latest Tip Tuesday for event and trade show tips to help you make the most of your investment.

Reach out to connect if you’ll be attending either event. We would love the chance to see you and say High!

Wishing you the Hippest & Happiest 4.20 Ever!
Team Hippo


Mamma Feeding Jr.

As the festival and trade show season formally kicks off this week, make sure you have a show strategy in place with goals clearly defined. Many savvy companies strive to drive booth visits using games, drawings, promotional products, and sampling. This is your best opportunity to create and build your customer database (especially email address list). Your digital database will help mitigate social media account closure disasters as well as position you to easily communicate directly with your fan base. Set yourself an event goal to gather 100 new email addresses at each event. This type of specific and trackable goal will enable you to have a rich database of loyal consumers in no time!  

Hippo 1 Year Anniversary

Baby Hippo turns 1 year old!

I can’t believe it’s been a year already! And, what an exciting, exhausting, stressful, euphoric, nail-biting year it’s been! My baby has grown faster than I could have ever imagined…I feel like I’ve been running just to keep up! On this momentous occasion, we take a look at the evolution of Hippo Premium Packaging, the highlights and milestones over the past year.

We officially launched on March 1st, 2016, once I successfully resigned from corporate America after serving it for over 20 years. It was just me in the beginning—wearing all hats; sales, production, billing, marketing, the whole shebang. It was a super cool time. I started attending festivals and Industry tradeshows to develop relationships. I met many of my most important connections at the High Times Cups. It was there I met the founders of Utopia Farms, Speakeasy 710, Chong’s Choice and many other clients.

It was at the 4/20 High Times event that I was fortunate enough to meet their editorial staff and in particular the Edibles Editor, Elise McDonough. She asked me to review the top cannabis packaging in the nation for an on-line feature article in August - High Hopes, 21 Cannabis Brands to watch. That was such a fun project for me to collaborate on, as I totally geek out on good packaging and branding. As a follow-up to that article, she then asked me to lead a branding break-out session for the High Times Business Summit in LA this past January, where 300 attendees enjoyed learning what it takes to build a winning brand.

The Hippo’s growth has been driven by client demand. I’m so grateful for our team and in particular my business partner and Hippo’s COO, Julia Gosnell, who jumped in on July 1st. In September, we hired a few part-time folks for print production and digital marketing. Still hardly able to keep up, in December we hired a full-time print production expert as well as three CA-based Senior Account Executives. On February 1st, we offered Stewart Huey the Creative Director position and are now moving to increase our LA sales presence.

I’m also very proud of the creative work we’re doing (can’t wait to show you what’s in development!). From Brand Development & Strategy for Pt. Loma Co-op to a Brand refresh for Utopia Farms, plus website builds, pewter medallions for glass jars, elevating the packaging for Speakeasy 710, Chong’s Choice, Herbalizer, Gem and of course, Pt. Loma/Golden State Greens.

I am grateful for the loving support of my friends and family, who’ve kept encouraging me to ‘grow a pair’ and get on with it! I’m grateful for my team who are working just as many nights and weekends and who are just as committed as I am to successfully kicking this rock down the road. I am grateful to our clients who have honored us by entrusting us with their brands.

It’s hard to look back without looking forward. As we kick-off year two, we are in brand and packaging development with many additional growers, cultivators, and cannabusinesses. So excited to see what we create together. We’re looking to expand our national footprint by adding regional sales support in the Western US. But mostly, we are going to focus on doing what it takes to make our clients successful as we navigate a new recreational market in the sunshine state.

Happy Birthday, Baby Hippo…
Happy Birthday to you!

Grateful in Green

A colleague and I were talking the other day, ruminating over the differences between mainstream and cannabis communities. She said, “The cannabis industry as a whole…they’re just so grateful, as opposed to the entitlement we encounter when working with clients in the mainstream world.” Yep, I totally agree, grateful.

Last year, I quit my job of 20 years to start Hippo and officially entered the cannabis industry –  and with it a whole new world. A world where people are happy, connected, optimistic and thriving. Never seen anything like it—and now I am a part of it. I continually want to pinch myself!

Some have asked, “To what do you attribute this happiness? Is it because everyone smokes weed?” I laugh and say “No, I think it’s more than that. I think people are happy because they finally have a chance to reach for and achieve their dream of building a successful business by combining their particular skill set and their love of cannabis.”

2016 was an epic year for our industry. We were already set on a path of tremendous growth, but with the passage of Prop 64 (and the other six bills that legalized cannabis in one form or another) we are now set to, well…explode! It was an epic year for me personally, as well. My baby Hippo was born and has grown faster than I could have imagined. I’ve had to keep running (and hiring folks) just in order to keep up.

So, here we are welcoming in a New Year. From many I’ve talked to, 2017 is met with equal parts of trepidation and optimism. In recreational markets, we are sure to see a sharp increase of well-funded conglomerates entering the industry. These companies will be going head-to-head with our community of canna-businesses. Our businesses must be prepared if they are going to survive. I’ve seen a shift in priorities with more focus on brand development and positioning, which is vital. Lackluster packaging and an Instagram account will no longer be enough to sustain a successful canna-business. It’s time to get serious…so that in a year from now you’re ready to ring in 2018 and be prepared for all that will come with that.

2017 will be another big year for Hippo. We’ll be working on securing funding in order to build our technology tool and grow our agency to span across the Western States. Our primary focus will be on our clients’ successes by developing and refreshing brands, elevating packaging and the retail experience and guiding them with marketing strategy to put them in a position to realize their dreams. We will also focus our energies on educating our community – brand development, printing terms and techniques and packaging best practices.

But first, I look back on last year with gratitude. I’m grateful for Hippo’s clients, vendors and employees. Grateful for the opportunity to make a difference. Grateful to be in the green industry in which all of you are part of my community.

Wishing you and yours a very happy, connected, prosperous and joyful New Year!

Kary Radestock, CEO

Hippo Premium Packaging


Hippo & High Times

When HighTimes wanted input on the state of packaging in the Cannabis sector nationwide, they turned to our CEO, Kary Radestock, to review the legal cannabis market and critique her top 21 favorite packaging and design solutions. Kary has over 20 years experience in the print/packaging industry and has won major awards for her work. Looks like both High Times Magazine and The Hippo think she is the bomb!

View the article here.

Thank you Torrey Holistic's for inviting us to Taco Tuesday!

The Leaf & The Logo

I was just saying to a colleague this morning that as an industry, "We must get away from the Green, Black & Purple color pallet, cartoon type illustrations and for God's sake, no more Marijuana leaves!". And then, I had to sorta think about my own logo...my black and green color palette. My 'Happy Hippo' eating a MJ leaf. Hmmm...so I thought back to when I created my logo (6 months ago) and the thoughts that prompted me to add the leaf to my logo at the very end of the design process. It was a conscious decision - I felt I needed that leaf. I had to send a strong message to my client base that I am un-apologetically a cannabis brand...here for them specifically, specializing in their industry, bringing solutions that address their specific needs. I also had to differentiate myself from other firms like me who may not be comfortable with their mainstream client base knowing that they also support the cannabis industry. I was going all in...with no shame.

There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the leaf…to use, or to not use.

When creating or refreshing your brand, the most important thing you can do is to be authentically you (as a brand). If the leaf helps to you to define or illustrate that authenticity, then use it!

Your logo is the single most powerful and iconic representation of your company…or at least, it should be. I believe there are times when using the leaf is appropriate and on point - but, as an industry, let's just not be too lazy about it and show some restraint.

Check out this Blog...